The Yellow Emperor Unifies the Country

PureInsight | October 13, 2008

[] The Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) is a legendary Chinese sovereign and cultural hero who is considered in Chinese mythology to be the ancestor of all Han Chinese.

It is believed that the Yellow Emperor was extraordinary since a young age. He was intelligent and obtained supreme achievements throughout his life. For thousands of years, Chinese people considered the Yellow Emperor the role model of all great emperors.

The Yellow Emperor came from a tribe called Shao Dian. His surname was Gong-Sun, and given name was Xuan Yuan. He was born with a unique temperament. Not long after his birth, he was able to talk. When he was a child, he was very intelligent. He was honest and diligent when he was growing up. As an adult, he was very knowledgeable and had a superb ability to discern right from wrong.

During the Yan Emperors reign, the descendants of Shennong Shi became weak, and many tribes were fighting with each other and many people died. The Shennong Shi tribe was incapable of pacifying the conflict, so Xuan Yuan made plans to conquer those tribes that failed to come to pay tribute. Soon, all the small tribes were on his side except Chiyou’s tribe, which was the fiercest tribe that no one dared to confront. The Yan Emperor wanted to conquer those small tribes, but he knew they all listened to Xuan Yuan. Once Xuan Yun learned of the Yan Emperor’s plans, he started to cultivate his virtue, studied the changes of the four seasons, taught people how to grow the five grains, pacified his people, surveyed his territory, and prepared his army. He also tamed many ferocious animals, like tigers and bears.

When Xuan Yuan fought with the Yan Emperor on the battlefield of Ban Quan and defeated him, Chiyou became rebellious and disobeyed Xuan Yuan. So, Xuan Yuan mobilized armies from small tribes and fought Chiyou at Zhuo Lu. Chiyou was captured alive and put to death. The feudal lords then respected Xuan Yuan and made him their emperor in place of Shennong Shi.

Xuan Yan was blessed with the good omen of fertile soil when he was crowned as emperor. Since the color of the soil was yellow, he was given the name “Yellow Emperor.” Anywhere there was a rebellion, he would lead his soldiers to fight. Once it was calm and peaceful again in that area, he lead his soldiers home.

The Yellow Emperor never had a permanent place to reside and did not live in comfort. During his time, when he went out to do battle, he also built many roads in the mountains. He had been to the East Sea and climbed Wan Mountain and Tai Mountain; to the west, he had been to the Da Kong Tong area and climbed Ji Tou Mountain; to the south, he went to the Yangtze River and climbed Xiong and Xiang Mountians; to the north, he dispelled rebellion by the Hun Zhou Tribe and signed a treaty with small tribes at Fu Mountain, establishing a county at the foot of Zhou Lu Mountain.

When the Yellow Emperor led his army on an expedition, he stayed in the military camp and the soldiers protected him. He named all his official positions beginning with the word “cloud.” For example, his army was called the “Cloud Division.” He also set up a monitoring system to supervise all small tribes. Thus, peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere. There were more documentations of him going to famous mountains and rivers to worship gods during his reign than any other emperors.

The gods gave the Yellow Emperor a precious tripod and herb for fortune telling in order to create a calendar to forecast seasons and climate changes. He appointed Feng Hou, Li Mu, Chang Xian, and Da Hong as his close advisers to help him manage important affairs. He followed the will of Heaven and Earth and understood the changes of yin and yang, which enabled him to set up precepts for healthy living and dying and explaining the survival of a dynasty. He planted various plants in different seasons, and he also domesticated wild animals and birds and used silkworms for silk production. He observed the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, and the properties of water, soil, rock, and metal so that these materials could be properly utilized by men. He applied knew ideas diligently and rationally, and observed and listened carefully.

The above story described the Yellow Emperor’s virtue, his killing the renegade tribal leader Chiyou, defeating the Yan Emperor, and establishing the Chinese civilization. He followed the rules of nature and principles of Heaven. He established the Chinese calendar and the means by which men could prosper by taming the wild animals, managing floods, opening up fertile farmland, and growing the five grains. He used natural resources with rationally, explained the nature of living and dying, and the difficulty of surviving. In all his planning, he always considered the benefits of his people.
Meanwhile, he respected the spirits, mountains, and rivers, and taught people to respect Heaven and divine beings.

Although this is a legend from an ancient time, unearthed relics and historic records have shown that it could be true. These records can provide us with some clues and information to help us gain an understanding of the roots of ancient Chinese society.

The 5,000 years of Chinese culture that was passed down from divine beings all started from this one legend. The unification of the two tribes of the Yan Emperor and the Yellow Emperor formed the Huaxia race. Because both emperors are considered as the ancestors of the Huaxia race, Chinese people also call themselves the “Descendants of Yan and Huang (Yellow).” After these ancestors settled along the Yellow River, they started the creation of the splendid Chinese culture.

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