It is interesting to learn the fact that Chinese cosmogony ideas have begun to function in lV-ll centuries BCE and they have three special features: (1) the lack of a god responsible for all living creatures and things, (2) ‘no element of explicit teleology’, and (3) the universe is not casual but the sequence of ‘unfolding’ and inner order. Christopher Cullen named all these characteristics in the first article catching the eyes in simplicity and clarity of Chinese cosmogony. I am not sure everything is so simple, and further reading of Zhang Heng (78-139) Lingxian (The Numinous Structure), probably could help in finding complexity and uncertainty (ancient Chinese can be difficult to understand and sometimes just impossible to interpret in the terms of Western culture so far).
From time to time I do like to browse magazines’ articles on astronomy for non-professionals: black holes, origins of our planets, stars’ lives, and how life could possibly to spring up are entertaining topics to spend a couple of hours in the evening. Reading books written by splendid authors Richard Dawkins and David Deutsch (The Selfish Gene, 1989, and The Fabric of Reality, 1997 did not do much harm to me too). But anyway, traditional Chinese point of view due to its amusing art of hieroglyphs’ writing and concise historical texts on nature of universe will be always preferable, do I have or have not additional explanations. There is some exceptional heat of poesy inside prose lines which extended and survived to present days. Just feel it!
The articles in the modern glossy magazine and online bright sites seem to be rewritten very soon following to progress in scientific knowledge mining but the mystical charm and multilayered meanings of ancient glyphs keep going to be somewhere close to us, and definitely, they stay very close to me right now, right in any moment of my life.
2 Taoist notions
Isabelle Robinet pointed out that “Taoism employs two main cosmogonic patterns, one threefold and the other fivefold, which are related to the vertical and horizontal axes of the world. From these patterns arise all other celestial and terrestrial configurations.” I think, that it is a good point to start including the whole row of numbers from zero to any number our imagination can provide us to embrace vertical, horizontal, and all other systems of coordinations. Will it be still Taoism? At least, its spirit, I guess.
A very special tracking wish list looks like this now:
’Nothing’ and appearance of zero in Chinese mathematics, 1, 2 (yin-yang relationships complex enough in 102 pairs of opposites and more), 3 (and trigram’s origin), 4 (welcome, coordinate system!), 5 (wuxing theory, 31 lines in table, one of my favorite), 6 (and hexagram theory and divination roots), 7, 8 (and trigrams’ combinatorics in 16 strings at least), 9 (including divination lines correlation 6-7-8-9 and the main heroes are there magical squares the Luoshu, and the Hetu), 10 (Celestial Stems, tiangan), 11, 12 (Eartly Branches, dizhi, and twelve double hours of the day), 24 (seasons of lunar year), 28 (star constellations which do not look like Western mapping of the sky at all), 60 (sexagesimal cycle and Chinese ancient calendar), 64 (hexagrams’ combinatorics of Yijing, definitely my dearest and favorite and the most adorable), 16 levels of concentric circles of the Luopan (including all named previously) resulting in some hundreds partitions in total, and of course, wanwu – ’ten thousand things’ in the end to add completeness and taste to the whole world, including us, humble human beings.
In general, all these numbers with so easy reproducible properties but so hardly understandable mutual interferences make me feel like a wandering magician — free from possession of many things (almost always) and free and protected from deadly influence of beautiful women (very often but never guaranteed).
3 Non-Taoism note on everything
I would like to express my great respect to Antony Garrett Lisi, an American theoretical physicist and his most famous paper An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything in 30 pages. Yes, we all know that this theory is not complete (what IS complete in modern physics?) but the five color illustrations of ’E8 root system’ (a polytop) which the American scientist got unifying both the standard model and general relativity — can impress by their beauty of triangles and their numerous connections which I gave up to count very soon (frankly, page 14, but my respect to author was rising to the end page).
