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.
For beginning, let’s google images of Sri Yantra. Instantly we can get five categories: Gold, Correct Colors, 3D, Wallpaper, High Resolution, and Meaning.
In general, there are hundreds and hundreds pictures of Sri Yantra: black-and-white schemes, color drawings with pictures of gods, some schemes include words or texts, some authors place a square of defense on the place of mandala, other authors can throw away any part of traditional design, we meet white images on the black surface, a-la-Microsoft colorfulness, and so on, and so on.
The most amazing are 3D printing ‘tarts’, the gold jewelry pieces, and the bronze towers. Almost forget to include images on the parts of human body, T-shirts, and cups.
Some of the images are pretty, others are ugly, the most of them are simply wrong, and the worst thing is that digital images cannot be better than artifacts of the real life. They all bear the same clumsiness like their mirroring reflections.
I have two explanations: (1) people on this planet (researchers included) recently don’t really have access to the mathematical sources of this sacral knowledge, and (2) common people (researchers excluded, right:) want just to get any fun by any price, and they want it here and now.
We are lucky, the article is short enough and simple to be divided into the three tiny parts. (1) Introduction, Shri-Yantra and so on, male-female principles, blah-blah-blah. (2) Construction of Sri Yantra (Rus: Postroienie Shri-Yantry), and here we go: there are 4 equations of the 16th power. (3) Example of building (Rus: Primer postroeniya) with a childish internet-faceless interpretation which will lead you nowhere to waste your time (not mine).
The most sensible part in Russian wiki page is a remark of 4 equations of the 16th power. Yes, it goes from the article written by A. Kulaichev: Sriyantra and Its Mathematical Properties: Indian Journal of History of Science, 19 (3): p.279-292 (1984) and this work I have mentioned some times in biblio in my previous blogs.
If you are still interested in my general and kind opinion: mathematical methods used by A. Kulaichev didn’t exist in the time of Sri Yantra was born, the author understands it as well as we are, and what Alexander Kulaichev doesn’t understand at all (and his followers in the Russian Federation) is HOW MORE DIFFICULT STAR POLYGONS were born from the same ancient algorithm indigenous to Sri Yantra we all love so much.
Why people cannot just put a simple word ‘master’ after ‘Sri Yantra’ and google it. Yes, !@#$% computers cannot solve the mathematical mystery of Sri Yantra but they can be that as it may to google what we need, right?
Let me show you what the real mathematics is.
“An astronomer, a physicist, and a mathematician (it is said) were holidaying in Scotland. Glancing from the train window, they observed a black sheep in the middle of a field. ‘How interesting,’observed the astronomer,’all Scottish sheep are black!’ To which the physicist responded, ‘No, no! Some Scottish sheep are black!’ The mathematician gazed heavenward in supplication, and then intoned, ‘In Scotland there exists at least one field, containing at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black.’”
Mathematics exists everywhere and every second and writing on Sri Yantra preferably to be simple, short, and specific (3S–dimension), and I cannot say it about Russian wiki Sri Yantra page.
(This is a real pleasure to read this unpretentious, straightforward, and user-friendly blog of mine, isn’t it?)
I really like long Japan history, short stories of anime movies, long (too long to my taste) Japanese language textbooks and short (but never short enough) mini skirts of Japanese high school girls, small and clean houses and streets of Japanese cities, very original culture, antiquity, architecture, music, literature, flying nijia movies and solid sushi traditions, (Zen and Japanese Culture by Daisetz Suzuki above all that), and so on (just blogging:)
Somehow I feel myself (1) miserable thinking on lack of Sri Yantra entry on Japanese wikipedia branch, and (2) sorry due to my humble achievements in study of Japanese despite the presence of absolutely stunning learning materials online and all that jazz of modern computer technologies, and so on (just blogging desperately:(
Well, Japanese people don’t look like much interested in Sri Yantra study, so why should we rock the Japanese science boat? Just don’t!
The most funniest stuff is when you could probably repeat my googling ‘sri yantra+japan’ you’ll get my foolish blog page in the first lines… but remember, the brightest side you’ve already learnt is what to do: don’t read it, don’t like it, don’t follow, and don’t tell your friends what embarrassment people feel after reading Sri Yantra in Japan rock’n’blog.
However, I liked the title: sounds well (like another Haruki Murakami design).
Indian impact is a very decisive part of Chinese history but unfortunately my humble efforts to learn Chinese don’t help to get answers to the very simple questions:
Do Chinese educated people know Sri Yantra phenomenon? Do they have publications, books, scientists, mathematicians, geometry fans, or just curious people which are interested in the topic? Do Chinese dictionaries have the definitions of Sri Yantra, tantrism, tantric teachings, and historic references to the ancient or Middle Ages texts? How about universities’ staff and students? Is there anything important here to discuss I’ve missed due to my ignorance?
I have other questions in great numbers and those pages I have already seen online with keywords ‘sri yantra, china, chinese’ simply don’t look like we, scientists, do science at the turn of the last millennium (sarcasm:).
Good news, you could buy a T-shirt bearing the Sri Yantra symbol as well in China as you could do it everywhere on the planet Earth online.
God bless merchandise for Sri Yantra’s sake!
Why we respect dictionaries? Yes, they are smart and strict in definitions. Let’s google ‘sri yantra dictionary’. Wow, the result is 2,300,000. Let’s check it up, at least the three pages of search engine.
Well, from the thirty sources the three deserve to be mentioned 🙂
For example, here you can find multilingual translations, thanks for that:
The second examples gives us opportunity to get the titles of three valuable books (if you weren’t glad to get my list of ten in the previous posts 🙂 :
And, the first place goes to the mystical one:
Especially I liked that: Etymology, 1877. Simple like this. No reference to source. If you want, you can believe, if you don’t want, do not believe. Is everybody so free in the business of compiling dictionary entries?
I have a feeling, that now more questions walk the earth in my head than it was a couple of days before.
Why wise men are not happy dealing with the best of dictionaries?
Because we, smart people, are smarter than the smartest of them 🙂