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The adaptation of the Chinese calendar is accredited to the Emperor Hunag Di in the year 2637 B.C. which is follows the cycles of the moon – lunar cycle.
Using this system it give rise to the Chinese Zodiac to have the sign of twelve animals. The definite date is not certain, but it is known that it appeared during Zhan Guo period that is in the 5th century B.C.
This was officially used during the Han Dynasty that us between 204 B.C to 9 A.D. to avoid being impolite to enquire a person’s age it is used to determine a person’s birth year.

This is done after careful observation of human behavior, it was found that human behavior can be group into twelve’s distinct group and the character is found to be similar to the twelve animals therefore was matched up to the twelve year cycle. – The rat, the ox, the tiger, the rabbit, the dragon, the snake, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster.
The characteristics and traits of these animals are said to influence the personality and fate of everything and everyone born in that year.
 This was officially used during the Han Dynasty between 204 B.C to 9 A.D. It is used to determine a person’s birth year, for it is impolite to enquire a person’s age.
The Order of the Animals
One of the most widespread legends about Chinese zodiac. The Jade Emperor (The Emperor in Heaven) ordered that animals would be designated as calendar signs and the twelve that arrived first would be selected.
At that time, the cat and the rat were good friends and neighbors. When they heard of this news, the cat said to the rat: 'We should arrive early to sign up, but I usually get up late.' The rat then promised to awaken his friend and go together. However, on the morning when he got up, he was too excited to recall his promise, and went directly to the gathering place. On the way, he encountered the tiger, ox, horse, and other animals that ran much faster. In order not to fall behind them, he thought up a good idea. He made the straightforward ox carry him on condition that he sang for the ox. At last, the ox and him arrived first. The ox was happy thinking that he would be the first sign of the years, but the rat had already slid in front, and became the first lucky animal of the Chinese zodiac. Meanwhile his neighbor the cat was too late so when it finally arrived, the selection was over. That's why other animals appear behind the little rat and why the cat hates the rat so much that every time they meet, the cat will chase and kill it.
Another is “ Long ago, in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. On his birthday he told the animals that there was to be a swimming race. The first twelve animals across the fast flowing river would be the winners and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them.
All the animals lined up along the riverbank. The rat and the cat, they were good friends, were worried because they were poor swimmers. Being clever they asked the strong ox if he would carry them across the river.
'Of course' said the kind ox. 'Just climb on my back and I will take you across.'
The rat and the cat quickly jumped up and were very excited when the ox soon took the lead in the race. They had almost reached the other bank when the rat pushed the cat into the river leaving him to struggle in the water. Then just before the ox was about to win the race the rat leapt on his head and on to the bank to finish first.
'Well done,' said the Jade Emperor to the proud rat. 'The first year of the zodiac will be named after you.'
The poor ox had been tricked into second place and the second year of the zodiac was named after him.
Shortly after the exhausted tiger clawed his way to the riverbank to claim third place. Swimming across the river had been an enormous struggle for him against the strong currents. The Emperor was so delighted with his efforts that he named the third year after him.
Next to arrive was the rabbit, who hadn't swum across at all. He hopped across on some stepping-stones and then found a floating log, which carried him to the shore.
'I shall be very happy to call the fourth year after you,' the surprised Jade Emperor explained.
Just then a kind dragon swooped down to take fifth place.
'Why didn’t you win the race, as you can fly as well as swim?' the Jade Emperor asked.
'I was held up because some people and animals needed water to drink. I needed to make some rain,' the dragon explained. 'Then when I was nearly here I saw a poor little rabbit on a log in the water and I blew a puff of wind so that the log would float to the river bank.'
'Well that was very kind of you and now you are here you will have the fifth year of the zodiac named after you.'
The next thing the Jade Emperor heard was the sound of the horse’s hooves. Just as he was thinking the horse would be the next animal to arrive, a sneaky snake wriggled out from around one of the horse’s hooves. The horse was so surprised that he jumped backwards giving the snake a chance to take the sixth place in the race. The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh place.
Not long afterwards a raft arrived carrying the goat, the monkey and the rooster. They explained to the Emperor how they had shared the raft that the rooster had found. The goat and monkey had cleared weeds and pushed the raft to the shore. The Emperor was very pleased that the animals had worked together. He said the goat would be the eighth zodiac animal, the monkey the ninth and the rooster the tenth.
The next animal to finish was the dog.
'Why are you so late when you are one of the best swimmers?' asked the Jade Emperor.
'The water in the river was so clean that I had to have a bath on the way,' explained the dog.
His reward was to have the eleventh year named after him.
Now there was one place left in the zodiac and the Emperor wondered when the last winner would come. He had nearly given up when he heard a grunt from the boar.
'You took a long time to cross the river,' said the Emperor to the boar.
'I was hungry and stopped to eat,' explained the boar. 'After the meal I felt so tired that I fell asleep.'
'You have still done well,' said the Jade Emperor. 'The last year of the zodiac will be named after you.'
As for the cat who had been pushed into the water by the rat, he finally crawled out of the water but was too late to have a year named after him. He felt very cross with the rat and since then cats have never been friends with rats.
From that day to this the Chinese Zodiac has followed this cycle of years named after these twelve animals

Yet another as to why the Rat come in the First Place?
In Chinese mythology about the origin of world, the universe was in dark without form like an egg before the earth and heaven was separated. It was the rat that bit a crack and let the air in. He was the hero to start the world. That was to say the importance of him. Another saying goes along with the toes story mentioned above. His forepaws have four toes and hind paws have five toes, with both odd and even numbers. For such a special creature among the twelve animals, rat won the first place.
Another story was, Buddha called together all the animals to help guard and protect the year. Of all the animals, only twelve answered the call. In order to establish an orderly sequence, a race was called. In the race, the Ox would have taken the honor of taking first place had it not been for the clever and cunning Rat who rode on the back of the Ox and jumped forward at the finish line to steal away the top award.
Another version of the event was “         The Tournament of the Twelve Animals.”
“ The Jade Emperor wanted to select twelve animals to represent the different years as totems. Hearing this, all the animals on earth rushed to the call with each desiring to be selected. Finding no suitable method on which to base his selection, the Jade Emperor decided to have a tournament of physical skills and abilities.
The Jade Emperor appointed the Elephant to be the undisputed judge of this tournament. The elephant was known for his calmness, great moral virtue and conduct. His judgment was principled and fair and because of this he is highly respected by all the animals.
When this tournament and its rules were announced, the Cat heard about it and went to tell this to the Rat. In earlier times, both the Cat and the Rat were very close friends. The Cat told the Rat that he was eligible to compete because being an animal was the only necessary qualification. When the Rat arrived, he saw that there was already a mighty strong brown Ox poised on the tournament platform welcoming all challengers.
The brown Ox was both large in size and extremely mighty. He thought little of having the tiny Rat as his opponent. He was over confident as he stood boldly on the tournament platform. Readying himself for the battle, the Ox raised his front legs and pawed and scratched on the ground as he was prepared to stomp on the Rat and flatten him into a small meat patty. However, the Rat was light in weight and quick and agile in movement so that he was successful in sidestepping the charging Ox. The Rat jumped onto his feet and catapulted himself onto the back of the Ox. The Ox was helpless to this attack and the pain inflicted caused him to scream out with an admission of defeat. The judge had no alternative than to award the Rat with the coveted First prize. The Ox was embarrassed and speechless to have lost to the Rat.
The rest of the animals battled one another, and this is how the ranking of the twelve animals came to be: (1)Rat, (2)Ox, (3)Tiger, (4)Hare, (5)Dragon, (6)Snake, (7)Horse, (8)Ram, (9)Monkey, (10)Rooster, (11)Dog, (12)Boar.
This is the Horse year. The several traits of the Horse are noted and accredited to those who are born in the Horse year.
Chinese like Horses for many reasons. Horse provides a good and quick transportation for people before automobiles. Horse can give people a ride to their destination. Therefore, horse is not only a symbol of traveling, but also a sign of speedy success.
Horses like to compete with others. They pursuit for their freedom, passion and leadership. Therefore, people will have busy schedule for their goal in the year of Horse. In Chinese Five Element Horoscope, Horse is connected to fire, red and heat. Also, horse is a social animal and red is also connected to love, therefore. Horse is treated as a Romantic Star in Chinese Horoscope.
Horse is intelligent animal. Horses need to be trained to become useful to human. Human can make Horse famous. Without human's guide, Horse just a wild animal. It doesn't know where to go. There is no destination in its life.
The two most famous horses in Chinese history are The Red Hare Horse (赤兔馬), and Longma ( 龍 馬)
The Red Hare was described as a horse that is capable of traveling 1,000 Li in a day.
It crosses rivers and climbs mountains as though it is moving on flat land,
And it is of uniform ashen red, with not a hair of another color; it measures one Zhang from head to tail and eight Chi from hoof to head; it neighs as if it has the ambition of soaring into the sky or diving into the sea.
The Longma ( 龍 馬) is steed of the pious Hsüan-tsang, which carried the sacred scriptures from India.


