February 2, 2010

The Spread of Chinese Tea Culture to Japan and Korea

tea

Along with many other cultures (including worshiping ancestors), the culture of Chinese Tea spread to Japan, Korea and also the rest of the world.


Traditionally, China had been the source of culture for Japan and Korea. Besides, Chinese tea, Japan and Korea absorbed many other material and spiritual arts from China too. Japanese and Korean students studying in china were the first to be introduced to this Chinese culture.


It was in 593 AD, during the reign of Emperor Wendi of the Sui Dynasty (581-601AD), that China introduced teat to Japan together with other cultures, art including Buddhism.


In 804AD, some of the monks of the Japanese sect of Buddhism (Japanese Tiantai Sect of Buddhism) came to China to learn. It was during the reign of the Emperor Dezong of the Tang Dynasty. The next year, they returned to Japan with Buddhist scriptures including Chinese Tea seeds, which were planted on the mountains of Japan.


They learnt how to use stone mortar to process the tea, as well as the skills of processing tea by steaming, pounding and roasting. Soon, the Japanese were encouraged to drink tea like the Chinese people of the Tang Dynasty.


They boiled cake tea, and added condiments such as sweet kudzu vines and ginger. However, due to the limited supply of tea, only the rich and Japanese of royalty, including the Buddhist monks had the privilege of drinking tea.


During the reign of Emperor Hirayasu, there was almost no contract between Japan and China. This was during the 200 years from the Five Dynasties (907 – 960AD) to the Song and Liao Dynasties. Tea drinking soon became extinct.


It was not until the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279AD) that a Japanese monk called Eisai reintroduced tea to Japan. He studied in China at the age of 21. In his explorations in Mingzhou Prefecture, Zhejiang Province, he traveled through mountains and visited many temples. Tea drinking in China was very prevalent then, and he immersed himself in the Chinese tea culture as he lived in China for 24 years. He learnt the skills and art of Chinese tea.


After Eisai returned to Japan, he planted tea trees and wrote the book, “Health Preserving by Drinking Tea” which incorporated many of the principles of Tea Culture by Lu Yu in his book, “The Book of Tea”. Eisai became known as the founder of the art of Japanese Tea.


During the Yuan (1271-1368AD) and Ming (1368-1644AD) dynasties, Japanese monks continued to come to China. They continued to master tea drinking skills from the Buddhist monks and scholars, and later created a Japanese branch of Tea art. They improved on the Chinese tea art and also refined the skills of planting, producing and drinking tea.


As for Korea, tea was introduced from China to Korea from 632-646AD. It was found on a tablet inscription for Zhenjian, a prominent Korean monk (755-850AD), written “If Chinese Tea is received again, put it into a stone pot and boil it with firewood.”


Later tea drinking became a temple ceremony initiated in Korean temples. The Koreans were particular about the source of good water for the process of making Tea. They paid attention to the art and the quality of water used.


In 828AD, during the reign of Emperor Wenzong of the Tang Dynasty, a Korean envoy to China, brougt back with him Tea seeds from China to Korea. From then on, the Koreans began to plant and produce tea.


Presently, Korea produce more than 1.5 million kilograms of tea annually in over 1334 hectares of major tea plantations.


Author:

Though tea drinking was culturally Chinese, the tradition of this drink had spread far and wide. Earlier in the introduction, you can see that tea drinking was largely combined with spiritual arts. Tea was introduced in the temples, drank by monks (besides the rich and royalty), and taught in Buddhist teachings. However, it is my conclusion that the act of drinking Chinese tea (including Japanese and Korean tea), is not spiritual at all and has no effect on the spiritual life of a person.


So whether you are a Christian or not, drinking tea as a health drink, recreation drink or just quenching your thirst is most enjoyable.

December 13, 2009

Chinatowns in Adelaide and Canberra

Adelaide Chinatown

Chinatown, Adelaide

canberra chinatown

Chinatown, Canberra


Having just returned from Adelaide and Canberra, both in Australia, I was awe-struck by the far reaching tenacity of the Chinese people for survival. In all my travels, it is interesting to note that there do exist many Chinatowns in most major cities, but a vastly lack of Indiantowns, or Malaytowns, or other “ethnic-towns”. Maybe, it is the intrepid spirit of migrants coming from several thousand years of the Chinese Diaspora that has caused the establishment of the Chinatowns.


