Objects depicted on the flag symbolize much of the thought and mysticism of oriental philosophy.
The circle depicted on the flag, the eum-yang (shown on left), is divided equally, and is in perfect balance. Its origin is based on the oriental philosophy of eum-yang (known in China as Yin-Yang). It was originally thought that this philosophy was developed in China by Chou Fung-i (1016-1073 AD), a metaphysical philosopher of the Sun Dynasty, who published his theory of tai-chi in 1070 AD and supposedly designed the tai-chi (Yin-Yang) symbol. However, a piece of stone with the eum-yang (Yin-Yang) symbol carved on it was discovered at the site of the Korean Buddhist temple Kam-Eun, which was built in 682 AD. This is the oldest known use of the eum-yang symbol. This discovery indicates that the symbol was in use in Korea as early as 682 AD, well before Chou Fung-i was born.
The eum-yang symbol expresses the dualism of the universe, the perfect harmony and balance among opposites, and the constant movement within the sphere of infinity. An example of dualism may be expressed in the upbringing of a child. There are two opposing methods to raise a child: praise or punishment. Praise is considered good and punishment is considered bad, but both are needed for a proper upbringing. However, too much of either may cause behavior problems with the child. There must be balance and harmony between the two extremes to ensure the child is brought up properly.
Eum (blue portion of the symbol) means dark, cold, or negative, while yang (red portion of the symbol) means bright, hot, or positive. A very old Chinese book called Choo-Yuk claims that all objects, through the movement of yin (eum) and yang, express events by their dualism. For example, the moon is eum, the sun is yang; the earth is eum, the sky is yang; night is eum, the day is yang; and the winter is eum, the summer is yang. Eum and yang are relative. Therefore, "A" can be eum with respect to "B" while being yang with respect to "C." For example, the spring is eum to the summer yang while also being yang to the winter eum. Eum and yang complement each other. Neither exists of itself alone, they must exist together. To appreciate beauty, you must have ugliness. What benefit is good (yang) if evil (eum) does not exist?
Lao Tsu (known No Ja in Korea), a famous Chinese philosopher who founded Taoism, wrote a chapter on dualism in his book Tao Te Ching. The following is a summary of the chapter:
Under heaven all may see beauty as beauty only because there is ugliness. All may know good as good only because there is evil. Therefore having and not having arise together. Difficult and easy complement each other. Long and short contrast each other. Front and back follow one another. Therefore, the sage goes about doing nothing, teaching no talking. The ten thousand things rise and fall without cease, Creating, not possessing, Working, yet not taking credit. Work is done, then forgotten, Therefore it lasts forever!
When looking at the two comma-shaped sections "ukwdrops" in the eum-yang symbol, the thicker part of a section indicates the beginning and the slender part indicates the end. The eum begins where the yang gradually vanishes and vice versa. The red section is always on the top half of the circle.
The harmonious state of the movement of eum-yang is called tae-guk in Korean (tai- chi in Chinese). In Korea, the flag itself, is called Tae-Guk (the origin of all things in the universe) or Tae-Guk-Ki ki means flag). Tae-Guk is also known as the flag of "great extremes."
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