Year of the Horse: What Chinese Say of People Born Year of the Horse

1 February, 2014 at 10:06 | Posted in Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Ying Wen
Epoch Times

According to the cycle of the five elements in the Chinese Zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Wooden Horse, which is regarded as a year of quick victories, unexpected adventures, and surprising romances.

Five Elemental Signs Start Dates, End Dates:
Metal horse 30 January 1930, 16 February 1931
Water horse 15 February 1942, 4 February 1943
Wood horse 3 February 1954, 23 January 1955
Fire horse 21 January 1966, 8 February 1967
Earth horse 7 February 1978, 27 January 1979
Metal horse 27 January 1990, 14 February 1991
Water horse 12 February 2002, 31 January 2003
Wood horse 31 January 2014, 18 February 2015
Fire horse 17 February 2026, 5 February 2027

Chinese people believe the horse is one of the most important creatures in the world for mankind to befriend.

The elegant horse symbolizes a strong character with aspiration for straightforward momentum and goals. A horse is known to be one of the quickest animals to learn independence: for example, a foal can stand up less than 10 minutes after birth and begins to walk almost immediately after that.

It is believed that those who are born in the Year of the Horse usually have superior manners, and they pay more attention to their appearance in terms of style and accessories. They tend to be generous and like extravagance.

Generally, they are free-spirited, liberated, and always on the move, yearning for the freedom to roam. Their attitude toward everything is positive and straightforward. As independent as the horse, they don’t like to be suppressed and they don’t easily accept help from others.

Usually open-minded, it is easy for them to make a wide range of friends. Their eloquence and talent of persuasion make them natural leaders. Being cheerful and kind, they can also get along easily with other people. Gifted with insightful comprehension, they often seem to know what others are thinking.

People born in the Year of the Horse have a wide variety of interests, such as drama, music, sports, etc. They are usually very athletic and sports-oriented.

Being highly diligent and creative, they often progress directly towards their goals. They learn new skills easily and quickly. Their personality makes them excellent business people who can take on an amazing volume of tasks and complete them with equally amazing accuracy.

However, once difficulties and frustrations arise, they can be impatient and tend to shift direction easily. They dislike doing things alone and are most satisfied when they are embraced, acclaimed, and admired by others on a team.

Horse people are high-spirited and witty. At critical moments, they have a flair for making the best of a situation, which makes them quite impressive.

Furthermore, they can easily acquire wealth but not necessarily keep it because they are always changing their minds and strategies.

Due to their open and loose nature, they are not, however, good at keeping secrets. Another significant shortcoming is that they are inclined to invade others’ privacy.

As impulsive as a horse can be, they like to try everything without thinking and often fall short. Fortunately, they are optimistic people and never surrender to feelings of failure. Therefore, they are able to eventually achieve their goals.

Generally speaking, they have incredible talents and know how to respond quickly and deal with things effectively. Since they are quite aware of their innate talents, they are often arrogant, selfish, and ambitious, and have blatant disregard for others. Thus, they will likely not feel sorry once they get what they want, even when it’s at others’ expense. This personality trait is their biggest stumbling block.

As for romance, they can express their sentiments directly. Often emotional, their feelings are easily hurt, yet they can sacrifice everything for true love. This characteristic is one of the factors that make their romantic relationships fragile.

Due to the seemingly contradictory nature of the personality traits of this sign, Horse people can be endearing and at the same time infuriating.

The Wood Horse is fortunate, though, in that this “wood” element balances the best and the worst characteristics of Horse people. The element of wood makes them more stable so that they are less capricious and less prone to emotionality than their other Horse counterparts.

That is how the Chinese see those born under the Sign of the Horse.

via Year of the Horse: What Chinese Say of People Born Year of the Horse

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Chinese New Year 2014: Year of the Horse

26 January, 2014 at 07:09 | Posted in Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Lily Choo
Epoch Times

The Chinese New Year in 2014 is celebrated on Friday, Jan. 31, marking the beginning of the Year of the Horse in the Chinese zodiac.

According to the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, the first day of the Chinese lunar year may fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. It is the most important festival of the Chinese people.

The Chinese lunar calendar incorporates both the lunar cycle and the position of the sun. According to legend, the calendar dates back to 2600 B.C., when the mythical Yellow Emperor started the first cycle of the Chinese zodiac and named an animal to represent each year in the 12-year cycle.

The 12 animal signs are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig.

The Sign of the Horse

If you were born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, or 2014, you were born under the sign of the horse.

The horse is one of the Chinese people’s favorite animals and has become closely linked to people’s lives. It provided a quick and useful mode of transportation before the invention of vehicles.

One of the ways the horse serves human beings is to give people a ride to their destination. Therefore, the horse is not only a symbol of travel, but also a sign of speedy success.

The horse ranks seventh among the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. People born in the Year of the Horse are highly animated, active, and energetic. They are typically very elegant, independent, gentle, and hardworking.

Their most striking characteristic is their strong self-confidence. Thus the Year of the Horse is a time for all people to go forward confidently in the direction of their goals and dreams, just as the horse gallops at top speed toward its destination.

New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year, also called Spring Festival, is the most important of the traditional Chinese festivals. The celebration usually lasts 15 days, from New Year’s Day to the Lantern Festival, which is the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar.

There are many traditions and customs associated with the Chinese New Year. Families thoroughly clean their house in order to sweep away any ill fortune and to make way for good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with delicate red paper cutouts and poetic couplets—pairs of corresponding lines of poetry that express people’s joy and hope for the New Year.