On this trip, I took it upon myself to interact with some of the Chinese residents in Adelaide and Canberra, and found them to possess the same laudable hard-working qualities, as compared with the other original settlers. For example, it is unheard of that the Aussies would keep their shops opened after 6pm, but the Chinese shopkeepers seem to come alive after dark! The territorial borders of these Chinatowns seems to create such a citadel of the Chinese habits and cultures, regardless of whether they are good or bad.


On one hand, it was heart-warming to hear familiar languages such as Cantonese and Mandarin clattering away, and the clanging of chopsticks and soup bowls in a foreign land. On the other, it was unwelcoming to sight the all too familiar kitchen gods, and other little gods (known to be protector and consecrator of their premises), standing staunchly or rather sitting immovable near the doorway.


I would hope to see in the near future of the purposeful migration of Chinese, not so much from the economic lean, but from the necessity-of-preaching-the-gospel perspective, permeating from the love of God abroad our hearts. It had been found that the hearts of Chinese people would be more open to a logical salvation message spiced by the anointing of the Holy Spirit when they are in strange surroundings. Surely, it is about time for Chinese in Chinatowns to leave the old practice of ancestor worship behind: back to their ancestors, and to embrace a new life, an abundant life, a purposeful life and a fulfilled life albeit in a new land.


July 1, 2009

Danger of Yoga practicing toward Christians ?!!

yoga

The following was sent as an email to me:

Please read it with an open mind and deduce it yourself:

ORIGINAL MESSAGE
Please read testimony below about yoga.


HI friends, On Wednesday, I attended a talk by an ex-yoga teacher, Mdm Poh Shon Choy, who sold her yoga centre (earning lots of money giving yoga lessons) and severed all ties with yoga. She urges us to inform relatives, friends, Family members, etc., NOT to get involved at all.


For those who had taken up yoga lessons (hot yoga, power yoga, so on), repent and ask God for forgiveness.


Many claimed that they only join to keep fit, only Doing the exercise poses and not meditation.


Christians think it is ok so long as they don't participate in the
Meditation part. Mdm Choy explains that the central of Yoga (originated from Hinduism) is the spirit of Kundalini (spirit Of snake or cobra).


Yoga poses are actually animal poses (e.g. camel, rabbit,).
All these look very normal and harmless, stretching and exercising. But the danger is, once a person does such poses, the spirit of Kundalini (the snake is in a coiled position) is stimulated or aroused.

As the persons goes from basic to intermediate to advance stage of yoga lessons (still not meditation yet), the coiled "snake" will be aroused further. It will rise and rise further.


There are 7 centres in the human body - Starting from the navel. The final centre is the part between the eye brows (known to many as the third eye). When the spirit is aroused to the final centre, the third eye will be opened. This is called the full enlightenment. The first thing the person sees is demons. For some, they will become insane seeing such horrifying demons. For others, they are not afraid And will have the power to fore-tell other people's health, problems, luck, etc (like a fortune teller). In fact, they manipulate and control other people. The meditation part will come in very subtle.

Mdm Choy said she was approached by a couple who found Her contact from the yellow pages and told her they wanted To teach her new things about yoga. She was very keen and Sat under their teaching.

She learnt how to meditate and it must be done in odd hours of the day (past midnight). So she tried. She actually felt a wriggling feeling in her stomach!


She also mentioned that her third eye was opened. She could see her own aura (electric fields in all human beings).
Her turning point came when God caused her spiritual eyes to open she witnessed a lady being delivered, wriggling Like a snake on the floor.

Mdm Choy thanked God for being gracious to her, she took 1-2 weeks to be delivered. She knows of a lady who took 3 months to be cleansed!!


It is a sad thing, there is even yoga lessons For children. In the States, a Methodist started the Christian yoga.


However, there are some believers who still continue, Saying that they find no harm after doing yoga for 3 years.
Mdm Choy says it is our soul that is in danger. The evil one will try all ways to ensnare/trap Christians.


