Tag Archive: chinese


Goddess Sung Tzu Niang Niang

Sung Tzu Niang Niang – Her themes are prayer, kindness, children and offerings. Her symbols are dolls.  Called ‘She Who Brings Children’ in the Far East, this Goddess had abundant energy that not only generates fertility but also instills a kinder, gentler heart within us. Sung Tzu Niang Niang is said to always listen to and answer prayers addressed to Her with compassion.

Traditionally, childless couples bring an offering of a special doll to this Goddess today and pray for physical fertility. For couples wishing for natural or adopted children, this ritual is still perfectly suitable.  Find any small doll and dress it in swatches of your old clothing, or bind a piece of both partners’ hair to it. Place this before your Goddess figure and pray, in heartfelt words, to Sung Tzu Niang Niang for Her assistance.

On a spiritual level, you can make any artistic representation of areas where you need productivity or abundance and give it to the Goddess.  In magic terms, these little images are called poppets. For example, stitch scraps of any natural silver or gold cloth together (maybe making it circular like a coin) and fill it with alfalfa sprouts. Leave this before the Goddess until more money manifest. Then, give the poppet to the earth (bury it) so that Sung Tzu Niang Niang’s blessings will continue to grow.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

In Chinese myth, this Goddess is known as the “Lady Who Bestows Children”. She is sometimes found in the company of Zhang Xian. [1]

Also seen as Song-zi niang-niang and Sung-tzu niang-niang.

Wikipedia states that ” Songzi Niangniang (‘The Maiden Who Brings Children’), also referred to in Taiwan as Zhusheng Niangniang, is a Taoist fertility Goddess.  She is often depicted as Guan Yin Herself in drawings, or alternatively as an attendant of Guan Yin; Guan Yin Herself is also often referred to as ‘Guan Yin Who Brings Children’. She is depicted as an empress figure, much like Xi Wangmu and Mazu.” [2]

She is also sometimes shown as an attendant of Bixia Yuanjun, who is also known as the “Heavenly Jade Maiden” or the “Empress of Mount Tai“. [3]

 

 

Sources:

Marks, Dominic. Lowchensaustralia.com, “Chinese Goddesses – Song-zi niang niang“.

Wikipedia, “Songzi Niangniang“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Chamberlain, Jonathan. Chinese Gods: An Introduction to Chinese Folk Religion (p. 160).

Holymtn.com, “The Legend of Quan Yin: Goddess of Mercy“.

Javewu.multiply.com, “Pictures of Bi Xia Yuan Jun“.

Pregadio, Fabrizio. The Encyclopedia of Taoism: 2-volume set.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Kwan Yin“.

Wikipedia, “Songzi Niangniang” (translated from Dutch).

Wikipedia, “Mount Tai“.

Goddess Bai Mundan

“Warm Winds II” by Jia Lu

“Bai Mundan’s themes are love, devotion, romance, femininity and promises. Her symbols are any items associated with love and romance; and the peony. This Goddess is beautiful and sensual, but also filled with only the most honorable intentions. It is Her sacred task to tempt the ascetics in the keeping of their vows (turning the tables somehow on the theme of this holiday). Her name means ‘white peony’, a flower that in Chinese tradition affords this Goddess’s protection.

The story of Ch’un Hyang is one of the best known ancient novels of Korea. The heroine, Ch’un Hyang, secretly married a nobleman’s son. Even when beaten by a lusty governor, however, she remained devoted and refused all advances, as if guided by Bai Mundan’s fidelity and esteem. For modern-minded people, this basically means ‘loving the one you’re with’ and really appreciating their companionship today. If it’s been a while since you’ve gotten your partner a gift for no reason, or spent quality time alone with them, by all means, do so! Bai Mundan’s energy is wherever two hearts emit true, faithful emotions.

If you don’t have a partner, try this Bai Mundan love spell. You’ll need a white peony (or any other white-petaled flower, like a daisy). Slowly tear off all the petals, saying,

‘Bai Mundan, for love I ask; help me in this sacred task.’

