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Happiness and Harmony:
The Never-ending Cycle of Life

(Chinese views on life and death)

Many representative Chinese cultural objects are circular in shape. Some prominent examples are Bi (a round jade piece with a hole in it), ring, and Chue (a jade ring). Circle alleges to Heaven, and is a symbol to express the Chinese' cosmic conception. Viewing Heaven to be round, the Chinese accepted the notion that life is eternal and circular.

Heaven and Earth
Based on the movement pattern of the Sun, the Chinese perceived that Heaven is round. The cycle of seasons, seasonality of plants and flowers, as well as tidal cycle, all of which confirmed the circular nature of time and the universe. Derived from these observations, the Chinese formed a conception of life, that is, life is eternal as in a circular movement.

Time and Temporality
Early in the Chinese civilization, the Chinese created a farming calendar, or the lunar calendar, based on their observations of the seasonal cycle. They plough in spring and harvest in autumn. The coordination of farming activities and the seasonal cycle reflected the intimate dependence of the Chinese on nature.

Human Life
For the Chinese, the meaning of life is expressed by a circle. The form of a circle represents a completion and harmony. In view of this, a life begins with birth, growth, illness, and death, and thus forms a small circle. On a larger scale, the circle of life contains numerous lives, some in the beginning, some in the mid-age, and some in the end. Because of this view, short-term happiness or a matter of short failing only plays a small role when the completed and harmonious ending is anticipated.

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