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Archive for the ‘tradition’ Category

Chinese meditation technique boosts brain function: study

Posted by Author on August 17, 2010


AFP, Aug. 16, 2010 –

WASHINGTON — A Chinese-influenced meditation technique appears to help the brain regulate behavior after as little as 11 hours of practice, according to a study released Monday.

Researchers at the University of Oregon and Dalian University of Technology charted the effects of integrative body-mind training (IBMT), a technique adapted in the 1990s from traditional Chinese medicine and practiced by thousands in China.

The research to be published in the upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences involved 45 test subjects, about half of whom received IBMT, while a control group received relaxation training.

Imaging tests showed a greater number of connections in the anterior cingulate — the part of the brain which regulates emotion and behavior — among those who practiced meditation compared to subjects in the control group.

“The importance of our findings relates to the ability to make structural changes in a brain network related to self-regulation,” said The University of Oregon’s Michael Posner, a lead author on the study.

“The pathway that has the largest change due to IBMT is one that previously was shown to relate to individual differences in the person’s ability to regulate conflict,” he said.

Deficits in activation of the anterior cingulate cortex also have been associated with attention deficit disorder, dementia, depression, schizophrenia and many other disorders.

And researchers said the experimental group also showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than students in the control group.

“We believe this new finding is of interest to the fields of education, health and neuroscience, as well as for the general public,” said Dalian University’s Yi-Yuan Tang, who led the team of Chinese researchers…….(more details from AFP)

Posted in China, Culture, Education, Health, Heritage, Life, News, tradition, World | Comments Off on Chinese meditation technique boosts brain function: study

Government Official Spiritually Uplifted by Chinese Culture Showing in Shen Yun

Posted by Author on March 8, 2010


LOUISVILLE, Kentucky— Sunday evening at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts was the place to be for those in Louisville, with the world’s premier Chinese dance and music company Shen Yen Performing Arts delighting those fortunate to attend.

Bill Burger, the assistant to the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, Daniel Mongiardo, was at the performance and he was full of praise.

“I found it to be very uplifting. The traditional song and dance, the experience of a culture that I am not that familiar with I found to be a wonderful thing,” he said.

According to Shen Yun’s official website the company’s rich repertory breaks new ground by focusing on the authentic cultural heritage of classical China.

Mr. Burger also commented on the visual impact of the show,

“The colors were brilliant, the movements were so well orchestrated. I love the colors, it’s bright, it’s refreshing, it is uplifting spiritually.”

The Shen Yun performers are accompanied by a digital backdrop which is custom-designed to match a given dances’ costumes, story line, lighting, and even choreography.

Mr. Burger read a letter from the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, Daniel Mongiardo at a VIP reception welcoming Shen Yun to Louisville, part of which read;

“It is indeed a great honor to host your renowned company in the Commonwealth. As the world becomes smaller and smaller through globalization it is very important that individual cultures maintain and share their unique and rich traditions so that we all have a better understanding of our diverse international community.

“Please accept my best wishes for you for providing an exciting journey into China’s classical culture and I hope that your travels bring you back to Kentucky in the near future.”…… (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Music, News, Shen Yun show, shows, Social, tradition, USA, World | 1 Comment »

China says missing Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima is living in Tibet

Posted by Author on March 8, 2010


Jane Macartney, Beijing, The Times, Mar. 8, 2010-

China shed a glimmer of light yesterday on the life of a young Tibetan man who vanished 15 years ago after the Dalai Lama declared him to be the reincarnation of the second-highest monk in Tibetan Buddhism.

The son of a Tibetan herder, Gendun Choekyi Nyima was only 5 when he was selected by the exiled Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. Police swooped on the boy’s village in a county to the north of Lhasa and, pro-Tibet exiles say, removed the child and his parents.

He has not been seen or heard from since. But Tibet’s new governor, Padma Choling, revealed yesterday that the young man, now 20, is still living in Tibet, where “his brothers and sisters are at university or are doing regular work”.

He gave no hint as to the family’s whereabouts but repeated the Communist Party’s mantra: “As far as I know, his family and he are now living a very good life in Tibet. He and his family are reluctant to be disturbed. They want to live an ordinary life.”

The information amounts to a revelation compared with the secrecy that has surrounded the life of Gendun for the 15 years since he vanished and was described by human rights groups as the youngest political prisoner in the world.

The exiled Dalai Lama announced in 1995 that he had found Gendun and the move enraged Beijing: the Dalai Lama is revered by Tibetans and his decision was certain to win widespread respect.

The Chinese Government retaliated by naming its own Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu, while Gendun is known only from a photograph of a wide-eyed five-year-old with ruddy cheeks, his mouth open in surprise at the camera……. (more details from The Times)

Posted in China, Culture, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, tradition, World | Comments Off on China says missing Panchen Lama Gendun Choekyi Nyima is living in Tibet

Tibetan Reincarnated Successor Need Approval From China Atheist Communist Regime, Says Official

Posted by Author on March 7, 2010


AFP, Mar. 7, 2010-

BEIJING — China indicated Sunday it would take a hard line on the selection of a successor to the ageing Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in rare comments on the sensitive issue.

The final decision on the reincarnated successors to the Buddhist region’s top lamas lies with Beijing, insisted Qiangba Puncog, Tibet’s former governor and a delegate to the national parliament.

“It must get the approval of the central government otherwise the reincarnation will be illegitimate and invalid,” he told reporters on the sidelines of China’s National People’s Congress session.

Traditionally, the search for the figure’s reincarnated successor was conducted by the region’s high lamas.

But China’s officially atheist Communist Party-ruled government has claimed the right to intervene, citing a precedent set by a past emperor.

The issue of who will succeed the monk looms as potentially explosive after an outburst of anti-Chinese violence tore through the region in March 2008, prompting a tight security clampdown, which continues.

China vilifies the exiled monk as a separatist. He denies this and remains hugely popular in his Himalayan homeland. Many Tibet experts believe China is waiting for him to die and then install its own Tibetan spiritual leader.

Amid such worries, the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner said last month he would have no misgivings ending the centuries-old spiritual tradition if Tibetans so choose.

“(Its) ultimately up to people, I made clear, whether this very institution should continue or not,” the 14th Dalai Lama told National Public Radio on a visit to Los Angeles.

“If majority of Tibetan people feel the Dalai institution is no longer much relevant, then this institution should cease — there is no problem.

“It looks like the Chinese are more concerned about this institution than me,” he said with a laugh.

The Dalai Lama, who fled his Chinese-ruled homeland in 1959, turns 75 in July and is believed to be in good health.

He has said his successor could be appointed before his death or democratically elected. The Dalai Lama could also, he has said, be reincarnated in exile — out of Beijing’s reach……. (more from AFP)

Posted in China, Culture, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, tradition, World | 1 Comment »

Shen Yun show Ends on High Note in Ottawa

Posted by Author on January 12, 2010


By Matthew Little, Epoch Times Staff, updated Jan 12, 2010 –

The audience enjoying the Shen Yun Performing Arts sold-out show at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada on Jan. 11, 2010. (Qiumu/The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA, Canada— Superlatives dropped like snowflakes after Shen Yun Performing Arts staged its final sold-out show in winter-wrapped Ottawa on Monday.

“I loved the different styles [of music] and of course the dancing is wonderful,” said Mr. Dickson, publisher of one of Canada’s most influential newspapers.

“It is full of joy and happiness and it’s very wonderful,” said his companion Ms. Bracegirdle, an Ottawa piano teacher who loved the music.

“I think this has been a fantastic extravaganza that shows the richness of the Chinese culture,” said Mr. Das, High Commissioner of a Southeast Asian country.

