PureInsight | January 27, 2003
[PureInsight.org] One characteristic of the Chinese way of thinking is "pairing," which can be seen in many Chinese expressions. To describe Suzhou and Hangzhou, two Chinese cities with pleasant climates and beautiful scenery, the Chinese have a saying-"The heaven is in the sky, and Su-Hang is on the earth." "Eating in Guangzhou", an expression frequently used by the Japanese, derives from a Chinese saying describing the ideal life-"Born in Suzhou, living in Hangzhou, eating in Guangzhou, dying in Liuzhou." Suzhou is famous as the birthplace of many good-looking men and women. Hangzhou's beautiful scenery is well-known. Guangzhou is the gourmets' heaven. Liuzhou produces the best coffins in China.
The art of pairing has also been extensively applied in Chinese literature.
River jade-gray; birds gleam whiter;
Hills green; flowers burn red.
Now in Spring; I see it pass;
What day will open return-home year?
—Du Fu, Quatrains
River and hills, jade-gray and green, birds and flowers, the whiteness of the birds being reflected on the jade-gray river and the redness of the flowers flaring on the backdrop of the green hills, become perfect pairs. One literary usage of pairing is duilian (antithetical couplet). Duilian can be found on the house pillars near the entrance. Chinese people have maintained the custom of putting on duilian on important days such as the New Year, weddings, and funerals.
Chun lian is a special type of Duilian, or poetic couplet. It is used only during the Chinese New Year as part of its celebration. While duilian is permanent, chun lian is a temporary decoration to be placed on the entrance of the house, somewhat akin to Halloween or Christmas decorations.
Duilian is comprised of a couplet written on vertical strips of red paper in the best calligraphic style one can muster or that one can persuade one's fellow practitioners to muster.
The first (called upper) line is posted on the right side of the front door.
The second (called lower) line is posted on the left side of the front door.
In addition, a third horizontal piece may be posted across and on top of the door.
Typically, the chun lian writes a happy, hopeful, uplifting message like this one that is very commonly used in China:
Upper (first) line: Winter gone mountain clear water sparkles
Lower (second) line: Spring comes bird sings flower flagrant
Horizontal (across): Whole Earth returns spring
Note that word for word, the upper and lower lines have opposite meanings, yet the meanings are also complementary and content of the message is hopeful and uplifting. The words in the horizontal line are written from left to right.
Now here's one that was written for Dafa practitioners:
Tong Hua Da Fa, Zhen Shan Ren Zhong Da Zi Zai
Nan Xing Neng Xing, Ming Li Qing Wai Jiu Zhong Sheng
Da Fa Di Zi
Upper Line: Assimilate to Dafa, being greatly at ease as a part of Truthfulness-Compassion Forbearance
Lower Line: When it is impossible to do it, you can do it, rising above fame, self-interest and emotional entanglement to save sentient beings
Horizontal Line: Dafa Disciple
Dafa Chun lian translated from: