(Minghui.org) (Continued from Part 3)
Gold and Yellow
If there is one color that is traditionally accepted across countries and cultures, it must be gold. But people nowadays often associate the color of gold with the metal gold (money). Some even reject the color “gold,” claiming that the mention of it means that people are trying to show off their wealth or fortune. In fact, a person who is not attached to wealth would not have such a bias; nor would he or she think of money when seeing the golden color. Of course, the metal gold is indeed related to wealth in our society. And there must be some reasons for the metal to maintain such a high status throughout history.
Even in primitive society or early stages of human civilization, different parts of the world happened to treat the metal gold as a precious substance. People in ancient times cherished gold out of their reverence for the divine, not obsession with wealth as in the modern society.
As to why ancient people revered the metal gold, scholars tend to agree that Egypt, one of the four ancient civilizations, which has abundant relics and historical records on gold, has the answer. Ancient Egyptians learned from their divinely inspired culture that gold was the remnant of divine beings’ bodies and thus would last forever without degeneration.
The meaning of gold in the cultivation community is different from that of modern economists or physicists. For example, the description of Buddhas and gods is often related to gold. This includes gold-coated Buddha statues since the Buddha's body is believed to be made of gold. Taoists in ancient times also talked about “gold elixir” or cultivation toward a “gold enlightened being.” These theories were consistent with understandings by the ancient Egyptians. In fact, the concept of gold related to Buddha or gods is beyond the three realms and different from the “metal” in the Five Elements (metal, wood, water, fire, and earth).
Although gold in the human world is not so pure compared to that in higher level dimensions, its divine origin makes it drastically different from that in the earthly world. As a result, gold was believed to have the power of exorcising evil since ancient times. In Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica), a classic written by renowned physician Li Shizhen in the Ming Dynasty, gold was said to have the ability to assure one’s spirit, strengthen one’s bone marrow, and expel vicious qi (energy) in internal organs. As a symbol of the higher level dimensions, gold has exceeded Five Colors mentioned in earlier parts of this series as it has the character of sacredness and nobleness. In addition, gold is remarkably stable. Its relative softness also signifies stability, eternity, and neutrality.
From the perspective of chromatics, the gold color comes from blending of various gradient colors. Instead of being a single color, gold is an impression that is based on the texture of gold. Due to its similarity to the yellow color, people often put them together and call the color “golden yellow.”
In Siming, an ancient dictionary, Liu Xi in the Han Dynasty wrote that yellow is the color of the sun. In ancient times, people believed in the divine and the yellow color. In Tongdian, an encyclopedia in the Tang Dynasty, it wrote, “the color of yellow is neutral and beautiful. It represents the virtue of the divine and is the most magnificent.” As a result, the royal palace, ancestral temple, and other imperial buildings often have yellow roofs.
The color of earth is also yellowish. The ancient dictionary Shuowen Jiezi wrote, “Yellow is the color of earth.” In Five Elements, earth corresponds to yellow. In addition, each of the Five Elements also represents a direction. That is, wood for east (green), fire for south (red), metal for west (white), water for north (black), and earth for middle (yellow).
Therefore, yellow represents the center, connecting virtue from the earth above and virtue from the earth below. It is thus viewed as the color of neutrality beyond other colors. In I Ching, it also said that it is auspicious to wear yellow clothing. As a result, emperors since Sui Dynasty were wearing this color and made it a tradition.
(To be continued)
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