Let the earth and air accept the petals but one, which you should carry with you as a love charm. Release it in thankfulness when your wish is answered.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

It took me quite awhile to pan out anything Goddess related for Bai Mundan.  At first, I found that Bai Mudan or Bai Mu Dan, is known as ‘White Peony’ and is a type of White tea made from plucks, each with one leaf shoot and two immediate young leaves. [1]

I also found that Bai Mu Dan was a character in a Singapore TV series entitled “Legend of the Eight Immortals“; though Bai Mu Dan wasn’t a part of the original Eight Immortals of Chinese mythology (or so I originally thought) as Immortal Woman He, or He Xiangu, was the only female deity among them…

I found some clips on Youtube of a Chinese opera called “Lu Dongbin and Bai Mudan“.  Lu Dongbin, or Lǚ Dòngbīn, is a historical figure and also a deity/Immortal revered by many in the Chinese culture sphere, especially by Daoists/Taoists. Lǚ Dòngbīn is one of the most widely known of the group of deities known as the Eight Immortals and considered by some to be the de facto leader. [2]

Lǚ Dòngbīn’s apparent well known overindulgence and taste for women led me to a story in which Lǚ Dòngbīn once incurred the wrath of a heavenly queen for wooing the famous Luoyang courtesan White Peony. [3]  On the Foundations of Daoist Ritual, 6 – 8, it sites a few more references to White Peony: from the book “The Taoist Body” by Kristofer Schipper, it describes Lü Tung-Pin’s (Lǚ Dòngbīn) seduction of White Peony, or Ho Hsien-ku (the Immortal Maiden Ho) as the future Immortal would be called.  After making love with Lü Tung-Pin, She received his “powerful drug of immortality [and] in this way it happened that the young woman was victorious in the battle of love and, at the same time, fulfilled Lü’s desire by allowing him to recruit the Immortal he needed to complete his band” to bring to the Queen Mother of the West‘s forthcoming banquet of peaches. [4]  So, I do conclude that Bai Mundan (White Peony) is indeed Ho Hsien-ku.

A reference to White Peony is also made in the Ming-dynasty novel Pure Yang Lu: of the Tang Dynasty Achieves the Dao, the 5th chapter “Pure Yang Lu: Sleeps with White Peony”, based on the play Lu: Dongbin’s love affair with White Peony, “Yellow Dragon is the instigator.” [5]

 

 

Sources:

Foundations of Daoist Ritual, 6 – 8, “White Peony“.

Schipper, Kristofer Marinus. The Taoist Body, “The Immortals” (p. 163).

Taiwan-panorama.com, “It’s a God’s Life“.

Wikipedia, “Bai Mudan Tea“.

Wikipedia, “Lü Dongbin“.

 

Suggested Links:

Idema, Wilt L. The Butterfly Lovers: The Legend of Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, Four Versions With Related Texts.

Goddess Jun Ti

18 Arms of Cundi Bodhisattva

“Jun Ti’s themes are long life, fertility, wisdom and tradition.  Her symbols are dragons, sun and moon, the numbers 3 and 18.

This Chinese Buddhist Goddess oversees all matters of life generously. In works of art she is depicted as living on Polaris, the star around which all things revolve, including each individual’s fate. She has three eyes for wise discernment, eighteen arms holding weapons with to protect Her people, and a dragon’s head that symbolizes Her power and wisdom.

Jun Ti can help you live a more fulfilled life this year be overseeing your fortune and well-being. To encourage Her assistance, think silver and gold (or white and yellow) – the colors of the moon and the sun. Wear items is these hues, or perhaps have a glass of milk followed by pineapple juice in the morning to drink fully of her attributes!

On or around this day, the Chinese take to the streets with new year festivities that last two weeks. Eating various rice-based dishes today encourages fertility, respect and long life, while wearing new shoes brings Jun Ti’s luck. It is also customary to be on one’s best behavior and honor the ancestors throughout the day for good fortune. The climax of festivities is a dragon parade, the beast, Jun Ti’s sacred animal, being associated with ancient knowledge and tradition. So, find a way to commemorate your personal of family customs today to draw Jun Ti’s attention and blessing.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

While researching Jun Ti this evening, as with many of the East Asian Goddesses I research, I ran across several variations of Her name to include Jun DiZhunti/Zhuenti, Chun Ti, Chandi, Cundi, Cundi Guan Yin and Juntei Kannon.  I also found some associations with the Taoist Goddess Dou Mu Yuan JunKwan YinAvalokiteśvara and Marici.

