The legendary Emperor Fu Hsi
The legendary Emperor Fu Hsi

Tai Chi is a Taoist philosophical concept representing the origin of Heaven and Earth and all matter in the world. The character ‘Tai’(太)literally means ‘Supreme’ while ‘Chi’(極)has the literal meaning of ‘Ultimate’. Tai Chi transcends the limits of both space and time. The Taoists called it ‘Tao’(道), meaning ‘The Way’.

In the Tai Chi motif, the white half on the left side represents Yang while the black half on the right ride represents Yin. The black spot on the white half is the Yin in the Yang; white spot on the black half is the Yang in the Yin.

According to Tai Chi principles, the genesis of the Universe is to be found in the two opposite forces within Tai Chi:- Yin and Yang. They are jointly Known as Leung Yee(兩儀), or Two Basics.

A single Yin line with a single Yang Line are referred to as the Two Basics. The Yin line represents the black half of the Tai Chi motif whereas the Yang Line represents the white half.

The Two Basics interact to produce change and give rise to Sei Jeung(四象), or the Four Emblems, which are each represented by two lines. These Four Emblems are responsible for the formation of the Universe, and can be classified as Old Yin, Young Yang, Young Yin and Old Yang.

The interaction of Yin and Yang also causes the formation from the Four Emblems of eight more entities that affect the growth of plants, the birth of animals and even the evolution of the human race. These entities are known as the Pa Kua(八卦) or the Eight Trigrams and are shown below:-

The completion of the ancient Chinese text, the I Ching, was also based on the theory of Tai Chi, and the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching were derived from the Pa Kua. The process by which, in a logical sequence, the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching were derived from the Tai Chi motif is reproduced below. It is a sequence which can be continued ad infinitum. The Taoists believed that in this way all the matter in the world could be traced back to the Tai Chi motif.