“It’s great. Lots of colors, very beautiful,” said Ms. Castilla, a teacher and graphic designer at Algonquin College……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Canada, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Life, Music, News, Shen Yun show, shows, tradition | 5 Comments »

(photos) Audience in Shen Yun Chinese Performing Arts Show, Boston

Posted by Author on January 9, 2010


Jan. 8, 2010, Boston, USA, Shen Yun Performing Arts show global tour

Jan. 8, 2010, Boston, USA, Shen Yun Performing Arts show global tour

Jan. 8, 2010, Boston, USA, Shen Yun Performing Arts show global tour

Jan. 8, 2010, Boston, USA, Shen Yun Performing Arts show global tour

The Epochtimes

Posted in Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, News, Photo, Shen Yun show, tradition, World | Comments Off on (photos) Audience in Shen Yun Chinese Performing Arts Show, Boston

Shen Yun Chinese Music “is coming from the heavens”, says San Francisco Doctor of Music

Posted by Author on January 6, 2010


By Leigh Smith, Epoch Times Staff, updated Jan 6, 2010 –

SAN FRANCISCO—Shen Yun Performing Arts continued its run at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House on Tuesday evening, Jan. 5.

Dr. Valerie Samson, is a composer, ethnomusicologist, and performer who became involved with the Chinese-American community in San Francisco in the 1970’s. Her video documentary Sheng: Bamboo Mouth Organs won the John Lennon Award. And her documentation of music as a protest strategy at Tiananmen Square, 1989, is also well known.

Dr. Samson loved many aspects of the Shen Yun performance. She particularly liked the erhu, which she plays herself as well as many other instruments. She said, “I thought that was a very special touch to have a live musician on stage.

“The piece she chose to play was the perfect length.

“The quality of the piece, very much in keeping with the topic of the evening, which was a spiritual sense, it started off slow, almost melancholy, then sped up, and the technique—the performer is excellent.

“Xiaochun [Xiaochun Qi, the erhu player] is a wonderful player, I wish I could have a heard a whole concert with just her.

“Everyone is always touched by the erhu, it is one of the most famous instruments of China.

“And the pianist did a very good job, too … it’s a very nostalgic kind of piece, almost showing reverence for the soul of China.

“It is traditionally an instrument that is almost like the voice of the people, speaking in a very nostalgic way for something.

“This is a wonderful city for Chinese music, last time I counted 17 opera clubs in the area, so many musicians would have loved to come and I hope they do come, I don’t know who is coming to which performance.

“The musicians should take heart … I know so many are playing to recorded music these days, and it is wonderful to have live musicians with the dancers.”

“I felt that the orchestra was in the surface of dance and normally there is a tug of war between dancers and musicians … This was very cooperative, so smooth, if you weren’t thinking about the musicians you’d just imagine the music is coming from the heavens to support the dancers……. (more details from The Epochtimes)

Posted in Artists, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Event, News, Overseas Chinese, People, Shen Yun show, tradition, USA, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun Chinese Music “is coming from the heavens”, says San Francisco Doctor of Music

Global Chinese Han Couture Competition a Stunner

Posted by Author on October 23, 2008


Epoch Times Staff,  Oct 20, 2008-

“Memory of Friendship” by Elsie He

GOLD MEDAL WINNER: “Memory of Friendship” by Elsie He

NEW YORK—Silk painted with lotuses, long trailing sashes, and royal brocade were some of the fine details on display at the first Global Han Couture Design Competition held at Manhattan’s Prince George Ballroom on Sunday, Oct. 18.

The competition was part of a series of competitions held by New Tang Dynasty Television this year, including piano, violin, traditional Chinese dance, martial arts, and voice.

More even-paced than your average fashion show, several hours of eye-popping designs from over 50 contestants paraded down the catwalk. The designs ranged from familiar styles seen in traditional Chinese paintings—simple lines, broad panels and airy fabrics—to ones resembling those worn by characters in martial arts comic books.

The competition’s guidelines were to “borrow the patterns in clothing of the Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties…to create contemporary garments,” leaving the door wide open for a variety of styles and inspirations. But because the Western-Eastern combinations tended not to work, judges reverted to authenticity as their main judging criteria.

“Our selection process is designed this way because we want to use this to help guide the development of Han fashion down the line,” said judge Amy Li, who is an award-winning fashion designer trained in China. “We will be holding this competition in the future, we would like to see, in Chinese culture we have 5,000 years of fashion so we feel it’s already very rich and there’s a lot to draw upon already and we wanted to see a little bit more of that. There were some other pieces that were not as Asian and we felt that, having incorporated the western elements, even though it was nice in some cases, that it somehow doesn’t match, so it detracted from the overall effect.”

Each contestant was allowed to submit several pieces in two categories: casual wear and formal wear. In addition to a trophy and certificates of awards, $10,000 cash prizes were rewarded to gold winners, $5,000 to silver winners, and $2,000 USD to bronze winners.

Liqing Chen from Taiwan, whose pieces featured scooping sleeves and shapes that virtually leaped out from a painting, won silver in the casual division.

“Ancient Chinese fashion was very elegant, simple yet bold,” Chen said. “Mine was not very fancy but you don’t need a lot with Han couture to make it beautiful.”

Amy Li commented on the pieces that won gold in the formal wear division. Its theme was “Moments.” “The evening wear gold winner, the theme was ‘moment’ and we felt that it captured a moment in time of traditional Chinese couture,” Li said. “It was again very beautiful and at the same time very authentic.”

Some members of the fashion industry were in the audience. Sandi Grant, a New York fashion show producer, found the show impressive.

“The different colors, I loved the colors, the sequins, the embroidery, done stitch by stitch, they’re geniuses,” she said.

Lavera Wright, a former model and fashion consultant, now trains young models and holds fashion shows for upcoming New York designers. “It’s different from regular fashion shows,” Wright said. “The models took the time to pause, they really wore those gowns – they didn’t just run across the stage. They were elegant and graceful. That’s the way I am and how I teach my girls.”

5,000 Years of Fashion

The Han clothing is designed based on an old saying, “being one with heaven and man.”  The couture reflects on people’s respect and faith in gods at the time.

Clothes initially appeared in China around 2000 BCE, which ended the prehistoric state of people covering themselves with animal skins. Since then, people learned to observe their surroundings and incorporate those natural elements into their clothing. For instance, the sky was black; therefore their top clothing was black in color, as it should symbolize heaven. The earth was yellow, as the bottom clothing was dyed yellow in resemblance of the earth. A sash tied around the waist symbolized the balance man must strike while living between heaven and earth. The Chinese people expressed their faith in heaven and earth clearly in such manner through their intricate attire.

The ancient Chinese believed that gods would unveil the truth to them when they had a kind heart, where human beings could then attain wisdom and a prosperous life.

The Epochtimes

Posted in China, Chinese Culture, clothing, Culture, Event, Heritage, Life, News, tradition, World | Comments Off on Global Chinese Han Couture Competition a Stunner

China is a multi-ethnic state with little multiculturalism

Posted by Author on September 9, 2008


Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger, Special to the Vancouver Sun, Canada, Monday, September 08, 2008-

Clad in brightly-coloured costumes, 56 children paraded through the Bird’s Nest at last month’s Olympic Opening ceremonies.

Each child represented one of China’s 56 ethnic groups. All smiles, they carried the Chinese flag to a group of soldiers who hoisted it up the mast.

The symbolism was evident to anyone watching — the state protecting the culture of each child.

When the ceremonies were over, the hoax was revealed. The children were part of an acting troupe and all were Han Chinese, the group makes up about 92 per cent of the population.

Yes, the children represented a scandal that caught headlines. But the symbolism may be the bigger deception.

About 112 million people make up China’s minorities, a population more than three times the size of Canada’s. These minorities are largely neglected by the state. The 56 ethnic groups are strictly defined by the state. Others simply don’t exist.

