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Fri, 31 Jul 2009
A small addition to the new Dragon Facts at Dodies Dream World xxx

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HarbinHarbin is a twentieth century city. Therefore, you will not find ancient monuments. The largest active Buddhist temple in the whole region is the Temple of Heavenly Bliss. Constructed in the 1920s, it doesn't possess the exquisite detail of the great temples of the past. The statuary has a somewhat louche carnival allure. The devotion of the faithful, however, is the real thing.

The Temple of Heavenly Bliss is a very spiritual place, and you can feel a buzz in the air, along with the incense smoke. Outside the temple, in a row of little religious shops, you can buy Hell Bank play money which you then burn in order to satisfy (easily fooled) spirits.

The word Hell was introduced to China, by Christian missionaries who claimed that non-converted Chinese folks were all "going to Hell" when they died -- and the Chinese, thinking "Hell" was the proper English term for the afterlife, adopted the word. Thus, Hell Bank Notes are simply Money to use to guide you through the after-life. The Chinese believe that their spirits or ghosts go to an after-life where they continue to live on , doing the same sort of things they did while alive, eating, drinking, wearing clothes, playing with their children, and so forth. In order to ensure that they have lots of good things in the afterlife, their relatives send them presents, and one of the best things to send them is Hell Bank Notes -- money to spend in the afterworld. In addition to Hell Bank Notes, some Chinese grocery stores also sell elaborately-made and multi-coloured paper watches, clothes, cars, Hell Credit Cards, and even refrigerators for the purpose of burning in the belief that doing so sends their essence to the afterlife world, where the recipient will be glad to receive such material goods. Symbols on the faces of the Asian Hell Money are very beautiful: To the left of the Emperor of Hell on the 500,000,000 dollar note there is a golden bowl piled high with offerings -- slipper-shaped gold bullion bars, polished branches of red coral, and peacock feathers. To his right is a stylized lotus flower.

These are two of my favourites as they have dragons on them. And we all know I have a passion for the dragons.

There are many web sites where you can find most of the Hell Money description, try and have a look at a few. Their story is quite amazing in some cases, the web site of Hell Money; BigWhiteGuy.com is excellent.
Harbin again, I just love this

A few miles away from the Temple of Heavenly Bliss stands the imposing building of Saint Sophia Cathedral, which went through several changes before reaching its final shape in 1932, already the twilight of Harbin's Russian era.

For a long time after WWII, Saint Sophia was hidden, deliberately forgotten, its inside gutted. Other significant Russian churches were destroyed during the traumatic 1960s. It was as if the Chinese were worried that the Russians would come back and claim ownership of the much disputed region.


More recently it became obvious that handsome Saint Sophia is a part of Harbin's history, of great interest to visitors and tourists. It was renovated with much fanfare, as a Harbin historical museum. Today, the plaza in front of the cathedral is a popular spot with piped in music, a haven in the midst of a chaotic neighborhood. You don't meet many non-Chinese tourists in Harbin, and the few that you do meet are most likely Russians from nearby Siberia.

Anger Dragon Smoke
       By Lillian Moore

 Breathe and blow
white clouds with every puff.
It's cold today, cold enough
to see your breath.
Breathe dragon smoke today!

Posted 05:07

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