English H, Period 2
16 December 2013
Pangu: Creator of the world
"The Creation of Heaven and Earth" is a myth that first appeared in Sanwu Liji written by Xu Zheng in the Three Kingdoms Period of ancient China and was spread from the southern ethnic minorities since then, including the Miao and Yao. The story began with the heaven and the earth existing as a whole of chaos that resembled an egg. Pangu, the creator of heaven and earth, slept for 18,000 years inside the turbid “egg” and finally woke up, surprised, in suffocated darkness and chaos. He cut through the darkness with his powerful axe until it exploded, which spitted the heaven and the earth. Pangu held the heaven up with his hands and troded his legs on the land to prevent the newly formed world from coming together again. The distance between the heaven and the earth became three meters longer everyday as his body grew three meters. Another 18,000 years passed, the heaven became further away from the thickening earth because of the giant Pangu. During this period, the heaven continued to ascend and expand while the earth sank and thickened until the distance between them was at its extreme of 90,000 kilometers apart. All these accomplishments were the hard work of the almighty Pangu, who died with a big laugh after seeing the birth of the new world. After Pangu died of exhaustion, his body turned into various things in the universe that would exist forever. Pangu split the heaven and the earth, seeded all the things in the universe, and turned the darkness into the heaven and the earth. In Chinese culture, Pangu is not only the god that created the world, a hero who broke away from the darkness and sought brightness, but also a great model who sacrificed himself for the benefit of others. The myth of Pangu separating the Earth from the Heaven portrays the Chinese culture as monotheistic. However in reality, polytheism is a ubiquitous theology among the traditional Chinese culture. Originally, Chinese ancestors created one most powerful deity and as time passed additional deities were created and a system of Gods with hierarchical ranks and jurisdiction was developed as a result. The story began with the universe “in chaos and where the Heavens and the Earth were intermingled… [and] the Yin and Yang balanced as [Pangu] grew (AncientOrgins.net).” The balance of Yin and Yang is the harmony of two opposite or extreme sides, such as the light and dark and the good and the evil. When Pangu pushed the Earth and Heaven apart, this action not only illustrates the physical separation of the world, but also the intangible division of good and evil. Chinese also believed in intangible ideas. But, sometimes intangible concepts are difficult for common people to comprehend. Therefore, they attempted to paint a human-like creature such as Pangu with realistic characteristics of humanity that allows people to think the godly figure is closely resembled a human-being, as observed in the Greek mythology where Zeus is capable of transforming into human in disguise. Pangu, although with a human flesh, possesses the power to separate good from evil, bringing the world in order. The establishment of Ying-Yang in harmony symbolizes the importance of peace and balance among the Chinese. On the other hand, the loss of this balance implies the danger, despair, and destruction. These beliefs affected the plot of the story because without the Yin and Yang, the universe inside the “egg” would remain as unbalanced in complete darkness and chaos. In the myth of Pangu separating the earth from heaven, Pangu is the main character who was in control of the process of creating the world and he also led the symbol of power from the way how he fought through the darkness, which demonstrates the idea that the Chinese culture was rotated around a fact that only the most powerful heroes could help control over the Emperor’s land. The legend of Pangu illustrates the start of an idea...
Bibliography: "Pangu and the Chinese Creation Myth." Ancient Origins. Channeldoubler, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013.
"Pangu Creates the Universe." Pangu Creates the Universe. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2013.vv
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