Fireworks, firecrackers, red packages, the lion dance, the dragon dance, and lanterns with riddles are other common customs and traditions observed during the Chinese New Year period.

Very importantly, many families gather for a big family reunion dinner on New Year’s Eve, and the Chinese people also pay visits to their relatives as part of the New Year celebration.

New Year Wishes

The arrival of the Year of Horse is a time to reconcile differences, let go of all grudges, and sincerely wish everyone peace, health, and happiness. Here are some of the most popular New Year wishes:

Lucky/Auspicious Year of the Horse! (馬年吉祥, mǎ nián jí xiáng)
Instant success when the horse arrives! (馬到成功, mǎ dào chéng gong)
Take the lead upon the horse!  (一馬當先, yī mǎ dāng xiān)
Peace and good health in the Year of the Horse! (馬年安康, mǎ nián ān kāng)

via Chinese New Year 2014: Year of the Horse

Chinese Commentator: Shen Yun ‘Makes a Chinese Person Feel Proud’

25 January, 2014 at 10:54 | Posted in China, Chinese culture, Shen Yun, Society | Leave a comment

By Epoch Times Staff

NEW YORK—Wang Beiji said Shen Yun Performing Arts has become part of his life.

Mr. Wang, a Chinese commentator, left China a little over two years ago. Since then, he has attended four Shen Yun performances.

“It’s is something to be waited earnestly for each year,” he said.

The performance at Lincoln Center on the evening of Jan. 17 was the second one he had attended this year.

True Culture

“It hasn’t been long since we left mainland China,” Mr. Wang said. “But I can already sense that a lot of [other] Chinese performing arts are mental garbage.”

Mr. Wang said that modern Chinese cultural performances lack depth, and that such performances are a hodgepodge of arbitrary things such as karaoke.

But, Shen Yun is different.

It was formed in 2006 by leading Chinese artists who founded the company in New York. Their mission is to revive traditional Chinese culture, something that is nearly lost in China today.

“Other Chinese performances contain too much of an aggressive feeling, that stuff has filled and numbed all of mainland Chinese people’s minds,” Mr. Wang said.

“After you leave China, come to the U.S, and watch Shen Yun, you become clear of what is garbage,” he said. “You discover the pure culture of the ethnic groups—which is pure as well as natural.”

Shen Yun performs ethnic and folk dances, celebrating China’s vast and varied ethnic groups such as the Manchurian, Mongolian, and Miao. The Miao women are known for their rich adornment of of silver headdresses, necklaces, and bracelets. Before the Qin Dynasty, the Miao lived near the middle reaches of the Yangtze River.

The distinct lifestyles and subcultures of the ethnic groups are a result from their local topography, climate, and religious traditions.

Memories

Mr. Wang recalls the first time he saw a Shen Yun performance. It was January 2012. He had bought a ticket for a seat right in the center of the first row. He distinctly remembers the people next to him feeling the emotion of the performance and crying.

“The audience was very emotional and excited,” he recalled.

Each Shen Yun dance is accompanied by an orchestra that plays original composition.

The Shen Yun Orchestra consists of Eastern and Western instruments, blending instruments such as the violin with the stirring tones of the erhu (two-stringed Chinese violin). A strong brass section captures the grandeur of a western symphonic orchestra, as Chinese instruments such as the pipa (Chinese lute) play distinctly Chinese melodies.

The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra began touring on its own in 2012, and last year, Mr. Wang attended the concert at Carnegie Hall.

Sharing the Culture

In Shen Yun, classical Chinese dancers share a stage with an advanced, interactive digital backdrop that transports the audience from places such as the snowy cusps of Tibetan mountains to the golden pavilions of the Tang Dynasty.

Mr. Wang noted the benefits of merging Eastern and Western performing arts techniques.

“Sitting here today, the people sitting next to my wife and I, was a white person and an African-American person,” he said. “They were very into the show.”

“Westerners like to hear symphonic concerts, watch ballet,” he said. “Shen Yun will become something that connects Westerners and Chinese.”

“The Chinese people will also one day develop the tradition of seeing Shen Yun,” Mr. Wang said. “Shen Yun is something that Westerners and the Chinese can have in common in spirit.”

“It makes a Chinese person feel proud.”

With reporting by NTD and Amelia Pang

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.

via Chinese Commentator: Shen Yun ‘Makes a Chinese Person Feel Proud’ » The Epoch Times

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Chinese Bamboo Strips Revealed as First Known Times Table

23 January, 2014 at 07:37 | Posted in archaeology, Chinese culture, Science | Leave a comment



By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

Scientists in China have aligned fragments of bamboo with Chinese calligraphic writing on it to recreate a mathematical device used 2,300 years ago, making it the world’s oldest known decimal multiplication table.

In 2008, the researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing received almost 2,500 decrepit bamboo strips from a donor, who had bought them at a market in Hong Kong. They date back to about 305 B.C. from the Warring States period before China was unified in the Qin Dynasty.

Each strip was around 0.3-0.5 inches wide and up to 20 inches long with a vertical line of calligraphy in black ink.

Twenty-one of the strips were marked with only numbers, and formed a matrix structure when arranged correctly. The top row and right-hand column contain the same 19 numbers (from right to left and top to bottom–0.5, the numbers 1 to 9, and multiples of 10 from 10 to 90.

“The strips were all mixed up because the strings that used to tie each manuscript together to form a scroll had long decayed,” said researcher Li Junming, according to the journal Nature, adding that it was “like putting together a jigsaw puzzle” because some parts were broken and others were missing. “It’s effectively an ancient calculator.”