“The official categories aren’t really the way people live their lives,” says Edward Friedman, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Wisconsin. “The Chinese state has an official set of categories and you shouldn’t take them seriously.”

China says it’s a “united socialist multiethnic state.” In reality, it is one of many countries with a wealth of diversity but virtually no embrace of multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism promotes the celebration of ethnicity, helping to enrich cultures and break down social barriers. When it is not embraced, the risk is losing the diversity altogether.

China’s economic boom has created centres of wealth around the country. The areas populated by minorities like the Tibetans and the Uighurs still experience extreme poverty.

The promise of wealth has led some minorities to the cities where often their cultural ties are lost. The Chinese state has also taken to moving Han Chinese to areas that were once populated by the minority.

Dermod Travis, the executive director of the Canada Tibet Committee, says this practice is diluting the culture.

“In Lhasa, there used to a very large public square where the Tibetans would sell their wares — jewelry, artworks and things like that,” he says. “Today if you go to that market, it’s virtually all Han Chinese.”

Travis says the Chinese government is fearful their state could dissolve if regions like Tibet seek sovereignty. Their solution is to enforce the “One China” policy to stop the minority groups from developing politically.

So, the Hakka, a culture with between 30 and 45 million people worldwide, are not included in the 56 categories.

Tibetan children face corporal punishment and abuse by authorities for wearing traditional dress and singing Tibetan songs.

More recently, the Muslim Uighur population has clashed with authorities. Resentment has grown towards the government, which discourages the practice of Islam.

At job fairs in the mineral-rich region, signs often read, “Uighurs need not apply.”

With so many cultures, China has potential to truly flourish culturally. To some extent, they are as Cantonese operas play in city centres while Szechwan art is sold in markets. Instead, a categorized system of 56 defined groups only limits the opportunities to learn and grow.

“The 56 categories get in the way of full cultural prosperity,” says Friedman.

“They are flourishing in little ways but obviously, to have freedom would help them more.”

Craig and Marc Kielburger co-founded Free the Children. The primary goal of the organization is to free children from poverty and exploitation through education.

– Original: Vancouver Sun

Posted in China, civilization, Culture, ethnic, Heritage, Life, News, People, Social, tradition, World | Comments Off on China is a multi-ethnic state with little multiculturalism

Czech Audience Praises ‘Chinese Spectacular’ Show For Exposing Communist Suppression

Posted by Author on March 12, 2008


By Marco T’Hoen, Epoch Times Staff, Mar 11, 2008-

PRAGUE, Czech Republic—The Chinese Spectacular may be a thorn to the Chinese communist regime, but one audience member at the Prague performance praised the show for exactly what the dictatorship resents.

Susanna Hrotkova, who works at Maitrea, a holistic education company in Prague, attended Divine Performing Arts’ Chinese Spectacular on Tuesday at the Prague Congress Center.

“It is a very nice show, and the performances overall looked very delicate,” said Hrotkova.

“I liked the real beauty of the show. Like the flowers, and the colorful things in the skies, like rainbows and stars. Such wonderful and beautiful things.”

Hrotkova said she also enjoyed the Chinese music, which was often “very gentle sounding.”

“It was very dynamic performance.”

Like in other cities, the Chinese Embassy in the Czech Republic attempted to interfere with the Prague presentation of the Spectacular. The interference included letters to politicians and an ad on the front page of a Chinese newspaper telling Chinese people not to attend the show.

That interference became public knowledge after the embassy sent a letter to the largest television station in the country asking it not to attend the Spectacular. Instead, the host of a popular morning show revealed the letter to the entire country while interviewing two of the Spectacular’s performers.

Hrotkova hadn’t seen the morning show but had no doubts the communist regime would try to interfere with the Spectacular.

“I guess that the current Chinese government doesn’t like good, traditional things,” she said.

“I believe that they would not want other people to see it because of the show’s history. They had the Cultural Revolution in China for the purpose of getting rid of all China’s previous traditions and values. They were against all culture; they wanted people to dress the same as everybody else. This show is completely the opposite. It is so colorful and very nice.”

The Spectacular will hold its final Prague performance Wednesday before continuing the European portion of its global tour with dates in Berlin and Stockholm.

For information about upcoming Divine Performing Arts shows, please visit: www.DivinePerformingArts.org

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese Spectacular. For our complete coverage please visit: http://en.epochtimes.com/features/dpa2008/

Posted in all Hot Topic, Artists, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Czech, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Life, News, People, Politics, shows, Spiritual, the Chinese Spectacular, tradition, World | Comments Off on Czech Audience Praises ‘Chinese Spectacular’ Show For Exposing Communist Suppression

Chinese Splendor Ends Big 15-show in New York, Heading to Asia and Europe

Posted by Author on February 11, 2008


By John Nania, Epoch Times New York Staff, Feb 10, 2008-15-show conclusion of Chinese Splendor in New York

NEW YORK—The full house at Radio City Music Hall gave a standing ovation to the Chinese New Year Splendor on Saturday, Feb. 9.

It was a fitting conclusion to a 15-show run over 11 days that presented, through dance and music, traditional Chinese culture to a diverse and appreciative audience.

(photo: 15-show Conclusion of Chinese Splendor in Radio City Music Hall, New York/ by Epochtimes)

Jerry Ames, a choreographer and tap dancing master, gave his assessment of the performance aspects of the show. “The talent is very, very lovely, and the music and the setting is just gorgeous,” he said.

“With the color schemes and the way the costumes blend with the setting is very impressive. It’s very elegant, very successful,” Mr. Ames continued. “We’re very impressed, it’s just beautiful … We’re very happy to be here.”

The show, as the hosts mentioned, presents traditional Chinese culture as it cannot be seen elsewhere— especially inside China, where the Chinese communist regime has actively suppressed or destroyed the artifacts and the conduct of traditional culture during its rule.

“Culture is meant to promote peace and harmony with our neighbors. This harmony includes truth, compassion, and tolerance,” said Daniel Lee, a real estate investor with Speed Investment Group in New York City.

Lee was referring to the principles of Falun Gong, the traditional Chinese meditation practice that was portrayed in a couple of the dance pieces. The Chinese communist regime has persecuted Falun Gong practitioners since 1999.

An article critical of the show and of Falun Gong appeared in the well-known New York Times on February 6. The article was mentioned by many audience members who were interviewed.

In a common reaction, Mr. O’Meara said, “We read the article in the [New York] Times yesterday saying the Chinese government didn’t want people to come to this show. We’re rebels.”

Some gave more pointed responses to the article, such as banker Ron Sablosky.

“It certainly did not dissuade us from coming, and I don’t think it should dissuade anyone, because it really is highly unfair. And it might even be construed as unethical.”

Attendance at the shows after the article ran was not diminished by the critical review. If anything, attendance was boosted according to NTDTV, the show’s producers.

Penny Cohn, an account executive and building manager, had read the New York Times article and noted, “In fact, it piqued my curiosity.”

“And not only that, it had a lot of space, too. I was quite intrigued with the amount of space it was given, I have to confess that.”

The two pieces that depict the persecution of Falun Gong, “The Risen Lotus Flower” and “The Power of Awareness” were mentioned by many audience members as their favorites.

Amerigo Fabbri, Dean of Pierson College and professor of modernist literature at Yale University, talked about “The Risen Lotus Flower.”

“You have the three women in prison and how one of them gives her life for the other two, these are great, great elements of the culture that are certainly conveyed by the show,” he said.

On his overall impression, Fabbri said, “The show is spectacular, I mean amazing. They’re doing a great job bringing together the history of Chinese culture. The sound effects, the visual effects, the special effects, the singing, and the dancing is just amazing.”