The work contains bibliography, 22 items, and probably much more triangles yet 🙂
4 Something from Sanskrit
So, where exactly we are going to after delicious triangle meeting in ancient Taoism and modern theoretical physics? Sri Yantra (1) and (2) more difficult star polygons, Sri Sarvabhava Yantra. I do still believe and can prove (’can’ does not mean ’want’) that it is the best geometrical symbol of cosmic beauty with extraordinary simple and elegant mathematical roots. Not those roots you will meet instantly into online images surfing (totally wrong idea), but roots which are opened only by using the special rules (right but totally unrivaled) of unique algorithm and a very usual ruler from the nearest stationery shop.
Threefold and fivefold, sixfold as well patterns are in the core of geometrical design of Sri Yantra, or 14-pointed star polygons, or more difficult 18-pointed ones. The meditation begins before you put a clear, white paper on the desc, and it takes years to come to fruition, to the real draft and then a fair copy of the wonderful drawing. This art of meditation means and models the cosmogony of humanity in the heart of the adept. It is honestly can be called a process of unfolding the whole world from one dot during the very short time: sometimes minutes, sometimes hours, or days, or weeks, depending on difficulty of design and strength of spirit of a performer. Having done it once, it will last whatever it needs to be completed in itself.
One Big Note on One Big Joy
Well, reading 1600 pages took 40 days, making hand-written and pen-brushed synopsis of the most important pages (to my taste at least) took another 40 days, and putting paper synopsis into some computer apps to enjoy them everywhere on the go took another month. In sum, it is four months of reading from December 2013 till May 2014, and pleasure was always mine.
Yes, there are approximately 800 entries in the whole two volumes, but only 80 proved to be my favorite: Cosmogony, Cosmology, Biqi, Dantian, Dao, Fuqi, Ganzhi, Guan, Gui, Heqi, Hetu and Luoshu, Huainan zi, Huangdi neijing, Hun and po, Hundun, Huohou, Ishinpo, Jindan, Jingzuo, Kunlun, Lianqi, Lianxing (1st volume) and Mawandui manuscripts, Mingmen, Mingtang, Neidan, Neiye, Niwan, Nudan, Penlai, Qigong, Qixue, Rong Cheng, Sanguan, Sanyi, Shengren, Shouyi, Taiji quan, Taiji tu, Taixi, Taiyi jinhua zongzhi, Ti and Yong, Tiaoqi, Tuna, Waidan, Wu and you, Wudan shan, Wuji and Taiji, Wuwei, Wuxing, Wuzang, Xianren, Xiantian and Houtian, Xin, Xingqi, Xuanguan, Xuannu, Yangsheng, Yi, Yijing, Yin and Yang, Yuanqi, Yuanqi lun, Yunu, Zaohua, Zhan chilong, Zhang Boduan, Zhang Sanfeng, Zhenren, Zhenwu, Zhongxi, Zhoutian, Zhuangzi, Zi, Ziran, Zuowang (2nd volume), and some notes on Periodization of Chinese History and Bibliography.
Yes, there are more than 40 great contributors in this edition (by the way, I used Kindle to read and make highlights and add notes) but only nineteen are my favorites now: Isabelle ROBINET, Catherine DESPEUX, Livia KOHN, Fabrizio PREGADIO (EDITOR), Monica ESPOSITO, Christopher CULLEN, MIURA Kunio, Elisabeth HSU, Farzeen BALDRIAN-HUSSEIN, Martina DARGA, Russell KIRKLAND, Thomas E. Smith, Gil RAZ, KIM Daeyeol, Robin D.S.YATES, Vincent GOOSSAERT, SAKADE Yoshinobu, Caroline GYSS, and Theodore A. COOK.
After months of happiness of reading I have to note only two errata in two different articles–(1) GANZHI Table 7. Two end signs from the left column STEMS (11 and 12) should be placed to the right column BRANCHES, 11 and 12 correspondingly: xu and hai. (2) NIWAN In this article some words under number (7) “One inch above the Palace of the Jade Emperor” should be replaced by words “one inch above the Cavern Chamber.”
And I am definitely going to keep my inner joy with me, twit and tumblr it everywhere it can be possible to share 🙂