The Yin Yang School
There is a tree that I know. It is a tall tree, and has been in existence for many years. The tree was there before the building that stands next to it. When the building was built, the tree was left standing and has adapted itself around the intrusion of the building. When I look at it though, I see more than most people do. I have spent many years with this tree and know every knot on it, and every branch that it has. When I sit back and look at it from a distance, there is a perfect line that can be drawn up the trunk of the tree, and when that line is discovered, there is a perfect balance in the tree. The tree is nature, and the building is man, and though they are competing for the same space at the same time, there appears to be an understanding between the two of them. This balance that lies within this single tree is what the Chinese yin-yang symbol seems to recognize, where others may not. That there is a balance within everything and it is when this balance is understood and acknowledged that there can be harmony.
The yin yang school was developed with the idea of balance within. The aftereffects of this school is present throughout many different areas of Eastern philosophy, and its reach touches Taoism and Buddhism and its influences are present in many of the great works that rule the Eastern religions and philosophies. The most interesting part of this school is that there is very little written on it, but its influence is everywhere. The union of man and nature, and the necessity of this understanding is key in comprehending the ideas that exist in this way of thinking. There is no official founder of the school, and while Tsou Yen is often associated with the school, there is evidence of this way of thinking present in other earlier works1. The essential theory behind the yin and the yang is that there are equal and opposing forces that control the physical and metaphysical world. In locating the balance, there is enlightenment and understanding. This balance that exists within all things can provide an understanding of how the world works and mans place in it. In further accepting that there needs to be a balance between man and nature, there can be a harmonious co-existence as well.
The Yin Yang school works in correspondence with the Five Agents. The theory is that there is a natural co-existence of man and nature, and all that is a flow or harmony that exists within nature. It is an elemental theory that proposes that all "things and events are products of two elements, forces or principles: yin, which is negative, passive, weak, and destructive, and yang, which is positive, active, strong, and constructive"2. The influences of the yin yang school are vast. What is interesting though, is that despite its importance, there is very little written in it. Tsou Yen's work has been destroyed, and all that remains is a brief overview of his life in the Book of Changes. The Yin Yang...