Someone in the class raised a question - if we have The Holy Spirit, how can the spirit of kundalini be aroused?
Mdm Choy replied our God is a holy God, the Holy Spirit will be grieved and will depart. God cannot be mocked. God's spirit left King Saul when he disobeyed God. To God, rebellion spirit is witchcraft.


We are not against yoga teachers, yoga students but we are fighting against powers, principalities in the Spiritual realm.
Let's be on guard, be aware!

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June 23, 2009

Filial Piety vs Honour

ancestor-painting

Ps Ivan gave an excellent teaching concerning the difference between “Filial piety” towards our ancestors and parents and “Honouring” them.


Why didn’t God tell His people to have Filial Piety towards their ancestors?


Why did God insist that His people must Honour their parents, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament?


Do you know that the 5th Commandment in the “Ten Commandments” given to Moses is the only commandment listed in its entirety for those under the Old Covenant (or Testament) as well as under the New Covenant (or Testament).


This 5th Commandment is to “Honour your father and mother”.

Exo 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Deu 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Mat 15:4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.


Mat 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


Eph 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)


Ivan went into the Chinese character of the root word for “filial piety” as “to obey the parent in everything!” even though the desire of the parent may be bad or wrong! You wouldn’t want to do that if your parent is morally wrong and his actions would be detrimental to you.


On the other hand, the Chinese character of the root word for “honour” is to “show utmost respect and to esteem them highly

This is what we want to show to our parents and ancestors – to esteem them with great respect when they are alive and to remember and speak of their good deeds when they have died. This is true honour.


Let’s forsake ancestor worship and truly honour them as instructed by the Word.


May 25, 2009

A wedding in the afterworld

minghun


This report came out in The Star newspaper page N38, on the 25th May 2009.


A SPECIAL “wedding ceremony” was held in Segamat on Saturday. Both the bridegroom and bride were dead.

The 19-year-old youth died in a car accident but had “told” his family members that he had met his dream girl, China Press reported.

The bridegroom, who passed away in 1996 met his bride, who died from a sickness in 1973 when she was 18, during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

He had told his family members of his wish to marry through a medium in Segamat last year but the family did not take it seriously.

However, the man’s mother felt uneasy and decided to see the medium again last month.

Finally, the family approved of the marriage and the “wedding ceremony” was held.

The medium, who represented the bride, underwent a Chinese traditional wedding ceremony including serving tea to the elders of the family. The bridegroom was represented by his brother.


You can also view this story on line here:

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/5/25/nation/3974722&sec=nation


In the book, “Exposing Chinese Ancestor Worship” on page 25, i mentioned that this practice is actually called “minghun” or afterlife marriage. This practice was banned during the era of Chairman Mao Tse Tung when Communism was in full force. Subsequently, China has become liberalized and the government has allowed their citizens to pursue most of their religious activities as long as it is apolitical.


The root of this practice comes from ancestor worship.


In the quest for commercial gain, the Taoist priests have embarked on riding on the superstition of many Chinese people. By showing overt concern for the dead, fears of retaliation from the afterlife were heaped on the naive Chinese people. Most will fall for this ruse of wanting to provide adequately for the dead, including providing a bride or bridegroom for them in the afterlife.


In the end, the priests have mixed into ancestor worship, some acts of spiritism, by calling on the dead, and hoping into a pretentious trance. In the desire to convince the living to part with their money, elaborate “scammish” designs have to paid for, and in the end, the only benefactors were the priests.


As a Christian, we should have no involvement in the afterlife for it has been already clearly stated in Deuteronomy:


Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or a fortune-teller, or a witch,
Deu 18:11 or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who calls to the dead.
Deu 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination to Jehovah.


May God show us greater wisdom and discernment.


March 4, 2009

Traditional Tea Ceremony to Ancestors

tea ceremony


There were several questions asked about the traditional tea ceremony for the ancestors during occasions such as Cheng Beng (All Soul’s Day), Wedding Day, Chinese New Year Day, and other festivities. In order to answer everyone all the time, I have decided to release the following article.


