Some people believe that cosmology (the study of origin and develoment of the universe) is the branch of cosmogony, others believe that cosmogony (the study of origin of the universe, esp. the solar system) is the branch of cosmology, and (in a present case) I level that they both are Western point of view which was one philosophical system in ancient Cathay. Christopher Gullen wrote an Overview for this entry and for us, followers of the Encyclopedia of Taoism, is important to see his accent on two elaborate numerical concepts, Yin-Yang and Wuxing, based on numbers two and five, and the time of its origins and main source: third century BCE and a text from the tomb of Mawandui, 168 BCE (Cheng-Designations) and ‘early imperial period’ (wuxing-Five Phases, or Five Agents). Of course, next step will be paying attention to bagua (eight trigrams) and Yijing (64 hexagrams).
Usually I like how other people make accents in science, but anyway I like to spend my best hours thinking about the whole bunch of numbered ideas like it is one thing in the whole. I am not sure that idea of being butterfly imagining itself like a man, or a man imagining itself like a butterfly (Zhuangzi) is much appropriate after reading some volumes of Joseph Needham’s research achievements, but I do like imagining myself like one branch of the two of the Chinese origin: cosmology and cosmogony 🙂
The solid, smart, and more lengthy overview should look like this, again:
’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 begin the return to the one.
Some solid, salty details to the base.
The Table 1 of Yin-Yand devisions from the Cheng (Designations) text contains 22 pairs of opposites, and I have collected previously 91 pairs from additional sources, together the list has now more than 100 different pairs, and it does not mean I am smarter than encyclopedia’s authors, it means that I had much more time for gathering information and more space on my hard disc, and probably it is a kind of measuring of my love to details too.
Another example, another table, Table 25. Wuxing table in my collection has 31 rows in five divisions, in sum 155 words which need our attention and probably another grouping, or order in appearance, or better tables of representations (not that quality we have in two volumes of encyclopedia). By the way, two table, No 1 and No 25 were made in the two different techniques, and the second was terrible in execution. The best tables and explanations of waxing theory I have found earlier are located in the tome Systematische Acupuncture, German edition, authors Porkert and Hempen, 1985.
The table of bagua divisions has 16 row (undocumented origin), in sum 128 words, and many tables of Yijing illustrations, some of them are original and I have never met them before in public editions look like a treasure for the determined person. We definitely will have opportunity to bring our attention to them later.
2. Taoist notions
Isabelle Robinet underlines in her note that the Taoist travels ‘beyond the self’ in the two directions, from the Dao to the whole world and from the living world to the Dao, shun (‘continuation’) and ni (‘inversion’) movements.
In addition, I would like to cite Philip Rawson’s book (Tantra: The Indian Cult of Ecstasy, 1979, p. 14) on the time line: “This backward look into the mouth (of the monster of time) which spews out time and space is represented in the great Tantrik yantra-diagrams, especially the Shri yantra. The act of meditating on them is meant to drive the mind to take that backward look, in fact to reverse the act of Genesis, and stare straight into the continuing act of creation”.
Frankly, I do not plan to draw parallel lines in different cultures and religions (actually, I try to avoid this behavior in other people’s trials by any cost), what I am doing now is that just any normal reader will do — keep itself organized in free associations, a little bit.
The main reason I have read the Encyclopedia of Taoism and started these private notes is to figure out my own sweet way, and the simpler it will be in the end, the better it will be for finding calmness of spirit in everyday life.