The Generating and Control cycle of the Five Elements



·        water gives life to wood by allowing the seed to germinate;
·        wood can be used as fuel to create fire;
·        fire creates ash that can fertilize the soil;
·        earth, when condensed, becomes stone (metal);
·        Stones/ Metal form the bed of a river and allow water to pass over them.

This cycle can be interpreted in many ways, for example, as the lifetime of a human, a day, a year, and so on. Another way of looking at the five elements, however, is in terms of a controlling or destructive cycle, as follows:


wood covers earth;
earth displaces water;
water puts out fire;
fire melts metal;
Metal cuts wood.•

The two cycles can be combined to show the complete movements of the elements. An important implication here is that no element works in isolation, and that they are all dependent on one another to some extent.


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