What is Chinese Metaphysics? (Part 1)
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that investigates the first principles of things, including but not limited to abstract concepts such as existence, being, knowing, space, time, cause and effect and possibilities. It comprises two branches: Cosmology and Ontology.
Chinese Philosophy originated from Cosmogony, itself is the subset of Cosmology, a science which discussed the origin of the universe. That is, all things are interconnected and constantly changing. They arise spontaneously from a source called Dao or Tao 道, meaning, "The Way".
Hence, Chinese Metaphysics relates to The Way. It is widely believed that the true essence of Dao cannot be fully expressed in words as it can only be felt and understood at a profound level much deeper than words. The Way is about the most effortless way a person experiences life. A way where one “rides” on the energy, Qi 气 moving upwards and consciously slows down or even rest when the energy 气 starts to slow down and taper off before rising again. In short, aligning oneself with the movement of the Qi. It is assumed that such actions adopted does not involve excessive effort.
However, in order to achieve this, the persons must first trust the mysterious wisdom of the Universe that it exists to guide them to attain their goals without having to go through the unnecessary strains. Then, it would just be the case of seeking help from Chinese Metaphysics Practitioners to understand when to take action and when not to. If you are aware and is able to understand the flow of energies around you, then you would know the best timings for your actions as well as inactions; thus, allowing you to make better informed decisions.
The ancient Chinese Sages and Philosophers believed that Nature exhibits consistent patterns that can be observed and followed, in particular patterns of cycles, seasons, interaction between the planets within the solar system and other constellations: the Northern Dipper and even the earth’s polar forces such as Yin 阴 and Yang 阳. These observations were recorded and refined in the Yi Jing or I-Ching 易经 (Classics of Changes or Book of Changes). It sought to put forth the wisdom of understanding the interconnectedness of everything around us, the one Universal energy / Life Force / Qi expressed in all forms.
The Five Arts 五术 is a part of the Chinese Metaphysics studies 玄学 which based its origins from Yi Jing or I-Ching 易经. These are complex tools that can allow us to understand ourselves better and subsequently help us make better decisions in life. However, not everyone can master all of them. Therefore, practitioners of Chinese Metaphysics mostly choose a couple of areas to hone their skills in. These five areas are the Mountain Arts 山, the Medicinal Arts 医, the Art of Divination 卜, the Art of Destiny Analysis 命 and the Art of Physiognomy 相. They are further broken down into various schools of studies.
These five areas will be elaborated in the next post.