Audiences outside North America will soon be treated to this unique window on traditional Chinese culture through dance and music, including the telling of stories both ancient and modern. Two companies, Divine Performing Arts of New York and Divine Performing Arts on Tour, combined to present the big Radio City production. The companies will take different routes, as one goes to Asia and Oceania, while the other goes to Europe.

The Divine Performing Arts international touring companies land next in Germany and Japan.

For information on all upcoming shows, please visit: www.DivinePerformingArts.org

Original report from the Epochtimes

Posted in all Hot Topic, Asia, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Germany, Japan, Life, Music, News, shows, Spiritual, the Chinese Spectacular, tradition, World | Comments Off on Chinese Splendor Ends Big 15-show in New York, Heading to Asia and Europe

(photos) Commercialized China Shaolin Temple Criticized by Chinese

Posted by Author on February 6, 2008


Epoch Times Staff, Jan 28, 2008-

Shaolin temple -1

In recent years, Shaolin monks from China have gained an international reputation for their physical endurance and feats of kung fu skill. Shaolin monk troupes have toured the world, and Shaolin temples have become a common destination for foreign travelers, with some staying for extended periods.

(photo above: Shaolin monks and Ms. Travel International)

But while the temple’s fancy tricks have won many a heart abroad, Buddhist circles in China are less than impressed, with almost 95Shaolin temple per cent of participants in an online survey saying monks should not immerse themselves in worldly ways.Many believe the Shaolin have abandoned their monastic traditions of leaving the world and severing worldly desires and pursuits, and have become a tourist recreation center obsessed with money and reputation.

On January 9, a post by a user calling him/herself a group of monastic monks comparedShaolin temple (3) the Shaolin temple to the Dabei temple in Shanxi.

The posting received a massive response, with more than a million hits within 8 days and more than 7000 responses. More than 70,000 users took part in a survey titled “Do you think today’s monks should assimilate into the ways of today’s society?” with 95 per cent of users voting “monks should cultivate their hearts in a peaceful and clean environment, they shouldn’t enthusiastically immerse themselves in the world.”

( photo above: Abbot Mr Shi Yongxin and his fans)

shaolin temple -5

Users assailed the commercialisation of the Shaolin temple as well as the actions of its abbot, Mr Shi Yongxin, criticizing Mr Shi’s celebrity status on international television and his own brand of noodles, to the many young female travellers who stay a few nights at the temple. More contentious was the 100,000 renminbi (AU$15,277) which literally went up in smoke in the temple’s most expensive giant incense stick.

(photo above: 100,000 renminbi (AU$15,277) literally went up in smoke in the form of giant incense sticks for publicity purposes/ from Internet)

The first discussions began with a message posted by user yuanlejushi in Septembershaolin temple -6 2007. “The actions and intentions of Shaolin Temple, under the guidance of Abbot Shi Yongxin, would make any true believer of Buddhism feel ashamed,” the user said.

“The Shaolin temple is the founding place of Zen Buddhism, and it has a profound influence on Zen believers in China and even around the world. But today the temple doesn’t promote the Buddha Law, it doesn’t spread the Law to benefit the masses, but rather abuses the prestige that has been established over 1000 years by great monks, to wantonly amass wealth. If it’s not a circus, then what is it?”

(photo above: Shaolin temple’s security personnels )

Another user said: “Looking at Shi Yongxin’s consistent words and deeds, and his attitude of doing things, it looks like he runs an undercover Communist Party cell.”

The Shaolin temple was founded more than 1000 years ago by the founder of Zen Buddhism, Boddhidarma. In the past 20 years, with the emergence of a movie on the temple, it has become the number one tourist destination in Henan Province, and a pillar of Dengfeng city’s economy. According to Shaolin temple authorities, the temple was commercialized to fulfill the material and spiritual needs of believers from all faiths.

Comparisons were made to Dabei temple Shanxi, which users said was possibly theDabei monks -1 only temple left in China which has not established a “virtue box” to solicit money. The monks of Dabei temple work hard to remain self-sufficient, wear rags, never come into contact with money and only eat one meal per day.

(photos: The monks of Dabei temple work hard to remain self-sufficient) dabei monks -2

“What a moving comparison” said user Sam800 “I used to admire the Shaolin temple, because there are so many moving stories and admirable traditions. But I now deeply admire the monks of Dabei temple. Times have changed so much, but they still have held to their fundamental beliefs.

“I can feel the existence of a deep meaning in their lives, but on the other hand, the Shaolin temple has become nothing but an empty shell. The pursuit of fame and personal gain fill that place to the brim.”

– Original report from the Epochtimes: Which Temple Follows The Way

Posted in Buddhism, Central China, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Economy, Henan, Life, News, People, Photo, Religion, Religious, Social, Spiritual, tradition, World | 1 Comment »

Best of New York: Chinese New Year Splendor to Start From Wed. Jan 30 (video)

Posted by Author on January 29, 2008


From NTDTV.com-

If you would like to experience the magic and splendor of the crown jewel of ancient Chinese civilization, look no further.

Every year, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television, a rising star in global Chinese language media, brings the best of Chinese culture in all its glory to your doorstep right here in the New York City with their unparalleled winter shows: Holiday Wonders at Beacon Theatre and Chinese New Year Splendor at Radio City Music Hall.

Video: Brief of the show and Feedback for the Holiday Wonders

Chinese culture is considered one of the greatest and certainly one of the oldest existing cultures that has left the world a lasting intellectual, social, and artistic legacy. Unfortunately, the social upheaval and political crises of the last 100 years in Mainland China have left this once rich and refined civilization a mere shadow of its former self. Decades of Communist rule have not only destroyed so much of the architecture, art, and social mores but have undermined the very essence of China’s culture – its emphasis on virtue and spirituality.

True Chinese culture was based on a divine connection between heaven and earth and harmony between nature and man. To be truly Chinese was to be honest, loyal, gracious, faithful, and civilized.

The golden age of China, the Tang Dynasty (618 to 906 AD), truly embodied the best of Chinese culture with its reverence for the divine, respect for learning, and its openness. This spirit of pluralism and multiculturalism brought about many brilliant achievements, including the invention of block printing, the perfection of the civil service examination system and the flourishing of Buddhism after it had been brought in from India. The Tang Dynasty was truly sophisticated, cosmopolitan, and prosperous, not unlike the New York City of today.

The artists and performers of NTD have spared no effort in creating truly magical productions that aim to transport the viewer not only to that glorious time and place of the Tang Dynasty but to travel to even more magical realms where dragons dance, heavenly maidens frolic, and giant drums roar. With meticulous attention to every detail, from the costumes and intricate hairstyles to the stunning backdrops, NTD has sought to not only recreate the past glory of the Tang and other dynasties in their genuine and authentic form but also to truly bring the profound essence and ingenerate beauty of the Chinese culture to life through the magic and wonder of the stage.

All the hard work has been worthwhile; audience response to the Chinese New Year Splendor has been most gratifying. WNYC said: “SUPERB!!! Every performance was stunning. Amazing, amazing, amazing!” OperaOnline.us said: “A tantalizing and fascinating evening that made me want to stay and see more. In a word, I was simply captivated!”

Stanley, a young boy in Chinatown, became interested in lion dance at age three because his father was a lion dancer in NTD’s Chinese New Year Shows. Following his father learning and practicing the traditional performance, Stanley enriched himself in the heritage, showed his talent and made into the upcoming Chinese New Year Splendor at Radio City playing a lovely role in a legend.

