From One to Eternity

One Ten Thousand.png

A horizontal stroke is the Chinese character “ONE”. It lies on the earth, the female symbol or Yin. When turned vertical, it is a man or masculine Yang. In ancient times, people tie a knot to represent ten and then the knot was flattened into a horizontal stroke to become the character “TEN”. Yin and yang together is perfect. There is a Chinese term “Ten Perfect, Ten Beautiful” meaning impeccable.

The pictogram of “Thousand” is an old man with very bent back to represent a hundred-year-old man on top of “Ten”. Thus ten centenarians would be a thousand.

One is the root for impeccable state and it evolves to thousands and then ten thousands to infinite numbers meaning all.

“All Things and I are One”
Chuang Tzu

Thousand Ancient

A horizontal and vertical “One” in Chinese character make “Ten”. A thousand is a centenarian over ten and the pictogram “ANCIENT” is made up of “ten” and “mouth” depicting stories passing through ten mouths or generations would be considered as ancient.

Su Shih is probably the best loved poet in the Chinese world past or present. His life stories are passed down through a thousand years and more than ten mouths. His poem of “ancient memories of Red Cliff” has a line lamenting how characters of millennium charm or “thousand years in ancient time of delightful wind and flowing stream”. In Chinese, “wind” and “stream” or “flow” are often used to describe men who can charm women into having affairs with them.Su Shih himself is also referred to as millennium charm

Metaphors of “Hundred”


In ancient times, there were coins of a hundred in value. The pictogram of “Hundred” was  of “One” (a horizontal stroke) over a drawing of coin.

The characters of “hundred” and “ten thousand” would be the term “million” which is a hundred multplies by ten thousand.

Ten Thousand


“The hundred joints, the nine orifices (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urinary tract and anus) and the six organs (liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidneys), they all exist in my body, which should I be closest to? Do you like them all the same? Is there a favorite one?”
Chuang Tzu

Small Minds, Big Minds

The cicada and the fledging dove laughed and said, “Once I decide to fly and I come across the elm or sandalwood, sometimes I don’t make it and fall on the ground. That’s all. Why bother to fly ninety thousand miles to the south? If we venture out into the wild, we just seek three meals and return.If you go for a hundred miles, you need to hull enough grain to stay the night. For a thousand miles, you have to gather enough grains for three months.” How can these two creatures know?
Chuang Tzu

Nine and No Fear in Original Nature


In the beginning the ancestral folks used fingers and toes to count, they felt inconvenient after counting to ten. When they counted to nine they felt difficulty was approaching, therefore the shape of the pictogram was crooked and difficult to stretch out. The number of fingers and toes were running out. This was how the pictogram came about. See the fork representing the fingers and hand.

The Chinese character of “Nine” is similar to the somewhat crooked pictogram that evolved from the fork and highly bent hook.

The famous saying of “Nine Deaths One Alive” means nine chances of death and only one chance to live. It has the connotation of numerous or near death experience. The saying of “under nine springs” also means being dead and buried. Hell is “Nine-Level-Hell” and “Beyond Nine Heavens of Clouds” means rising above and forgetting it all.

“If one can preserve his original nature and be grounded in no fear, a single brave warrior can charge into nine troops like a hero.”
Chuang Tzu.

(Artwork “Roman Soldier vs Germanic Warrior” Peter Dennis
saved by Ornella on Pinterest.)warruirs.jpg


Parable of Seven

The Chinese character of “Seven” is like “Ten” except the lower half of the vertical stroke is bent. The pictogram “Seven” is an imperfect ten with the vertical stroke crooked at the bottom.

Seven and Ten

The parable of “Seven” Openings of Chuang Tzu

Change, Drama and Obscure were the names of emperors of the South Sea, North Sea and Center Terrain respectively. Change and Drama met at the land of Obscure who treated them very well. They wanted to repay his kindness and said to each other, “Man has seven openings to see, hear, drink, eat and breathe, but he does not. Let us try to bore out the openings for him.” They bored one opening each day, Obscure died on the seventh day.

“The true man uses not man’s mind to harm the Way, nor man’s way to help the Universe.” Chuang Tzu.

“FIVE” and “Mouth” make up “I”

The Character “Five” and “Mouth” constitute “I”, it is also the first character in a number of two-character surnames and is pronounced as “Wu”, a common Chinese surname, the same pronunciation as the ancient word for “I”.

The pictogram originally was five horizontal strokes and then evolved into a cross between two horizontal strokes.

So “I” have five mouths: a mouth to eat, talk, sing, yell or console.How do you want to use your mouth? What do you want your “I” to be?

Five and I.png

More on Zen Tao of Mouth“I Only Know Contentment”.

Tao in One, Two, Three

The characters  of the numbers one, two and three. are just one, two and three horizontal strokes. one two three.

Tao One Two ThreeTAO generates ONE (origin)
ONE (origin) generates TWO (poles)

Tao comes before the ONE origin of universe which gives rise to TWO polarities of feminine(yin) and masculine(yang) or negative and positive.

Yin Yang
TWO (poles) generate THREE (capacities)

The masculine gives rise to heaven and the feminine gives rise to earth. The masculine also gives rise to man and the feminine to woman; the two together make up mankind.

THREE (capacities) generate TEN THOUSAND things.

The THREE capacities of HEAVEN, EARTH and MAN
give rise to ALL existence in the universe.

Ten Thousand.png
ALL is depicted with the pictogram of TEN THOUSAND which is the drawing of a scorpion with infinite reproduction capacity. All existence is actually the two characters of “Ten Thousand” “Things” (See the pictogram of “Thing” which is actually made up of a drawing of cow and bird.)

Peace is blending TWO polarities into ONE and balancing the THREE capacities of Heaven, Earth and Man in harmony giving rise to the infinite.
ONE,TWO,THREE ! Freeasy Peace!

Zen Tao in Language & Numbers

According to an article in Huffington Post about bilingual kids, conflict inhibition is thinking outside the rules, brain flexibility and problem-solving skills are developed in learning different languages. The ability to disregard the rules one learns in one language also applies to non-language tasks. In conflict inhibition, one has to ignore certain information.western kids learning Chinese numbers

Pictograms on numbers would be a good start to think outside of various language rules since numbers are universal. The photo above shows the Chinese characters from one to ten.(A series on Zen and Tao in pictogram numbers will be posted.)

Zen’s “Not founded in words” is not dependent or attached to words and symbols or concepts that are created by man merely to facilitate understanding.

“Language has never had any norms.For the sake of being right, there are limitations.” Chuang Tzu.

If language and conflict inhibition were indeed true, one would wonder about the Europeans or the highly educated who usually know many languages would be plagued by conflicts.