Taoism

“Nature is great beauty but silence, four seasons obey their own orders without debating, things are formed with its own rules saying nothing, and wise people will find it.” It’s a very philosophical sentence, isn’t it? Do you know where it’s from? Who said it? When it comes to religions in China most of people […]

“Nature is great beauty but silence, four seasons obey their own orders without debating, things are formed with its own rules taijitu with white representing Yang and black representing Yinsaying nothing, and wise people will find it.”

It’s a very philosophical sentence, isn’t it? Do you know where it’s from? Who said it?

When it comes to religions in China most of people will mention Confucianism because it’s very popular in the world. Today I’m going to introduce a religion deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview, Taoism.

Taoism (Daoism) is a philosophical and religious tradition about Tao. The term Tao means “way”, “path” or “principle”. Taoism was founded by Laozi in late 4th century BC. Governed by doing nothing that goes against nature, the governing method of it was fascinated by a lot of rulers in that time. With Qin Shi Huang unifying the country, he burned books and buried the literature in pits, Taoism also doomed. At the beginning of Han Dynasty Taoism was formally established. Supported by some emperors for political reasons, it became the legitimate religion in Northern and Southern Dynasties. Taoism spent its golden ages from Sui Dynasty to Song Dynasty and was divided in Jin Dynasty. In Ming Dynasty thousands of Taoist temples were built, Taoism entered to the life of common people.

The most important ethic part of Taoism is wu wei(non-action).

There is a carpenter who went to another country with his apprentices. They saw a huge oak on their trip. The apprentices were surprised by it and trotted to see it. But the carpenter paid no heed and continued to walk. The apprentices asked their master for the reason. He answered: the tree is useless and for this reason it could live so long. When the night came the carpenter dreamed about the tree. The tree said to him: “why you think I am useless? I can live for so long and grow as huge because I am useless. If I were useful I would have been cut by you. For you I am useless, but for me I am useful.”

Tao Te ChingIt’s difficult to understand wu wei because it’s abstract. But out of this story we are able to understand it better as the story convert abstract into concrete. It asserts that one must place their will in harmony with the natural universe. Thus, a potentially harmful interference is to be avoided, and in this way, goals can be achieved effortlessly.

The naturalness is also an ethic of Taoism and is regarded as a central value in Taoism, which involves freeing oneself from selfishness and desire, and appreciating simplicity.

There is another story:

The pheasants living in forests make all effort to hunt food. It’s difficult but they prefer to live there rather than live in a cage. Although they could get enough food in a cage but their mind would be bounded. For the same reason, people with naturalness won’t pursue material and desire at the price of liberty.

In addition Tao and Te and Three Treasures are important ethics of Taoism too.

Laozi and Zhuangzi are the most important people in Taoism and Tao Te Ching of Laozi and Nanhua Ching of Zhuangzi are the most important codes of Taoism.Kong Fu

If you are interested in Taoism you can visit Wudang mountain, Longhu mountain, Qiyun mountain, Qingcheng mountain and so on. The ancient architectures and the Taoist Kung Fu will make you surprise.

Taoism is the prescription of hearts, and the harbour of the vagrant soul.

Nature is great beauty but silence, four seasons obey their own orders without debating, things are formed with its own rules saying nothing, and wise people will find it.

Will you be one of them?

 

Qingdao and the International Beer Festival

Have you been to the beach in China? Want to experience German flair in a Chinese city and taste a nice cold beer? Then you should for sure take a flight to Qingdao and visit this beautiful city! Especially in August Qingdao is worth to visit as the city holds every year its international beer […]

Have you been to the beach in China? Want to experience German flair in a Chinese city and taste a nice cold beer? Then you should for sure take a flight to Qingdao and visit this beautiful city! Especially in August Qingdao is worth to visit as the city holds every year its international beer festival. Visit the Qingdao beer festival during your travel in China and taste the original Qingdao beer!

Qingdao which means “Green Island” in Chinese is located in the southeastern part of Shangdong Province and borders by the Yellow Sea on two sides. In a short distance across the Yellow Sea lie Korea and Japan. This makes the city an import port for international trade. It is planned that by 2020 the Qingdao port should become the biggest port in the world.

As the city lies at the sea there are a lot of seafood dishes with distinctive flavors. Don’t forget to try some, when you visit the city. Moreover the city has the largest bathing beach in Asia and with its red roofs, green trees, blue sea, clear and blue sky it attracts many visitors from all over the world. Sometimes the city is known as the Switzerland of the Orient.

Up to 1949 the city was a colony of Germany and Japan. Therefore it has a great deal of European architecture which has been preserved until today and gives the city a certain charm. There are a lot of sights to see in this city like the Old Town (former concession area) with the train and bus station, historic architecture, parks, museums and of course the beaches.