NTD kicked off the inaugural Chinese New Year Global Gala, later renamed the Chinese New Year Spectacular, at the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center in 2004. NTD’s affiliates in four cities in the U.S. and other countries joined the Global Gala in their cities. The show drew upon traditional tales and featured dances ranging from an exhilarating Mongolian folk dance where the dancers balanced real ceramic bowls on their heads to ethereal dances depicting heavenly beings and divine realms. The scale, spirit and presentation of the shows took both the Western and Chinese communities by surprise. There was no longer any question in anyone’s mind — this upstart television network was not only here to stay but was destined for big things.

It certainly was. By the second year, the Gala had sold out Madison Square Garden and was joined by Galas in six cities and countries. Heartened by the unqualified success at the Garden, complete with a standing ovation at the end of the show, NTD decided to expand to the legendary Radio City Music Hall. As Cable World says, “There’s nothing like doing a show at Radio City Music Hall, one of the best places to stage anything.” To stage not only one but three shows City with a cast of hundreds of singers, dancers, and musicians at Radio City with a total of more than 15,000 seats to fill was truly not a task for the feint of heart. But NTD remained true to its vision and put on a tremendous show making full use of Radio City’s massive new LED screen to create an utterly unique and stunning visual experience.

One woman in the audience attended two nights in a row because she was so enchanted by the whole experience of music, song, and dance: “Oh! I wish I were a writer to describe my delight. I felt like a child unwrapping a shiny present, discovering a colorful picture book that I had been needing all along without knowing it. What magical evenings!”

By 2006, NTD’s show had not only played at Radio City but had grown to 16 cities around the world, making it the largest Chinese community event in the world. NTDTV’s Chinese New Year Splendor had truly arrived.

The 2007 season can only be even better and grander. The choreographers, composers, and costume and stage designers continue to search for inspiration in the vast and profound world of ancient Chinese culture. The dancers and performers are also striving to perfect their technique and their artistry. The 2007 shows promise to be an entirely original, authentic and even more beautiful expression of true Chinese culture.

NTDTV is an independent, not-for-profit, television network founded by Chinese Americans, many of whom emigrated from China and entered professional careers here in the US. Established in 2002 and headquartered in New York City, NTD’s 24/7 comprehensive news, cultural and entertainment programming covers North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia via satellite, and reaches an estimated 200 million people. NTD is also available on channel 32 in lower Manhattan and 15 other metropolitan areas in North America.

In keeping with the spirit of the pluralism, multiculturalism, and innovation of the Tang Dynasty, we at NTD take great pride in showcasing genuine Chinese traditional values and culture to both the West and to the Chinese community. We find it enormously rewarding to help different generations of ethnic Chinese rediscover their cultural heritage and show them there is a lot to be proud of even though so much has been lost in modern times. We believe all our lives can be enriched by programs and events that remind us of our shared values and our common humanity. As Donn Murphy, PhD, President and Executive Director of the National Theatre in Washington, DC says of the NTDTV Chinese New Year Splendor: “This is not only entertainment, but a valuable cross-over cultural event: a strong, gracious gesture toward international understanding, in an all-too-troubled world.”

We invite you come to join us for the Holiday Wonders show at Beacon Theatre ( from Dec. 18 to 26, 2007) and the Chinese New Year Splendor at Radio City Music Hall ( from Jan. 30 to Feb. 9, 2008) Through these shows you will see imperial pageantry, folk customs, spiritual faith, and legends brought to life through art.

Come experience the beauty, elegance, and grandeur of the golden age of Chinese civilization and be a part of the wonder and prosperity of a New Tang Dynasty.

– From http://www.ntdtv.com

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China Cracks Down on Monastery and Enforces ‘Patriotic’ Education for Beijing Olympics

Posted by Author on January 27, 2008


Radio Free Asia, 2008.01.25-

Chinese authorities in Tibet have recruited more than 140 Tibetan youths to perform traditional dances at the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, even as they impose new curbs on Buddhist culture in the Himalayan region, sources there say.

“The Chinese authorities believe that monasteries are the chief centers of Tibetan culture responsible for maintaining Tibetan identity. Therefore they are cracking down on the monasteries,” a source in Tibet said in a recent interview.

Novice monks are no longer admitted to replace monks who have died, and monks rarely appear on the streets in many Tibetan cities, sources say, and this trend has become more visible and pronounced over recent months.

“Now the monks are not allowed to conduct prayer sessions in temples, nor allowed to invite monks for special prayers at home,” the Tibetan source told Kham dialect reporter Tsewang Norbu. “Construction of new stupas is banned. Tibetan devotees are not even allowed to circumnambulate temples and stupas.”

Sources say the restrictions have been stepped up since the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, was awarded the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal last year.

“We were told that we could not dress well, burn incense, conduct prayers, or recite mantras,” the first source said. “We were also told that monks should not be allowed to stay in our houses… save [animals] and so on. Even Tibetan government officials are not allowed to wear Tibetan dress, nor to maintain a prayer room and altar in their house.”

High-level meeting

Another Tibetan source, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said members of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) Political Consultative Committee met Jan. 13-14 to discuss a plan to employ senior lamas to convince the people that the Dalai Lama is a “splittist” bent on dividing China.

“There was a special meeting on Jan. 13-14 attended by the TAR’s Political Consultative Committee members—Phakpalha Gelek Namgyal, Passang Dhondup, and Dugkhang Thupten Khedup. The main agenda of the meeting was to use the high lamas in different parts of Tibet to convince Tibetans about the splittist intention of Dalai Lama and his clique,” the second source said.

Chinese authorities are increasingly on guard against any signs of Tibetan solidarity or nationalism, said Robbie Barnett, who teaches contemporary Tibetan studies at Columbia University in New York. “There’s an incredible increase in the inclination to read even the slightest incident as an attack by the Dalai Lama, or the ‘Dalai clique,’ on the state. In other words, they see these things as organized,” he said.

Beginning around 1992, Barnett said, authorities in the TAR brought in “policies to control and restrict Tibetan culture and Tibetan religion in an aggressive way.”

“These involve cultural controls, restrictions, lowering the status of Tibetan language studies. They removed a lot of senior cultural figures and teachers, and they moved to control the monasteries through ‘patriotic education.’”

Authorities then encouraged Chinese to immigrate to Tibetan regions and boosted the economy through infrastructure development. “So these are security measures, but they’re done through policy means,” Barnett said.

“The sources of the problem are seen as being Tibetan culture and Tibetan religion that produce nationalism,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any precedent for Chinese cadres at the village level.”

Meanwhile, Tibetan dancers are being trained to repeat Beijing’s official line to the international community during the Olympics, the source said.

“They were told that they will perform Tibetan cultural dances in Beijing during the Olympics but in reality they are being trained to condemn His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] and propagate to the international community at the Olympics that they are happy under Chinese rule,” a Tibetan source said.

Promised liberties

“Another contingent is being recruited in Kongpo and being trained to criticize the Dalai Lama.”

While China has promised free access to foreign journalists throughout the country in the run-up to and during the 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympics, overseas groups say foreign reporters are unable to operate freely in Tibet.

According to the Free Tibet Campaign, which recently unfurled a banner calling for a Free Tibet on the Great Wall of China, “Beijing says that Tibetans are free to practice their religion. But on the ground, talking freely to individuals, foreign journalists would see the lie to this as Beijing maintains a sustained attack on Buddhism by imposing control and conditions on religion.”

The U.S. State Department’s most recent report on global human rights noted that Chinese law “[provides] for freedom of religious belief and the freedom not to believe” and that the government recognizes five main religions, including Buddhism.

“However, the government sought to restrict religious practice to government-sanctioned organizations and registered places of worship and to control the growth and scope of the activity of religious groups,” the report said.

“A government-affiliated association monitored and supervised the activities of each of these faiths. Membership in these faiths as well as unregistered religious groups grew rapidly. The government tried to control and regulate religious groups, especially groups that were unregistered… Crackdowns against unregistered Protestants and Catholics, Muslims, and Tibetan Buddhists continued.”