Question: When we perform the traditional tea ceremony for the wedding (pouring out tea to each our parents, family, etc) or other auspicious occasion, we were asked to pour some for our dead ancestors as well. I see this as a form of worship, while others think it's merely respect. In your opinion, what is the correct thing to do here?


Answer:


The living parents deserve to drink tea that we offer to them. When they drink of our tea, that shows that they receive our respect and appreciation of them. It is a living relationship - where we give respect, and they receive respect.



My question: Can the dead drink of the tea? How do we show respect if they cannot appreciate it? The Bible talks about a separation of the dead and the living. So the tea ceremony to the dead ancestors is only a put-on show to satisfy the bystanders who are always ready to pass judgement (whether good or bad). If you do so, they say you are filial. If you don't they say you are not. The dead ancestors has no say at all - in this matter !! So it does not matter to them at all.



There are many ways to show respect to our dead ancestors.


How about:



a. standing at attention with the head slightly bowed, and observing silence for 3 minutes, before their photos (not their altars). I suggest 3 minutes because most critics cannot keep quiet for that long. Bystanders have to observe that silence too, if not they are not respectful !



b. Placing of nice flowers before the photos of the dead ancestors (again not at their altars/tablets) for we do the same for friends and relatives when they are unwell, or when we visit them socially.



Think of other creative ways to show respect that will not be misconstrued as worship.



Remember, if you are in the temple praying to the idols, pouring out of tea in a ceremony is considered worshiping them. 1 Cor 10:21 warns about partaking of the fellowship between the spirits and us.



God bless,
Ps Steven Wong


March 3, 2009

Traditional Lion Dance

lion dance north

lion dance south


During the Chinese New Year 2009 celebration, we saw an increase in the invitations for Chinese Associations to display their Lion Dance Troupes’ prowess at homes, business premises, and offices – more so for the superstitious good luck for the year to come. Inside the lion dance costume will be two persons following a certain fixed pattern of movements largely governed by the legs and hands. The normal music that provides the timing for the dance would be the large floor drum, the two cymbals and a metal gong.


There are basically two types of Lions used, the Northern and the Southern type. The Northern Lion Dance is more for showmanship with the use of aids such as balls etc., while the 'Southern Lion Dance requires some measure of kung fu skills.


The Lion comprises of a head and a body. The head is made from rice paper and decorative ornaments and held together by bamboo stripes. The best lion heads are the lightest and most decorative. The body, on the other hand, is made from silk cloth and other bells and whistles that are sewn onto the material. You can read more about the intricacies of the symbolic details of the Lion Dance. It is not the intention of this article to venture researching into the details.


During my younger days, I was involved in Chinese Kung Fu (Hung Gar Fist Kung Fu), which is a branch of kung fu originating from south China. As part of our training we were to be involved in performing the Lion Dance during auspicious occasions and also for competitions in attempts to win the pride for the association. The lion dance was central to the association’s indoor and outdoor activities and only the very skilled could be the one bearing the head of the Lion. The trainee was often the body bearer who is responsible to flap the cloth signifying the life of the lion.



Once I was in the skilled circle (inner group) who could man-handle the lion’s head, I was brought to a deeper knowledge about this Traditional Lion Dance. Do you know that historically the Lion Dance was used by ancient Buddhist adherents to exorcise demons out of people? The lion was worshipped as a symbol of power, strength, and wisdom and was able to chase away evil spirits. How could a Lion prancing about be used to chase out demons? What gave the practitioners the confidence that Lion Dance performances have spiritual powers for exorcism works?



This goes back to the initiation of the Lion Head. After the head is constructed by the skilled artisans, the head is not to be used immediately by the new owner. There is a ceremony called the ‘initiation ceremony’ that needs to be performed by the temple priests. It is at this ceremony that the spiritual input and demonic powers are at play. The Lion Head would be presented by prayers at the altar of the gods at the temple and subsequently one of the priests would go into a trance under the possession of one of the gods (a familiar spirit). The priest would then take hold of a big Chinese pen, dip it in black ink and begin to draw a ‘third eye’ on top of the head of the lion. This third eye would then be the entrance where the spirit would enter into the lion’s head every time the dance is performed in the future. After having ‘opened’ the third eye, the priest still under trance would be the first to perform the lion dance even though the priest had never learned any kung fu or trained in the dance routine! There may be some slight variations of the whole procedure if the adherents are from different Chinese clans.



