The Essence of Chinese Medicine: Wuxing (Die Fünf Elemente der Chinesischen Medizin)Spring and Autumn Institute
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The theory known as yin yang and the five elements (yin yang wu xing) was elaborated in China during the Warring States period (453-222 BC) and the Former Han dynasty (206 BC – 8 AD). It became a general system of correlation to understand any manifestation of life inside the cosmos.
Through reading of chosen classical texts and explanation of important Chinese characters, the lecture offers a view on this key aspect of Chinese philosophy and medicine, the wuxing, translated as five elements, five movements, five phases or five agents.
The first part of the seminar explores the origins and development of the wuxing from philosophical and other texts. These include the Shujing, the Chunqiu Zhuozhuan, Huainanzi, Shiji, and Baihutong. We will see how from the original meaning of natural elements (raw materials) the wuxing evolve into a way to classify all beings, phenomena and things in the universe. This classification allows to recognize the basic movement of qi at work in anything and to know its interaction with everything else.
The second part of the seminar explores the use and meaning of the Five Elements in the primary texts of Chinese medicine, mainly in the Huangdi Neijing and the Nan Jing. We will study the role of the wuxing in the construction of time cycles and in the institution of models for the interaction of the organic functions. We will see how the activities of the five zang organs in physiology, psychology, and pathology of a human being are the expression of the qi of the five elements.