Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Yin and yang are the two complementary universal principles in Eastern metaphysics. Yin is the feminine, dark, passive aspect, while yang is the masculine, light, active aspect. However, yin and yang are not true opposites, but rather interdependent principles that complement, define, and give rise to one another. All beings, male and female, contain both yin and yang in varying proportions. An imbalance of yin and yang is thought to lead to misfortune, including ill health, and balancing the principles is the aim of Chinese medicine, tai chi, feng shui, and other traditional practices. The idea of yin-yang is central to several schools of Eastern philosophy and cosmology. Though often associated with Taoism, the concept is older, originating in prehistoric times. Yin and yang are explicated in the ancient Chinese classics, the / Ching (Book of Changes), thought to date from the second or third millennium BC, and the Tao ...