A stone sculpture of Laozi, located north of Quanzhou at the foot of Mount Qingyuan

Laozi is an honorific title. Lao (老) means "venerable" or "old", such as in laoshi (老 师 ), "teacher". And Zi (子) , Laozi was also known as Lao Laizi (老 莱 子  "Old Master")

During the Tang Dynasty Lao Tse was given the title of Taishang xuanyuan huangdi which means "Supreme Mysterious and Primordial Emperor".

Taoists call him Taishang Laojun meaning "One of the three pure ones."

His surname was Li (李 "plum"), and his personal name was Er (耳 "ear") or Dan (聃 "long ear"). It is said that he had extraordinally big ear

Legends tell of he was concept when his mother was gazing at a falling star,  he stayed in the womb for 62 years, and was born when his mother leaned against a plum tree. He accordingly emerged a grown man with a full grey beard and long earlobes, which are a symbol of wisdom and long life. In other versions he was reborn in some thirteen incarnations since the days of Fuxi; in his last incarnation as Laozi he lived to nine hundred and ninety years, and spent his life traveling to reveal the Dao.

He was believed that he was an official in the imperial service, working as the keeper of the Archives for the royal court of Zhou. This permit to gained  broad access to the works of the Yellow Emperor and other classics of the time. Although he never opened a formal school, but somehow he had a great  number of students and loyal disciples, and wrote a book in two parts before departing to the West. In It is believe that Laozi was Lao Laizi (老 莱 子  "Old Master"), and he was a contemporary of Confucius, who wrote a book in 15 parts. It is claimed that he is a grand historian and astrologer Lao Dan (老 聃 "Old Long-ears"), who lived during the reign (384–362 BCE) of Duke Xiàn (獻 公 ) of Qin.


Religion has an important part to play in the human behavior. It gives an indication for an individual as it influences his personality, social behavior, and even a nation in its value system.

In regard to Chinese, it is a curteious of unique blend of religions. The religious belief hardly keep its rigid boundary, for the most of Chinese people their religion is not of confine sphere but make up of the three religions: namely Confucism, Taoism and Buddhism.

It is the common daily cultural behavior of the people that establish a set form of esthete drawn from all these three religions philosophies.

Chinese people believe in what are customary common curteous behaviors for various occasions without giving much credit to the sources from various religious connotations.

And Chinese gods are drawn form Taoism, Confusism and Buddhism.

One of the best-known and oldest symbols :

Graphical symbol is one of the shortest way of representation of same thing that is to be communicated.The symbols that in some ways get the representation of some thing special in Chinese culture is Tai qi or Tai Ji, (大 极 )and is one of the oldest one existed.:

 The graphic of it is composed of a circle in it contain halves of circular forms look like fish shape. One of which is white with black dot, while the other is black with white dot.

Does it expresses the concept of two shades exists within one whole.

The white shape is known as Yang the shaded part is Yin.

In the Chinese culture, Yin and Yang are basically taken for the two opposite forces that are present in the world.

Yin represent weak, soft, cold, diffuse, passive, wet usually associate with water, earth, the moon, femininity and night

Yang represent strong, hard hot, focus, aggressive, is associated with fire, sky, the sun masculity and day.

Though it is one of the best-known and oldest symbols. Very few people know and understand its depth and its application..

It contends the Taoist philosophy. The existence of two poles, which are opposite but complementary. The two shades keep moving in motion, always seeking balance; they do not replace each other but beck each other in constant low of the universe. 

It shows that there is one reality containing two forms which are in co-exist and, constant movement and independent

Tai Qi or Tai Qi Quan is rooted in the philosophy of Taoism in using the internal energy. Its martial art follow the principal of subduing the vigorous by soft flowing strength rather than overpowering by vigorous method., as it promote vitality, and relaxation through the form of circular motion and balance. This is expressed in a internal martial arts, that emphasis on awareness over strength, intention over technique, and sensitivity and balance over force.

It movement are slow and graceful, rhythmical and balances, Exercises are short and repetitious. Consist of stretching, breathing, meditative posture posture exercises that helps to stimulate and balance the internal energy to response to the enhance the healthy function of the body. This exercise has over 200 million particaners all over the world and is a common form of  morning exercises for every body and particular suited for the older generation.

Idea Of Government

Confucius had to follow the only avenue open to a young man at that time - he took political office, and His theories was put to public use only when he was 52 years old. He was appointed the magistrate of Chung-tu. The very next year, he became Minister of Justice (大 司 寇 ) of the state and he proved his capability as His administration was successful; reforms were introduced, justice was fairly dispensed, and crime almost eliminated.

 But after only four years he was forced to leave his position of influence because Lu started becoming very powerful under Confucius. So the ruler of a neighbouring state maneuvered to sabotage Lu's reforms. Confucius left his office as well as his state in 496 BC,as an administrator, he had the reputation of being a zealous reformer, who did not hesitate to attack and sweep away old established abuses and outdated customs.

Confucius' political philosophy is also rooted in his belief that a ruler should learn self-discipline, should govern his subjects by his own example, and should treat them with love and concern

His political principle is based upon his ethical thought. He argues that the best government is one that rules through "rites" and people's natural morality, rather than by using bribery and coercion.  "If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given to them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, it will invoke the sense of shame. If they be led by virtue, and uniformity is applied by the rules of propriety, they will have the sense of the shame, and motive to become good."

