Daoism ~ 道教
"Life itself is the ultimate reward - the most precious gift"
am a Daoist 道教徒 (dào jiào tú), and read from the Dao De Jing 道德经 daily. It was written by Lao Zi 老子, about the 5th century BC but its true beginnings are shrouded in mystery and legend. It is composed of 81 succinct chapters which illuminate deep and profound truths. Daoists follow the natural flow of life, accepting, not confronting. Do not meet a wave head on. It is easier to redirect force than to stop it.
Practicing Gong Fu at the Temple of Supreme Purity
A 1,000 Year Old Daoist Temple at Mount Lao, China
← Prayer Ribbons from The Jade Buddha Temple, Shanghai →
South Heavenly Guan Yin Buddha
nán mó tiān bēi guān shì yīn pú sà
Praying and Thinking Merit Courtesy
qí dăo xīn xiăng shì chéng gōng dé zhŭ xiàng lĭ gòng fèng
Daoist Festivals (道教节)
Fú Lù Shòu Xīng (福禄寿星) The Three Daoist Stars
Fú Lü Shòu
Fú (Happiness, Joy) ~ It is said that Fú helped secure the rights of 'little people' in a high court. He usually wears the blue robe and winged hat of a court official and is shown with a scroll and/or carrying a child. During his time there was a ruthless Emperor with a huge inferiority complex who would send court officials out into the countryside and kidnap children and dwarfs to make them slaves in his palace. This would allow the Emperor to seem bigger than life to all those around him. Fú presented a petition to the Emperor and swayed the Emperor to change his ways and release the little people. Fú is therefore credited with saving children from abuse.
Fú is also identified with the auspicious planet, Jupiter, and is displayed in his symbolic form as a Red Bat. Red Bats
are the most auspicious of all Chinese symbols. In Chinese 'Red Bat' is called Hóng Biān Fú (红蝙蝠)
Lù (Prosperity, Rank, & Influence) ~ Lù wears the hat and clothing of a Mandarin (or state bureaucrat & scholar). He carries the scepter of the State Treasurer and may also be seen holding gold bullion (cast in the shape of a hat) or standing on a pile of gold coins. The Lù Star is repesented by Ursa Majoris.
Shòu (Life, Longevity) ~ Shòu is seen with a large bulbous bald head and sporting a long white beard and always carries a peach and uses a peach wood staff. He was said to have been in the womb for 10 years and was born an old man. Shòu lived a very long life and therefore represents Longevity. The peach he carries is also a Chinese symbol of prosperity. The Shòu Star is represented by the white star Canopus, the second brightest star in the southern hemisphere.
Fú Lù Shòu (福禄寿) ~ Chinese Circular Characters
Fú dào le (福倒了) 'Happiness Approaches'
he symbol Fú (Happiness, Joy) is a ubiquitous symbol, seen everywhere Chinese is spoken, no matter what country or dialect. It is the only symbol that can also be written upside-down, usually over an entrance doorway or sometimes on the entrance door itself. Written in this manner it is pronounced, "Fú dào le"
, and it means 'Happiness Approaches'
. It is said the history of this custom goes back to the 9th century but it's also a clever play on words. In Chinese, the words for 'upside-down' and 'approaches' are written differently but they sound exactly
the same, "dào" (倒). So the literal translation is 'Fú upside-down'.
Bā Xiān (八仙) ~ Eight Immortals
he Eight Immortals first appeared in Chinese literature about the 12th century. They each have amazing powers to create or destroy and are considered to be signs of longevity and prosperity. Several martial art and meditation styles are derived from their teachings. They live on a group of five mountainous islands in the South Bohai Sea near Penglai. The Eight Immortals are still an extremely popular theme throughout China and several movies have even been made about them.
The Eight Immortals are:
He Xian'gu, Cao Guojiu, Li Tieguai, Lan Caihe
Lü Dongbin, Han Xiangzi, Zhang Guolao, Zhongli Quan
Guan Yin ~ 观音
n Daoist beliefs Guan Yin
, a.k.a. The Goddess of Mercy
, is considered to be a Spiritual Immortal
who listens to the suffering of the world. As such she can take on any form, male or female, young or old, or even a non-human form in order to spread compassion and ease suffering. Who among us does not have need for a little mercy and compassion in our lives? Her full name is Guān shì yīn (观世音)
, which literally means Perceiving World Sounds
. Guan Yin's pose shown here in this brass figurine is typical, with one hand resting upon a raised knee. She sits serenely upon a Lotus Blossom and holds a vial of magic water known as The Dew of Compassion
which has the ability to remove suffering, lengthen life, and purify the mind & body. The Lotus Blossom
is pure white and grows out of the darkest mud, thus it represents the purity that arises from human chaos and suffering. The flower can be up to 8 inches wide and the plant can be up to 3 meters wide! A single plant can live to over a thousand years! Throughout Eastern Asia there are many temples and parks dedicated to Guan Yin. It is very common for Daoists to wear a jade carving of her around their necks.
here are many stories from different cultures that describe the adventures of Guan Yin, her good deeds, and how she came to be.
Shiva Nataraja (Hindu God)
am also fascinated by the Hindu God of All Gods
. Shiva dances the universe into existence in a wild outward celebration but with an inner tranquility and calm expression. Shiva dances within a universe of cosmic fire symbolizing the endless cycle of creation & transformation. Shiva wears two earrings, one female & one male. Snakes, representing egotism and evil, are thrown off from Shiva's whirling hair in the dance. Shiva's four arms represent the four cardinal directions. One hand holds a flame which destroys and in another hand creation is sparked by vibrations from a special drum. One hand peacefully gestures forward assuring us to "Be Without Fear
" and one hands points to Shiva's upraised dancing leg which symbolizes Hope. Shiva dances on top of the Demon of Human Ignorance
here are many analogies between Shiva's dance, Daoism, and Quantum Physics. One of my favorite books, The Tao of Physics (1975) by Fritjof Capra explores these similarities in great detail.
SPECIAL NOTE: In front of the CERN Super-Collider in Switzerland is a 2-meter high bronze statue of Dancing Shiva, presented to CERN by the Atomic Energy Department of India.
On the sculpture at CERN is this quote from an 8th century Hindu Hymn:
"O Omnipresent, the embodiment of all virtues, the creator of this cosmic universe,
the king of dancers, who dances the Ananda Tandava in the twilight, I salute thee."
Chinese Zodiac 生肖 (shēng xiào)
The Chinese Lunar Zodiac repeats every 12 years. Associated with each year are 5 Earthly Branches: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Wood. A complete cycle repeats every 60 years (12 x 5).
1 老鼠 Rat (lăo shŭ) (2020)|
2 牛 Ox (niú) (2021)
3 虎 Tiger (hŭ) (2022)
4 兔 Rabbit (tù) (2023)
5 龙 Dragon (lóng) (2024)
6 蛇 Snake (shé) (2025)
7 马 Horse (mă) (2026)|
8 羊 Sheep (yáng) (2027)
9 猴 Monkey (hóu) (2028)
10 公鸡 Rooster (gōng jī) (2029)
11 狗 Dog (gŏu) (2030)
12 猪 Pig (zhū) (2031)(2019)