There is a common mistake for everyone who comes across Taoism and tries to understand the “Yin Yang” theory. Even worse, those who know nothing start “teaching” people and spreading faster than anyone who knows. Therefore, the theory became misleading while “seems“ right. This article should blow your mind, stay tuned and read on.
From Wiki, ”Yin and yang (/jɪn/ and /jæŋ/) is a Chinese philosophical concept that describes opposite but interconnected forces. In Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy, organized into the cycles of yin and yang and formed into objects and lives. Yin is the receptive and yang the active principle, seen in all forms of change and difference such as the annual cycle (winter and summer), the landscape (north-facing shade and south-facing brightness), sexual coupling (female and male), the formation of both men and women as characters and sociopolitical history (disorder and order).…”
It sounds completely normal and “right,” but why do Taoists emphasize this SO MUCH to the point that it has become the main concept that Taoists use? What is so special about it, “for the Taoist”?
Here is the version that I would use to teach my disciples. Please remember that it is for teaching my disciples, not for any ordinary person who is not a Taoist in our lineage.
“Yin and Yang, or Yum陰 and Yeung陽 in Cantonese, is resembled by two colours, black and white, representing two parties who play opposite roles. White has all the colours and is a complete form of light, which is why it ONLY outputs, while black, the opposite, have nothing and so it ONLY intakes from the white, which is the light source. Being a Taoist, you will first need to be the black party because the Tao is the white party. The Tao has everything and provides the Taoists with everything the Taoists need. This sets the mindset of a Taoist to understand that they must first be emptied, humble and completely wiped out to be the “black” party. After the Taoists have gotten the light from the Tao, they must be the “white” to give back to the Tao and provide what the Tao needs, while the Tao will play the black role to receive what is given from the disciple. For example, you have learned from your master, and then you give back by showing your master your appreciation, giving feedback such as asking questions or demonstrating what you have learned. When the master sees your feedback, he will know what to give you next. We follow the cycle of Yin and Yang, which is why we always emphasize taking from the Tao and giving back to the Tao afterward.”
Taoists use Yin and Yang as the main concept for how they should learn, and it emphasizes “getting from the source,” and it is not just a theory that you can put into “anything.” Yes, you can use Yin and Yang to categorize things, there is nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t do anything because you have not yet set the yin and yang to ONE subject.
For example, one would think that they have too much “Yin” energy, so they need more “Yang” to “balance” their system. Then this person went to find some “Yang” stuff to intake or even “inhale”…! That is not how you use this Yin and Yang theory!
The right way to use it for non-Taoist things can be like this. First, we have to set a subject or “case.” Let’s discuss your meeting with the boss for a salary raise. The yang party is the party that can output and provide, which will be the boss. The yin party is the party that takes, which is you. Now that we know who is white and black, we can analyze the talk and see how to act for the best result. Since you are the Yin party, you should be humble, accepting, and trying your best to listen. The boss should be the one who talks more because he is the white party. If you start talking and overpowering him, then your chance of a salary raise will be smaller.
Yin and Yang can also teach you the “order” and how to respect people with the right mindset. For example, you must take and receive if you know that your parents are the providing and giving party. If the parents give you things and you keep rejecting them, it will break the cycle and eventually, your parents’ love will stop flowing.
However, these examples that are not related to Taoism are unimportant because that is not why we must have this theory in Taoism.
In Taoism, we have Taoist magic, and this theory is one of the most important things to understand. Whenever we do magic, we need to know that we are like a medium, and we channel a “source” of power to another receiving party. It’s as if we are hooking up a cable between two things and letting the power flow from one to another. This is magic. Which is the source of power? It could be from the god you cultivated inside your body, the god at the altar, the god in the celestial court, etc. Once we have defined the power source, we can point them to the destination that receives and holds onto the power. For example, we sanctify the FU at the altar, which brings the power from the altar (source) to the FU paper. However, if your FU is not “yin,” for example, it already has some other powers, then your magic will fail because the cup is not empty, and therefore it will not be able to receive. Just like a disciple who fails to empty their cup and be humble, the master will not be able to teach.
Yin and Yang teach the disciple how to learn, especially how to talk to their master. Learn to learn; empty your cup, listen and observe, receive and humbly accept everything the master teaches and gives you. Never forget that you should give feedback and show appreciation after you have done the “yin” part. Do not talk back and BOUNCE your master away while he is teaching and talking. Learn to be a Yin while you are supposed to listen and accept. Don’t be a disciple who only accepts with the mouth but not the heart!
After this lesson, Yin and Yang matter a lot more to you (as a Taoist); it has a direct impact on your Taoism learning! Surprisingly, there are a LOT of people who don’t even have this right mindset when they come in here to learn, way too much “Yang,” and so they all fail in a short period of time since the Yin and Yang are wrong.
Yin and Yang are not about “harmonizing” but more about knowing your role, playing your role and making sure you know the Yin and Yang cycle so you won’t be a Yin forever. Like I say, never be a quiet mouse type of disciple who listens, watches, and reads. You must talk when you are supposed to, give feedback, ask questions and show what you have learned, or else the master is like teaching a brick wall, which means that the master will also be demotivated to teach because of the “yin” energy in you that puts you into a quiet mouse mode. Don’t just hide and listen; be Yang when it is your turn.
Learn for real today, get ordained and start learning for real. Don’t believe in those books that tell you how you can “self-taught” Taoism; it’s bringing you nowhere. Come in, and you will see how much you have missed out on!