The matrix can be used in several ways, for example the entries where each row and column meet are the results of multiplying those numbers, and any whole or half integer between 0.5 and 99.5 can be calculated.

The team think the system may have been used by officials to calculate land surface area, crop yields, and taxes. “We can even use the matrix to do divisions and square roots,” historian Feng Lisheng told Nature. “But we can’t be sure that such complicated tasks were performed at the time.”

“Such an elaborate multiplication matrix is absolutely unique in Chinese history,” he added. Previously, the earliest known Chinese tables were used during the Qin Dynasty from 221 to 206 B.C.

via Chinese Bamboo Strips Revealed as First Known Times Table: photo 2

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Chinese Character for Buddha: Fó 佛

19 January, 2014 at 15:28 | Posted in Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Cindy Chan
Epoch Times

The Chinese character 佛 fó stands for Buddha and is a term phonetically translated from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language.

佛 is a phono-semantic compound, a type of Chinese character consisting of a sound component and a meaning component.

In 佛, the meaning is provided by 亻 (rén) on the left, which is a variant of the character 人 (rén), referring to humankind, people, or a human being. The sound is contributed by 弗 (fú) on the right.

When the term 佛 was first introduced in China, it was phonetically translated into Chinese as 佛陀 (fó tuó), 浮陀 (fú tuó), 佛圖 (fó tú), or 浮圖 (fú tú), among other variations.

Later, the Chinese people contracted the term Buddha to a single character, 佛 (fó).

Buddha means “an enlightened being,” one who has become enlightened through cultivating (improving) one’s character and attained immense wisdom.

Such a sentient being has a complete understanding of the entire universe, including the mysteries of life, humanity, and every dimension of existence, and is truly able to distinguish good from bad, righteous from evil.

Examples of terms that contain 佛 include 佛意 (fó yì), a compassionate intent; 佛像 (fó xiàng), a Buddhist image or statue; and 佛經 (fó jīng), Buddhist scripture or sutra.

The Buddha School of cultivation practice is called 佛家 (fó jiā), or the family (家, jiā) of Buddha. In the Buddha School, to return to one’s innate goodness, one cultivates the Buddha Fa (佛法, fó fǎ), or simply Fa (法, fǎ), the Truth of the universe.

Buddhism is called 佛教 (fó jiào), literally “Buddha teaching,” where 教 (jiào) means teaching/to teach.

佛性一出, 震動十方世界” (fó xìng yī chū, zhèn dòng shí fāng shì jiè) states that “when one’s Buddha nature (佛性, fó xìng) emerges, it will shake ‘the world of ten directions.’”

The “world of ten directions” refers to the Buddha School’s conception of the universe.

佛光普照, 禮義圓明 (fó guāng pǔ zhào, lǐ yì yuán míng) states that the “Buddha light (佛光, fó guāng) illuminates everywhere and rectifies all abnormalities.”

It explains that the energy emitted from the bodies of those who cultivate the Buddha Fa can rectify all abnormal conditions.

via Chinese Character for Buddha: Fó 佛

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Shen Yun ‘Phenomenal,’ Says Former Secretary of State

9 January, 2014 at 17:54 | Posted in Chinese culture, Shen Yun | Leave a comment

By Epoch Times

OTTAWA, Canada—Former cabinet minister David Kilgour has seen Shen Yun Performing Arts seven times, and each time he said he was blown away by the beauty and synchronization of the dance and music in Shen Yun’s portrayal of the traditional Chinese culture.

“I think it’s one of the most uplifting shows that one can see anywhere in the world and I must admit I’ve been in many, many countries in the world,” Mr. Kilgour said after the Friday night show at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.

“It is phenomenal. The dedication of the dancers, the singers, the choreography, the visuals, the costumes, the music—it’s all there.”

He said he thought last year’s show had reached the peak of excellence—that is, until he saw this year’s show. Shen Yun produces an all-new show each year.

“It’s a show that was better this year than it’s ever been. Last year I thought I wouldn’t be able to say that—how can it get better—but it did. This year’s show is better than last year’s show and I don’t know how it can get any better.”

With a name that roughly translates as “the beauty of divine beings dancing,” the New York-based classical Chinese dance and music company brings together dedicated artists from around the world in order to spur a renaissance of the Middle Kingdom’s 5,000-year-old traditional culture—a culture that was almost destroyed as a result of various destructive communist campaigns, most notably the Cultural Revolution.

As well as story-based dances that depict myths and legends from ancient China, Shen Yun presents a few pieces portraying the peaceful resistance of practitioners of Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, in response to persecution by the communist regime.

Mr. Kilgour is a well-known human rights defender who has worked to end the abuse of Falun Gong practitioners in China. He noted the guiding principles of the spiritual discipline—truthfulness, compassion, forbearance—which are rooted in ancient Chinese culture.

“The values of Falun Dafa, truth, compassion, forbearance for example, are far more consistent with 5,000 years of Chinese history than the Marxism/Leninism of the government there now. The regime in Beijing has imported a terrible man—Karl Marx—and they’ve imposed his philosophy on the people of China and it doesn’t fit at all.”

Using the medium of classical Chinese dance and live orchestral music, Shen Yun captures the very spirit of traditional Chinese culture, bringing ancient stories and historic characters to life on stage.

“It shows the positive side of 5,000 years of Chinese culture, that’s the important thing,” Mr. Kilgour said.

“China’s culture is so rich and so deep, and it’s all in this show, so I hope men and women and young people and children of all ages and all cultures and all backgrounds can see it. I’m so happy that the National Arts Centre here in Ottawa was full tonight, and I gather it’s full for tomorrow and that Canadians are showing an interest.”