Cundi is immensely popular in East Asian Buddhism. While Cundi is less well known in the Tibetan Vajrayāna Buddhist community, she is revered in the Chinese and Japanese Buddhist Esoteric sects. In China, she is known as Zhǔntí Púsà (準提菩薩, “Cundi Bodhisattva”) or Zhǔntí Fómǔ (準提佛母, “Cundi Buddha-Mother”), while in Japan she is known as Juntei Kannon (准胝観音, “Cundi Avalokitasvara”). She is recognized as one of the many forms Guan Yin – the Bodhisattva of Compassion. A Bodhisattva is anyone who vows to cultivate Wisdom and Compassion to save sentient beings from suffering.

The word ‘Cundi’ literally means ‘extremely pure’. Due to Her status as the Mother of all the Lotus Deities in Tantrism, so She has the epithet of Mother Buddha, Cundi Mother Buddha is also called the Seven Koti Mother Buddha, which means that She is the Mother of Seven Billion Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

The cult of Cundi probably originated from Mahayana Buddhism’s absorption of some elements of Indian religion in which the Mahayanists accepted the Goddess Chandi as a bodhisattva (just as many Chinese deities were eventually absorbed into the pantheon of Chinese Buddhism and declared by Chinese Buddhists to be “Dharma protectors”). Perhaps the original intended audience of the Maha Cundi Dharani Sutra were devotees of Chandi who believed in the efficacy of magic spells and as an upaya, a text that would appeal to them and encoded with Buddhist teachings was composed. The Dharma is infinitely accommodating and can be expressed in different ways to people of different levels and perceptions.

Cundi can be seen as a personification of the Enlightened Mind of Compassionate Wisdom. Her devotees revere her as “The Mother of Seven Million Buddhas”. This is perhaps a poetic way of saying that the Reality which Cundi represents is the Source of All Enlightenment. Each one of Cundi’s eighteen arms represent a particular quality of enlightenment such as the unflagging zeal to save sentient beings and perfect knowledge of the past, present and future. Each one of her hands are either forming a mudra or holding an instrument symbolizing an activity characteristic of an enlightened being. For example in one of her arms, Cundi holds an axe which signifies the elimination of evil. Another of Cundi’s arms form the Abhaya Mudrā which signifies the bestowing fearlessness to Her devotees.

Jun Ti

A production of Lucky Thanka

The Symbolism and Meaning of the Eighteen Arms of Cundi
Cundi is depicted seated with eighteen arms, all wielding implements that symbolize skillful means of the Dharma or Tantra.  The symbolism of each arm is as follows:
1. The original 2 hands forming the root Mudra of Expounding the Dharma represents the fluency of elucidating all Dharma.
2. The hand holding the wondrous precious banner represents the ability to build a most magnificent, great monastery.
3. The hand forming the Fearless Mudra represents the ability to deliver sentient beings away from all terror and fears.
4. The hand holding a lotus flower represents the purification of the six senses which, untainted, are as pure as the lotus flower.
5. The hand holding a sword of wisdom represents the severing of the entanglements of afflictions and the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance.
6. The hand holding an empowerment vase represents the flowing of nectar to nurture all sentient beings so that they may receive the empowerment of the buddhas.
7. The hand holding a wonderful jewelled headdress represents the wish to be linked to wonderful dharma art.
8. The hand holding a vajra lasso represents the ability to attract all into the yoga tantra.
9. The hand holding a wonderful celestial fruit represents the accomplishment of the fruition of enlightenment, and the extensive cultivation of good karma.
10. The hand holding an eight-spoke wheel represents the constant turning of the great dharma wheel, radiating its magnificent lights over the three lower realms.
11. The hand holding a battle axe represents the elimination of all evil practices and the severing of attachment to oneself and others.
12. The hand holding a large dharma shell represents the expounding of pure Dharma which shakes the universe.
13. The hand holding a vajra hook represents the skill to magnetize and attract all phenomena within one’s view.
14. The hand holding a wish-fulfilling vase represents the function of manifesting all treasures and scriptures at will.
15. The hand holding a vajra represents the collective convergence of support given by the eight classes of celestial beings and dragons. It also represents the subjugation of stubborn sentient beings.
16. The hand holding a wisdom sutra represents the self-cognition of knowing the profound and wonderful truth without any guidance from a teacher.
17. The hand holding a mani or wish-fulfilling pearl represents the vibrant and luminous state of mind which is flawless, pure and perfect.
18. The two original hands, beginning with the first hand, are held in the Dharma Expounding Mudra. Hence, the eighteen arms.

Some images of Cundi Bodhisattva depict different gestures, such as forming the root mudra or holding mala beads. The meaning remains the same, regardless. Her eighteen arms also represent the eighteen merits of attaining Buddhahood, as described in an appendix to the Cundī Dhāraṇī Sūtra or that of Cundi Bodhisattva.