He urged the Chinese, particularly those with political power, to model themselves on earlier examples. In times of division, chaos, and endless wars between feudal states, he wanted to restore the Mandate of Heaven (天 命) that could unify the "world" (天 下, "all under Heaven") and bestow peace and prosperity on the people. Because his vision of personal and social perfections was framed as a revival of the ordered society of earlier times, Confucius is often considered a great proponent of conservatism, but a closer look at what he proposes often shows that he used (and perhaps twisted) past institutions and rites to push a new political agenda of his own: a revival of a unified royal state, whose rulers would succeed to power on the basis of their moral merits instead of lineage. These would be rulers devoted to their people, striving for personal and social perfection, and such a ruler would spread his own virtues to the people instead of imposing proper behavior with laws and rules.

He believes that when people are lead on with correctness, who will dare not to be correct? The need of killing will not be necessary if the desires for what is good are a convinced one, and the people will be good. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows across it.

To be a proper government official one must maintain a sense of shame in his conduct, and when sent to any quarter, he will not disgrace his leader's commission, deserves to be called an official.
In dealing with those placed in the next rank he should treat them filial and to be fraternal to them. To that even lower rank, they must be treated with sincerity in whatever told to them, and to ask them to carry out what they have to do.

While he supported the idea of government by an all-powerful sage, ruling as an Emperor, his ideas contained a number of elements to limit the power of rulers. He argued for according language with truth, and honesty was of paramount importance. Even in facial expression, truth must always be represented. Confucius believed that if a ruler were to lead correctly, by action, that orders would be deemed unnecessary in that others will follow the proper actions of their ruler. 

In discussing the relationship between a king and his subject (or a father and his son), he underlined the need to give due respect to superiors. This demanded that the inferior must give advice to his superior if the superior was considered to be taking the course of action that was wrong. Confucius believed in ruling by example, if you lead correctly, orders are unnecessary and useless.

Learning Confucius

THE SUPERIOR MAN – Gentle or Noble man :
Cultivating knowledge and sincerity is the fountain head of self confidence and well being which is very important for one’s own sake; the superior person loves learning for the sake of true learning and righteousness for the sake of self righteousness.

Confucius’s description of superior man is a person who acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions.

The superior man has nine things that are under thoughtful consideration :

    The use of his eyes, he is anxious to see clearly,
    The use of his ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly,
    His countenance – he is anxious that it should be benign,
    His demeanor – he is anxious that it should be respectful,
    His speech – he is anxious that it should be sincere.

     His way of doing business - he is anxious that it should be reverently careful.

    What he doubts about – he is anxious to question others,
    When he is angry – he thinks of the difficulties his anger may involve him in,
    When he sees gain to be got – he thinks of righteousness.

The superior man wishes to be slow in his speech and earnest in his conduct. He is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.

In every action he considers righteousness to be essential.He performs it according to the rules of propriety.He executes it with humility – he completes it with sincerity.


He is most distressed by his want of ability – he is not distressed by men’s not knowing him. He is correctly firm, and not firm merely.

He does not promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words because of the man.

He who does not anticipate attempts to deceive him, nor think beforehand of his not being believed, and yet apprehends these things readily when they occur – is he not a man of superior worth? 

There are three things that superior man guard against:

    In youth – when the physical powers are not yet settled, he guards against lust.
    When he is strong – his physical powers are full of vigor, he guards against quarrelsomeness .
    When he is old – the animal powers are decaying, he guards against covetousness.

The differences between a superior man and small (petty) man :

In dealing with people, the superior man does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow.

The superior man may indeed have to endure want, but the mean man, when he is in want, gives way to unbridled license.

 The superior man cannot be known in little matters; but he may be entrusted with great concerns.

The small man may not be entrusted with great concerns but he may be known in little matters.

The superior man thinks of virtue, and the small man thinks of comfort.

The mind of a superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of a small man is conversant with gain.

The superior man seeks to perfect the admirable qualities of men, and does not seek to perfect their had qualities. The small man does the opposite of this by perfecting the bad qualities and criticize the admirable qualities.

What the superior man seeks is within him. What the mean man seeks is in others.

Respectfulness without the rules of propriety becomes labourious bustle;

Carefulness without the rules of propriety, becomes timidity ;

Boldness without the rules of propriety becomes insubordination;

Straight forwardness without the rules of propriety becomes rudeness.

Superior man emphasizes :

In doing the proper thing at the proper time;

Balancing between maintaining existing norms to perpetuate and ethical social fabric, and violating them in order to accomplish ethical good.

Training in the LI cultivates virtues in people, including ethical judgment and when it must be adapted in light of situational contests.

His concept of LI is closely related to YI, which is based upon the idea of reciprocity. YI translated as righteousness, although it mean what is ethically nest to do in a certain context. This offer contrasts with action done out of self-interest, While pursuing one’s own self-interest is not necessarily bad, yet one would be a better, more righteous person if one’s life was based on following a path designed to enhance the greater good. Thus an outcome of YI is doing the right thing for the right reason.

 To confirm to the aspiration of adhering to YI, it must be linked to the core value of REN.

REN consists of five basic virtues; - seriousness, generosity, sincerity, diligence and kindness.

REN is the virtue of perfectly fulfilling one’s responsibilities toward others, most often translated as  “benevolence” or “Humaneness”, it often includes “authoritativeness” and “selflessness”.

Confucius’s moral system was based upon empathy and understanding others, rather than divinely ordained rules. In order to develop one’s spontaneous responses of REN so that it could guide action intuitively and it is better than living by the rules of YI.

He asserts that virtue is a means between extremes. For example, the properly generous person believed in giving the right amount – not too much and not too less.

 CONFUCIUS - His teaching and practices (2)

His aim of education was in constant self-improvement, and as he believes that when a person gets educated the class/social distinction gradually diminishes. To change the society people should be trained to be become noble, as that when they enter into public service the natural outcome will be revitalization of the social system such as family, community, society, state and whole country.

To him education was for everyone, a student was a person who had desire to get educated and each one of tem was destined to be educated according to his individual characteristic. To him to be educated was not only by learning the text by heart but by understanding the sense of the text, further thinking about the text must go hand in hand with the learning of the text.

Much of his approach to education was not having long discourse on the subjects, but his usually poses questions with relevant passage and let the students reach the right answer, He promoted the ideas “to educate all despite their social statue” and “ to teach according to the students’ characteristics”. He was one of the first of those who broke the tradition regarding education being the exclusive privilege of the aristocrats.

He not only imparted knowledge, but also consistently influenced his pupils by his example. His private life was a real guiding way for his doctrines. His thirst for knowledge was his delight and he remain humble enough to learn from anybody; from sage like LaoTzei and even from a seven year old child. “When I walk along with two others, they may serve me as my teachers. I will select their good qualities and follow them, know their had qualities and avoid them.”

His pursuit of truth was constant and ever with diligence, so was his perfection of personality and ideas; his integrity; his dealing always with kindness to others, his modesty and courteousness was exemplary.

He follows whatever he said to others.  “Do not give others what you do not want yourself”, and he treated others with utter honesty and tolerance and he was ever ready to help others.

Confucius teaches that me are responsible for their actions and especially for their treatment of others. We can do little or nothing to alter our fated span of existence but we determine what we accomplish and what we are remembered for.

He wants to turn his student into gentlemen who carried themselves with grace, spoke truthfully, and demonstrated integrity in all things. He strongly disliked “petty men”, who could use clever talk and pretentious manner to win popularity.

