and Buddhism are quite intertwined, with the Chinese
adopting many Buddhist practices. Like the 12 animals of
the English zodiac, the Chinese too have their own set
of 12 animals, where some animals will find their
equivalent in the other system.
has it, that once Buddha had invited the animals of the
forest for his birthday party. All the invitees arrived,
but some animals were swift and arrived early, while
some lagged behind and were late comers. On the order of
their arrival, the Buddha assigned an ordinal to each of
them in the Chinese zodiac!
are the 12 signs, the first being the Rat. There were
some animals that were very swift and ran the race to
reach first. Some were steady but slow, like the ox.
While the ox walked its slow gait, it maintained walking
without stopping to take rest, like the proverbial
tortoise in the ‘Hare and the tortoise’. The rat
although was quite ahead of most animals, was second
only to the ox! However, when the finish line was
approaching, the rat climbed atop the ox and hopped just
before the ox. Thus, the rat was the first to arrive and
is the first in the animal zodiac. The rat indicates the
dark of the night-the time preceding midnight and
extending a little after midnight. It also represents
the cold of the winter.
lessons here is, be slow, but also be steady. The ox
that ploughs fields is steadfast although slow. However, it’s too straightforward, compared to the rat that
is not only swift but shrewd too. Being straightforward
and steady is good, but having acumen is desirable and
needed. Thus people born in the year of the rat are
supposed to be shrewd, calculating and swift.
of the Rat Page
the above paragraph describes the ox, this animal is
known to help the farmer a great deal. If you observe
the farmer’s field, you will notice how laboriously
the oxen plough the field non-stop. The hard-working ox
because of its steadfastness and determination is almost
first, but the shrewd rat won as it climbed atop the ox
and arrived first.
the ox worked with its physical capacities, the rat
worked with the mental faculties. The lesson here is,
definitely hard work pays. However, one must never lose
sight of one’s own advantages and disadvantages and
opportunities. Work hard, and work smart too! Work hard,
but let the boss know how hardworking you are. Display
your talents and showcase your efforts! The ox sign is
the English equivalent for the Capricorn-the goat!
of the Ox Page
third to arrive was the tiger. While the clever rat sat
on the ox’s back and jumped atop the ox when they
crossed the river, the tiger was not a good swimmer, but
had tremendous stamina. It arrived panting and huffing
just after the kind ox. The tiger was not one to seek
help from another. It was too dignified for that, as it
relied on its own strength.
of the Tiger Page
fourth animal-the rabbit too was a bad swimmer, but was
nimble with its feet. It started crossing the river by
stepping on pebbles lying on the shores of the river.
But when it reached the river midway, the rabbit almost
drowned. Fortunately, it caught hold of the reed
floating on the river and swam across successfully,
clutching the reed for dear life! The rabbit was thus
awarded the fourth position in the zodiac.
it’s not always possible to rely on one’s physical
strength, it can be possible to make use of any
opportunity or good fortune that comes your way. The
lesson here is, never to lose hope and make use of
whatever luck is thrown at you in the midst of
of the Rabbit Page
the aforementioned four animals had gathered, the dragon
came flying, spewing fire! Noticing the dragon’s
swiftness and strength, the Buddha was curious to know
the reason for his not landing first. It seems the
dragon while flying across the forest saw that the
beings in the forest were thirsty but the pools were
dry. So the creatures were in urgent need of water. The
dragon helped them get water. While he was crossing the
river, he saw how the rabbit was struggling to swim and
was clutching the reed. The dragon’s helpful mentality
made him use the energy fuelling the spewing fire to
push the rabbit ashore! The dragon in Chinese mythology
is known as a powerful, ‘yang’ creature, benevolent
and energizing and thus is used to symbolize all these
qualities and is also used as a lucky charm.
true that we must use our energies constructively to
help others. But in doing so, we might lose track of our
commitments and our goals. While kindness pays, being
kind also comes with a small price! Decision is ours.
