The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Year of the Fire Horse
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The Year of the Fire Horse
The HORSE - Chinese name: MA
Ranking Order - Seventh
Hours ruled by the Horse: 11am to 1pm
Direction of this sign - Directly South
Season and principle month: Summer - June
Fixed Element: Fire
Those born between January 21, 1966 and February 8, 1967 are members of the Fire Horse Chinese Zodiac sign.
Fire Horse Element
The passionate influence of the Fire Element makes the Fire Horse the most unconventional, freedom-loving and adventurous of the Horse types. For the Fire Horse, there is little enjoyment to be found in a slow-paced life. Instead, members of the sign prefer excitement at every turn, which explains why the interests and focus of the Fire Horse can change on a whim. The passionate nature of the Fire Horse is often found to be appealing to others, which explains why they have a long-line of admirers and followers. Luckily, the Fire Horse is quite at ease in leadership roles and actively seeks the opportunity to do so.
Fire Horse Career
With an adventurous and ambitious spirit, the Fire Horse can be successful in a variety of careers. Competitive careers may be perfect for the Fire Horse, such as advertising, business and sales. Similarly, the Fire Horse's need for excitement could lead to a career in media, performance or art. When they embrace their passions, there is truly no limit to what they Fire Horse can achieve. This fact can be seen in the careers of Janet Jackson, Halle Berry and Mike Tyson, who were both born in 1966.
Fire Horse Warning
Although the influence of Fire gives the Fire Horse many strengths, the zodiac pairing also creates some conflict. While the constant drive of the Fire Horse may lead it great success, it can also lead to failure of the need to adventure turns into recklessness. The Fire Horse has all the tools to reach their goals in life, but this can only be achieved if the take the time to develop patience and thoughtfulness in their pursuits.
Fire Horse Organs
The organs of the Fire Horse are the heart and the circulatory sense. One could argue that there is no organ more important that the heart, so the Fire Horse encouraged to protect this organ by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and mitigating their stress level.
People born during the year of the Fire Horse are notorious for being bad luck. People born during a Fire Horse years are said to be irresponsible, rebellious, and overall bad news.
And for some reason, women are said to be especially dangerous Fire Horses. They supposedly sap their family’s finances, neglect their children, and drive their father and husband to an early grave.
This myth is so powerful that it seriously affects how people behave. Men might avoid marrying a Fire Horse, and families avoid giving birth to Fire Horse children.
he spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people's ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as 'Qianli Ma', a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).
People born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.
They cannot bear too much constraint. However their interest may be only superficial and lacking real substance. They are usually impatient and hot blooded about everything other than their daily work. They are independent and rarely listen to advice. Failure may result in pessimism. They usually have strong endurance but with bad temper. Flamboyant by nature, they are wasteful since they are not good with matters of finance due to a lack of budgetary efficiency. Some of those who are born in the horse like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers. They tend to interfere in many things and frequently fail to finish projects of their own.
Celebrities Born in the Year of the Horse
Louisa May Alcott, Chopin, Davy Crockett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sandra Day O'Connor, Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Cynthia Nixon, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jason Biggs, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Ashton Kutcher, Emma Watson, Josh Hartnett, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Genghis Khan, Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911)
Fortune Foretelling in 2014
Overview: It is their order to encounter the Year of Birth (Benming Nian), a year to offend “Taisui’, the god in charge of people’s fortune. In 2014, their fortune in all aspects will be fluctuant which requires their great cares. They may stress out, in which case they are suggested to self-adjust by talking more to others or taking part in group activities. Upon any difficulties, they should be strong to overcome them all. If they treat people around friendly and behave righteously, they will smoothly get through the year.
Career: Horse people are easily offended this year even for trifles, and seem not to keep a harmonious relationship with colleagues. Sometimes they doubt themselves too much, gradually short of confidence. When finishing a task, they ask people around to confirm again and again. In this case, it is suggested to be confident and talk more to family instead of complaining to colleagues. Just keep a low profile, get along well with boss and be careful of tricks by mean people and then they will make some achievements in job.
Wealth: Their financial fortune will be unstable in 2014. It seems that there will be much unexpected cost. Thus to make ends meet comes first When managing money matters, they should consider accepting others’ suggestion. It is necessary to be careful to make any investment. Businesspeople should make a full scheme before making a large amount of investment, because the market will be changeable in the year.