His ethics were to focus on the virtues of self namely sincerity and the cultivation of knowledge.

Virtuous action towards others begins wit virtuous and sincere thought, as the consequence of knowledge. For virtuous disposition without sufficient knowledge is susceptible to corruption and virtuous action without sincerity is certainly not pure true righteousness.   

Eating With Chopstick

An extension is always useful  but it requires time and willingness to make it an integrated part of the system of working of a scheme.

To have a better idea how to use the chopstick, one need to know the know how or technique and some quite consistent practice.

The following video will be of help

孔 夫 子

We  are posting a short write up on Confucius, the man who lived more then two thousand five hundred years ago in China. He lived long time ago, yet he is living today and hold his own now.


Confucius the name that he is known the world over, "Confucius" is the Latin rendering of his Chinese name, Kong Fu-Zi  孔 夫 子 . Literally "Master Kong"

His original name was K'ung Ch'iu  孔 丘 , his courtesy name is Zhong Ni (仲 尼 Zhòngní).

He was given his first posthumous name: 褒 成 宣 尼 公, Lord Baochéngxuanni, "Laudably Declarable Lord Ni."

His most popular posthumous names are, Zhìshèngxianshi, 至 聖 先 師  "The Most Sage Venerated Late Teacher”;  先  師 , Xianshi, literally meaning "first teacher".

He is also commonly known as 萬 世 師 表, Wànshìshibiao, "Role Model for Teachers through the Ages".

He was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period.

Confucius was born in the city of Qufu (曲 阜), in Shandong Province).
His father Shulianghe (叔 梁 紇 ) Father married Confucius' Mother who was in her teen but this was considered a yehe (野合), or an " illicit union ", and thereby the family did not take it kindly toward him and his mother. His father died when Confucius was only three years old, and his mother brought him up through her best effort although she was poor, she took great care to making sure of his love of knowledge by getting as many books to read and learn as possible.

He helped his mother by managing stables and worked as a bookkeeper while educating himself. He mastery of the six arts—ritual, music, archery, charactering, calligraphy, and arithmetic—and he acquired the familiarity with history and poetry enabled him to begin a brilliant teaching career in his thirties.

To Eat

 In order to stay alive, we all have to eat.

The question to be considered here is not ‘ Whether we live to eat’ or “We eat to live.’

People of different regions of the world have different manner or etiquette in eating.

The importance of eating food is to get strength and energy to do our work.

People of the Orient eat with chopsticks, people of the West use fork, spoon and knife and those in Central Asia eat with their hand.

Some considered eating with the hand is the most natural and primitive; while those using chopsticks are under more pressure of control, even in the process of eating and those eating with fork, spoon and knife are more advanced in application of their manufacturing skills.

Some consider eating with the hand gives satisfaction and enjoyment while eating. Use of chopsticks show refineness and consideration.Those eating with fork, spoon and knife, display their skill even while satisfying their basic need.

Bamboo is a very important part of the Chinese culture. Chopsticks are still the most common tableware in China . It is usually made of bamboos Sometimes chopsticks are also made of bones, metal bi-metal, ivory , plastic and even precious metals like gold and silver.

In China bamboo grows well and in abundant. It is the fastest growing plant. Some of them grow about 100 cm per day. Bamboo is used as medicine, as food, and as an ornamental decoration. It is used for construction, can be made into paper, musical instruments, processes seawater into drinkable water by removing the salt. Many animals thrive on it for their survival.

In the Chinese culture bamboo represents various qualities and attributes, such as strength of character, moral integrity, resistance, modesty, loyalty and so on.

Bamboo is a plant that stands upright dispite the extremities of the weather. It is evergreen all year round. It is flexible and has the ability to adapt to the surrounding conditions signifying the secret of how to live a long happy life.

Bamboo is a plant that needs little care, yet its outer-covering is polished and the plant is well structured like a well educated person – scholar.

The bamboo plant consist of a straight stem and leaves. This personifies simplicity. It does not have butterflies and bees around it. It does not attract attention.

Bamboo symbolizes respect for elders, and care for the young. Its top most part will grow at a small angle to allow the sunlight to reach the lower parts of the plant too. The young shoot emerges under the shadow of the plant.

Bamboo along with the plum, orchid and chrysanthemum ( 梅 兰 竹 菊 méi lán zhú jú ) are known as the Four Men of Honor (Si4 Jun1 Zi3) or four gentlemen as it symbolizes the qualities of gentlemen,

Bamboo with pine and plum “ 松 竹 梅 sōng zhú méi “ is known as the “ Three friend of winter.” ( 岁 寒 三 友 suì hán We invite all those interested to share your point of view with regard to the cultural or social aspect of eating of different cultures.

We will soon post the next article on the dos and don’t of using chopstick."

Treasures Of Ancient China

India and China, the two wonderful ancient civilizations of the world, is more than two millennium years old. The two countries were connected through the ancient ‘silk route’. But introduction of Buddhism in China from India was the most eventful incidence in the mutual relationship that triggered making of Buddhist art and architecture in China and the travel to India by the Chinese Buddhist monks like Fa-Xian, Zunzangand Izing.

To extend the historical tradition of friendly exchanges between the two countries, the year 2006 was declared as Indo-China Friendship Year and a significant component of it was the organization of exhibition on “Treasures of Ancient India” during 2006-07 in the four cities of China-Beijing, Zhengzhou, Chongqing and Guangzhou. The exhibition of about 100 artifacts was a microcosmic presentation of Indian art offered to the Chinese people at their doors. In reciprocation, an exhibition on “Treasures of Ancient China” has been organized this year (2011 )in four cities of India - New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The exhibition has been jointly organized by the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China. It showcases about 95 antiquities in various art forms ranging from Neolithic to the Qing Dynasty. The range of Chinese exhibits in the exhibition, which will be at the National Library in Kolkata from 8 th Sep to 7 th Nov  2011, is very large, covering jade objects, porcelains, decorative elements, terracotta, metal ware etc.

The exhibition is aimed at further strengthening the bond of friendship between people of the two nations.


He that can feed his parents is now called a good son. But both dogs and horses are fed, and unless we honour our parents, what is the difference?             -- Confucius

Loveless men, cannot bear their need for long, they cannot bear fortune long. Loving men find peace in love, the wise find profit in it.                      -- Confucius

Love alone can love others, or hate others.                       – Confucius

A will set on love is free from evil.                                   -- Confucius

To rank the effort above the prize may be called love.         -- Confucius

Wisdom delights in water; love delights in hills. Wisdom is stirring; love is quiet. Wisdom is merry; love grows old.                                                                                                                                                                                               Confucius

Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.
                                                                                              Rabindranath Tagore

Love is not a mere impulse, it must contain truth, which is law.
                                                                                               Rabindranath Tagore

Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation.                                                                                                                                Rabindranath Tagore

Trees are Earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.   
                                                                                                 Rabindranath Tagore   
Prof. Tan Chung

The Times of India
The Crest Edition ( Week of May 14 - May 20, 2011 )
page 16

' Tagore can be a golden bridge between India and China '

Tan Chung, 81, is a well-known scholar of Chinese cultural studies. A recipient of the Padma Bhushan, he taught at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Delhi for many years and now works as an academic associate in the University of Chicago. Co-edited by Chung, Tagore and China examines the various facets of the enduring relationship between a poet and a nation. Chung spoke about Tagore and more in Delhi.

