Religion & Other Beliefs

The Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra is a a part of the religion known as Buddhism. These sutras were dictated by the Buddha himself and have been passed down for generations. The Diamond Sutra received its name from the Buddha himself because he said “Its teachings will cut like a diamond blade through worldly illusion to illuminate what is real and everlasting.” Click here for more information.

For more information on the religion of Buddhism, click here.

Confucian Ideals

Confucian ideals are quite common in China, but there were specific ideals that women adhered to. These ideals were the Three Obediences and the Four Virtues. Click here to learn more.

The Four Virtues: The Three Obediences:
妇德: morality 未嫁从父: obey her father as a daughter
妇言: proper speech 既嫁从夫 : obey her husband as a wife
妇容: modest manner 夫死从子: obey her sons in widowhood

妇功: diligent work

Divination

Divination is about supernatural techniques for obtaining information about the unknown, including events that will occur in the future. The Chinese were a very superstitious people, and they would use divination in all aspects of their lives. Some examples are to predict a time when to marry off children, when to bind the feet of a child, and where to bury a body. Click here and here to learn more.

Jade Emperor

According to Chinese folk culture, the Jade Emperor is the most important and supreme God. The Jade Emperor is Ruler of all Heavens, Earth and Hell, and Creator of the Universe. He was given many titles because he used his powers to better mankind. The Jade Emperor is also associated with the Chinese Zodiac, which was a race between animals to measure time.

Before the Chinese New Year, the Jade Emperor sends out the Kitchen God to perform inspections on each household’s doing over the year. He would then either reward or punish them. So every Chinese New Year, the Jade Emperor is worshiped and given food offerings.

Click here to learn more about the background of the Jade Emperor.

Click here to read about the history of the Jade Emperor.

Click here to read a story about the Jade Emperor and the twelve animals in Chinese astrology.

Guanyin Goddess

To the Chinese community, the Guanyin Goddess is also known as the Goddess of Mercy. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “Observing the Cries of the World.” Originally, Guanyin was depicted as a male. He would wear chest-revealing clothes and would sometimes have a mustache. Guanyin is now more often depicted as a woman. Some believe Guanyin is both a man and a woman. It is believed that Guanyin has the supernatural power to take any form. Click here to learn more about the Guanyin Goddess.

The Guanyin Goddess has many legends associated with her, one of which is known as “Guanyin and the Thousand Arms.” According to this Buddhist legend, Guanyin vowed to never rest until she had freed all beings from reincarnation. With her hard work, she soon realizes that there are still too many unhappy beings yet to be saved. Unable to comprehend the needs of so many people, Guanyin’s head split. Amitabha, a celestial Buddha, saw Guanyin’s struggle and gave her eleven heads so Guanyin can better hear the cries of the suffering. In attempt to help all the ones that needed her, Guanyin’s two arms shattered. Amitabha again aided Guanyin and gave her a thousand arms to aid the many people that needed Guanyin’s help.

Chinese Five Poisons

In Chinese culture, the fifth day of the fifth summer was known as “The Double Five.” It marked the beginning of summer, which meant the presence of dangerous animals and insects, the spread of infectious diseases, and the appearance of evil spirits. The most common way to be protected from the Five Poisons was to wear a charm. There are many different forms of this charm, like the one depicted above. Each charm displays the members of the Five Poisons which are centipedes, toads, scorpions, snakes, lizards, and often the spider as well.

Click here to learn more.

Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang embody the two opposite principles in nature. Yin symbolizes the feminine or negative nature while yang symbolizes the masculine or positive nature. Yin and Yang are always represented in relationship pairs such as the moon and sun. Yin and Yang are both part of nature. They are opposite, yet cannot exist without each other; there must be a balance.

“This Symbol (Yin-Yang) represents the ancient Chinese understanding of how things work. The outer circle represents “everything”, while the black and white shapes within the circle represent the interaction of two energies, called “yin” (black) and “yang” (white), which cause everything to happen. They are not completely black or white, just as things in life are not completely black or white, and they cannot exist without each other” (Kaleidoscope) .

Click here to learn philosophy and theory of Yin and Yang.

Click here to read about the history of Yin and Yang.

Chinese Calender

The Chinese Calender is of the longitude of both the sun and the lunar cycle. The Chinese depended heavily on astronomy in order to keep track of not just time but also traditions. It also helped diviners determine dates for weddings and foot binding. Click here to learn more.

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