The German not only had an impact on the architecture of the city but also build up a brewery which today is called Tsingtao Brewery. The beer made here, is very famous and is exported all over the world. Every year there is the International Beer Festival held in this city which attracts a lot of tourists and local people. The festival is sponsored by the city in order to develop the local tourism. Besides the International Beer Festival there are other festivals like the International Sea Festival, the Beach Culture Festival, the Sea Affection Festival and the Summer of Qingdao Festival.

The Qingdao International Beer festival is held every year starting in the second weekend of August. It is the largest beer festival in Asia and starts with a grand opening ceremony which is followed by beer tasting, drinking competitions etc. It lasts for two weeks and ends up with the final ceremony.

A lot of international breweries from all over the world are present at the festival and there is a lot of Chinese and Western food and all kinds of music.

This year’s International Beer Festival theme is “Qingdao China, A Beautiful Dream!” and takes place from August 10th until 25th. The Grand opening is on August 9th at 9.30pm.

 

Ticket price:

10 RMB (09:00 – 15:00) — ticket sales begin at 8:30am.
20 RMB (15:00 – 22:30) — tickets sold until 22:30 on Friday & Saturday; 22:00 Sunday – Thursday.

Remember Qingdao’s International Beer Festival starts soon. Don’t miss it and visit the beautiful city at the sea during your travel in China and try the famous Tsingtao beer.  Ganbei!

 

Tourist Attractions Connected by Beijing Subway Line 4

  As one of the most important transportation arteries in Beijing, Subway Line 4 not only brings tremendous convenience to the local people, but also provides a unique itinerary for the tourists visiting Beijing.   In the north part of Line 4, there are the famous Summer Palace, the old Summer Palace as well as […]

 

As one of the most important transportation arteries in Beijing, Subway Line 4 not only brings tremendous convenience to the local people, but also provides a unique itinerary for the tourists visiting Beijing.

 

the Summer PalaceIn the north part of Line 4, there are the famous Summer Palace, the old Summer Palace as well as one of China’s most prestigious and ancient universities, the Peking University. When you first look at the Line4 station board, you may wonder about one of the names appearing on that, “Beigongmen”. What does that mean? Actually “Beigongmen” refers to the north gate of the Summer Palace. Stepping off the Beigongmen station, you can reach the renowned royal garden within 5 minutes walk. The Summer Palace, covering an expanse of 2.9 square kilometers, is famed for Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake.

 

Two stops from the Summer Palace, Line4 will take you to the Old Summer Palace, which is a display of broken beauty and certainly worth a thorough visit. Further south, there comes Peking University. Walking in Peking University, which is characterized by the Boya Pagoda and the Weiming Lake, feels just like rambling in a traditional Chinese landscape painting.

 

If you are interested in the traditional Chinese culture you could get off at the station of National Library when taking Line4. There are more than 1,640,000 traditional thread-bound Chinese books and over 35,000 inscriptions on oracle bones and tortoise shells stored in the Library.

 

When leaving Haidian district, Line4 will make a stop at the station of Beijing Zoo, best known for its collection of rare animals like the Giant Panda, the snub-nosed monkey, South China Tiger and so forth. Doubtless, Beijing Zoo is a must-visit spot for Children.

 

Moving out of Haidian District, Line4 enters the Xicheng District. This district is the central area of Beijing, while the center of the Xicheng District is Xidan, which is also one of the stops on Line4. Xidan is a major traditional commercial area in downtown Beijing with numerous supermarkets and department stores as well as the Xidan Cultural Square. Shopaholics must be very careful when strolling on Xidan streets. And if you are a foodie, do not hesitate to step off at the Pinganli Station where there is the famous Huguosi snack bar and all kinds of Beijing traditional snacks are available.

 

Taking line4 further south, you will come to the Fengtai District. The first stop in Fengtai District is Beijing South Railway Station. The South Station, fitted with many boutique stores and other convenient facilities, is one of the most modern railway stations in China. On top of that, it only takes less than 40 minutes to arrive in the neighboring city Tianjin by taking an inter-city train here.

 

Overall, all these attractions are like one after another gems embellished on the ribbon of Beijing Subway Line4.

 

2 Days Desert Tour in Inner Mongolia

Endless sand, a beautiful view and silence. Visiting the desert in China is definitely worth it! During my travel in China I’ve seen a lot of big cities, lots of people and did a lot of sightseeing. So I thought it is time to see a different China. Therefore I took a Flight from Beijing […]

Endless sand, a beautiful view and silence. Visiting the desert in China is definitely worth it! During my travel in China I’ve seen a lot of big cities, lots of people and did a lot of sightseeing. So I thought it is time to see a different China. Therefore I took a Flight from Beijing to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. And it was definitely worth it!