We are celebrating Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary. Could you tell us how his 1924 visit to China captured the imagination of the elite and the students there?

China's fascination with Tagore began much before the visit. It started with him getting the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913. China had suffered four defeats in 19th century wars and was demoralised as a nation. After the Boxer Rebellion (1899), an eight-country coalition had invaded China. The Western powers kept bullying China. There was a feeling that the yellow races have no future. When Tagore got the Nobel Prize, the Chinese were inspired. That's because he was a fellow sufferer of colonialism and had emerged on top of the world. Suddenly, they became interested in his literature. During the visit, Tagore travelled to 10 cities, including Peking and Shanghai. He spoke to teachers, students, intellectuals. The Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, has brought out a collection of his lectures and talks in China.

What was Tagore's basic thought vis a vis India and China?

He put the Eastern civilization, by which he meant India and China, in one category and the Western civilisation in another. He had said in Japan in 1916 that in the western hemisphere, the holy flame of civiliszation has been extinguished from its cradles such as Greece, Rome and Egypt. On the other hand, in India and China, the flame of civilisation survives in the place of is origin. He believed that India and China should work together to help the western civilisation overcome its crisis. He also wrote about it in 1941.

When he inaugurated the Cheena (China) Bhavana in Santiniketan, he said, "the Chinese have mastered the secret of expression, whereas the West has mastered the secret of power". By power, he meant the power that comes from a gun, from a laboratory. By expression, he meant human expression and love.

Your father, Tan Yun-shan, was the founding director of the Department of Chinese Language and Culture at Santiniketan. He was also a friend of Tagore. Tell us something about their interaction.

My father met Tagore for the first time in 1927 in Singapore. My father was teaching the Chinese diaspora there. Tagore invited him to Santiniketan. The next year, he went with my mother to Santiniketan. When I was born in 1929, my mother carried me to Tagore. He saw me and gave me a name, Ashok. But a few weeks later, my mother went back to Malaya (now Malaysia). Unfortunately, there were technical problems and that name was never used.

Was there a rupture in China's admiration for Tagore after the Communists took over in 1949?

The Tagore fever in China happened in waves. The first two waves came in 1913 and 1924. The 1950s was the period of Indi-Chini bhaibhai. In that period, there was a third wave of interest in Tagore. He was the first person to say that India and China were brothers. That view became the origin of Hindi-Chini bhaibhai. Tagore's father had visited China. As a boy, he had heard stories of China from him. The country fascinated him.

Is there any influence of Tagore on Chinese art and philosophy?

Tagore's influence is mainly in the field of literature. In 1920s, China wanted to break away from its conservative classical literature and move into new literature that had a more colloquial and simple style. They wanted poetry in the similar style. Tagore was one of the best examples of new poetry. He wrote in a simple style but was deeply philosophical. The Crescent Moon is addressed to children but it is not a children's book.

Does China remember Tagore today?

In the last 50 years, the Chinese have translated and published the collected works of Tagore. Now they are translating him again because some of the earlier translations were not up to the mark.

India and China don't share the best of political relations. Do you think Tagore can act as a bridge?

He can be a golden bridge between the two countries. In some respect, China has surpassed the West materially. You see more high-rises in Beijing and Shanghai than in New York or London. But there's a growing view that we also need cultural and spiritual prosperity. I was in China recently and they were saying China needs a renaissance. Tagore created a renaissance in Bengal.

 Avijit Ghosh  ,  May 14, 2011


edited by: TAN CHUNG Emeritus Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi and Academic Associate, University of Chicago

AMIYA DEV Fulbright scholar to USA

WANG BANGWEI Peking University, Beijing, China

WEI LIMING Peking University, Beijing, China

Published : May 2011 , Pages : 420 , Size : Crown: 7" x 10"
Imprint : SAGE India  , India (INR) Rs 895
ISBN 9788132106371

Immediately after his birth in April 1929 in Malaya, Tan Chung was carried by his mother and aunt to Santiniketan to be shown to his father, Prof. Tan Yun-shan ( Tan Yunshan was the Founding Director of the Department of Chinese Language and Culture "Cheena-Bhavana" at Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan) .

Gurudeva Rabindranath Tagore was glad to see the baby and christened him “Asoka” --- the Bengali name, Tan Chung could, unfortunately, never use. Tan Chung returned to Malaya (now Malaysia) with his mother who was the principal of the Aiqun Girls’ School at Batu Bahar. He was then raised in China from 1931 to 1954. He came to India to be united with his parents and studied at Santiniketan from 1955 to 1958.

He then started his career teaching Chinese language in India from 1958 to 1994 continuously in the National Defense Academy (Khadakvasla), School of Foreign Languages of the Ministry of Defense (New Delhi), Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University. He also taught Chinese history at Delhi University from 1971 to 1979.

Tan Chung has published ten books in English and six books in Chinese. His 'China and the Brave New World', published in 1978, 'Triton and Dragon', published in 1985, and 'Dunhuang Art', published in 1994, are used as reference books for university students in India,USA,Taipei, and Hong Kong.

His 'India and China: Twenty Centuries of Civilizational Interaction and Vibrations', co-authored with Professor Geng Yinzeng of Peking University, is Part 6 of Volume III of the series of History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, published by Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Delhi. His 16th book is 'Rise of the Asian Giants: Dragon-Elephant Tango'(2008,Anthem Press). His 17th book 'Tagore and China' has just been released .

Tan Chung has been active in developing Chinese studies in India in various capacities as the Head of Chinese and Japanese Studies of Delhi University, Chairperson of the Centre for Afro-Asian Languages and of the Centre for East Asian Languages of Jawaharlal Nehru University. He helped create the unit of East Asian Studies in the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (New Delhi) when he was Professor-Consultant there from 1990 to 1999. He was the founder Co-Chairperson of the Institute of Chinese Studies ( Delhi ) from 1990 to 2002.

He guest edited a special issue on 'India and China' for the Indian Horizon, the journal of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 1994. He has been the Honorary Consultant of the Editorial Board of The Selected Books of Oriental Cultures, Beijing , from 1996 to date.

He popularized the concept of 'Chindia' in China, and brought out the Chinese language book, Chindia --- Idealism and Realization in 2007.

Tan Chung is the recipient of Padma Bhushan award in 2010.

Traditional values of the Chinese

Every country, race or people have their own traditional values and unique moral code. These values bring about its cultural and social progress and development. It is the very foundation of people behaviour. Knowledge of cultural values will make one understand, and help build better relationship.

 Traditional values of every race or nation have similarities as well as differences. The composition of the values and its various priority give an indication of its unique direction as well as orientation of its people.

 The Chinese traditional values are based on the complex product of three systems of thought: Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, without an overdominating influence of any of the three.

 The Chinese are known to value harmony so much, that makes it very difficult for them to say no to others. This is because Generally personal dignity is held in high esteem (face).  Some of these behaviors sourced from the underlying values showing what is desirable in contrast to what is considered negative. Among the most prominent basic values characterizing Chinese society are the following:  face, indirect action, trust, and centrality.