– Original report from Radio Free Asia: China Cracks Down on Tibetan Buddhism Ahead of Olympics

Posted in Asia, Beijing Olympics, China, Culture, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, Life, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, tradition, World, Xizang | Comments Off on China Cracks Down on Monastery and Enforces ‘Patriotic’ Education for Beijing Olympics

The Chinese Spectacular Shaw “absolutely entertaining but also very beautiful”: U.S. Senator

Posted by Author on January 26, 2008


By Luke Buthman, Epoch Times Minneapolis Staff, U.S. Jan 25, 2008-

MINNEAPOLIS—Of the many distinguished guests attending tonight’s show of the Divine Performing Arts Company in Minnesota, the Honorable Senator Mee Moua was among those in attendance. Accompanied by her husband Yee Chang and her two children Chase and Sheng, Senator Moua’s family found some of the themes “enlightening” and the show to be “colorful and uplifting.”

“I think the performers are great, they’re world class,” said Chang. “This is a part of our community and we are here to ring in the new year and celebrate the new year.”

When asked if his Asian background gave him some connection to the show, Chang replied that “a lot of spiritual themes are similar, the themes of ancestry, culture and tradition and the spiritual world and the physical world being one and the same. That resonates with our culture.”

Senator Moua said “that the costumes were beautiful, the different themes were educational and I learned a lot.”

Chase, her eldest son, loved the drumming, while her daughter Sheng loved the dancing.

Both Senator Moua and her husband enjoyed that the show was great for families. Senator Moua said, “I think some of the messages are more adult but it was done in a way that it made our kids curious. That’s what something like this should be; it should allow both adults and children to be able to ask questions and be curious”.

Senator Moua remembered that “We grew up watching Chinese movies, watching a lot of the Kung Fu movies, the Jackie Chan movies, and the traditional Hong Kong Chinese-style movies where people fly through the sky and they have on these beautiful costumes.

“Hearing the classical music in the background and watching it being performed brought back those visions of the movies that I’ve seen. It was absolutely entertaining but also very beautiful.”

In conclusion, Senator Moua said simply, “It’s a very good show, from the artistry to the beautiful dancing.”

Following this Minneapolis performance, Diving Performing Arts will play three shows in Chicago on January 25 and 26. The Spectacular is also playing January 23-26 in San Francisco. See Bestchineseshows.com for details. The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese New Year Spectacular.

– Original report from the Epochtimes: A Show that ‘Resonates with Our Culture’

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Chrysler Executive: The Chinese Spectacular Helps US ‘understand the diversity of China’

Posted by Author on January 26, 2008


By Seth Holehouse, Epoch Times Detroit Staff, Jan 23, 2008-

DETROIT—Coming from a triumphant tour in Canada, The Chinese New Year Spectacular played to a nearly full house at the beautiful Detroit Opera House last night, and businessmen like Chrysler Public Relations/Communications Spokesperson Max Gates learned a lot from the experience.

“Our Chrysler foundation,” Gates explained, “has done a lot of work with the communities, supporting the arts and culture. Many of our employees are very involved in the oriental group, and it is very interesting for me to see some of [the Chinese] culture.”

In fact, “We have been looking forward to the show for a long time,” Gates shared.

And the involvement with China is growing. “At Chrysler,” Gates continued, “we are developing a lot of relations with China. I think that our involvement with China is going to grow very rapidly over the next few years.”

The Spectacular fits a unique need for the American businessman. “The show has helped me understand the diversity of China,” Gates continued. “I am struck by the tremendous range of geography and culture in China, especially the language and artistic expression. The show displays the cultures of Tibet, Mongolia, and other parts of mainland China.”

The contrast with American culture is stark. “We live in a country that is barely 250 years old, and in China we are talking about centuries of culture. It is a very different perspective….It is amazing to see how their history and culture has maintained, “Gates said, “and how important it is to the Chinese people.

Of course, Gates found the show entertaining as well. “I really like[d] the costumes in the bowl dance, the colors are so rich and beautiful. I thought that the bowl dance itself was very beautiful.”

Any chance that this experience will change the corporate community? “I think we should get a drum group going at Chrysler,” Gates exclaimed, “that would really inspire the workers!”

There are still plenty of opportunities to experience the magic of the Chinese New Year Spectacular. Following this Detroit performance, Diving Performing Arts will play one show in Minneapolis on January 24, and three more in Chicago on January 25 and 26. The Spectacular is also playing January 23-26 in San Francisco. See Bestchineseshows.com for details. The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Chinese New Year Spectacular.

Original report from the Epochtimes

Posted in Business, Businessman, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Heritage, Life, Music, News, People, shows, Social, tradition, USA, World | Comments Off on Chrysler Executive: The Chinese Spectacular Helps US ‘understand the diversity of China’

EPIC PROPORTIONS- ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’: Heavy on history and tradition, in San Francisco

Posted by Author on January 24, 2008


Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle, USA, Wednesday, January 23, 2008-

As if the Chinese New Year parade and celebration weren’t grand enough, this year San Francisco is hosting the traveling “Chinese New Year Spectacular,” an enormous show in its second year that is being billed as “the largest Lunar New Year celebration” outside China. It’s presented by New Tang Dynasty TV, an independent, nonprofit Chinese-language television broadcaster that operates outside of China.

The show’s choreographer and principal dancer, Vina Lee, laughs when asked what her favorite parts of the epic show are. “Oh, there’s so much!” she says. There are 40 separate “programs” in the show, each of which portrays a part of Chinese history or showcases traditional Lunar New Year stories. The Imperial Palace is evoked, warriors clash, goddesses descend from heaven. Modernity hasn’t been ignored in this production either: Lee says that one program deals with contemporary Chinese society and critiques the government’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners. “Elements of this story,” she notes, “are happening now.”

Lee fled China after the Tiananmen Square conflict and says that one of the primary motivations for this show was to spotlight pre-Maoist Chinese history. “Chinese New Year is a time to celebrate family. It’s pretty much like Christmastime,” Lee says. “We thought about doing it not just to be entertaining but to review our history, to bring back the principles of the country.”

Those principles include “compassion, tolerance, beauty. … These very fundamental principles to Chinese culture have been lost and damaged during the Communist regime,” she says.

Another challenge in plumbing Chinese history was to create a show that would interest Chinese and non-Chinese alike – people who would know the old stories by heart and those who didn’t have a background in the traditional performances. “It is both ways,” says Lee, noting that there will be dialogue and lyrics in English and Chinese throughout the show. “I think people, no matter the background, will find it easy to follow the show’s ideas.”

With 60 performers onstage and an orchestra, there’s much to see and hear during the “New Year Spectacular.” “The opening act, don’t miss the first one,” she counsels. “It’s such a stunning picture. The opening scene is bringing a message from a long time ago.

“Of course, people like the drum dance, it’s very powerful, and some audiences would say they like softer, more traditional parts. … Some people say they like the myth stories, some like the lyrics. And some people, they say they love every single piece.”

8 p.m. today, 2 and 8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Through Sat. $28-$98. Orpheum Theatre, 192 Market St., S.F. (415) 512-7770. http://www.shnsf.com.

– Original report from San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Chinese New Year Spectacular’: Heavy on history and tradition, show stops in San Francisco

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The Chinese Spectacular Show Aids ‘Cultural Development’, Says Human Rights Lawyer David Matas

Posted by Author on January 18, 2008


By Cindy Chan, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Jan 15, 2008-Prominent human rights lawyer David Matas

After seeing the Divine Performing Arts Chinese New Year Spectacular in Ottawa this year, human rights lawyer David Matas had high praise for the show’s professionalism as well as its important contribution to cultural development.