Mr. Kilgour held several senior roles while in government including Secretary of State for Asia Pacific. He currently takes up the causes of many disadvantaged groups and travels the world to advocate for human rights.

Reporting by NTD Television and Joan Delaney

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has four touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. Shen Yun’s World Company will perform two more shows in Ottawa before continuing on to Montreal. For more information, visit Shen Yun Performing Arts.

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.

 

via Shen Yun ‘Phenomenal,’ Says Former Secretary of State » The Epoch Times

The Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine

17 December, 2013 at 07:37 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, health | Leave a comment
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By Jingduan Yang, M.D.

Chinese medicine is a complete healing system that first appeared in written form around 100 B.C. Since that time, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam have developed their own distinct versions of the original Chinese system.

Qi (also spelled “chi”) is an essential concept in Chinese medicine. Qi is a form of vital energy that exists both inside and outside the human body. At the root of every function of the human body and the universe around us is a form of qi.

Chinese medicine describes human physiology and psychology in terms of qi, correlating qi with specific mental and physical processes and emotional states. Different kinds of qi commonly referred to in Chinese medicine include blood qi, organ qi, nutrition qi, meridian qi, and pathogenic qi. Pathogenic can enter the body from sources such as wind, dampness, heat, cold, and dryness.

The quality of qi is described in terms of yin and yang. Yin and yang are opposite energies but exist interdependently. Yin qi is defined as cold or cooling energy, and yang qi is defined as hot or warming energy.

To be healthy, a person needs to have a balance of yin and yang because yang needs yin’s nourishment in order to function, and yin needs yang in order to be produced and utilized. Human beings are considered healthy when qi is circulating freely and there is a balanced flow of yin and yang.

When yin qi is deficient, then yang qi is in excess, and symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, restlessness, elevated blood pressure, and constipation can manifest.

When yang qi is deficient, yin qi is in excess, and symptoms such as increased sensation of cold, feelings of fatigue, diarrhea, slow metabolism with water retention, low blood pressure, and psychomotor retardation can occur.

In Chinese, the words for the different emotions are followed by the word “qi.” For example, anger is called “anger qi” and joy is called “joyful qi.” Therefore, when an intervention is made with acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine, it not only aims to affect the physical functions of the body, but also the mental functions and emotions.

Meridians

Qi circulates through energy channels called meridians. The meridians form a web-like system that connects different parts of the body together and supplies qi to every part of the body. Chinese medicine relates each meridian with specific mental, physical, and emotional functions.

In Chinese medicine, mental functions and emotions are not confined to the brain but are viewed as the interaction between the brain and the meridians. Another way of looking at it is that the brain is part of each individual meridian, and each meridian’s health affects the brain.

The lung meridian is associated with grief, and thus people in the grieving process may be more susceptible to upper respiratory infections. The biomedical model might explain this reaction in terms of diminished immune responsiveness due to chronic stress induced by grief. Chinese medicine would characterize the problem as an emotional stressor causing imbalance in the lung meridian, thus causing it to become deficient in qi.

Acupuncture

In the West, one of the most well-known treatment methods of Chinese medicine is acupuncture, which is also one of the oldest treatment methods. Acupuncturists insert extremely thin needles into the body at strategic points in order to rebalance the flow of yin and yang through the meridians

Acupuncture treatments are used alone or integrated with conventional medicine to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain, addiction, and depression.

In Chinese medicine, major depression is seen as the extreme psychiatric manifestation of an excess of yin and a deficiency of yang. Mania is the opposite, being the result of an extreme manifestation of excessive yang and deficient yin.

The abnormal transition between extreme yin and extreme yang is similar to the pattern of cycling in bipolar disorders. Thus, acupuncturists place needles in the body with the goal of rebalancing yin and yang.

Dr. Yang is a board-certified psychiatrist and is a fourth-generation doctor of Chinese medicine. His website is taoinstitute.com

via The Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine

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Chinese Character for Righteousness: Yì 義

28 October, 2013 at 07:40 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, Spirituality | Leave a comment



By Cindy Chan
Epoch Times

義 yì, the Chinese character for righteousness, contains broad inner meaning, encompassing moral values such as justice, honesty, loyalty, and trustworthiness.

When mentioning 義, people might first think of one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature, “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” (三國演義, pronounced sān guó yǎn yì), literally “three kingdoms demonstrate righteousness.”

The novel dramatizes the events and lives of feudal lords and other historical figures of the turbulent era from the late Han Dynasty to the end of the Three Kingdoms Period (A.D. 169–280).

During this epoch, the profound inner meaning of 義, along with other qualities such as wisdom and resourcefulness, was thoroughly demonstrated through the contest of strength among the three dominant states—the Wei, Shu, and Wu.

Through the tales about Zhuge Liang, who exemplified trustworthiness and loyalty to the nation, and anecdotes of Guan Yu’s sense of justice, among numerous other legends, people came to truly understand the essence of 義, how its surface and inner meanings are related, how it manifests at deeper levels, and how it is exhibited in action.

These stories have exerted tremendous influence on the Chinese people for generations.

via Chinese Character for Righteousness: Yì 義 » The Epoch Times

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Chinese Character for Wisdom: Zhì 智

25 October, 2013 at 07:19 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, Spirituality | Leave a comment



By Cindy Chan
Epoch Times

智 zhì is the Chinese character for wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge.

The character consists of three components. On the top left, 矢 shǐ is the radical/character for an arrow or dart, and also refers to an oath or vow. On the top right, 口 kǒu is the radical/character for mouth. Together, they make up the character 知 zhī, to know.

知 (zhī) provides the pronunciation for 智 (zhì). It also conveys the meaning of speaking in an accurate or precise manner, having the knowledge to say what is true.

On the bottom of 智 (zhì) is the radical/character 日 (rì), which means the sun, day, or daytime.

Thus, the combination of 知 and 日 expresses the ability to speak correctly every day, symbolizing a lifetime of wisdom, intelligence, learning, and good judgment.

In Confucian thought, 智 is one of the most fundamental of all virtues and one of the most important qualities of ideal human character, along with 仁 (rén), humaneness or benevolence; 義 (yì), righteousness; 禮 (lǐ), propriety; and 信 (xìn), faithfulness and sincerity.

智仁勇 (zhì rén yǒng), which refers to wisdom, benevolence, and courage, are the three essential attributes of a gentleman as defined by Confucius in an early code of ethics.

Other terms that contain 智 include 智力 (zhì lì), intellect or intellectual power; 智慧 (zhì huì), wisdom, intelligence, or sagacity; 智能 (zhì néng), wisdom and ability; 智謀 (zhì móu), resourcefulness, or intelligence combined with strategy; and 智齒 (zhì chǐ), wisdom tooth.

智勇雙全 (zhì yǒng shuāng quán) describes a person who is both wise and brave.

via Chinese Character for Wisdom: Zhì 智 » The Epoch Times

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The Art of Deep Breathing

28 September, 2013 at 07:32 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Tysan Lerner

Fall is sweeping in fast, and suddenly I find myself feeling a bit sad. The summer is over, my kids are getting older fast, and … Wait, why is that Dove commercial making me cry?

It turns out fall is the season associated with grief, according to Chinese medicine, as well as the season of the lungs.

Everything is interconnected. Even when an organ system is a little out of balance, you will feel it. According to ancient Chinese science, every organ has an associated emotion. For lungs, it’s the emotion of grief, which affects the health of the lungs.

So now that fall winds are sweeping summer away, cleaning up the air with a fresh cool breeze and getting the earth ready for winter, you too can prepare your body. You can clean up your lungs, keeping them healthy and strong by incorporating a deep breathing routine into your life.

When grieving, simply take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, and notice the sun, the trees, and the sky. Soon you’ll find you are no longer choked up.

Deep Breathing

When you breathe deeply, you’ll inevitably bring yourself out of a stress state and into a calm state. To breathe deeply, it is important to use your diaphragm to draw in your breath.

Many people can breathe deeply into their chest, but they are missing out on the calming effects breathing can have when they breathe into their belly and pelvis.

Not only will you be able to strengthen your belly-flattening muscles when you get belly breathing down, but you will also improve hip stability and bring your body into a deep state of calm—deeper than you may have ever experienced.

Belly breathing can be difficult to experience if you haven’t practiced it before. Some people find it while standing, others while lying on their back, and some can’t find it unless they are kneeling on their hands and knees. Choose a position to start exploring your belly breath.

As you inhale, expand your belly out as if it were a balloon puffing up with air. Try to leave your chest muscles out of it. Think of breathing all the way down into the bottom of your pelvis.

As you exhale, squeeze the air out of you as though you were squeezing toothpaste out of a tube. Exhale until all the air is pushed out of your body. At the end of the exhalation, you should feel a tightening of the muscles in your abdomen.

Once you find this breath, try these belly-breathing exercises:

The Elevator. Inhale and expand your navel out. As you exhale, your navel will draw in. Imagine an elevator traveling from your navel to your spine. Draw the navel back six flights, pausing at each flight as you do so. Repeat three sets of 10 repetitions every day.

Belly Breath on All Fours. Kneel on all fours. Keep your hands in line with your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Keep your spine in a neutral position.

Inhale and expand your belly toward the floor, activating your diaphragm. Hold your breath and draw your navel to your spine, pushing all your organs out of the way, activating your transverse abdominis.

Lift your pelvic floor by using the muscles that can stop the flow of urine.

Exhale forcefully as you continue to draw your navel in without rounding your back. Repeat 6 to 10 times.

This autumn, keep your lungs healthy and clean by incorporating a deep-breathing routine into your life.

Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is LavenderMamas.com.

via The Art of Deep Breathing » The Epoch Times

Preparing Ourselves for Autumn

26 September, 2013 at 16:24 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, Food | Leave a comment
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By Tysan Lerner

In China, it was traditionally believed that our bodies are small worlds containing all the elements and energies found in the world around us and fully interconnected with our environment.

According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the different parts of our bodies, just like the earth around us, are made up of the energies of the five elements—metal, wood, water, fire, and earth.

Each organ system is connected with specific elements as well as certain emotions, a color, flavors, and other energetic characteristics. The four seasons and the hours of the day also correspond to different elements.

Because of this, our bodies’ needs change as our environments changes. To maintain harmony in our lives, we need different things when the sun rises and when it sets, and different things during winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Most of us have experienced taking a walk outside during the transition from one season to the next. We smell the difference; we feel the difference.

In autumn, as the days get shorter and the weather cooler, we are reminded that winter is around the corner, and we must prepare for it. Traditionally, we would be stocking up on fuel and food, unpacking our warm-weather clothing, and preparing for the period of winter stillness.

