Yin-Yang misconceptions

In the “Was the swastika an Indian symbol” article, a Natasha B. talks about the “common misperception” that the yin and yang symbol does not represent good and evil. She apparently gets her information from cartoons, as she says that evil arises from an imbalance of either force. (She also, by the way, perpetuates the common misperception that yin ends with a “g”)

Yin absolutely does represent evil (along with other forces, including passive, cold, wet, negative, and Natasha won’t like this, feminine). Yang absolutely does represent the opposites of these forces. This isn’t to say that those forces are all the same thing; feminine doesn’t equal evil, I mean.

In early Chinese religion, including Taoism, these things weren’t considered to be polar opposites. Things like good and evil are relative to time and place, not related in any way to the balance/imbalance of yin and yang, whatever that’s supposed to mean.

As references, Ms. B. might want to read up in S. A. Nigosian’s World Faiths , M. Saso’s Taoism and the Rite of Cosmic Renewal, P. Rawson and L. Legeza’s Tao: The Eastern Philosophy of Time and Change, and of course Lao Tzu’s Tao te Ching.

yin and yang proposes the interaction between the forces, simplified as male and female. male from the sky and female as the earth. good and evil are completely different concepts, by my understanding, and untranslatable in buddhism. so yeah you seem to be right.

Please help me if I’m wrong, cuz I’m focussing on tantra and not on doctrinal issues.

By casting them as “good” and “evil” you’re forcing western concepts of morality upon an idea which doesn’t include them. It would be more accurate to say they represent chaos and order. Both are necessary for our world to continue, but both need to be kept in check because an imblance in either direction can cause trouble.

Random example: A volcano grows in a sparsely populated (people and plants) area. It erupts, covering square miles with lava, rendering the area a smoking ruin. This is destructive chaos in action. Yet, as the years go by, the land becomes fertile. The lava renews the ground, and a hundred years later, the land is rich and fertile and blooming in a way it had not been in centuries, and eventually, a huge forest rests where previously there was scrub and brush. Those are the forces of order in action.

And that would be one quick example of the necessary balance between chaos and order in our world. It’s a purely western concept to attempt to cast the volcano as “evil” just because it causes damage in the short term.

The yin-yang symbol shows that the dark flows into the light, and the dot in each side shows that light is within the dark, and vice versa. The shady side of the river and the sunny side are the same river. It’s a tenet of Taoism that yin and yang exist together as parts of the whole. :frowning: :slight_smile:


I just got done reading Boyd by Robert Coram and some of what he said made no sense.

Destruction and Creation, a brief of Boyd’s, made no sense to me when I read it. I might have to rethink this.

Here is an interesting example of the yin yang of the universe. This is a Full Sky Map of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The Relative motion of the Earth across the universe causes this yin yang pattern.