Underlying Theories of Acupuncture Treatment Ⅵ Different Point of View of Taiji in Korea Vs. China

△ 2 Taiji in China(left) and 3 Taiji Korea. imageⓒAdobeStock_dule964(left), urbanbrush.net

Comparing to Chinese Taiji, Korean Taiji has More Practical Approach

By Brandon SJ Oh, L.Ac.

◁ Conceptual image of walking by conventional Taiji theory versus Korean Taiji theory which emphases concept of direction with movement. ImageⓒAdobeStock_Comauthor.

▲ 태극이론 Taiji Theories in Korea and China

Taiji, which translated as the great absolute or the entity of the cosmos, theory has been accepted widely in the Asia. The theory, in general explains how ancient Asian understood the universe. But Korean Taiji theory approaches more practical and unique ways to understand the universe and nature that surrounds and affects human beings.

Walking could be explained by the Taiji theory – moving leg is considered as Yang and standing leg is Yin. Ancient Korean thought walking was action with direction and only with two factors like Yin and Yang were not enough to explain walking without adding concept of direction so called third foot. If there was no concept of direction with moving legs, the movement would be considered as a standstill.

Again, conventional Taiji or 2 Taiji explains the universe like Korean Taiji or 3 Taiji. But 3 Taiji understands the universe as the entity with dynamics or kinetics. Just like a man moves his legs on same point is representing 2 Taiji and another man moves his legs and moves around is image of 3 Taiji.

2 Taiji explains the universe and everything on the Earth with the sky(天) and the earth(地). 3 Taiji explains the universe using the sky and the earth and the human being that connects the sky and the earth. This shows that ancient Korean’s ideal view of the world or nature is harmony of the sky and the earth with the men as a mediator. Therefore, in a diagram of 3 Taiji, there is a man located on center of the Taiji. It would be useless that if there no human.

Surly, the theory of 2 Taiji contains concept of human which is not belonged in the sky or the earth.

Meridian control acupuncture(MCA) technique is based on 3 Taiji theory. Therefore, it can be divided by parts that represents the sky, and the earth, and human. For example, head and face, 12 meridians, and joints could be divided by 3 groups that represents 3 Taiji.

I will explain MCA and its theory based on 3 Taiji theory.


▲ 삼원론(三元論)과 인체 3 Taiji and Human Body Parts

MCA believes that the human body represents whole universe.

According to chapter 67 of Su Wen (Plain Questions) in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, or Huangdi Neijing, “Yellow Emperor asked: The earth is on below, isn’t it? Qibo said the earth is under the human being, and it is in the interstellar space. Yellow Emperor asked: Is the earth supported by something? Qibo said: It is supported by the atmosphere (containing the 6 energies of wind, cold, heat, wetness, dryness, and fire) in the interstellar space.”

Also, there was a theory that sky is round shaped and the earth is square shaped and it is called ‘천원지방(天圓地方)’. Some maybe think this does not make sense but if you compare the sky to human head and the earth to body trunk, respectively it would make sense according to a theory of 3 Taiji.

The head is round shaped, and the head shares same energy as the sky. The Big Dipper located in center of the sky. And there are 7 cavities on face like the Big Dipper is consisted with 7 stars. There are 28 different bones are bonded to make a skull. In nature, there are four seasons in a year with the Big Dipper. If you 7 stars multiplies 4 seasons it would give you 28 and that is same number of bone fragments that make a skull which represent the sky. And there is another explanation that each cavity on face has its own emotions and it leads human emotions.

Meaning of the earth shaped in square is the human body trunk looks square. Likely, the earth grows crops and fruits by receiving energy from the sky the body trunk processes air and food from the face to generate energy for maintaining life. The actual earth has five major oceans and all six continents of the world. And the body has 5 Jangs(臟(장)), such as the lungs, spleen, liver, kidneys, and heart, 6 Fus(腑(부)) like the earth.

Every living creature lives in between the sky and the earth. The human being represents all living creature. Therefore, if you apply ancient Asian idea to human body it would give conclusion as the sky is compared to the head, the earth is the earth, and four extremities are human beings. The idea could be applied to another idea that it is possible to increase harmony of the sky and the earth by controlling human beings. Therefore, extremities could be used for controlling symptoms of the head and the trunk by balancing energy.

I will explain more for 3 Taiji and 12 meridians regarding MCA.




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