ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (A PRIVATE NOTE ON PRIVATE LIFE OF PANG GU): Yuánqì lùn 元氣論 Treatise on Original Pneuma

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“The Yuanqi lun is an important source for Taoist views of cosmogony and cosmology…. Citations from the Sancen ge (Song of the Three Summits), a work attributed to Luo Gongyuan (fl. 712-13), show that it dates from the latter part of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).”—Sakade Yoshinobu

“At first, pneuma is not yet differentiated and exists in the shape of an egg; this is called Great Oneness (tàiyī). Then it begins to separate: the clearer pneuma rises to become Heaven and the grosser pneuma descends to become the Earth. The “central harmony” (zhōnghé 中和) between them is humankind.”—Sakade Yoshinobu

“The first human being is Páng Gŭ 盤古. At his death, the various parts of his body become the Sun, the Moon, and the stars in heaven, and the mountains, the rivers, and the plants on earth.”—Sakade Yoshinobu

In this encyclopedic entry Sakade Yoshinobu describes the ancient text in details; I got only three quotes here, and the last one tells us Páng Gŭ 盤古 story. Cant help myself to call to mind the Indian sacral story of Tantric origin with a female heroine this time.

“According to popular legend, tantric sacred places (pīṭhasthānas), came into existence when Śiva carried away the dead body of his consort Satī, or Pārvatī, which have been dismembered by Vishṇu into fifty-one parts that fell on different places all over the country. These became tantric pilgrim centers.”—Ajit Mookerjee, Madhu Khanna in The Tantric Way: Art Science Ritual, 2003

Was it question of taste only in creating legends process of old times?

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (FOR THOSE WHO MISSED COSMOLOGY AND COSMOGONY MIST): Yuánqì 元氣 Original Pneuma, Original Breath

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The life is truly complicated stuff: small people meet big problems from private to economical and from political to ecological and about half of their trouble small people shouldn’t think at all; big people meet small problems which later will bring them the huge headache for a couple of hours while one crisis happily turns—gradually or instantly, whatever—into another.

The Chinese philosophy is neither complicated nor simple, it is compact, or better to say, combinatorially compact (from German Kombinatorik). Let’s take just one quotation on yuan qi from the article of the Encyclopedia of Taoism.

“Yuánqì 元氣 is the pneuma of the Xiāntiān 先天 (“prior to Heaven”) ontologic and cosmogonic stage. Through the stages of the generation of the cosmos, Original Pneuma transforms itself into cosmic pneuma (qì 氣), a process that is equivalent to the generation of Oneness (yī 一) from the Dao. Oneness then divides itself into Yin and Yang, with the lighter parts of pneuma ascending to become Heaven, and the grosser ones descending to become the Earth, thereby marking the shift to the state known as Hòutiān 後天 (“subsequent to Heaven”). Yin and Yang, or Heaven and Earth, finally give birth to the “ten thousand things” (wànwù 萬物).”
Fabrizio Pregadio
When I said Kombinatorik I meant English ‘combinatorics’ and I Ching in our case. Simple enough, complicated in balance, compact and elegant and all in the same time.