How did I know all these? Because I was deeply involved in the whole initiation ceremony. These are some of the inner secrets which are seldom revealed to the naive observer. For that reason, I would usually stay away from participating or even observing such dance performances. The spiritual implication is very great. Bystanders and innocent observers do not know about the background of this dance.


To a Christian who wants to live victoriously, one should ask the question of whether he or she should draw pleasure from watching such shows? Why do you need to see others under the possession of familiar spirits? Why engage and avail yourself as open doors for the spirits to manifest? Are we to fellowship with those under the spirit’s possession? This cultural practice will no doubt be exported to those who are fascinated, but if you know the significance, would you too be engrossed?


January 31, 2009

Chap Goh Mei – Chinese New Year

chineseo

For the Hokkien Chinese people, Chap Goh Mei is considered a very important day. It is the Fifteenth Day of the Chinese New Year. It is the last day of celebration for the Chinese New Year season and a good celebration determines a good year ahead.


For those who are non-Christians, Chap Goh Mei is full of prayers and offerings to the gods and idols of the family. To some, they consider this day as even more important than the actual First Day of the Chinese New Year celebration. Fireworks and fire crackers will be lighted to usher in a new year with a big bang.


For those who are not yet married and intend to get married in the year, Chap Goh Mei is celebrated with great hope for a nice suitor. Many singles will flock to temples to request for their tall dark and handsome man or maybe, a slim, pretty and industrious woman. An interesting tradition would be to cast their mandarin oranges into the sea or river from a high position in the hope of obtaining a better spouse.


In Penang, Chap Goh Mei is celebrated with lanterns, lion dances and Chingay acrobatics (also know as flag-balancing procession).


If you are a Christian, you may be in a dilemma to engage in Chap Goh Mei celebrations since all the above practices borders on the religious and superstitious practices.


You cannot go to the temple to pray to the idols or gods, and if you intend to get married, you do not engage in superstitious activities such as throwing of oranges or inquiring in the temples. It is only God who will determine who your future would be.


One of my advice to friends who are single and intend to get married would be to have more friends of the opposite sex and get your church pastor or leader’s prayerful assistance on recommending a marriage partner. Pray and ask of God, then be open to what God can do in your life.


To the uninitiated, match-making is still a viable option.


January 18, 2009

Chinese New Year - time for Red Ang Pow

















This year, Chinese New Year will fall on 26th January 2009.

To my kids and most children, Chinese New Year is a time for their Ang Pows.

What are Ang Pows? "Ang" means Red and "Pow" means "Packet". It is not just the receiving of a red packet that excites a child, but more of the contents of the envelope and that means money! It gives the children a temporary satisfaction of being able to receive and keep and spend whatever money that they receive during the Chinese New Year season.

To the traditionalists, the red packet is a form of "Good Fortune" or what they call "Lai Si" in Cantonese. So the exchanging of Red Packets during this Chinese New Year season is to bless each others family with Good Fortune. Even the amount of money that is enclosed inside the packet is usually a figure that sounds like luck, or blessing such as 8 or 3 and never 4, because a 4 represents death.

So the exchanging of Ang Pow is really a socially acceptable practice among the Chinese society. (Note: it is not just reserved for New Years but also weddings, birthdays or other auspicious occasions).

For a Christian, if the giving of the Ang Pow is given with the intention of gracing a social occasion, then it does not contradict the Bible. In fact, the presentation of gifts are rampant all over Scriptures. So gift givings, including giving of Ang Pows is biblical.

However, if there is an underlying belief or connotation of luck or fortune or even bribery, then it is not a good practice because only God alone controls our fate and fortune. Our destiny is not linked to a man-made practice, but to the hand of our Creator.

September 15, 2008

Paper petrol station for dead ancestors

The desire to satisfy the dead ancestors sometimes borders on the ludicrous.


If the dead could really obtain the paper petrol station, then who is going to fill up the tanks with petroleum?