“It’s a very high-quality show, the costumes were wonderful, the music was terrific, the choreography was imaginative and very pretty to look at. It was a very professional show,” said Matas.

(photo: Prominent human rights lawyer David Matas)

Matas noted “the lessons of faith” portrayed in the Spectacular and “the continuity between the show and ancient Chinese cultural traditions.

It is “a continuation of Chinese culture as a living entity rather than just a museum artefact,” he said. Ethnic Chinese will benefit from the show because it helps them connect with their identity, while non-ethnic Chinese will benefit from the presentation of cultural diversity and the richness of the Chinese civilization.

Matas commended Divine Performing Arts, the company that presents the Spectacular , “for their commitment to continue, preserve, and develop [Chinese] culture.”

“It isn’t just the preservation,” he said, because the show contains elements “that would normally help cultural development and don’t just replicate the past, but bring the past up to the present.”

Matas pointed to the combination of modern instruments and ancient Chinese instruments as an example. “That in itself is an important cultural development—important for the Chinese culture, important for global culture.”

“Culture that is meaningful is going to be insurrectionary, not in a violent sense, but rejecting established cultural norms. Otherwise you just get a regurgitation of the old stuff.”

Keeping Chinese Culture Alive Despite Obstacles

The Divine Performing Arts promotes the Spectacular as a show that revives the authentic traditional culture of China, with its emphasis on moral values and spiritual quest, without any elements of communist party culture.

“That comes across pretty clear,” said Matas, adding that communism is a “controlled system” that thwarts culture.

Communism is “antithetical to culture and spirituality,” he remarked. “The way it relates to Chinese culture is simply by trying to destroy, obliterate, and suppress it, so any continuity of Chinese culture like what we see through the show is something that has no connection to communism whatsoever.”

Each year the Chinese embassies and consulates contact government officials and attempt to discourage attendance at the shows and/or prevent them from taking place. Matas called these attempts “a form of cultural destruction of one of the richest cultural heritages in human history and human civilization.”

He further explained that culture cannot come from a government or political system; it must come from the people. By its very nature, culture is a grassroots phenomenon, he said, whereas a communist society is a “controlled system,” and “any controlled system thwarts culture.

“The whole notion of central control, which is essential to the notion of communism, is antithetical to cultural development from the people.”

It follows that “you can’t have a meaningful Chinese culture while the CCP remains in power in China,” said Matas.

“The community putting on this show is not just providing a lot of entertainment but adding to contemporary cultural diversity and keeping alive this rich and diverse Chinese culture in the face of huge obstacles.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit www.bestchineseshows.com.

– Original report from the Epochtimes: Spectacular Aids ‘Important Cultural Development,’ Says Prominent Human Rights Lawyer

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Chinese New Year Spectacular is ‘Out of This World’: David Kilgour

Posted by Author on January 16, 2008


By Rahul Vaidyanath, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Jan 15, 2008-David Kilgour, after watching the Chinese New Year Spectacular

OTTAWA—The Chinese New Year Spectacular presented its final performance in Ottawa on Monday night. Presented by New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV), the show features Chinese classical dance and music emphasizing the positive values of freedom, peace, and beauty.

David Kilgour, former Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, attended the Monday show after arriving from Europe. (photo at right)

“I want to congratulate everybody associated with this show. I wish everybody in Canada could see it. I wish everybody could see it everywhere, especially of course in China.”

“Last year, when I saw it in Toronto, I did not think it could get any better. This year, probably everything is a little better,” said Kilgour. “The dancing is absolutely fabulous, the last piece was spectacular.”

Kilgour elaborated on some of the issues currently facing China and pointed to how the show transports the audience to a China before communist rule.

“I’ve been reading a lot of books on China in the last year or so, and I think this is the authentic China, the authentic culture.”

“What is being used now [in China], as somebody says, is imported from Europe. Last time I looked, Karl Marx was not Chinese,” said Kilgour, alluding to the link between the father of communism and the regime that now rules China. “The imported violent philosophy that is still, unfortunately, being used by the [regime in] China is quite foreign to the culture, people, and history of China. This shows what a marvelous culture and tradition the authentic Chinese culture is.”

Kilgour also described how the show makes people feel.

“Uplifted, inspired, dazzled,” he said. “It’s magical what we’re seeing here tonight. I’ve got nothing but respect for the people who’ve done it. They have put in so much time, I gather, to make the show what it is.”

“It’s topically spiritual. It’s not giving any other message, that’s what’s wonderful,” said Frank Scheme, a freelance photographer who also works part-time with Amnesty International, and who attended the show with Kilgour.

Due to his previous role as Secretary of State for Asia Pacific, Kilgour has traveled extensively throughout Asia and is in a strong position to comment on the unique nature of the show.

“It’s absolutely unique, one of the best I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world, and I’ve been in more than 100 countries,” Kilgour added. “The combination of everything, costumes, music, the live orchestra … The moderators are good, they’re funny.

“The dancing is really out of this world, almost everything is out of this world. I would recommend this show to anybody, I have recommended it to many people and I’m glad to see some of them here tonight.”

The Chinese New Year Spectacular now leaves Ottawa to play four shows in Montreal before going on to Toronto next weekend.

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit www.bestchineseshows.com.

Original report from the Epochtimes

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Chinese Spectacular Highlights ‘Cultural and Moral Values’, Says Award-winning Writer

Posted by Author on January 16, 2008


By Cindy Chan, Epoch Times Ottawa Staff, Jan 14, 2008- Cyril Dabydeen, an award-winning professor of English at the University of Ottawa, gave enthusiastic reviews of the Chinese New Year Spectacular last year and again enjoyed the show

OTTAWA—Divine Performing Arts’ Chinese New Year Spectacular made the Canadian debut of its 2008 world tour in Ottawa Sunday night.

Cyril Dabydeen (photo ), an award-winning professor of English at the University of Ottawa, gave enthusiastic reviews of the show last year and again enjoyed the show “tremendously” this year.

“The sense of divinity, spirituality, and good values—those things for me were very transcendental, very inspirational,” he said after seeing the show on Sunday evening at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.

A prolific poet and writer whose work has been published in Canada and other countries, Dabydeen has written over 15 books, including novels and collections of poetry and short stories. He has juried twice for the Canadian Governor General’s award for books of poetry and served as Poet Laureate of Ottawa.

Dabydeen noted that when the sopranos were singing and he looked at the lyrics on the screen, “It was so marvelous; it transported me back in time, in a sense of a beautiful, wonderful, quintessential Chinese culture.”

The production is a world-class showcase of Chinese classical and ethnic dance, music, and song. It combines Chinese and Western music and instruments and blends ancient performance techniques with state-of-the-art technology in the form of dramatic digital backdrops and animation.

“The modern technology and classical techniques, I think they blended wonderfully . . . beautifully,” said Dabydeen. “The Chinese and Western musical instruments, classical and modern Chinese and Western elements, past and present, all blended in wonderful symbiosis.”

Dabydeen commented on the ancient Chinese emphasis on moral qualities and spiritual search for truth portrayed in the programs in the Spectacular .

“Moral qualities are very important, especially when there seems to be moral conflict and confusion because of the influence of popular culture stemming from the mass media. This show emphasizes the importance of time-worn cultural and moral values and traditions — which we should all reflect on seriously in our quickly changing world.”

Noting that the show made him “think of the joy of culture,” Daberdeen added that the “very high standard” of the show “will help everyone focus on the role cultures play in advancing the quality of life of all our citizens.”

Dabydeen was co-winner of the top Guyana Prize for Fiction in 2007 for his novel “Drums of My Flesh.” The novel was also nominated for the prestigious International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award last year and was a finalist for the Ottawa Book Awards in 2006.

He has also been a long-time human rights and race relations activist and is a trained educator who has taught at the junior school, college, and university levels for 20 years.