of the Dragon Page
the dragon landed, the galloping of horse-hoofs was
heard and the narcissistic horse appeared panting more
because of the exerted and obvious forcefulness. It was
a magnificent sight to see how the horse raced against
all odds, unbridled in his enthusiasm to gallop, showing
its strength! The horse was so full of himself, that
running and galloping was his mission- a mission without
was sure he would be the sixth, but so full of himself
was he, that he failed to notice a slithering snake
uncoil itself from around the horse’s hoofs! The snake
with its slithering nature had coiled itself on the fast
horse’s hoofs, without having to glide across thorns
and thistles and yet reached before the horse.
it’s good to showcase ones talents, delegating duties
to the able and concentrating on less strenuous tasks
can ease much tensions! Like the snake, people born in
the snake years are supposed to be successful by
stepping on others toes!
of the Snake Page
just saw how the slimy snake outwitted the vain horse.
Being confident is fine, but not so confident that we
fail to see others better than us. Humility pays and we
must realize that there may be others out there who may
not be as talented as we are, but who could use brain,
brawn and our talents to get past!
with sharpening ones axe, understanding who is at our
feet and how strong they are, might be wise to consider.
Someone inferior to us may not be all that inferior
of the Horse Page
little after the horse arrived, the sheep arrived too.
The rooster, sheep and monkey too were unable to swim.
However, they spotted an empty raft and seated the
rooster on the raft and pulled the raft across the river
and reached ashore!
of the sheep’s presence of mind to involve the others,
it was made the eighth in the zodiac. ‘When the going
gets tough, the tough get going’, and there’s
nothing wrong in seeking help and cooperation from
of the Sheep Page
ninth to arrive was the monkey. As mentioned earlier,
the monkey and the sheep pulled the raft with the
rooster seated on it and together they crossed the
river. The monkey having risen to the occasion and shed
its usual mischief was made the ninth in the zodiac.
oneself to the situation and making a concentrated
effort will make one regain ones reputation.
of the Monkey Page
very comfortable in water, the proud rooster gave in and
allowed itself to be carried on a raft and pulled by two
of its friends.
no-nonsense and punctual rooster’s pride never came in
the way, when help is all that he needed. Because he
wanted to be there with all the other animals, the
rooster abandoned its pride. The rooster was made the
tenth creature in the zodiac.
of the Rooster / Cock Page
penultimate animal was the dog. When asked about his
late-coming, he explained that he was badly in need of a
good bath after roaming all around and rolling in mud.
When he reached the river, he dived into it to cleanse
himself. He lost track of time as he was immensely
enjoying himself in the river. The dog was accepted too.
you present yourself counts too. The dog thought it
important to arrive at his decent best. Also, the dog
seemed happy combating the challenges thrown at him and
enjoyed solving them. Life can’t always be a bed of
of the Dog Page
but not the least, the laziest of them all the pig
arrived grunting. When asked to explain why he was so
late, he said that he was hungry and moreover as the
others left off in a huff, they had forgotten to clear
the mess. The pig took it upon itself to clear the mess
by devouring whatever it could find!
one acts for the common good, one’s drawbacks can be
forgiven. The pig’s intention was never to arrive
first, as it always possessed a laidback attitude.
However, the pig wanted to complete the task that others
had left. It was not afraid to reach late, as it had
accepted its shortcomings gracefully.
of the Pig Page
moral here is, that all the animals were invited at the
particular point on a certain day. There was one
obstacle-the river. Most animals didn’t know swimming
and were terrified at the prospect of having to cross
the river. How each animal strove to carry out the
mission of overcoming this obstacle and reach the spot
was based on his inherent nature. The rat’s
craftiness, the ox’s determination, the tiger’s
never-say-die spirit, the rabbit’s agility, the
dragon’s helpful spirit, the snake’s sneaky ways,
the horse’s narcissism, the sheep’s spirit of
team-work, the monkey’s responsible attitude, the
rooster’s grace, the dog’s need to present itself
and finally the pig’s act of responsibility all go to
explain even human nature of those born in the above
There is much, much more to Chinese astrology than what
meets the eye! The above is only a general description.
This is only the tip of an iceberg! The birth year only
gives you a generalized over-view. The entire birthday
along with the time and place of birth will give you
details about nature and luck. This information on the
hands of an expert will reveal all the hidden truths of
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