The following was reported in our local Star papers:












IPOH: It is common to burn “maids” and “luxurious bungalows” made from paper for the dead during Qing Ming (Chinese All-Souls Day) festival.


But the one that takes the cake is probably a paper petrol station with two pump attendants, a cashier and one security guard.


Zin Xin Ki Trading supervisor Kelly Tan said the petrol station came about when a customer asked her to make one for his late father.


"He had always bought luxurious paper cars from us to offer to his late father,” said Tan at her shop at Jalan Dato Onn Jaafar here yesterday.


“He told us that he was concerned that there was no petrol station in the netherworld so it was decided to present him with one,” she added.


The paper petrol station took a week to complete, Tan said.


She said it was quite a challenge to come up with the design.


“The design took me three days of thinking while it took me four more days to complete the structure,” she added.


The Qing Ming festival, which falls on April 4, is a day some Chinese celebrate by offering prayers and gifts to their departed loved ones.


September 1, 2008

Joss sticks













One of the letters I received deals with the issue of holding and placing of joss-stick. I felt that this question is important enough to be posted here so that others in such a situation may also read about what is being discussed. The letter goes like this:



Dear Ps Steven,

I'm also a Christian pastor of a church in Penang. Thank you for your informative book on Chinese ancestor worship. I picked it up from Salvation. It is rare to see books written in English on this subject, and I thank God that you wrote this book.

I have questions regarding the use of joss-sticks (perhaps you have a reason for avoiding this controversial topic altogether):

1. What is the significance of joss-sticks in the Chinese ancestor worship perspective?

2. There are differing views, especially between Catholics and Christians. Some Christians believe that holding joss sticks are acceptable as a sign of respect. Others are strongly against them. What is your view in this?

Looking forward to hearing from you.

God bless you!

Regards,
(name withheld)
Penang


My answers:

Answer to Question 1:
If you look into the practice of holding joss-sticks, it is never in the context of respect but it is always taken as praying to another. There are many other ways of showing respect which will not be misconstrued. But the very act of holding and placing the joss sticks into an urn, is already a form of worship, irregardless of whether you called it respect or not. As a believer, we are not to worship anyone except God. No man or angelic or spiritual being deserves any worship except God. A Christian who holds joss sticks and placing them before their ancestors is already involved in ancestor worship. In the book, on page 68, I quote "God forbids a relationship with the spirits of the dead. See, Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Therefore it is wrong to burn joss sticks and incense to the dead..."

Answer to Question 2:
This answer applies to Catholics and Christians. You may say that you are only paying your respects, but the whole community that is watching you is observing your worship to your ancestors. In that respect, there must be a clear distinction. My conviction is that a believer cannot be dabbling in ancestor worship which is a demonic and occultic practice. You also cannot say, that what you do in your heart is your own business and not subjected to what others think. Can you go to a mosque and pray to Allah, and say you are showing respect to Jesus in your heart? Of course not. So similarly, there must be a clear breakaway from any other forms of worship as compared to worshiping God only. Light and darkness do not mix. There must be a uncompromising stand for a Christian to take the sides of Jesus Christ, and not be fence sitters.

By the way, the word "joss" is derived from the Latin deus (god)...Wikipedia

August 18, 2008

Feng Shui and crystals belief











Today, there is a renewed interest in crystals. I have a friend in my town who is a prominent property valuer, who have gone into describing crystals and proposing crystal wearing for good feng shui. He has even laid aside his valuation business to engage in almost full-time selling of crystals.

What is crystal belief?

Crystals have been used over the centuries for a myriad of purposes - from healing to protection to decoration. However, we have noticed that the depth of superstition placed upon crystals regarding good feng shui has increased greatly. There are actually some good people who will swear by the crystals that they wear thinking that certain crystals actually have a powerful influence over their lives.

The use of crystals and its relation to astrology can be dated to various cultures in South America, Egypt, Tibet etc. and even as far back as 400 BC when earlier Sanskrit writings talk about the power of stones.

Today's renewed interest in Feng Shui have brought about a teaching that crystals emit specific energy, or vibrations that are influential over everyday lives. For example, rose quartz is used to attract love and romance, and heal a broken or scared heart. The crystals are also considered powerful feng shui cures and are used to improve the feng shui energy flow in various areas of the house or office, as well as to improve one's own energy.

