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Showing posts from 2017

The Five Confucian Classics 儒家五經

The Five Confucian Classics or 五經 (wǔ jīng) are the key texts of Confucianism.
In Chinese, 五 means five, while 經 means the lengthwise yarns (i.e. the warp) used in weaving.
Like the warp that forms the basis in weaving, the Five Classics form the basis for personal cultivation.
In actual fact, 儒 (rú), the character for Confucianism in Chinese, means immersing oneself in the orthodox teachings of previous sages.
The Five Classics are considered replete with such teachings.
The Five Classics are:
Book of Poetry 詩經
Book of Documents 書經
Book of Rites 禮經
Spring and Autumn Annals 春秋
I Ching (or Zhouyi) 易經(周易)

Book of Poetry 詩經 (shī jīng)
The Book of Poetry is the earliest collection of poems in Chinese history. Also popularly called the Three Hundred Poems 詩三百 (shī sān bǎi), it is, however, not only a book of literature, but a book described by Confucius as, if not studied, a person would not know how to speak.
Indeed, these poems were frequently quoted to support an argument or to summarise an idea…

Spring 春

In many parts of China, Spring Festival celebration marks the beginning of Spring.
According to Huangdi Neijing《黃帝內經》, the earliest existing Traditional Chinese medicine classic dating back to more than two thousand years ago, the three months of Spring is a time for life to recover and spread(發陳). It is also a season for people to welcome life and revitalise their body and mind.
But how do ancient Chinese visualise Spring as a character? 
More than three thousand years ago, in Shang Dynasty (1600 BC-1046 BC), ancient Chinese thought Spring might be represented by placing three elements together: the grass, the sun and a sprouting seed.
For instance, in this Oracle bone character for Spring, we see a sun(日)rising among grass(艸), and a seed starts to sprout(屯).
Interestingly, the sprouting seed on the right (屯) also serves as a phonetic component (showing how Spring is pronounced). This way of forming a new character is quite wise and efficient, isn't it?
As a matter of fact, in so…