The Enduring Architecture of Kyoto, Japan’s Ancient Capital

Between the 8th and 19th centuries, Kyoto, in western Japan, was the country’s capital. Built in 794, Kyoto was modeled on Chang’an, China’s Tang Dynasty capital, now known as Xi’an.  China also influenced Japan’s art and architecture. UNESCO has listed no less than 17 of Kyoto’s monuments that together express the general historical development of

A British Treasure: Westminster Abbey

The hallowed ground of Westminster Abbey holds a unique place in British history. It’s where coronations occur and the fallen and the famous rest and are remembered: namely, the Grave of the Unknown Warrior honoring all those who died in military conflict, with memorials to William Shakespeare, Sir Winston Churchill, William Blake, the Brontë sisters,

Diogenes of Sinope, the Dogged Cynic

The great ancient Greek philosopher Socrates (470–399 B.C.) believed that self-sufficiency is the key to a good life. And that the good life is dependent on our virtue, which is well within our control. Socrates’s friend Antisthenes (455-365 B.C.) founded the philosophy of cynicism based on freedom as well as Socrates’s ideal of self-sufficiency, and on

Reflecting the Divine: Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, France

The sun’s rays entering the nearly 27,000 square feet of stained glass windows of Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral create thousands of colored shards that bathe the interior in ethereal beauty. But beyond this earthly splendor, every one of the more than 175 glorious stained glass windows inspire and encourage worshipers to venerate the Virgin Mary and look

Beyond Music: The Tales of Maori Musical Instruments

“It was in the night, that the Gods sang the world into existence. From the world of light, into the world of music,” said Ngai Tahu tribal leader Matiaha Tiramorehu in 1849, as he relayed the Maori creation story.  Tiramorehu, of course, said the words in Maori: Kei a te Po te timatatanga o te

The Hongi: A Traditional Greeting Recaptured

Eyes closed, they touch nose to nose, forehead to forehead: The two embrace in a traditional greeting peculiar to the indigenous people of New Zealand, the Maori. The salutation is known as the “hongi,” typically thought of by non-Maori as simply the rubbing or pressing of noses, an intermingling, and exchange of breath, the “ha.” “Te

Japanese Cherry Blossoms: Spring’s Glorious Fleeting Celebration

Bright pink cherry blossoms against a brilliant blue sky is a sight unlike any other in the world. “Sakura” is the cherry blossom’s name in Japan. They flutter slowly to the ground as crowds mill about, taking in springtime’s beauty. Across the country, the atmosphere shifts. Buds bloom. Winter draws to an end. Just as

Stories from History: Dong Pu Made a Firm Resolution to Study

There was a man named Dong Pu during the Ming dynasty, who was slow when he was young. He could only remember a few lines even when he studied all day long. An elder in the neighborhood sympathized with him and told his father; “Your son is not so smart, why force him to study?

Qingming Festival: Tomb-Sweeping Day in Honor of Ancestors

Many Chinese will be visiting the tombs of their ancestors on April 4 to pay their respects, as the Qingming Festival, also called Pure Bright Day or Tomb-Sweeping Day, falls on that day this year. Qingming is an important traditional Chinese festival celebrated on the 15th day after the spring equinox. It’s not only a

Story From Ancient China: Giving up Credibility and Ruining One’s Life

Credibility is the basic principle of doing business from the ancient times to the present. Merchants who become wealthy must take credibility, reputation, and honesty as the important parts of business ethics. Some people, however, think differently. Yu Fu, a paint merchant from Kingdom Yue during the Spring and Autumn Period, was tired of living

Chinese Idioms: Vicissitude (成語故事:滄海桑田)

The idiom “Vicissitude” means that things in this world have changed a lot. It is originated from the book A Deity Passes on – Yuan Wang by Ge Hong from the Jing dynasty. Ma Gu said: “Since the reception, we have seen that the East China Sea has changed to a mulberry field three times.”

Several Stories about Tang Taizong (Part IV)

One day Taizong said to some officials: ‘I have read some profound articles written by Sui Yang Di.’ (A tyrant who craved luxuries. His unofficial name was Guang Yang. His father was Jian Yang, the first emperor of the Sui Dynasty.) ‘Why can he judge right from wrong in his articles but not in dealing

Several Stories about Tang Taizong (Part III)

General Shunde Zhangsun accepted a bribe of thin silk. Taizong knew it and said: ‘ Shunde has contributed a lot to the empire. I can share the whole wealth of the empire with him, but why he is so interested in wealth?’ Taizong did not punish him; on the contrary, he gave him ten bolts

Several Stories about Tang Taizong (Part II)

Once Taizong talked with his officials about how to stop robbing and stealing. Somebody suggested that a harsh law be established. Taizong said: ‘The reasons for people stealing or robbing are the heavy taxes, too strenuous public service requirements, official malfeasance, and suffering hunger and cold, all of which make people forget their sense of

Several Stories about Tang Taizong (Part I)

After Tang Taizong (second emperor of the Tang Dynasty; his unofficial name was Shimin Li) succeeded to the throne, some of the old officials who had worked for him for several years complained that they had not been promoted. Taizong told them: ‘The trust of an emperor by his subjects depends on his unselfishness. The

Chinese Idiom: The Fox Profits from the Tiger’s Might (狐假虎威)

Zhao Xixu was a high-ranking general of the Chu State during the Warring States Period. He was well known. One day, Chu Xuanwang, the King of the Chu State, asked the officials in the imperial court, “I heard that all the nobility from theNorth are very afraid of Zhao Xixu. Is that true?” No one

Japan’s 2nd Buddhist Temple: Horyuji

From 594 to 622, Prince Shotoku ruled Japan. He certainly lived up to his name, for “sho” means sacred and “toku” means virtue.  During his reign, he promoted Buddhism in Japan, so much so that he is popularly known as the founder of Japanese Buddhism. After his death, many even called him “Japan’s Shakyamuni.” A historical figure

Han Xin, One of the ‘Three Heroes of the Early Han Dynasty’

Han Xin (韓信) (about 231–196 B.C.) was one of ancient China’s most outstanding generals who made great contributions to the founding of the Han Dynasty (漢朝) (206 B.C.–A.D. 220). A military strategist with a rare genius, he is known for never having suffered a single defeat. Han Xin is considered one of the “Three Heroes

NTD International Piano Competition Opens 2021 Application Period

The New Tang Dynasty (NTD) International Piano Competition has announced the details for its sixth competition to be held in New York in 2021. The competition is renowned for its approach to tradition. The unique repertoire includes music only from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic periods, save for a special piece commissioned especially for the

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