Biblically, this falls under the category of superstition, idolatry, luck, demonic activity, and putting your trust in a created matter rather than the Creator who made us. Such beliefs are an abomination in God and attracts judgment and condemnation from God.

July 26, 2008

What is Feng Shui?


What is Feng Shui?

Feng Shui is an ancient practice that originated from China a few thousand years ago. It was a mystical art to be practiced only by a privileged few, but had branched into a science as more and more people are interested in the intrigues of it.

It originates from Taoist practices which teaches about balancing the "yin" and the "yang" - so called energies of life, in order to ensure good health and success for the practitioners.

Feng means "wind" and Shui means "water". In ancient China, a particular place or situation which has good "wind" and "water" means, that the people will live long and have good fortune. From this, when they say that you have good feng shui, it means your life will be full of success and abundant harvest, while bad feng shui means trouble and suffering.



Feng Shui originates from the spiritual environment, even though today, some have tried to inculcate them as a non-superstitious belief. The teaching evolves around the five feng shui elements, namely, wood, fire , metal, earth, water. It is also about balancing the powers of the yin and yang, to ensure a smooth journey on this earth. This teaching contradicts with the Word of God, the Bible, which teaches that our lives are governed by the Will and Hand of God. If we walk in His Will, we are under His Guidance, and not any other outside superstitious beliefs such as feng shui.


July 2, 2008

China exporting its tea drinking culture

chinese tea

CHINA'S TEA DRINKING CULTURE


Direct from the China National Tea Museum in Hangzhou, this interactive exhibition is the first of its kind to be showcased across the UK. Launching at Asia House, the exhibition will then go on tour to various locations across the UK.
The exhibition explores the long history and culture of tea as well as its health and medicinal qualities in both ancient times as well as in contemporary China today...BBC


The above article from BBC looks like China is not just exporting its people but more and more of its culture will be exported. This reminds me about the time when Great Britain was colonizing the rest of the world and attempted to export the English culture and all its do, to the rest of the world.


Today, China as a major superpower, is attempting to influence the rest of the world about its greatness and if successful, will rewrite a new world order.


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May 20, 2008

Dragon Boat Festival

dragon boat race

In the middle of the year, there is a festival known as the Dragon Boat Festival, perhaps this is one of the best known festivals in the west.


Held in Hong Kong every year, they have boats for foreign devils (our name for Westerners), and the Chinese. It is always good humored and friendly.


The original story is about a poet and scholar in 277 BC whose advice was ignored by the Emperor and as a result the country was in decline.


He felt that was the only honorable thing left for him to do was to end his life, so he drowned himself on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.


The peasants tried to rescue him in vain, and in order to preserve his body, they wrapped rice in lotus leaves and threw them in the river; hoping the sea creatures would eat the food and leave the body alone, they also decided to beat drums to frighten them away.


This tradition has lasted to the present day. Every year in May, when we have boat racing, we eat sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves.


As described above, this is only a traditional practice and the activity of the race has traveled all over the world where Chinese communities are.

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May 15, 2008

Chinese New Year

chinese-new-year

For the Chinese people, Chinese New Year is the most important festival of the year. It is the first day of the full moon, it means the renewal of life, the new beginning, new hope, new prospects.


The traditional way of welcoming the New Year, is to spend New Year's Eve with the whole family having a meal together, then the whole family would go out to a special market (called flower market) and walk around there till early morning. Nowadays, urban dwellers will usually stay on through the night to catch up on each others latest news since most of the Chinese relatives are more or less dispersed widely due to occupation needs. Such gatherings are good for catching up.


In the past, the children will stay up late till the early morning; banging away with their fire crackers, signifying the meaning of wishing their parents longevity.


In the morning the children have to give their parents good wishes, and in return their parents will give them lucky money placed inside a red packet.


The start of the Chinese New Year usually takes place sometime in February.


There are a number of different beliefs as to how the lunar new year started, but one of the more colourful Chinese legends involves a beast with an enormous mouth that could swallow people whole.