 Details of Cundi’s iconography can be found here.

Additional Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cundi_(Buddhism)
http://cundimantra.weebly.com/
http://www.godchecker.com/pantheon/chinese-mythology.php?deity=JUN-DI
http://www.meditationexpert.com/meditation-techniques/m_buddhist_zhunti_meditation_opens_your_heart_chakra_for_enlightenment.htm
http://www.taoistsecret.com/taoistgod.html#17
http://www.thangka-art.blogspot.com/view/classic
http://theyoungpolytheistic.blogspot.com/2011/07/gods-and-goddesses-jun-di.html

“The Mother of Ten Thousands Things’s theme is luck.  Her symbol is any lucky token.  This Goddess represents the unknowable and uncontrollable things we face daily. In Indo-Chinese tradition, she is part of the Universe’s ebb and flow, ever changing and ever the same. Turn to her when you feel as if ten thousand things in your life were up in the air.

Take out any item that you associate with good fortune. Name it after the one area of your life in which you need more luck (naming something designates its purpose and powers). Hold the token to the night sky (symbolic of the Universe’s vastness), saying something like this:

“Mother, see this symbol of my need
Empower it with your fortunate influence to fill my year with < ….. >
< fill in with the name of your token >”

Carry this with you as often as possible to manifest that energy in your life.

Vietnamese New Year, known as Tet, is filled with ceremonies for luck over several days, including an offering to the Goddess and ancestors to give fortune a boost. Eating rice today invokes the spirit of prosperity. Or you can try a traditional divinatory activity instead. Make note of the name of the first person you meet today. If the name has an auspicious meaning (check a baby-name book), your meeting presages a wonderful year filled with the Mother’s serendipity.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

The ten thousand things is a Chinese expression used to mean the indefinite multitude of all forms and beings in manifest existence.

Thus, it denotes the fecundity of the all-creative maya – the boundless abundance of Our Mother God, and also the world of multiplicity, change and flux as opposed to the unitary transcendence of the Spirit.  Thus, the expression ten thousand things represents not only all the possible productions of space and time, but the full extent of space and time themselves: and thus the total creation of Our Mother God. [1]

“Source of the ten thousand things in Taoist philosophy, She holds creation in Her womb.  She is non-dual consciousness, who encompasses emptimess and form; yin and yang; happiness and sorrow; heaven and earth; creation and destruction; birth and death.  Through Her, all things come to be; in Her, life bears fruition.  She is pristine awareness, undefiled mind and sinless purity.” (Beverly Lanzetta, “Radical Wisdom: A Feminist Mystical Theology“)

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao;
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.” (Laozi, “Tao Te Ching” Ch. 1 as translated by Gia-Fu Feng & Jane English [1972])

Desire, the Mother of Ten Thousand Things” by Beth Mitchum is a neat blog to read, inspired by the Mother Herself.

Goddess Chin Mu

“Chin Mu’s themes are health, longevity, femininity and magic. Her symbols are peaches, mulberries, cats and gold-toned objects. Chin Mu is the Queen of the West in China, dispensing peaches that cure disease and grant eternal life to all who eat them. Chinese art depicts her as an ageless, beautiful woman living in a golden castle (a solar symbol), thereby getting her translated name of ‘golden mother’. She is also sometimes shown as a cat-woman, which represents her yin energy and connection with sorcery.

Honoring Chin Mu today brings health, long life and a year filled with magic. One simple way to do this is by wearing a piece of gold jewellery or gold clothing.Traditionally, Chinese women carry a bowl of hot vinegar into each room of the house today to protect those who live there from sickness all year. To try this yourself, slice up a peach (frozen if necessary) and add to the heated vinegar (peach tea bags work, too, and release a nice fragrance). The peach invokes Chin Mu’s blessing. Walk clockwise around your home, visualizing it filled with golden light (you can pray or chant as you go, if you wish). If you’re pressed for time, eat a peach or drink some mulberry wine instead and internalize Chin Mu’s hearty energies just the same!

Finally, meditate on the feminine aspects of yourself and the divine (a good time to do this is during your morning shower, or while driving to work). Honor the women who have influenced your life, even if you do this just by saying thanks.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

For some really great in depth info, check out the following sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xi_Wangmu#Additional_Readings

http://www.suppressedhistories.net/goddess/xiwangmu.html

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