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Five Elements – Cycle of Generation and Destruction


The Five Elements of Chinese philosophy i.e. wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are used across various important sciences like acupressure, martial art, feng shui and more. The philosophy describes fundamental elements of the universe and the interactions between these elements. It is important to understand these elements and their cycle of generation & destruction.

Five Elements – Cycle of Generation and Destruction
These elements are mutually related to each other through two kinds of relationships.

1. Generating process: The bold gray clockwise moving arrows around the circumference denotes the generating process, which promotes development and support. Water is the producer/mother of wood. While wood is the mother of fire. Fire is the mother of Earth and earth is the mother of metal. Metal is the mother of water. This process is cyclic in nature and leads to each other through the generating process.
2. Controlling process (Destruction): The criss-cross (diagonal) arrows show the controlling process. The control process works on the relationship of restraining (destruction) which is essential to harmonize the system and a balance is maintained. Like Wood conquers earth, earth conquers water, water conquers fire, fire conquers metal, and metal conquers wood.

Chinese elements make use of the spiritual five universal elements to form a set of five elements which is material based. The five elements (Panch Mahabhuta) of ancient Indian philosophy i.e. Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether which is also followed by Japanese and Greek ancient culture holds more spiritual meaning and significance. Indian Vedic knowledge also gets deep to define the quality (tattva), direction. property, color, share, sound, mantra, deity and so on.

The Chinese five elements form the basis of Feng Shui, which has the basis of improving the energy of a place by placing physical products like wind chimes, tortoise, fountains, aquarium etc. While the Indian classic five elements form the basis of Vastu Shastra, which is more subtle energy based and considered much before the time of construction of any building. The Indian classical Vastu Shastra defines the rules for construction starting from selecting a land to its finish. Classical Vastu does not talk about the remedial measures but with the due course and transformation of house type from a villa to an apartment, the remedial Vastu has found its place and usage.

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