This beast, named Nian, terrified people until an old man (an immortal god in disguise) tamed it, riding Nian into the sunset. Before the old man left, he suggested that people hang red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each year's end. The color red was the color the beast feared most - and thus it would scare Nian, if the beast came back. Of course, this is only a legend and like most others is based on superstition.


And so the tradition of Guo Nian started. Guo, which means "to pass" or "to observe," and Nian, which means "year," was once used to mean "survive the [beast] Nian" but is now used to "celebrate the [New] Year."


In particular, the Chinese believe New Year festivities, is a time for renewal, family reunion, eating rich foods and paying respects to parents and elders. In addition, the Chinese believe that what you do and how you act during this period will determine what kind of year you have.


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May 14, 2008

Chinese culture

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Chinese Culture


Chinese culture is rich and profound and it has a fascinating and diverse history spanning over 5,000 years.


In 1912, the Republic of China officially adopted the Gregorian calendar used in the West, but the traditional Chinese festivals continued to be calculated in the old lunar calendar which goes back more than four thousand years.


The way the Chinese calculate each month is called "first moon", "second moon" and so on. In the Chinese calendar each day and each month represent something, which might happen on each day of each month.


Today many Chinese still strongly believe the predictions that are written down on the calendar. As we all know the Chinese horoscope has twelve animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.


Each animal represents the year the person is born. At the beginning of each year, most Chinese will buy an almanac, inside it works out the future for each animal for that year.


As a Christian, it is not right to base your life on horoscope because we are children of God. We are not guided by stars or animals but by our Creator and Master, the Almighty God. Our future is in the hands of God and not in an almanac.

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May 8, 2008

2008 Chinese Show in Denver

A light moment:

April 15, 2008

Western museums with Chinese artifacts


Western museums have always been keen to acquire Chinese historical art.

In the quest for displaying Chinese art such as bronze ware, the practices of ancient Chinese ancestor worship are retold. Many of these bronzes were used as decorative or ceremonial purposes and they are from China's early history.

In one of the museums in Paris, the Cernuschi museum, they acquired an extensive bronze collection from China. Among them is an enormous basin which is the largest of its kind outside China. This together with other vases from the Shang dynasty were used for ancestor worship in the early years.

February 28, 2008

The Chinese Animal Zodiac


The following is an extract from BBC:

The Chinese animal zodiac is a rotating cycle of 12 animals, a different one for each year. These recurring animals represent a concept of time, traditionally used for dating the years in China. The Chinese lunar calendar is based on the cycle of the moon, somewhat different to the western solar calendar, with the beginning of the Chinese year falling somewhere between late January and early February. Although China adopted the western calendar in 1911, they still celebrate the Chinese New Year, giving them a double celebration. Most Chinese calendars have the dates for both the Western and the Chinese New Year printed on them.

Not only is the Chinese New Year celebrated on a different date from the western New Year, but because it is based on the movement of the moon, it also falls on a different date each year. Thus, those born between late January and early February may find their birth year falls in different years between the western New Year and the Chinese New Year.

Order of Animals Legend

According to one Chinese legend, the animals argued over the order of the cycle. They agreed to ask their gods to decide and to abide by their decision. The gods decreed that the animals would race across a river, and that each animal's position in the cycle would be set by its place in the race.

On the day of the race, the 12 animals gathered on the riverbank. As the race began, the rat jumped unnoticed onto the ox's back, and just as the ox reached the other side of the riverbank, the rat jumped off its back and won the race. This is why the rat is first, the ox second, and the last animal in the race, the boar, is last in the cycle. And so the rotating cycle of 12 animals used traditionally for naming the years in China was established, with each animal year repeated every 12 years.

The Twelve Animal Signs

Over the years horoscopes have developed around the animal signs, in much the same way as the star signs (such as Aries, Pisces, etc) of the West. While these might be amusing and fun, the general Chinese populace does generally not regard them as serious.

Personal comments: The Chinese Animal Zodiac borders on the astrology, horoscope and fortune telling. These are explicitly despised by God. Many Chinese both in the Eastern and Western worlds are engrossed with the Zodiac to the extent that superstitious beliefs govern everyday lives, thus creating bondage and demonic interference with human lives.