Values of ancient China
Today, the whole world is applauding the greatness of 5,000 years of civilization, so masterfully presented by the New York-based Shen Yun Performing Arts company. Yet under Communist rule in China, Shen Yun performances are prohibited, and the Chinese embassies and consulates overseas try in vain to interfere with local performances.
In spite of vicious attacks from the regime and attempts to disrupt Shen Yun performances, theater critics continue to pay tribute to this exceptional demonstration of classical art and avid theatergoers seek again and again to experience this unique show.
Through Shen Yun, we enter the world of ancient dynasties, traveling through time and space. We visit different regions and delight in the customs and traditions of all the various ethnic and sub-ethnic groups of China. Legends, myths and heroes of classical literary works come to life before our eyes. Ethnic and folk dances fill the stage with bright colors and energy. Jumps and spins of skilled Shen Yun dancers, drums and the gorgeous voices of the operatic soloists transport us to another world. This is the world of ancient China, when gods and humans lived together in this majestic land. In spite of all the efforts of the CCP regime to destroy this ancient culture, the plentiful mysteries and legends of China are brought before our eyes, inspiring us with the purest parts of our humanity.
Ancient Chinese Yin-Yang Fish Bowl
In his article, “Ancient Chinese Yin-Yang Fish Bowl Remains a Mystery,”authorXin Guo notes:
“Ancient Chinese science and technology were very advanced. The ancient Chinese knew more about science and technology than any other culture. For instance, the yin-yang fish bowl that is part of the collection of the Hangzhou Museum in China’s Zhejiang Province cannot be explained by modern science nor replicated by modern technology. It remains a mystery to the world.
Among the collections of the Hangzhou Museum, there is a bronze spouting bowl named the “Yin-Yang Fish Bowl.” The bowl, which is about the size of a washbasin, has two handles and a decoration of four fish at the bottom. There are four clear parabolas drawn between the fish, just as those described in the Yi Jing (The Book of Changes). If you fill the bowl half-full of water and rub the handles with your palms, instantly the water in the bowl will tumble and the vibration will cause water to spout four distinct two-foot-tall fountains from the mouth of each fish on the wall of the bowl. Moreover, the bowl will make the same sound as chanting the ancient divination words in the Yi Jing.”
Physicists from the U.S. and Japan have used all kinds of modern scientific instruments to examine the exceptionally advanced construction of the bowl, the principles of heat conductivity and the sensory functions of the bowl but have not succeeded.”
Chinese”Yin-Yang Fish Bowl” is perhaps not the only mystery that came to us from the distant past of this remarkable and diverse nation. Westerners may have difficulty truly understanding the Chinese culture, as there are more than 50 ethnic groups in the country, as well as several hundred sub-ethnic groups that have contributed to this rich civilization.
A few words aboutthe Tang Dynasty
In China there were 20 dynasties, with the Tang Dynasty being considered the most prosperous historic period in China’s history. Many attribute this to the fact that public morality was extremely high during this time. The Tang Dynasty was founded by the Li family. Emperor Taizong (Li Shimin), the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty, considered high morality of the ruler and his subjects as the path to prosperity for the country.
The imperial court of the Tang Dynasty paid great attention to supporting its people, which had never happened in the past. Emperor Taizong considered a respectful attitude as the foundation of a stable and peaceful state. He believed the emperor to be a ship, and the people water. Water could not only carry the ship, but also could swallow it. In the year 637, the Tang dynasty enacted a law referred to as “Tang Code,” which affirmed the value of human life. The law was then completed by Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty, becoming the first set of laws in China. Tang’s legal system held a human life as important. It eliminated cruel corporal punishment and the death penalty was applied very prudently. The emperor had the last word when it concerned the death penalty. Every case had to be reported to him. Such a sentence could be imposed only after being considered three times.
Is that how China’s authorities conduct business today? Do they remember the ancient covenants? Alas, all the moral precepts of the Tang Dynasty, as well as all of the ethical and moral principles of the country have been rejected by the CCP and instead replaced with unforgivable cruelty and violations of human freedoms and basic rights.
The yellow race given the “Guardianship” of the wind
The British scholar and expert on Chinese science and civilization, Joseph Needham, posited that China’s wealth consisted of four great inventions – paper, the compass, gunpowder and printing. However, these discoveries are only the surface manifestation of this rich culture. For example, we can detect from Native American artifacts that the people of this culture considered China and representatives of the entire yellow race very important. On a sandstone cliff, for example, near second mesa on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona, a story tells us about the Great Spirit, who sent to different parts of the earth people of different colors of skin. Each group of people was then assigned a different “Guardianship” of the earth’s elements.
To the Indian people – the red race – the Great Spirit gave the “Guardianship” of the land. They were to learn the teachings of the land and the plants that grow from the soil.He gave the black race the “Guardianship” of water.They were to learn the teachings of water, considered the most essential element on earth, and model themselves after water’s humble and graceful nature. He gave the white race the “Guardianship” of fire, whichwould later lead to the advent of electricity and automobiles. He gave the yellow race the “Guardianship” of the wind. The yellow race had to understand the principles of heaven in order to help people to advance spiritually.
