Wikia

Psychology Wiki

Five elements (Chinese philosophy)

Talk0
34,142pages on
this wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

World Psychology: Psychology by Country · Psychology of Displaced Persons


Classical Elements

Greek

  Air  
Water Aether Fire
  Earth  

.


Bön

  Air  
Water Space Fire
  Earth  

.


Hinduism (Tattva) and
Buddhism (Mahābhūta)

Prithvi / BhumiEarth
Ap / JalaWater
Vayu / PavanAir / Wind
Agni / TejasFire
AkashaAether


Japanese (Godai)

Earth (地)
Water (水)
Air / Wind (風)
Fire (火)
Void / Sky / Heaven (空)


Chinese (Wu Xing)

  Water (水)  
Metal (金) Earth (土) Wood (木)
  Fire (火)  

.


Modern

  Gas  
Liquid Informatics Plasma
  Solid  

.


Neo-paganism

Earth
Water
Wind
Fire
Life Force / Electricity
Light
Dark

In traditional Chinese philosophy, natural phenomena can be classified into the Five Elements (Template:Zh-c; pinyin: wǔxíng

): wood, fire, earth, metal, and water (木, 火, 土, 金, 水; mù, huǒ, tǔ, jīn, shǔi). These elements were used for describing interactions and relationships between phenomena. Five phases is the more appropriate way of translating wǔxíng — literally, "five goings". Traditional Taijiquan schools relate them to footwork and refer to them as five "steps".

The doctrine of five phases describes both a generating (生, shēng) cycle and an overcoming or restraining (克, ) cycle of interactions between the phases. In the generating cycle, wood generates fire; fire generates earth (ash); earth generates metal; metal generates water (if metal is left out at night water will have condensed on it by morning); water generates wood. In the overcoming cycle, wood grows in earth; earth absorbs water; water quenches fire; fire melts metal; metal cuts wood.
Interactions of Five Chinese Elements
The doctrine of five phases was employed in many fields of early Chinese philosophy, including seemingly disparate fields such as music, traditional Chinese medicine, and military strategy.

Correlations between the five elements and other categories Edit

The Yuèlìng chapter (月令篇) of the Lǐjì (禮記) and the Huáinánzǐ (淮南子) make the following correlations:

Element Direction Color Musical Note
Wood east green or blue jué 角 (mi)
Fire south red zhǐ 徵 (so)
Earth center yellow gōng 宮 (do)
Metal west white shāng 商 (re)
Water north black 羽 (la)

(see also pentatonic scale)

(note: The Chinese word 青 includes the range in the spectrum from green to blue, with shades down to black.)

Some other correspondences are shown below:

Element Heavenly creature Season Direction Planet Tastes Sense Viscera (yin) Viscera (yang) Finger
Wood Azure Dragon
青龍
Spring east Jupiter sour sight liver gall bladder ring finger
Fire Vermilion Bird
朱雀
Summer south Mars bitter sound heart small intestine middle finger
Earth Yellow Dragon/Qilin
黃麟
Change of seasons
(four times a year)
center Saturn sweet smell spleen/pancreas stomach index finger
Metal White Tiger
白虎
Autumn west Venus spicy taste lung large intestine thumb
Water Black Tortoise
玄武
Winter north Mercury salty touch kidney urinary bladder little finger

The elements have also been correlated to the eight trigrams of the I Ching:

Element I Ching Trigrams
Wood Wind, thunder :|| (☴ 巽 xùn) |:: (☳ 震 zhèn)
Fire Fire |:| (☲ 離 )
Earth Earth, mountain ::: (☷ 坤 kūn) ::| (☶ 艮 gèn)
Metal Sky, lake ||| (☰ 乾 qián) ||: (☱ 兌 duì)
Water Water :|: (☵ 坎 kǎn)

The Five Elements appear in the movie "The Mystery of Chess Boxing", where the Ghostface Killer (later a member of the wu-tang clan) uses the a kung-fu style called the five-elements. A chessmaster learns the style, so that he can use the correct element to defeat whatever element the Ghostface Killer is using. It has memorable quotes such as "Five Elements! and first the gold!" "Fire melts gold, earth absorbs water" and last but not least, "I don't think your wood can overcome anything!".

See also Edit

References Edit

  • Feng Youlan (Yu-lan Fung), A History of Chinese Philosophy, volume 2, p. 13
  • Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, volume 2, pp. 262-23

External links Edit

es:Cinco Elementos fr:Cinq éléments (Chine) he:חמשת האלמנטיםpt:Cinco elementos (filosofia chinesa) sv:Fem elementen vi:Ngũ hành zh:五行

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki