'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

15 September 2010

Chinese Mythology

China had its mythology and in the Buddist / Taoist society of China the great writers developed stories of ghosts and Gods.
God of moats and walls. Usually local important person who had died whose divine status was revealed in dreams, protected the community and ensured that the King of the Dead did not take any without proper authority.
God of fire. Chu Jung punished those who break heavens laws.
God of war. Protected people from injustice and evil spirits.  He was a general of the Han dynasty and had more than 1600 temples.
Goddess of mercy and compassion. Murdered by her father, she recited the holy books in Hell, so no one suffered. She was returned to the living and given immortality by the Buddha.
God of thunder. Lei Kung had a chariot is drawn by six boys creating thunder with his hammer. His wife made lightning with mirrors.

The Eight Immortals of the Taoist tradition. Mortals whose good works were rewarded with peaches of everlasting life by the Queen Mother Wang :-
TIEH-KUAI Li - of the Iron Crutch. Dressed as a beggar he sells drugs which can revive the dead.
CHUNG-LI CH'UAN - A smiling old men rewarded for his ascetic life in the mountains.
LAN TS'AI-HO - A young flute-player whose songs caused a stork to snatch him away to the heavens.
LU TUNG-PIN - Renouncing riches and the world, he punished the wicked and rewarded the good, and slew dragons with a magic sword.
CHANG-KUO LAO - An aged hermit who personified the primordial vapour that is the source of all life.
HAN HSIANG-TZU - A scholar who chose to study magic and materialized two flowers with poems written on the leaves.
TS'AO KUO-CHIU - Ts'ao Kuo-Chiu tried to reform his brother, a corrupt emperor, by reminding him that the laws of heaven are inescapable.
HO HSIEN-KU - Immortal Maiden - She dreamed that she could become immortal by eating a powder made of mother-of-pearl. She appears only to the virtuous
Goddess of prostitutes. A widow who offered herself around and was killed by her father-in-law killed her. In death she became the goddess of  whores.
The ten Lords of Death, who each preside over one court of law. In the first court YENG-WANG-YEH judges a soul and sends him first to one of the eight courts of punishment or directly to the tenth where the souls are released to be reincarnated.
God of mercy. Wandering in Hell he will do all he can to help the soul escape or put an end to the cycle of reincarnation. Once a priest of Brahma, he converted to Buddhism and became a Buddha with authority over the souls of the dead.
God of wealth and even atheists worship him.
God of the hearth. Every household has its own and he reports on the family to the Jade Emperor. Incense is burned to them daily to ensure good luck.
Local gods of towns, villages and even streets and households. Usually portrayed as kindly old men, who ensured things ran smoothly.
Father Heaven, August Supreme Emperor of Jade, who made men from clay. His heavenly court resembles the earthly court in all ways, having an army, a bureaucracy, a royal family and courtiers, but all was in balance. Even the softest whisper is as loud as thunder to the Jade Emperor.

A Two Metre Silk  Fortune Teller's banner Framed on my wall      
Speak the right for the sake of the light of Buddha

The story as written on a note glued to the back is that it was old when it was stolen from a Temple in China and brought to Australia in the 1920's. I have no idea if this is true. I have had differing interpretations from various visitors who claim to be able to read the silk and felt patches.

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