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In this topic we are going to explore how creation stories from different faiths compare. We are going to look at why creation stories are important and why they are relevant today. Each week we will explore a different creation story and compare the similarities and difference at the end of the topic.
Today we are going to focus on a Chinese creation story.
this sRead this story which is one version of a Chinese creation story, then, answer the questions.
Traditional Chinese belief is based on the yin and yang, the dark and the light, as being the creative power which sustains all life and being. Yin and yang are not gods or deities but are the natural forces behind nature and even the gods, such as P'an Ku, are creations of the yin and yang. Here is one version of how the world came to be.
There was a time when there was nothing but chaos, and it was like a mist and full of emptiness. Suddenly, there came a great colourful light and from this light all things that exist, came to be. Then the mist shook and separated, that which was light, rose up to form heaven and that which was heavy sank and became solid and formed the earth.
Then strong forces came from heaven and earth and these forces combined to produce yin and yang. Think of yang like a dragon - hot, fiery, male, full of energy. Think of yin as a cloud - moist, cool, female, slowly drifting. Each force has great power, alone they would destroy the world and chaos would return but together they balance each other and keep the world in harmony.
From yin and yang come everything. The sun is of yang and the moon, yin. The four seasons - winter, spring, summer and autumn - and the five elements - water, earth, metal, fire and wood – all these things sprang from them as did all kinds of living creatures.
So there was the earth, a featureless ball floating like a jellyfish on water. Then the forces of yin and yang created the giant figure P'an Ku, the Ancient One. P'an Ku, never stopped growing during every year of his long life and he set to work to put the earth in order. He dug the river valleys and piled up the mountains. Over many thousands of years he shaped and created the folds of our earth.
But such work took its toll and even mighty P'an Ku could not escape death and, worn out by his long life of work, he collapsed and died. His body was so vast that when he fell to the ground his body became the five sacred mountains, his hair became the plants and his blood the rivers. From his sweat came the rain and from the parasites living on his body came forth human beings.
The people, at first, lived in caves but soon the Heavenly Emperor came to teach them how to make tools and houses. The people also learnt how to build boats, to fish, to plough and plant, and to prepare food. This is how it all began.'
The belief in the balancing forces of yin and yang lies at the heart of the Chinese philosophy and influences the way the Chinese people treat their environment.
Read the questions carefully – you can find the answers in the story. Remember to always answer using sentences.
About the story
- What came into chaos at the beginning?
- When the light rose, what did it form?
- What keeps the world in harmony?
- The story tells us about the things created by yin and yang – how many can you list?
- After his death what did P’an Ku become?
- Who came to teach the people how to build boats and to fish?
Find the nouns and verbs!
Underline the nouns and circle the verbs in the following sentences.
- Think of yang like a dragon - hot, fiery, male, full of energy. Think of yin as a cloud - moist, cool, female, slowly drifting
- He dug the river valleys and piled up the mountains. Over many thousands of years he shaped and created the folds of our earth.
- From his sweat came the rain and from the parasites living on his body came forth human beings.
What do they mean?
Look up the meanings of the following words.