Radical 26-1 生 Shēng, to be born
" What the caterpillar calls death, the butterfly
calls freedom ! "
"After the harsh winter a seedling is pushing its way up, out of the earth and is touched for the first time by the sunshine!"
In the bottom part of the character, we see a seed that is fighting its way out of the ground and into the sunlight. Finally, the seedling can
take part in the dance of life.
The character 生 Shēng means ”to be born, to give birth, to live...". Let’s look at the separate parts:土 Tǔ (earth) at the bottom, which gives us the idea of the earth which gives life to everything that lives on the ground. If we link it to other words we can make new ones, 生產 to give birth , 生長 to grow,生命life 生活 life, to live. Or 生命力 vitality 生動vivacious 生機to survive . All these terms describe something or a situation which embodies the concept of “life”.
This can be interpreted as meaning “If you can get over the fear of death then you can start to live.”
Being born is symbolically like being dead in the womb and then coming back into the world. It is like passing from the dark into the light. Death and life are not only in opposition but are also dependent on each other: "what the caterpillar calls death, the butterfly calls freedom ". Each phase of life or nature is both death and birth. Being dead while still alive is also possible. There are many situations and forms of behaviour which can kill us before we die physically.
Every time the rigidity of prejudice opens up to the discovery of modernity. Every time the ice of hatred gives way to understanding. Every time a hand, which is usually closed, gets the courage to open up and hold another hand. Every time a heavy thought becomes light, as if inspired
by the flight of a swallow.
©兒童手搏文創Kids Shou Bo Art, Culture & Chinese wisdom
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