It seems that this myth is not far from the truth. As far as China is concerned, it is particularly accurate because in ancient times, many people in China practiced cultivation. In other words, they were trying to change themselves to become kinder to others, and to get rid of their own vices to become better human beings. The virtues cultivated by the Chinese people, such as honesty, compassion, and tolerance are the most valuable treasures left to us by ancient China. Without faith in a supreme and divine power, it may have been difficult for the ancient Chinese to create such amazing items as the fish bowl. “The real world and Mother Nature do not conform to linear principles, but in most cases non-linear theory instead. Modern science and technology are nothing but man-made simplification against the truth of Mother Nature.” (XinGuo).
“The Divine Land”
According to legend, heavenly beings descended to China 5,000 years ago in order to teach the Chinese people how to create their civilization. Cultivating under the guidance of such wisdom, people believed that after getting rid of all vices, they could also become enlightened or holy beings. It was believed that those who cultivated their virtue and revered the heavens were the most valuable people and were thus protected and favored by the gods.
Perhaps that is why China was once called “the land of the divine,”as it was passed down and cherished by the enlightened beings. Guided by the principles set forth by Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, the ancient Chinese people created extraordinary works of art, music and poetry.
Lao-tzu (VI-VcenturiesBCE), considered the founder of Taoism, laid out the laws of the universe in Tao Te Ching (The Way of Life) to help people cultivate truthfulness and their true personhood.Taoist myths state that Laozi was conceived when his mother looked upon a falling star. He supposedly remained in her womb for 62 years before being born as his mother leaned against a plum tree. The legend states that Laozi, meaning “old master” was born as a grown man with a full grey beard and long earlobes, yboth symbols of wisdom and longevity.
Confucius, another Chinese philosopher and sage who lived in the sixth century BCE, created a doctrine of moral codes. In it he described the proper family relationship (filial piety) and respect for elders, acts which he believed were critical to the prosperity of the state. As a father leads his son, so the emperor controls his subjects. Confucianism had a profound impact on both China and the whole of Eastern Asia, becoming the central philosophy of the time.
Siddhartha Gautama or Sakyamuni (563 BCE – 483 BCE), meaning the “spiritual master,” founded Buddhism in India 2,500 years ago. Being a great prince, his father had completely removed him from all religious teachings and sheltered him from all the human suffering experienced by so many around him. However, once out of the palace at the age of 29, he saw at once that life was full of suffering. Siddhartha left the palace and began an ascetic life, begging on the streets. For more than 40 years of his life, Buddha Sakyamuni traveled through the valley of the Ganges River in central India in the company of his disciples, teaching his doctrine and performing many supernatural acts. Sakyamuni stressed compassion and kindness. Buddhism was introduced to China in the 1st century AD and continues to remain an important religion throughout the nation.
Falun Dafa comes to China
After falling out of favor under the policies of the CCP, qigong once again become popular in China during the 1980’s. Qigong, an ancient practice which traditionally included various systems of moral and spiritual cultivation, lost this focus upon its recent resurgence in China. Instead of focusing on virtue, qigong masters focused primarily on the improvement of one’s health, which left a void for many in China searching for a more comprehensive way to improve both body and mind. In 1992, Master Li Hongzhi introduced an ancient form of qigong in China, called Falun Dafa (Falun Gong). Falun Dafa was for ages quietly passed down from one disciple to the next but was now available to the public for the first time. Master Li lectured throughout the country, teaching people how to assimilate to the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance through eliminating destructive notions. He also taught the five gentle exercises of Falun Dafa, which act as a supplemental means to purifying and strengthening one’s whole person. The combination of these high principles and exercises had an extraordinary effect on people’s health and the practice grew increasingly more popular. It was this popularity which threatened the then-head of the CCP, Jiang Zemin. Jiang vowed to eradicate Falun Gong in three months. Innocent people, who only wanted to follow the highest moral principles and improve themselves, were seized in the streets and thrown in prisons and labor camps. Using extreme forms of torture, the police tried to force Falun Gong practitioners to abandon their practice. In 2006, investigative reports were published about the Chinese military forcibly removing organs from living Falun Gong practitioners in order to sell them to patients for profit.
This criminal activity continues to this day, causing protests and outrage around the world. Contrary to Jiang’s expectation that Falun Gong could be easily eradicated, it has instead spread throughout the world, and is practiced in more than 100 countries.
Falun Gong’s immense popularity and Shen Yun’s impact on touching so many around the globe, tell us that the world is hungry for the values of traditional Chinese culture.
In conclusion, I would like to share just a few comments from those who have watched a Shen Yun performance:
[Jim Krill, producer and director]:
“This is the most wonderful event that I have ever visited in my life. I sat in the front row, and I cried, because the human spirit, dignity, strength and love that came from these people were simply stunning.”
“Oh, God! It’s … I cannot describe it in words. It’s perfect! I have never seen anything like this before.”
“Icried. Crying because the beauty of these dancers simply defies description. Classic movements are so graceful, as if you ascend to heaven.”
By Elena Shelberova