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Taiyi Shengshui

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Taiyi Shengshui (Chinese: 太一生水; Pinyin: Tàiyī Shēngshuǐ; literally "The Great One Gave Birth to Water") was written about 300 BC during the Warring States period.

It is a Taoist creation myth. The opening lines are:

大一生水
水反輔大一,
是以成天。[地]

天地...也,
是以成神明。

神明復相輔也,
是以成陰陽。

The Great One Birthed Water.
Water returned and assisted "Taiyi",
in this way developing heaven [and Earth?].

Heaven and earth [repeatedly mutually assisted?] too,
in this way developing the "Bright Gods".

The "Bright Gods" repeatedly mutually assisted too,
in this way developing Yin and Yang [Darkness and light].


Commentators describe Taiyi as a representation of Heaven (James Legge), an impersonal "Watery Chaos" (Kong Yingda). At least one scholar (Medhurst) interprets this as the "Supreme One", possibly Shangdi.

The Taiyi Shengshui was written on 14 bamboo strips in the Chu script. It was discovered in 1993 in Hubei, Jingmen. It is part of the Guodian Chu Slips.[1]

References

  1. Full text of the myth

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