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Reveals The Secret of Oriental Philosophy in 2,500 Years
Zhong Yong(中庸) through the Oracle bone script (甲骨文)and Bronze inscriptions (金文) 1
Similar to the [Great Learning (大學)], the [Zhong Yong] was originally a chapter of the [Book of Rites (禮記)], specifically included in the 31st section. Among the total 49 sections of the [Book of Rites], the 42nd section, [Great Learning], elucidates the meaning of offering sacrifices to Heaven (天) and thus to the gods. In modern interpretation, it explains the meaning of worship. Zhong Yong was first described in the 31st section, while the [Great Learning] was later described in the 41st section.
Zhong Yong (中庸)
The quintessence of Eastern philosophy lies in the concept of Zhong Yong (中庸),
which can be succinctly expressed as " sincere " (誠). Perhaps that's why there is no passage as enigmatic as Zhong Yong.
Confucius' grandson(子思, In 483~ 402 B.C.) spent his whole life organizing the words of his grandfather(孔子,In 551–479 BC) and Zhong Yong(中庸) he wrote was handed down to his disciple, Mencius(孟子, In 372~ 289 BC). This Zhong Yong(中庸) has been interpreted by numerous scholars over the past two thousand years and has continued the greatest vein of Eastern philosophy so far beyond the roots of national governance philosophy. However, why has the interpretation of Zhong Yong(中庸) not gone beyond the abstract meaning for the next millennium?
After the destruction of the Shang Dynasty, the newly constructed Zhou Dynasty began to dig up characters related to ancestral rites among the letters used in the Shang Dynasty or distort the meaning. Shang (商. 1600 BC – 1046 BC) was the first dynasty in Chinese history. It is also called the Eun Dynasty because the last capital(盤庚)was Eun.
Center(中) of the Oracle bone script (甲骨文)
Center(中) of Bronze inscriptions (金文)
The term 'middle' (中) is interpreted as the center, but originally, its meaning refers to the place where the deity (神) descends and dwells.
'Zhong' is circularly shaped, forming a group within a circle, with a long branch hung with a flag. It is the circular form of a flag. In essence, it signifies the place where the deity descends. Duan Ok-jae (段玉裁 1735 ~ 1815) also stated, "The character '中' seen in the Oracle bone script is like the shape of a flag fluttering."
Even now, in Korea, it represents a shamanic house, with various flags hung on long poles of various colors and shapes. These flags are easily visible from a distance. The meaning of flags is also the same in war. In battle, the flag stands at the forefront, symbolizing that the deity leads the war. Therefore, an army that loses its flag in battle cannot create a new one until it reclaims the lost deity. A defeated army that has lost its flag remains without a flag until it retrieves it.
The meaning of 'Zhong' is accurately reflected in examining the ancient character for 'yong' (庸). Since ancient characters should be interpreted from a deity-centered perspective rather than a human-centered one, interpreting this 'yong' (庸) as related to a deity is correct.
Both the character for 'use' (用) and the character for 'upright' (庸) used in [Zhong Yong] are interpreted as 'use.' Let's first look the用 of the Oracle bone script (甲骨文)and Bronze inscriptions (金文)
用 of Bronze inscriptions (金文)
Bronze inscriptions用’provides clarity to the meaning when compared to the ambiguity seen in the Oracle bone script of '用,' which is used in the context of the meaning "用."
The image of a rooster, which represented a leader, is clearly depicted in Bronze inscriptions用'. The character for 'use' depicts something worn on the head, symbolizing a leader. In the Korean language, the word '쓰다' (to use) is used not only to mean "to use" but also in phrases like '모자를쓰다' (to wear a hat) or '왕관을쓰다' (to wear a crown).
Among the ten gold crowns excavated worldwide, eight have been unearthed in Korea. If the characteristics of these Korean gold crowns resemble the character for '用,' is it mere speculation?
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