‘The Dao brings forth One, One brings forth Two, Two brings forth Three, Three brings forth the ten thousand things….’
These well known lines from Laozi’s Daodejing illustrate the central and essential role of numbers within classical Chinese thinking.
Numbers are used to signify the processes of life and the order of the world. They reveal a sequential unfolding, while maintaining a connection to the One, the Unity, which sustains and contains all.
Elisabeth Rochat’s The Symbolism of Numbers clarifies and illuminates the frequent referral to numerology in the classical texts, and provides a framework within which to better understand the great foundational concepts of Chinese thought. An appreciation of the symbolism of numbers, which infers quality more than quantity, gives us a deeper insight into Chinese medicine, Daoism, the Book of Changes and other formative texts.
This introduction to numbers is an excellent handbook, guiding us through the rich complexity of Chinese numerology.