Combining five and six

It always struck me as strange that there are twelve organs and when placed in the system of the five agents of transformation the fire element ends up with two sets of organs.

In other words there are five elements and six yin and yang pairs of organs.

I have studied this for years now and come to the conclusion that it was never the intention of the ancient Chinese to combine these two systems of thought. How have we come to accept this model of understanding? I surmise that it was born in the universities of China when they created the basic curriculum for Chinese Medicine. This made its way to the west and has been promoted as gospel ever since.

Are we supposed to combine the five elements and six climatic influences?

I do not think so.

In the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen there is no mention of the yang organs belonging to one of the five agents of transformation. I went through all eighty one chapters and could find one mention of the yang organs being associated with the five elements.

It is however mentioned in the Huang Di Nei Jing Ling Shu, In chapter 2.

In the Ling Shu chapter 2 it is written that the yin organs are united with a yang organ. Yet, this does not mean that they share the same quality of the element associated with the yin organ.

In other words just because the liver belongs to wood and the liver is united with the gall bladder does not mean that the gall bladder also belongs to wood.

The word united can mean different things. It could mean that the two organs are connected. Which is the case in the acupuncture theory of the channels. United could mean that the two organs are united in an element, but then they are still different because of their yin and yang function and qualities.

The yin and yang organs are very different in function. The yin organs are yin because they store. They store Jing, which is yang in stored form. The yin organs store just like earth. The yang organs are yang because they transport and their nature is circulatory, just like the heavens.

In the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen it is written:

On the other hand, the stomach, large and small intestine, san jiao, and bladder are formed of the heavenly yang qi. Their function, like that of the heavenly circulation of continuous flow, is to transport rather than store. They receive the turbid qi from the five yin organs. Thus, they are named the palaces of transportation.

Thus, the five yin organs store the essence or jing qi. They do not transport. The six yang organs receive the food and digest, absorb, and transport it. They are often full but still do not store.

Hans Fruehof explains the difference between five and six.

Numerology is an important aspect of ancient symbol science. As such, numbers were always used to symbolically represent a specific quality and/or dimension. While the number five is generally related to the earth element and the realm of the manifest, the number six most often signals a relationship to heavenly source energy.

Five is related to earth and to manifest things.

Six is related to the heavens and the source of our yang energies. There are many names for this heavenly yang energy. It is our connection to nature and the Dao.

The Chinese character for Yuan means source.

Yuan refers to a spring, as a spring of water that flows from behind a rock.

The Shuo Wen Jie Zi states, Yuan is the root origin of water.

The Yuan qi, has many names in Chinese Medicine. It is the basic qi, the original qi, the fundamental qi, pre-natal qi, pre-heaven qi, the ming men, the dragon fire, or the source qi.

This source connects us to the Dao, the pre-energetic state that precedes the development of form.

In Daoism it is considered the Great, it is the source of all possibilities. Water is the source.

The Nan Jing source theory is one of the most important theories in Oriental Medicine. It describes the root or core of the body, the root of all the organs and meridians as being located in the abdomen below the navel. This is considered the gravitational center of the body.

This theory states that there is an energetic center of the body. It is an energetic layer called the source. Around this layer revolves all the other layers of energetic manifestations and functions. This includes the meridians, the five yin and six yang organs, stems, branches, and phases. They are like concentric ripples of an energetic vortex. It is the source of all movement in the body and is described as a moving qi. It is most commonly known as the “moving qi between the kidneys”.

I believe that it was never the intention to combine the five elements and six climatic qi. Five is the number of the physical manifestation and transformation of changes. The number six corresponds with the heavenly yang that circulates in our universe and our body. In our body it brings life and causes transformation to occur.

Published by Paul Freedman

Herbal Nerd

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