You may have noticed feeling a little sad these days, mourning the end of summer fun. You may notice your hair and skin feeling a little dry, just like the leaves and plants which are also less lustrous as they transition into autumn dryness. You may feel more vulnerable to getting chilled as you feel the rising autumn winds swirling about and cooling the summer air.

If you walk outside in shorts and a T-shirt at the beginning of autumn, break a sweat that opens your pores, and don’t get covered soon, the “autumn wind” can easily enter your system, making you more vulnerable to colds and chills.

To protect yourself from illness during this season, it is time to start preparing your body for the cooler months ahead.

Autumn Eating

The easiest and most practical way to prevent colds, depression, and colon issues such as constipation during the transition into autumn is to eat the foods that are local and in season.

The earth, in its mysterious wisdom, produces foods that warm us during the cold months, just as it produces foods that cool us during the warm months.

Aligning ourselves with the five elements means connecting our choices to the ruling element of the season. Autumn is governed by the metal element, which, when in balance, allows us to be more organized, focused, and productive.

Therefore, how we cook and what we eat should give us the energy to thrive in the cooler season.

Autumn is a time when we want to gradually move away from raw, cooling foods such as smoothies, salads, popsicles, and watermelon and into warming soups. Since it is not winter yet, you can still balance your meals with foods that are light and mucous-reducing, such as shitake mushrooms, white button mushrooms, daikon or red radish, bok choy, and cabbage.

Slow-cooked dishes such as congee (Asian-style rice soup) with some pickled vegetables, miso soup, and bean soups such as chickpea or aduki bean soup with squash are all great autumn meal choices. The preferred meat choice is pork, which, as a white meat, relates to the metal element.

It will also help to include foods that are sour in flavor because these energetically help us pull our thoughts together and ground us. Some suggestions are sauerkraut, pickles, olives, lemons and limes, vinegar, plums, grapefruit, and even tart yogurt and sour dough bread (if you can handle gluten and dairy).

Emotional Cleansing

Autumn relates to grief. If we grieve too much, we can strain our lungs and colon. We must allow ourselves to process grief and let it go. We can release our emotions as we do our breath when we exhale fully.

Pick up your mood by exercising more, breathing deeply every day and at different times throughout the day, and spending quality time with friends or on activities that take you out of sadder emotions and into joy.

Dryness

Just as the leaves on the trees start to dry up and shed, so does our skin and body. If you notice feeling thirstier lately or have dry skin and hair, it may be a reaction to the seasonal change; however, if thirst and dryness are severe or persist, there may be something out of balance in your diet, fitness, or internal health.

Foods that create more moisture in the body are tofu, tempeh, spinach, barley, millet, oysters, crabs, mussels, herring, pork, pesto made with pine nuts, eggs, almond butter, and seaweed. Avoid foods that are too bitter or aromatic.

Activity

For a healthy colon and strong lungs, it is important that you stay active and eat enough fiber. Avoid overeating, eating processed foods, and smoking.

Be sure to stay warm if you exercise outside. You don’t want to “catch wind” as the ancients used to say, referring to the fact that when you sweat, your pores open up and become gateways for pathogens to enter the body, especially during the cooler, windier autumn months. To avoid the flu and yearly colds, dress appropriately.

Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavendermamas.com.

via Preparing Ourselves for Autumn » The Epoch Times

Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine strongly protect us from colds and flu

24 September, 2013 at 07:42 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Melissa Sokulski
http://www.Natrualnews.com

Cold and flu season is upon us. Traditional Chinese Medicine has effective time-tested techniques which boost immunity and protect us from colds or the flu. Points can be needled and herbal formulas can be given to balance the body’s energy, strengthen the body and even speed recovery if one does come down with symptoms.

In Chinese medicine colds and flu are considered to be an external pathogen invading the body. When our body`s energy, or qi, is strong we are able to fight off these pathogens. If our qi is weak we come down with symptoms of cold and flu: headache, chills, fever, body aches, cough, and sore throat.

To keep our qi strong and prevent colds and flu it is important to:

  • Eat a healthy diet full of fresh raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Cut out white and brown sugar, and corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup – all of which lower our immunity.
  • Wash hands frequently with regular soap and water.
  • Get outside in fresh air exposing your face to sunshine. It may be wise to supplement with vitamin D3 this time of year.
  • Receive acupuncture treatments which strengthen the qi and balance energy.
  • Choose herbal medicine, supplements and nourishing food to keep immunity strong.

It is important to make sure all meridians are balanced to keep the energy flowing smoothly and our immunity strong. Immunity relates especially to the earth and metal elements which show up in the pulse as the spleen and lung meridians.

An acupuncturist will often use points such as Stomach 36 to keep the energy strong and Spleen 6 to make sure food is digested properly and nutrients are absorbed and turned into vital energy.

Large Intestine 11 is a powerful immune point. Large Intestine 4 and Triple Warmer 5 are often used to help the body push pathogens out. Lung 7 combined with Large Intestine 4 strengthens the body`s defense against pathogens.

Often the earth and metal points on the back (Bladder 13 and Bladder 20) are needled to harmonize the body`s energy and strengthen immunity.

In terms of herbal medicine:

  • Astragalus is an excellent immune tonic.
  • Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Maitake can boost the immune system especially if compromised.
  • Four Gentlemen Formula is a classic Chinese herb formula to keep the qi strong.
  • Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is a combination of ginseng, astragalus, and other herbs used to strengthen qi.

If someone comes down with symptoms of the flu the treatment switches to formulas which expel the pathogen:

  • Yin Qiao contains cooling detoxifying herbs such as forsythia and honeysuckle. It is used with symptoms of sore throat, headache, and a yellow tongue coat.
  • Gan Mao Ling is used when in the midst of a bad cold or flu especially with head and body aches.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been around for thousands of years successfully treating many disorders including colds and flu.

Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com and republished with permission
Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031540_influenza_Chinese_Medicine.html#ixzz2egYYYn1h

via Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine strongly protect us from colds and flu » The Epoch Times

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Antibiotics are Proven Ineffective for Coughs; Try Chinese Medicine and Herbs Instead

21 September, 2013 at 17:35 | Posted in Body & Mind, Chinese culture, Food | Leave a comment
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By D.J. Heyes
http://www.Naturalnews.com

As more research is done regarding so-called “non-traditional” healthcare, doctors and scientists are rediscovering “old” treatments that are increasingly supplanting today’s standard treatments for a number of conditions.

That includes coughs that often accompany the flu or mild chest infections, according to a recently published study in the journal Lancet.

About 2,000 patients from across 12 European countries were tasked with keeping an “illness journal,” the BBC reports. Researchers from the University of Southampton, led by Prof. Paul Little, found that the severity and duration of symptoms in those who were treated with antibiotics were no different than those who took a placebo (experts did say; however, that if pneumonia was suspected, patients should still be treated with antibiotics because of the severity of the condition).

Antibiotic effectiveness has been reduced because of over-prescribing

“Using the antibiotic amoxicillin to treat respiratory infections in patients not suspected of having pneumonia is not likely to help and could be harmful,” Little said.

“Overuse of antibiotics, dominated by primary care prescribing, particularly when they are ineffective, can lead to the development of resistance and have side effects like diarrhea, rash and vomiting,” Little continued. “Our results show that people get better on their own. But given that a small number of patients will benefit from antibiotics the challenge remains to identify these individuals.”

Earlier research into whether antibiotics were actually beneficial in the treatment of chest infections that included symptoms of weakness, high fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and coughing, produced conflicting conclusions, especially in older adults where chest infections have the potential of causing additional complications.

Researchers randomly assigned and divided patients into two groups – one that received an antibiotic for their cough and one that received a placebo – three times daily for seven days.

The study found little measurable difference in the severity and duration of symptoms that were reported from each patient group. Similar findings occurred in older patients as well – those who were aged 60 or older, a demographic that accounted for one-third of the entire study population.

Additionally, those who took antibiotics reported having more side effects, including nausea, rash and diarrhea, compared to those taking the placebo.

The study is particularly important, given the growing human resistance to antibiotics being seen all around the globe.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to treating mild forms of chest infections and cough, and it’s a treatment that has been around for centuries.

“Traditional Chinese medicine is especially effective in the treatment of coughs because of its careful differentiation of the various types,” write Bill Schoenbart and Ellen Shefi for Discovery Health.

For instance, they note, coughs due to heat produce a sticky phlegm that’s difficult to expectorate, so it is treated with cooling, moistening herbs and acupuncture directed at specific points on the body which clear heat from the lungs.

By comparison, “cough due to cold is accompanied by chills and copious mucus; it is treated with warming, drying herbs and the application of moxibustion,” a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using moxa, or mugwort herb, they wrote.

Here are two more treatment options for cough:

– Treating a dryness cough caused by wind: Usually contracted due to overexposure to a dry environment, symptoms are a dry, non-productive cough accompanied by a sore throat with a ticklish sensation. The focus is to repel the dryness; a typical formula includes Sang Xing Tang (pronounced sahng shing tahng), which helps moisten the lungs and repel the “dryness pernicious influence,” Schoenbart and Shefi said. The treatment should be accompanied by a diet of soups and plenty of liquids, and follow-up treatment should include American ginseng daily for two weeks.

– General acupuncture therapy: Acupuncture therapy in general is an ideal way to treat coughs from a number of causes. “Needling a point on the Conception Vessel meridian (an extra meridian) just above the sternum can quickly calm a cough and assist breathing. Moxa therapy is used typically in the cold, damp type of cough, since there is a need for warmth in that pattern,” Schoenbart and Shefi wrote.

Most Americans tend to use over-the-counter elixirs to treat coughs, but many of them prove ineffective. Chinese therapies can help.

Originally published by http://www.naturalnews.com and republished with permission.  

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038582_antibiotics_Chinese_medicine_coughs.html#ixzz2egLf7cRL

via Antibiotics are Proven Ineffective for Coughs; Try Chinese Medicine and Herbs Instead » The Epoch Times

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Chinese Idiom: To Bite the Hand That Feeds You 忘恩負義

15 September, 2013 at 15:55 | Posted in Chinese culture | Leave a comment
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By Lilly Choo
Epoch Times

Wàng Ēn Fù Yì

The idiom wàng ēn fù yì can be translated as “to bite the hand that feeds you.” Literally, it means to “forget favors and betray justice.”

In Volume 76 of the Book of the Former Han(1), there is a story about Zhang Chang(2), a distinguished scholar and a governor for Emperor Xuan of the Western Han Dynasty, that illustrates this idiom.

After implementing many policies that reduced crime and rebellion in the Shandong region, Zhang Chang was made governor of the Metropolitan District, and he participated in all the state councils.

Emperor Xuan was very fond of Zhang, not only because he had succeeded in bringing peace to citizens in many areas, but also because his advice was often based on his vast knowledge of history.

Zhang Chang had a friend named Yang Yun who was very arrogant and often made negative comments about the emperor’s rule. One day, Yang severely criticized Emperor Xuan and was sentenced to death.

In those times, relatives and friends of convicted people were also affected, more or less, and sometimes lost their positions.

