The World-Conception of the Chinese: Their Astronomical, Cosmological and Physico-Philosophical Speculations

By Alfred Forke | Go to book overview

they occasionally made use of them. In the oldest work on tactics by Sun-tse, sixth century B.C., we read that the armies are fond of altitudes and dislike depths; that they appreciate the Yang and disdain the Yin(k).

In the Kuo-yü ( fifth century B.C.), during a war against Wu, Fan Li says to the King of Yüeh: "In days of yore good generals took the regular course of heaven and earth as their model, and in concert therewith executed their movements. Falling back they utilised the Yin (of obscurity), and advancing, the Yang (of light). In the vicinity they employed softness, at a distance hardness. Unless the retreat be covered by Yin, and unless in the advance Yang show the way, the sacrifice of men is of no avail"(l). The reference to softness and hardness, the two well-known attributes of Yin and Yang, seems to imply that he who is attacked in his own country has to limit himself to the defensive or inactivity, while the enemy arriving from afar exhausts his forces in useless attacks. In pursuance of this principle, the King of Yüeh did not accept battle until, after three years, the army of Wu was completely disorganised.


B. MODERN TIMES.

The Yin-yang theory was further developed and expanded during the Sung epoch; but by no means was it propounded then for the first time, as is often wrongly assumed. Its fundamental principles were long known. The Sung scholars attempted to give it a better philosophical basis, and took great pains to scrutinise the origin of the two fluids.

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-200-

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The World-Conception of the Chinese: Their Astronomical, Cosmological and Physico-Philosophical Speculations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction. v
  • Contents ix
  • Book I. the Universe 1
  • A. Ancient Times. 3
  • B. Modern Times. 101
  • Book Ii. Heaven. 131
  • B. Religious-Philosophical Viewpoint. 133
  • B. Religious-Philosophical Viewpoint. 147
  • Book Iii. Yin and Yang. 161
  • A. Ancient Times. 163
  • B. Modern Times. 200
  • Book Iv. the Five Elements. 225
  • By the Same Author. i
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