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Faith in Chinese New Year

11 February
 

Chinese faith is unique. It is not about blind allegiance to any external unknown forces, whether that force appears in a form of an intangible divine being dictating a certain portion of celestial domain or as a tangible device being placed at a corner of a human laboratory.

Chinese faith is of knowing that through self cultivation one is able to master one's own world and decide one's own fate. Be it Confucius, Daoism or Chinese school Buddhism, none of them can be categorised as religion in a conventional meaning defined by the Christian West. They are actually teachings, which issue no commandments but provide guidance, demand no total submission but promote self awareness, insist no exclusive loyalty but appreciate all positive input. Over thousands of years, these three teachings have been Chinese nation's moral foundation, cultural essence and the secret to the exceptional longevity of the Chinese civilisation. Today, along with the newly established forth teaching - Mao Zedong's Chinese style socialism - they have become the underlying driving force for the resurrection of the Chinese nation.

Since Chinese calendar is formulated according to cosmic rhythm which influences our earthly existence, Chinese New Year's day not just symbolises but actually IS the beginning of the new circle. On that day Chinese people traditionally flock into Buddhist and Daoist teaching facilities to renew their New Year's resolution and to exchange blessings, wishing a better year for their families, the nation and the world.

     
 

This is a scene on the New Year's Eve 2011 at Great Compassion Buddha Land (大慈佛国) on Xuedou Hill (雪窦山) in Zhejiang Province. Sitting atop the hill is the famous and beloved Laughing Buddha whose birthday is said to coincide with the New Year's Day 2011.

A huge crowd gathered in Baoguosi Temple (报国寺) on Mt Emei (峨眉山) in Sichuan Province on New Year's Eve, sending their blessing messages to broad realms through the transcendent smoke from burning incenses and candles.

The professional practitioners and amateur followers of Buddha teachings came together to advocate a collective aspiration in the coming Rabbit that shall be more civil than the departing Tiger.

The locals and those who traveled from Shanghai, Suzhou and Wuxi, lined up to sound their personal announcement on a bronze bell about the arrival of the Rabbit Year at the Double Phoenix Temple (双凤寺) situated in Taicang, Jiangsu Province, .

A bronze bell engraved with Buddhist teachings at Great Zen Temple (大佛禅寺) on Mt Emei.

At the midnight when Tiger formally handed over its portfolio of the annual cosmos governor to Rabbit, fireworks lit the sky over Mt Emei, one of four major Buddhist teaching camps in China, amidst the blatant sound of firecracker explosions and tolling bells.

Neat, clean and well-defined laser beams flashed up towards the dark sky from the lotus foundation, on which a happily grinning Laughing Buddha resides, met multi-coloured and multi-shaped fireworks.

What did these candle lights meet? A rising sun or a man-made lamp? But, is there a real difference between the two? We are part of Nature and Nature is part of our true self, isn't it? Only those who are most dummy hearted and muddle headed would staunchly stand by one course against the other.

 
 
 

Chinese New Year 2011 has eventually arrived. People reflected what they did with Tiger and planned what they are going to do with Rabbit before a Buddha hall.

Yet on that special day not everyone was out on the streets embracing the new born Rabbit. Some locals and non-locals chose to study Buddha teachings in the multi-language studios at Longquan Temple (龙泉寺), in the outskirts of Beijing, on the birthday anniversary of Laughing Buddha, preparing for assisting the Future Buddha to foster a better future for all sentient beings on earth.

(Source of info & photo: 佛教在线)

 
 

Before long, the magic 5th day of the 1st lunar month came on the scene, by then all the firecrackers were let loose and all Chinese shops reopened their doors for business. It was the day about luck and about fortune. On the day in Beijing, 16,000 people visited White Cloud Temple, the biggest Daoist temple in the capital, twice as many as previous year. Of 16,000, most, if not all, queued for gaining a close encounter with a stone monkey, an across-species blissful date set ever since the Ming Dynasty half millennium ago when the Forbidden City and capital Beijing were built.

     

Prev: Chinese New Year 2011
Next: Chinese on New Year's Day 2011

 
 
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Famensi Temple (法门寺) in Chinese New Year 2011

Famensi Temple is one of the leading Buddhist teaching sites in China, which houses the most treasured relics from the historical Sikamoni, and is a place where numerous unearthly occurrence manifested throughout history and in recent years.


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