“I’ve worked in multiculturalism for 15 years,” said Dabydeen. “This high quality of choreography, dance, singing, the sopranos, drumming, the orchestra — it’s an extraordinarily high quality . . . It enhances all of us.”

Dabydeen commended the Chinese community for its “tremendous contribution” that has made Ottawa a “wonderfully enriched city.”

“Very often we think of only certain people, [for example] European Canadians, who can produce works of high, great artistic aesthetic quality, but there you have this event tonight, wonderfully produced and performed.”

Divine Performing Arts, the performing company that put together the show, describes the Spectacular as a showcase of “authentic traditional Chinese culture with pure compassion and pure beauty, without any elements of communist party culture.”

Dabydeen noted the importance of maintaining the traditional sense of the culture. This is because a society should evolve naturally and organically, he said. “That’s the key word—’organic evolution of society and culture.'”

“Political influence tends to be manufactured influence. It’s too contrived, and sometimes they do not lead to our self-fulfillment.”

“What attracted me the most, as last year too, was the sense of history, the wonderful traditions, and how society evolves, because all societies tend to change. Beyond that, underneath it all is a sense of our higher self, moral values, and spiritual values.”

After a second show in Ottawa on Monday, the Chinese New Year Spectacular will move on to Montreal and Toronto, then continue its worldwide tour of more than 60 cities on five continents.

Original report from the Epochtimes

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Canadian Arts Professor Impressed by Harmony of Chinese Spectacular Show

Posted by Author on January 16, 2008


By Olivier Chartrand, Epoch Times Staff, Jan 14, 2008-

OTTAWA—”It makes us discover a new, different cultural universe,” Professor Geneviève Mareschal said after seeing the Canadian premiere show of the Chinese New Year Spectacular on Sunday night at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.It was Mareschal’s first time seeing the show.Mareschal is Vice-Dean academic of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ottawa, and an Associate Professor at the university’s School of Translation and Interpretation. “It’s interesting. There was lots of harmony in the movements of the dancers,” she said.

She preferred the performances of the male performers “because it was more energetic and illustrated strength and power.”

Mareschal was also impressed by the quality and strength of the singers’ voices.

The Spectacular is a grand showcase of traditional Chinese dance and music that has been touring the world since 2004, visiting over 60 cities on four continents this year. It features Divine Performing Arts, a company of dancers, vocalists, and musicians of excellence that aims to revive the “pure compassion, pure beauty, and pure truthfulness” of ancient Chinese culture and values without the modern influence of communist party culture.

Because the performances are without any communist party culture, “there is a kind of harmony with nature,” said Mareschal.

“The pieces depicting modern times also reflect the value of compassion and of helping each other,” she added.

“The show gives an impression of peace and calm,” remarked Mareschal.

– Original report from the Epochtimes : Ottawa University Vice-Dean Impressed by Chinese Spectacular

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Principal Cellist: Chinese Spectacular ‘Amazing’

Posted by Author on January 16, 2008


By Jason Loftus, Epoch Times Toronto Staff, Jan 14, 2008- Amanda Forsyth talks about the <I>Chinese New Year Spectacular.</i> (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

OTTAWA—A celebrated Canadian musician had just one word when asked what she thought of the Chinese New Year Spectacular in Ottawa on Sunday night: “Amazing.”

Amanda Forsyth (photo at right) is considered one of North America’s most dynamic cellists. The winner of a Juno award — Canada’s Grammy — she is the principal cellist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) in Ottawa.

On Sunday night, she joined her mother — and 2,100 others — to take in the sold-out Canadian premier of the Spectacular at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa’s premier theatre.

“It’s really beautiful that they’re really so proud of their traditions. It’s so poetic,” said Forsyth.

The show, put on by New York-based Divine Performing Arts, has been billed as a renaissance of traditional Chinese culture. Divine Performing Arts says it seeks to convey not only the aesthetic beauty of Chinese culture, but also the values and the inner meaning of the culture, which have been repressed over decades of communist rule.

Forsyth was the youngest principal ever selected by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra in 1993, where she stayed until joining the NACO in 1999. She also tours internationally with the renowned Zukerman Chamber Players, performing with her husband, violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

Forsyth enjoyed the mix of eastern and western instruments in the orchestra that accompanied the show, and she was particularly pleased that the “erhu” —a two-stringed Chinese instrument with a wide range of notes—was on-stage for a solo in the second act.

“[The erhu] is my favourite,” she said. “I love it.”

“For a musician, it’s nice to see,” she added. “In western music, when we have a ballet company and the orchestra is in the pit, we already know what it looks like . . . I really love to see the erhu on stage.”

Forsyth’s performances have allowed her to travel and take in shows around the world.

“I felt like I was actually in Asia,” she remarked.

But for someone who often uses her travel to satisfy her desire for fashion, Forsyth particularly enjoyed the traditional costumes in the show.

“The fabrics were amazing,” she said.

Would she be back next year? “Absolutely.”

The Epoch Times is a proud sponsor of the Divine Performing Arts shows that will perform in over 60 cities worldwide in 2008. To find a show near you, please visit www.bestchineseshows.com.

Original report from the Epochtimes

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Chinese Traditions Take Centre Stage– New Year Show Combines Ancient And Modern With Spectacular Pageantry

Posted by Author on January 15, 2008


By DENIS ARMSTRONG, the Ottawa Sun, Canada, Sat, January 12, 2008-

China’s former leader Chairman Mao couldn’t stand public holidays.

He thought they distracted the people from the sober utopia of the communist revolution. So Mao and his Gang of Four eliminated New Year’s, or any celebrations that might inspire pleasure or national pride, during the cultural revolution between 1966-1976.

But since trading Mao’s communism for some western-style capitalism, the Chinese have been not-so quietly reviving their holiday traditions in spectacular style.

To bring in the new Year of the Rat (which begins officially on the Chinese calendar on Feb. 7), New Tang Dynasty Television is throwing a Chinese New Year Spectacular, an Olympic-sized pageant of 100 dancers and musicians including a live symphony orchestra at the National Arts Centre, Sunday and Monday (in Ottawa).

The wholesome, family-friendly musical revives cultural holiday traditions, some dating back 5,000 years, which had all but been forgotten. Stylized ancient dances, Chinese and western orchestral music and fable storytelling with state-of-the-art digital video and live animation blend in an epic tale of good versus evil meant for both Chinese and Western audiences.

“We are trying to revive the culture and courageous spirit of the country,” explained the show’s local coordinator Jean Zhi. “We want to celebrate a traditional Asian way of life in which the family is central.”

BEAUTIFUL PICTURE

“As long as the curtain is raised, you see a perfectly beautiful picture,” Zhi adds. “The music and movement are gentle but there is also choreography based on martial arts, taken from ancient dynasties that have been thoroughly researched. Many of our cultural traditions were lost during the cultural revolution. We’re proud of our heritage and want to share it with the rest of the world.”

After generations of cultural repression, it’s not surprising that the show is both extravagant and a showcase for unabashed national pride.

Zhi notes that China’s historic transformation into one of the globe’s dominant economies and being chosen to host the 2010 Olympics has caused a renaissance in Chinese arts, and finally they’ve begun ramping up their cultural exports. Performed by the New York-based Divine Performing Arts Company, the multi-lingual show has become a popular annual holiday event in 34 cities worldwide, including Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton since it began touring 2004. Ottawa was added to the tour in 2007.

“Good values are universal,” Zhi concludes.

A complete program is listed on the show’s website at http://bestchineseshows.com/

Tickets for “Chinese New Year Spectacular” are $158-$38 at the NAC box-office and online at www.nac-cna.ca and www.ticketmaster.ca

Original report from the Ottawa Sun

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