    * The worst thing that can happen to a Chinese is to lose face, to feel humiliated. To lose one's credit, respectability is equivalent to "losing one's eyes, nose, and mouth"
    * Indirect action is a means to preserve harmony. Social harmony is to be attained, through moral conduct, controlling emotions, avoiding conflict, even competition.
    * Trust is a value that needs to be built, as competition in the Chinese society is  reckless, tough, merciless, and at every step suspicious is the norm.
    * Centrality applies to all issues; be it personal, social, cultural, economical, and political.

      Everything is assessed from a sino-centric point of view.

 Confucianism is part of the ancient tradition from which Chinese culture is derived. There are four basic virtues considered as the cornerstones of this philosophy and they focus on loyalty; respect for parents and elders; benevolence, and righteousness .


Patriotic Sentiments. This is the profound feeling towards one’s motherland, its culture, language and customs. This includes the love for the homeland, the respect for the kins, common ethnic Language and celebration of the festival. It is believed that the responsibility of the nation, its fate and dignity is the duty of each and every citizen.

It is well known that hundreds of Chinese who were born in India return  home to Kolkata every Lunar Chinese New Year. 

 Advocating of Integrity. Upholding of truth, honesty, faithfulness, righteousness not being coerced by any threats are some of the values held dear. Since ancient time, the Chinese have always held personal dignity and independence more precious than life. Those who have shown such nobleness have been honoured throughout the ages. This act of heroism is proof of a great and respectable race.

 Diligence and Frugality. The Chinese firmly believe the simple truth of diligence and frugality will bring prosperity not only to individual but also to the family, society and the whole nation.

One of the reasons our forefathers came to Kolkata was to earn the gold that covered the streets of the city through hard work and diligence.               

Another famous dictum is“ Thrift nourishes virtues”. This implies that hardworking people are the creator of social wealth. Those who value moderation will enjoy the fruits of labour. Those who waste  recklessly will not prosper.                                                                                                                                            

 Diligence and Eagerness to study.  Another value held in highly esteem in life of a Chinese is to be able to show one’s talent and to do well in life. They are encouraged to do whatever it takes and not to look for returns.

“If you don’t work hard when you are young, it is useless to regret when you are old.”

Old people are constantly reminded that mentally they are in better condition to learn new things as they have vast experience. Thus“ Never too old to learn ‘ is a reminder to all about the important of learning, The only treasure one can take with him is knowledge because “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere”  

 Modesty, Courtesy and Considerate behaviour.

These consist of   :

·        Knowing one’s strength, weakness, capability and ability will help one to assess himself accurately. This will also leave no room for complacency.

·        To discover other’s virtues or stronger points and the weaknesses, in order to be respectful and tolerant towards all.  

·        To treat others according to their personal interest, and give proper precedence to everyone.  This will amount to giving credit to others who deserve them and not to scramble for fame and success and gain. This is one of the important elements of being a gentleman. Thus is it is said “Complacency spells loss, and modesty brings benefit.”

Honesty and Trustworthiness.

·        To be faithful and upright, think and act in the same way and always practice what one says.

·        To keep one’s word and not to be hypocritical and deceitful. “ Once a word is spoken not even a team of four horses can overtake it.”


Be Glad to give to Charities

This means, “doing a good deed’ or “doing a righteous deed”.  It is an expression of sympathy, justice, kindness and human warm-heartedness. The kind deed does not make distinction between people; that is whether they are friend or foe; relative or stranger; old or young, It require no repayment and will eventually bring about a sense of obligation to help others, promote and experience satisfaction to his whole being.   

Honour Teachers and Stress on Education.

“It takes a year to grow crops, ten years to grow trees but a hundred years to rear people” is the monograph on education for more than 2,600 years. 3,000 years ago the government established schools at different levels and the teachers were part-timer drawn from different levels of administrative division and officials.

People are reminded that education is for any and everybody, and the teachers are like their own elders so it is very important to honour them as the saying goes “ A tutor or a teacher for a day is a father for lifetime ”.                                                                                      

The stress on Education is the root that manifests itself in Chinese by the way of sacrificing their leisure for the gain in their career.

Respect the Aged and Care for the Young.

In Chinese culture, the relationship of parents and children are more than that of intimate human relationship. It is raised to divine, for the children’s relationship to their parents are that of filial piety.

It is a social responsibility and behavioural norm to respect the aged during their lives and to worship them when they passed to next world.

It is only proper to treat persons who have done so much for the good of the young, besides having sacrificed themselves in favour of those who they look after and spent their time to bring up. Till date, a Chinese, who does not show proper respect and take care of the aged will not only be criticized by society but also punished by law. It is said that even a young goat kneels down to drink milk from the mother. We all know that kneeling is an action for showing respect at the highest degree.

It is moral duty and has sentimental value to treat one’s offspring with special affection.

Educate one with kindness and strictness beyond human relation so that it will embody a strong sense of moral responsibility for life.  "

Ancestor Worship is the original basic Chinese religion

The ancient Chinese believed in a dual soul. The lower soul of the senses disappears with death, but the rational soul (hun) survives death and is the object of ancestor worship.

The ancient Chinese too, believed in gods of nature - in mountains, rivers, forests, trees and rocks. (Why do you think gods were associated with nature in the past? Hint: Consider how the occupation of most of the people in the past. How did they obtain their food?) They also worshipped the souls of dead rulers for protection and blessings. One common type of Chinese deity is the "place god"土 地 or T'u-ti (Pinyin: Tudi). The primary characteristic of a place god is the limitation of his jurisdiction to a specific location, like a bridge, home, street, or field. A T'u-ti is often a deified historical person who had assisted a specific community during his lifetime. It is believed that if the person is deified and sacrificed to, he will be moved to continue his assistance from the spirit world. If misfortunes occur in a location dedicated to a T'u-ti, the T'u-ti is believed to have lost interest and a new patron is chosen.

Chinese still pray to the souls of the dead, especially to their ancestors for the same reasons as in the past: protection and blessing.

Most Chinese still pray to certain gods of nature such as the earth god and Chu Jung, god of fire. In addition, the Chinese believe in other gods too, such as the god of wealth, the goddess of mercy and the god of war. The god of wealth is an important god to the present-day Chinese, especially to Chinese merchants and businessmen, as they believe that praying to the god of wealth would enable their businesses to prosper and their wealth to increase

Buddhist deities are especially (in some cases, exclusively) popular in China:

· Kuan-Yin - Chinese and female form of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

· Jade Maiden – Acolyte of Kuan Yin

· Golden Youth – Acolyte of Kuan Yin

· Kuan-Ti (Sangharama) - Protector of Buddhism

· Wei-To (Skanda) - Protector of the Dharma

                              The Lohans' Place in Buddhism

Lohans are well-known for their great wisdom, courage and supernatural power. Due to their abilities to ward off the evil, Lohans have became guardian angels of the Chinese Buddhist temple and there in the main hall standing guard are the ever-present, indomitable-looking 18 Lohan figures, sometimes accompanied by 500 or more lesser Lohans.

The celestial Buddha named Hotei or Pu-Tai is best known as the jolly Laughing Buddha. In China, he is known as the Loving or Friendly One. He is based on an eccentric Chinese Ch'an (Zen) monk who lived over 1,000 years ago.

