The yin-yang sign has its origins in Taoism and Daoism, two Chinese religions and philosophy. The yin, or dark swirl, is connected with shadows, femininity, and a wave's trough; the yang, or light swirl, is associated with brightness, passion, and development. The interplay between these two signs represents change, which is essential to life. Their relationship is analogous to that of darkness and light, but this analogy only goes so far because it is impossible to have only one aspect of any phenomenon. Instead, we have equal amounts of both qualities in all things.
In traditional symbolism, the yin-yang sign stands for unity while dividing responsibility. This is reflected in the fact that there are eight different ways of representing this sign in Chinese painting. Although this sign is often used today as a banner by various organizations, this was not always the case. It was originally a mark made on objects involved in religious rituals to indicate that the owner of the object should not be treated with contempt after they were sacrificed. Today, it is mostly seen as a mark made on documents when more than one person is responsible for their contents.
The yin-yang sign has been adopted by many other cultures around the world. In Japan, it is used as the emblem of Taiyo-jin, which is one of the main Japanese Buddhist temples.
The Yin-Yang sign is typically associated with Taoism, although it is also used in Confucianism. It represents the same thing in both religions: the balance of conflicting forces in life. The emblem of duality is shown as a circle divided into two sides, one black and one white. Inside the circle are two more circles that represent yin and yang. In Taoism, the white side is said to be pure, while the black side is considered dirty. In Confucianism, however, the black side is said to be pure, while the white side is considered good.
Yin-yang is also associated with the Fifth Patriarch of Chinese Buddhism, Guo Zhi. He introduced this concept into China from India via his student, Master Li. Today, the Yin-yang sign is often used in business logos to represent integration and diversity.
Yin-yang is also a fundamental concept in Chinese medicine. Doctors believe that all things on earth belong to either the yin or yang category. If something is yin, it must have its opposite, which is yang. For example, cold has heat as its opposite, while wet has dry as its opposite. This belief explains why doctors prescribe medications that contain elements that counterbalance those in the patient's body. They hope that by keeping the equilibrium between yin and yang intact, health will be preserved.
The Yin-Yang sign is the most well-known Taoist symbol: a circle divided into two whirling portions, one black and one white, with a smaller circle of the opposite hue nestled within each half. This represents the dual nature of all things: their interdependence while also having an independent existence.
In addition to this, there are several other symbols used to represent the Tao. These include the hexagram (six lines drawn through space to form a figure), the Circle of the Sun (a small circular mark made with the thumb and first two fingers), and the Dragon's Teeth (two sharp objects used in conjunction with each other to make a sawlike image).
The Yin-Yang sign has many interpretations. It can be seen as cosmic balance, the dual nature of reality, or even life and death. It is said that if you know your enemy, then you know how to defeat them. The same can be said of the Tao. If you understand it, then you will know how to follow it.
Taoism is based on the belief that the universe and everything in it is driven by a force called "the Tao". It is important to remember that both Taoism and Buddhism are ancient Chinese philosophies that have been intertwined with politics and culture throughout history.
Yin represents the ground, femininity, darkness, passivity, and absorption. It appears in even numbers, in valleys and streams, and is symbolized by a tiger, the color orange, and a broken line. Yang is associated with heaven, masculinity, brightness, activity, and penetration. It appears in odd numbers, on hillsides and mountains, and is represented by a dragon, the color red, and a solid line.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), yin and yang are the two forces that drive all living things. TCM believes that we can best understand a person's health problems by looking at their energy pattern: is they too much of one force or not enough of the other? In order to keep ourselves healthy, we need to maintain a balance between yin and yang. When this energy is out of balance, disease will occur.
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are the opposite yet complementary forces that underlie all existence. The interaction of yin and yang gives rise to everything from moonlight and clouds to children and adulthood. Too much yang energy is represented by rising suns, fire, and male offspring; while too much yin energy is shown by sinking suns, wind, and female offspring. Humans are said to be dominated by yang because men are associated with strength and courage while women are seen as peaceful and yielding.