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Taegeuk Meaning

Translated from their Chinese characters, Tae means greatness, and geuk eternity.  Taegeuk is a symbol representing the principles of the cosmos, creation, and the norms of human life.  The circumference of the Taegeuk mark symbolises infinity, and the two parts – red and blue, inside the circle, symbolise yin (negative) and yang (positive).  Therefore, Taegeuk is the light which is the unified core of the cosmos and human life, and its boundlessness signifies energy and the source of life.  The yin and yang represent the development of the cosmos and human life, and the oneness of the symmetrical halves, such as negative and positive, and hardness and softness.  Without form, without a beginning, and without an end, Taegeuk represents the essence of all that is.

 

Eight basic Eastern principles (kwae) are developed in Taegeuk.  These are represented by the eight symbols outside the circle, and are arranged in an ordered system that also correlates with the cardinal and inter-cardinal directions.  One bar means yang and two bars the yin, both representing the creation of harmony with the basic principles of the cosmos phenomena.  In ancient times, these symbols were a sign of power, and to this day four of them are found on the South Korean flag.  The Taegeuk, infinity, and yin-yang are the three elements constituting a philosophical trinity.

Old Taegeuk Symbol

Old Taegeuk Symbol

 

Today's Taegeuk Symbol

Today's Taegeuk Symbol

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