His large protruding stomach and jolly smile have given him the common designation "Laughing Buddha" always seen carrying a cloth or linen sack (that which never empties) which is filled with many precious items, including rice plants (indicating wealth), candy for children, food, or the woes of the world. He is patron of the weak, poor and children.

According to legend, if one rubs the Laughing Buddha's great belly, it brings forth wealth, good luck, and prosperity. Hotei is also referred to as the patron saint of restaurateurs, fortunetellers and bartenders. When one overeats or over drinks, friends jokingly attribute it to the Laughing Buddha's influence.

The Lords of Death, the ten rulers of the underworld. They dress alike in royal robes and only the wisest can tell them apart. Each ruler presides over one court of law. In the first court a soul is judged according to his sins in life and sentenced to one of the eight courts of punishment. Punishment is fitted to the offense. Misers are made to drink molten gold; liars' tongues are cut out. In the second court are incompetent doctors and dishonest agents; in the third, forgers, liars, gossips, and corrupt government officials; in the fifth, murderers, sex offenders and atheists; in the sixth, the sacrilegious and blasphemers; in the eighth, those guilty of filial disrespect; in the ninth, arsonists and accident victims. In the tenth is the Wheel of Transmigration where souls are released to be reincarnated again after their punishment is completed. Before souls are released, they are given a brew of oblivion, which makes them forget their former lives.

YEN-LO-WANG ;Yan Wang ( 阎王; 閻王; also called Yanluo ( 阎罗/: 閻羅) is the god of death and the ruler of Di Yu ( 地獄 "hell" or the underworld). In both ancient and modern times, Yanluo is portrayed as a large man with a scowling red face, bulging eyes and a long beard. He wears traditional robes and a crown on his head that usually bears the kanji 王, which stands for "king."

Yanluo is not only the ruler but also the judge of the underworld and passes judgment on all the dead. He always appears in a male form, and his minions include a judge who holds in his hands a brush and a book listing every soul and the allotted death date for every life. Ox-Head and Horse-Face, the fearsome guardians of hell, bring the newly dead, one by one, before Yanluo for judgement. Men or women with merit will be rewarded good future lives, or even revival in their previous life. Men or women who committed misdeeds will be sentenced to torture and/or miserable future lives. Yanluo divided Diyu into ten levels or courts each ruled by a Yama King, such as Chu Jiang who ruled the court reserved for thieves and murderers.

The spirits of the dead, on being judged by Yanluo, are supposed to either pass through a term of enjoyment in a region midway between the earth and the heaven of the gods, or to undergo their measure of punishment in the nether world, situated somewhere in the southern region. After this time they may return to Earth in new bodies.

Yanluo is considered to be an office or bureaucratic post, rather than an individual god. There were said to be cases in which an honest mortal was rewarded the post of Yanluo, and served as the judge and ruler of the underworld.

In his capacity as judge, Yanluo is normally depicted wearing a Chinese judge's cap in Chinese art.".

Chinese Musician Strikes Tagore Chord

The Times Of India
Kolkata , May 5 , 2011 (Thursday)
Times City , page - 6

She loves to play Tagore songs and dreams of lending a Mandarin touch to the bard’s tunes. They could serve as a bridge between the two ancient cultures, helping people from the respective countries realize the affinity in their music. Chinese musician Liu Yuening, who plays the Yangqin — a santoor-like instrument with its origin in the Middle-East — shared the stage at the Town Hall with singer Prateek Choudhury on Wednesday. But Yuening, an acclaimed music researcher, is bent on striking a melodic partnership between Indian and Chinese musicians.

“A few minor alterations to a Tagore song can convert it into a Chinese rhythm which could be readily appreciated by listeners in our country. I have been playing these tunes in China and would love to do it in Kolkata where everyone swears by Tagore. I expect this to pave the way for a collaboration between classical singers from India and traditional musicians from China. They have a lot of common ground to work on,” said Yuening.
Based in Beijing, she started learning yangqin at the age of nine. By the time she was 12, Yuening had been hailed as one of the leading yangqin players in the world. She went on to do a doctorate from Hungary, where she spent two years researching music. In 2009, she spent seven months at the University of Delhi for a cultural research programme as an Asia Fellow of the Ford Foundation. It was during this stint that Yuening chanced upon the santoor and was taken aback by the similarity between the instruments. “Yangqin originated in the Middle-East and has its European and Chinese variants. In India, it’s the santoor... music in the region has common roots,” said Yuening.

It launched her on a mission to identify the commonalities in Indian and Chinese music. “First, the musical scale in our notes is similar. Secondly, the inspiration behind Indian classical music and Chinese traditional scores is the same — nature. Finally, both India and China have a strong folk music culture and draw heavily from it. These left me convinced that there would be a common origin, a starting point which unites our music,” explained the musician.

The quest brought her back to India in 2010. Yuening travelled to Kashmir for a lecture on Chinese music. “The people there were quite receptive and showed interest in my music. I got little chance of exploring the area, though,” she said. She rounded off her trip with a concert in Kolkata. “The visit gave me the chance to study Tagore songs more carefully. I kept playing the tunes and hit upon the idea of giving them a Chinese touch. Even my friends in India thought it was a brilliant idea and that it could be the ideal starting point for a musical collaboration,” she added.

It will lead to the more difficult task of identifying the similarities in Indian ragas and Chinese scores, realizes Yuening. “Let Kolkata and Tagore songs be the launching pad. I will have done my bit for music if I can accomplish the task,” signed off Yuening.

Prithvijit Mitra - TNN

Eight Immortals

Eight Immortals  八仙

The Eight Immortals are a group of legendary Taoist immortals in Chinese mythology. Ordinary mortals who, through good works and good lives, were rewarded by the Queen Mother Wang by giving them the peaches of everlasting life .

The Immortals are :

Immortal Woman He (He Xiangu) 何 瓊 /何 仙 姑

Royal Uncle Cao (Cao Guojiu) 曹 國 舅

Iron-Crutch Li (Tieguai Li) 李 铁 拐

Lan Caihe 藍 采 和

Lü Dongbin (leader) 呂 洞 賓

Philosopher Han Xiang (Han Xiang Zi) 韓 湘 子

Elder Zhang Guo (Zhang Guo Lao) 張 果 老

Han Zhongli (Zhongli Quan) 鐘 離 權

HO HSIEN-KU -Hé Qióng (何 瓊 Hé Qióng), Immortal Woman He or He Xiangu (何仙姑 Hé Xiān Gū in pinyin or Ho Hsien-ku) is the only female deity among the Eight Immortals. She is a Cantonese girl who dreamed that she could become immortal by eating a powder made of mother-of-pearl. She appears only to men of great virtue.

Royal Uncle Cao or Cao Guojiu (曹 國 舅 Ts'ao Kuo-ch'iu) is named one of the following:

Cao Yi (曹 佾 cáo yì) (courtesy name Gongbo (公 伯 gōng bó)) ; Cao Jing (曹 景 cáo jǐng)

Cao Jingxiu (曹 景 休 cáo jǐng xiū) ; Cao You (曹友 cáo yǒu).

He was said to be the uncle of the Emperor of the Song Empire, being the younger brother of Empress Dowager Cao (曹 太 后 cáo tàihòu), He tried to reform his brother, a corrupt emperor, by reminding him that the laws of heaven are inescapable.