My friends and I arrived in Hohhot in the late afternoon. We had booked a hostel in advanced and went directly to the hostel. The hostel was nice and the stuff very friendly. As we didn’t made any plans for Hohhot we checked what kind of tours the hostel offers. There was a 2 Days Desert-Tour and as we really wanted to see the desert we booked the tour for the next day.

Around ten o’clock the next day we got picked up by our driver and our two tour guides. They were around the same age as us and very funny and friendly.  We had a little bit traffic jam and therefore arrived around 1 pm at the restaurant where we had lunch.

After the lunch we continued our trip towards the desert. Around 3 pm we arrived at the “entrance” of the desert. From there we took a jeep which brought us through the desert to an Oasis. There was the tent in which we should spend the night. We spend some time there and then we went out for a walk. The scenery was very beautiful. Sand dunes as far as you could see. With our tour guides we walked around. It was very exhausting as it was very hot und walking up a sand dune is quite difficult.

At one place we did sand surfing. That was really fun! And then we even played beach volleyball in the middle of the desert. Later we went back to the Oasis. Of course not without having made a lot of pictures! At the Oasis we had to look for dried limbs as we would make a bonfire in the evening. Then we had dinner and afterwards we watched the sunset. That was really beautiful and a good experience.

After it became completely dark and we all sat around the bonfire and talked. Soon somebody started to sing a song and we all sang together. It was very special also because we were totally alone, no other tourists around – only us, the tent, and our two tour guides.  One of our guides started to sing a Mongolian song. The nice sound and the totally silence around us made it a really impressive moment!

The next day after we had breakfast we sat on camels to ride back out of the desert. The ride was about one hour and very funny.  Sitting on a camel is not as comfortable as I thought but it was a good experience and didn’t last for very long. At the exit of the desert we took our minivan and drove back to Hohhot.

If you want to experience the same or something similar, then go to the Kubuqi desert (part of Gobi desert) near Hohhot. You will get an adventurous trip which makes your travel in China very special.

 

Why China is called China

Do you know why China is called China? When I came to China I realized that when people travel to China or they’ve already lived in China for a longer time, the first thing they all learn is that China in Chinese is called “Zhongguo” which can be translated as Middle Kingdom. But if you […]

Do you know why China is called China? When I came to China I realized that when people travel to China or they’ve already lived in China for a longer time, the first thing they all learn is that China in Chinese is called “Zhongguo” which can be translated as Middle Kingdom. But if you ask the people why in English and a lot of other foreign languages it is called “China”, “Chine”, “Cina”, “Kina” etc. most of the people, even if they already live for a longer time in China, don’t know the answer. So let’s have a deeper look into Chinese History and get an insight of Chinese culture.

Do you know Qin Shi Huang? If yes: very good! You know something about Chinese history and have probably been in Xian. If not: Don’t worry, a lot of non-Chinese don’t know the name. So it’s good reading this blog now!

Qin Shi Huang was the King of Qin who lived during the third century BC. At that time China was divided into seven states (Qin was one of the seven states). He was the one who united all six nations and therefore became the first emperor of the unified China and founded the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) with the capital city in today’s Xi’an.

Qin Shi Huang wasn’t a very popular emperor but he brought a lot of things to the country. The country got divided into provinces and a unified measure system as well as a standardized law were introduced. Additionally the emperor standardized the Chinese characters, set up a strong central government and created one sort of money.

In order to avoid anarchy and riots of the just ended warring states period, the emperor gave the order to collect all the weapons from the states to melt them down. Moreover he abolished the practice of Feudalism. He placed a new system that the taxes of the farmers went directly to the state instead of the landlords.

Qin Shi Huang was known for his strict laws, high taxation and cruel punishment. At that time all the great works from the so called 100 schools of thoughts were burned which included for example Confucius with all his disciples. The only school of thought that was allowed was the legalism that says the only way of social order is to impose discipline from above.

Two of the projects built at that time you know for sure. The first was the Great Wall which was started to be built but most of the Great Wall was finished at a later time in Ming Dynasty. The other project was the giant tomb of Qin Shi Huang with the Terracotta Army whose purpose was to protect the emperor in his afterlife.

Now let’s come back to the question why China is called China. The word can be divided into two parts: “Chi” and “Na”. If you speak a little bit Chinese you know that the word “Qin” is pronounced “Chin”. So you see this part is from the first name of the unified China. The word “Na” comes from the Persian word “Nation”. In the early day of China, Persia sold and traded Chinese spices, silk etc. to the rest of the world. When people asked them where the goods came from they answered “from the Nation of Qin” which in their language was“Chin-Na”. The modern word “China” was first recorded in 1516 in the journal of the Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa. And in English the word was first recorded in a translation published in 1555.

So if you travel to China and somebody asks you this question you will now be able to give the answer.

 
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