One day, Zhang Chang asked one of his assistants, Xu Shun, to investigate a robbery. Thinking Zhang might soon lose his position, Xu refused to do the task and returned home to sleep.

Xu Shun told others: “I’ve worked for Governor Zhang for years. Now he’s in trouble. Within five days, he will no longer be the governor of the district. Why should I listen to him?”

Hearing this, Zhang Chang was so angry and hurt that he killed Xu Shun. Many debated whether the punishment was too heavy for the crime.

Xu Shun’s relatives appealed to Emperor Xuan and asked that Zhang Chang be sentenced to death for killing Xu Shun. The emperor had no choice but to punish Zhang and, so, dismissed him from office.

A few months after Zhang stepped down, the district was again in chaos. No one knew how to bring peace back to the area. Emperor Xuan sent a messenger to Zhang Chang asking him to return and be reinstated.

On the way to the palace, Zhang wrote a letter to the emperor clarifying the incident. He described how he had always been very kind to Xu Shun and had promoted him, yet Xu turned his back on him because he thought Zhang might be in trouble. He wrote how Xu also spread rumors about it.

Because Xu Shun had betrayed the person that was kind to him, or bit the hand that fed him, Zhang said he killed Xu as an example in order to stop that kind of behavior.

Zhang Chang put an end to the chaos and the district was at peace once again.

The words Zhang Chang used to describe Xu Shun’s behavior, “bite the hand that feeds you” became an idiom widely used later to describe ungrateful people.

Note:

  1. The “Book of the Former Han,”also known as “History of the Former Han,” is a classical Chinese history, which covers the Western Han from 202 B.C.–A.D. 9. It was finished in A.D. 111, mainly by the Ban family of scholars. Another classic Chinese historical text about the Han Dynasty is “The Book of the Later Han,” which was written by Fan Ye and covers the Eastern Han period from A.D. 25–220.
  2. Zhang Chang was a distinguished scholar, and a governor and advisor for Emperor Xuan of Han. It was not recorded when he was born, but he died in 48 B.C.

via Chinese Idiom: To Bite the Hand That Feeds You 忘恩負義 » The Epoch Times

Bollywood Actress After Seeing Shen Yun: ‘I shall remember this forever’

4 May, 2013 at 07:47 | Posted in Chinese culture, Shen Yun | Leave a comment
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By Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Bollywood actress and film producer Kalpana Pandit said Shen Yun Performing Arts was unreal.

“I would say it’s one of the best, musical, spiritual, precision dance pieces I’ve seen in the world,” she said after the performance at Lincoln Center on April 28. “I shall remember this forever.”

Ms. Pandit, an emergency physician-turned-actress, was the leading actress in Panithuli and starred in Janleva 555, as well as appearing in a range of other films, music videos, and television commercials. She was in New York to judge a Bollywood dance competition and ended up experiencing Shen Yun.

Shen Yun is a New York-based performance company that aims to revive the divinely-inspired, 5,000 years of traditional Chinese culture.

Ms. Pandit said the “depth of this beautiful culture” has very deep meaning, especially in today’s world.

“I feel that lack of spirituality is causing a lot of today’s problems with the youth,” she said. “There’s no grounding, because they have no concept of what to hang onto in order to satisfy the soul.”

“I think the deep spirituality which you see in shows like this, it awakens something, and I hope that these kind of shows will help people to explore what it is,” Ms. Pandit added.

Shen Yun presents in some of its dance pieces realms of paradise and the heavens, transporting the audience through the colors of the costumes, the divine nature of the dancing, and the digital backdrops that utilize patented technology.

The performance evoked contemplation from Ms. Pandit.

“There is something that pulls you deep inside, it gives you that sense of belonging to the earth,” she said. “That’s what I felt, especially when they showed all the heavens and the earth, the connection.”

“I aspire that this show touches every corner of the world so that everybody sees it,” she said. “I would love for it to go to India one day and for the people for India to see. This is gorgeous; it is perfect. I aspire that other shows can come up to this level.”

Spiritual Depth of Chinese Culture and Shen Yun

The long Chinese history formed on the three main faiths of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.

“Under the influence of these faiths, Chinese culture has spawned a rich and profound system of values,” explains Shen Yun’s website. “The concepts of ‘man and nature must be in balance,’ ‘respect the heavens to know one’s destiny,’ and the five cardinal virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness (ren yi li zhi xin) are all products of these three religions’ teachings.”

Classical Chinese dance is at the heart of a Shen Yun performance, accentuated by handmade costumes, digital backdrops, and an orchestra that melds both classical Western and Chinese instruments.

Yet there is much more to Shen Yun than what’s on the surface.

“Digging deeper, one discovers a sea of traditional Chinese culture. Mortals and divine beings merge on stage as one,” says the Shen Yun website. Furthermore, the range of principles and virtues from Chinese culture “come to life” through the performance, “washing over the audience.”

Ms. Pandit said: “I’m going to recommend this to all my friends, because it’s something that is obviously thousands and thousands of years old. That traditional culture comes through because of that ancient art form.”

Reporting by NTD Television, Ivan Pentchoukov, and Zachary Stieber

New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts has three touring companies that perform simultaneously around the world. The next performances in the northeastern United States are in Philadelphia May 3-5. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org

The Epoch Times considers Shen Yun Performing Arts the significant cultural event of our time. We have proudly covered audience reactions since Shen Yun’s inception in 2006.

via Bollywood Actress After Seeing Shen Yun: ‘I shall remember this forever’ » The Epoch Times

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