LI TIEH-KUAI Li of the Iron Crutch. (李 铁 拐: meaning "Iron-crutch Li" ) is one of the most ancient of the Eight Immortals of the Daoist pantheon. Given the wide discrepancies in the dates ascribed to his mortal life. In Chinese art, Li Tieguai is portrayed as an ugly old beggar with a dirty face and unkempt beard, walking with the aid of a large iron crutch. He is described as irascible and ill-tempered, but also benevolent to the poor, sick, and the needy, whose suffering he alleviates with medicine from his gourd bottle . A healer, Li sits as a beggar in the market place selling wondrous drugs, some of which can revive the dead.

Lan Caihe (藍 采 和 ; Lan Ts'ai-ho) is the least defined of the Eight Immortals. Lan Caihe's age and sex are unknown. Lan's behaviour are often bizarrely eccentric. He dresses in a ragged blue gown, and refer to him as the patron immortal of minstrels. In some Lan is a female singer whose song lyrics accurately predict future events. Is usually depicted in sexually ambiguous clothing, but is often shown as a young boy or girl carrying a bamboo flower basket. He is often described as carrying a pair of bamboo castanets which he would clap and make a beat with by hitting the ground, he would then sing to this beat and a group of onlookers would follow and watch in amazement and entertain themselves. After these performances they would give him lots of money as he was beggar, Lan Cai He would then string this cash and coins on a long string of money he carried. As he walked the coins would fall off and Lan Cai He would not care, other beggars would then take the money.
He is often described as wearing only one shoe and other foot being bare. In the Winter it was said he slept naked in the snow and it melted and in the summer it was said he stuffed his clothes full and wore thick clothes despite the heat. He was snatched by a stork to the heavens.

Lǚ Dòngbīn (呂 洞 賓 ) Lü Tung-Pin is a historical figure and also a deity/Immortal revered by many in the Chinese culture sphere, especially by Daoists/Taoists. Lǚ Dòngbīn is one of the most widely known of the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and considered by some to be the de facto leader. (The formal leader is more likely said to be Zhongli Quan or sometimes Iron-Crutch Li.) He is also a historical figure who was mentioned in the official history book "History of Song". Lǚ is widely considered to be one of the earliest masters of the tradition of Neidan, or Internal alchemy. He is depicted in art as being dressed as a scholar and he often bears a sword on his back that dispels evil spirits. Renouncing riches and the world, he punished the wicked and rewarded the good, and slew dragons with a magic sword.

HAN HSIANG-TZU 韓湘 子: hán xiāng zi is an aged hermit with miraculous abilities. Chang owned a donkey that could travel at incredible speed. The personification of the primordial vapor that is the source of all life,is a Philosopher, was born during the Tang Dynasty, He studied Daoism under Lü Dongbin. Once at a banquet by his uncle Han Yu, Han Xiang tried to persuade Han Yu to give up a life of officialdom and to study magic with him. But Han Yu was adamant that Han Xiang should dedicate his life to Confucianism instead of Daoism, so Han Xiang demonstrated the power of the Dao by pouring out cup after cup of wine from the gourd without end.
Because his flute gives life, Han became a protector of flautists.

Zhang Guo Lao : 張 果 老 Elder Zhang Guo or Zhang Guo Lao, 張果老 or Chang Kuo Lao is one of the Eight Immortals. He is known as Master Comprehension-of-Profundity (通玄先生 ). He lived as an occultist-alchemist during the Tang Dynasty. By the time of Empress Wu (684–705), he claimed to be several hundred years old. He makes Chinese wine or liquor out from the herbs and shrubs as a hobby. Members of the Eight Immortals just love to drink his home-made wine which believe to have healing or medical properties. When Empress Wu summoned him to leave the mountain, so he feigned death. He is the personification of a white bat. He rides a white donkey backward. Emperor Xuanzong attempted to give him an office with the title of Silvery Blue Guanglu Minister (銀青光祿大夫). He was the most eccentric of the eight immortals, as one can see from the kung fu style that was dedicated to him — which includes moves such as delivering a kick during a backflip, or bending so far back that your shoulders touch the ground! His appearance is that of an aged hermit with miraculous abilities. Chang owned a donkey which could travel at incredible speed and when he is not riding his donkey, he can fold the donkey and put it in a small box. The personification of the primordial vapor which is the source of all life.

Zhongli Quan (鍾 離 權 : Chung-li Ch'üan) is one of the most ancient of the Eight Daoist Immortals, having allegedly lived during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.E. - 220 C.E.). Initially a well-respected general in the Han emperor's army, he became renowned later in life as an alchemist, and as the instructor of Lu Dongbin (a fellow immortal).
Today Zhongli Quan is remembered for his dedication to helping others, and for cultivating his own spiritual and moral character. He is said to have saved the lives of a number of starving peasants by creating enough silver to allow them all to purchase food for themselves. In Chinese art, Zhongli Quan is typically portrayed as a rotund man bearing a feathered fan or a peach. He is a smiling old men always beaming with joy, he was rewarded with immortality for his ascetic life in the mountains.

There is one story about the Eight Immortals. One day, when the Eight Immortals arrive at the East Sea, the sea is extremely rough, with turbulent waves. Lü Dongbin proposes that each immortal cross the sea through his or her special skills by projecting something onto the sea surface. So, Iron Crutch Li throws his instrument-the crutch (or "bottle gourd" in other versions of the story); Han Zhongli hurls his palm-leaf fan; Elder Zhangguo puts his "paper donkey" into the sea and other immortals all cast their own instruments. Thus all of them have successfully crossed the stormy East Sea. Later, the story is used to symbolize overcoming difficulties or doing something marvelous through someone's special skills.

The instruments used by the Eight Immortals are called "Covert Eight Immortals", respectively representing their holders and embodying good wishes and blessings. The instruments are: the fish-shaped drum that can tell the future; the precious sword that can subdue monsters and drive away evils; the flute that can make everything grow; the lotus flower that can bring self cultivation; the bottle gourd that can save all living things from misery; the fan that can make the dead come back to life; the jade clapper that can purify the environment and the flower basket that has great magic power. In traditional sculpture, painting, lacquer ware, porcelain ware, jade ware, woodwork, decorations and ornamental hanging parts etc, these instruments of the Eight Immortals are usually featured as a sign of good luck.

The religious believes has a great influence on the cultural characteristic on the practicianor. Chinese are hardworking and down-to-earth people, they always believe that although they work hard and do their level best, for them to succeed they need the blessing of the gods and goddesses ; so they make it important for everyone to wish good fortune to the other and vice versa.

Chinese own philosophies accept freedom of religions.Chinese also believes that any religion should promote universal harmony, not hatreds.Religion should not be used for politics in any sense but for spiritual richness of mankind.

Any religion body, which has a tie and effective control in organization, is not purely for promoting their religion but to solidify their power and influences in the society.These organizations are not religion in nature but political or commercial bodies.

Chinese philosophies and religions after so many years become very complicated and difficult to summarize. But one thing is sure that Chinese is taught to live in harmony with people and the nature. There is nothing in the deep root that it will lead Chinese as a nation to a state of violence and invasiveness.

Most Chinese Gods and Goddesses are deified humans. Chinese religious beliefs are wide-ranging and eclectic, deriving from several religious traditions (Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism)

Eight  Immortals