Taijitu is a symbol representing the religious and philosophical tradition of Taoism (also called Daoism). The term means a ‘diagram of the supreme ultimate,’ and it refers to the famous Chinese concept of yin and yang, of opposites existing in complete harmony.

The Taijitu symbol consists of two (one black and one white) swirling ‘teardrop’ shapes that fit within each other to form a perfect circle. Each figure contains a part of the other so that there is a black dot in the white half of the circle and a white dot in the black portion. These seemingly opposing, but complementary halves make a whole and thus, are incomplete without each other.

The dark or shady side represents Yin, and the white or sunny side represents Yang. Yin is associated with femininity, earth, water, moon and nighttime and is considered passive, cold, soft, yielding and wet. Meanwhile, Yang is associated with masculinity, sin, fire, sky, and daytime and is considered aggressive, hot, hard and dry. The white symbolizes delusion and black represents enlightenment.

 

Taijitu

 

The idea conveyed by the Taijitu symbol is that everything exists in duality, which is the foundational aspect of nature. The concept of good cannot be there without the corresponding concept of bad. Men and women, right and wrong, light and darkness, positive and negative, hot and cold, day and night, and all the other contrasting elements are inter-dependent and cannot exist in isolation.

In a way, the swirling motion suggested by the Taijitu symbol also describes the divine circle of life. The world changes constantly and moves forward in distinct cycles, where the day turns into night and the night leads on to another day, every birth ends in death and death leads to rebirth.

 

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