Relationships: The fortune in love life for horse people will be just so-so. If they would like to get married in the year, it is strongly suggested to select an auspicious date according to the dates of birth of the bride and the bridegroom, or they will suffer a lot in marriage. Singles may meet several people that they have feelings for, but none of them are doomed to be their Mr./Ms. Right. If standing in dilemma, they’d better refer to the idea or suggestion of their relatives and friends. Husband and wife will argue a lot in the year, to avoid which communication and mutual understanding weighs. For all lovers, mutual trust is the secret for an everlasting relationship.
Health: As they offend “Taisui” this year, they may suffer some discomforts. Some insidious diseases like dermatosis may happen. To avoid that, they’d better have a full physical examination. Besides, they also need to be careful to avoid unexpected injuries by knives and others sharp items. Females should pay attention to problem in urinary system and males need to care more about their stomach. Adjusting their emotions and traveling outside will help with their health as well. They also need to remember not to eat too much for each meal.
In 1966, the year of the Fire Horse, people in Japan (and elsewhere in Asia) really, really tried not to have kids, either because they thought that the Fire Horse myth was true, or because they were worried that others would treat their kids differently because of the Fire Horse myth. Japanese people practiced birth control, and used abortion all in an effort to not have children during the year of the Fire Horse.
And if you’ll notice on the graph, there was a bit of a spike in births during 1965 and 67, another result of people avoiding the year of the Fire Horse.
Why wasn’t there such a dramatic dip in 1906, the previous year of the Fire Horse? There are a couple of reasons.
The Japanese census wasn’t as accurate nor thorough in 1906, so people could have kids, hide them from the official record, and pretend that they were born a different year, completely sidestepping the curse of the Fire Horse. Not to mention that birth control and abortion wasn’t as advanced or widely available in 1906.
Fire Horses are formed from the heat of flames and the wildness of horses making them as dangerous as they are strong-willed. They fight and kick against boundaries, disregarding traditions, valuing blind faith over wisdom and cunning over intelligence. The first part of any Horse’s life is said to be full of ups and downs, but for a Fire Horse, who is destined for extremes, these are even more dramatic. Their bold natures and the heat in their blood bring misery to their families, especially their husbands and fathers. Trying to restrain the will of a Fire Horse girl can cause tragedy, even death.
Fire Horses race through life. They travel often, leaving home at a young age to chase the freedom and independence that feed them. Resourceful and confident, new situations do not intimidate them. This can cause trouble since they are often too confident and curious for their own good.
The male Fire Horse is not considered as dangerous as the female. The same drive and determination that often brings disgrace to Fire Horse women brings distinction to men. It makes them good leaders, quick to make decisions, and gifted at turning a bad situation to their advantage. Fire Horse men are destined to be famous…or infamous.
Fire Horses are full of contradictions. Their pride is paired with a great capacity for kindness. Despite their fierce independence, they need to belong. They are designed for conflict even inside their own skin. This makes it difficult to predict what a Fire Horse will do, especially one that is in love. They may sacrifice everything, but they are just as likely to destroy.
It is hard to predict what a Fire Horse in love will do. Fire Horses are passionate creatures and likely to fall deeply in love. They could break hearts or have their own broken. Whatever happens, they will bounce back wiser, stronger, and willing to risk is all again, after all, a Fire Horse’s life is nothing without adventure, and what bigger adventure is there than love?
Excerpt from The Fire Horse Girl
“In Chinese astrology, the Year of the Fire Horse is a bad year for Horses. All of their worst traits — their tempers, their stubbornness, their selfishness — burn with increased strength. Girls should never be born in the year of the Fire Horse; they are especially dangerous, bringing tragedy to their families. But desperation flowed fast and thick through my mother’s veins. Children did not come easily to her. After four born only to be buried, she ignored the warnings of the zodiac and bore a Fire Horse girl, who was too stubborn to die like the others. Bringing forth something as vicious and powerful as a Fire Horse destroyed my mother. Her last breath mingled with my first. Stories are like that too — deep breaths, one ending so another can begin. One sacrificed so another can survive. We often dwell on the endings of stories, forgetting how they were born, but you must inhale to exhale.”
Jade Moon was born in 1906. Another generation of Fire Horses were born in 1966. The next generation of Fire Horse girls will be born in 2026.
People born during the Year of the Horse have a pleasant, amiable, easy going disposition which guarantees popularity and a large following of friends. Blessed with good humor and geniality, they are extremely comfortable to get along with for they have the knack of instantly putting people at their ease.
Charming and cheerful, the Horse is an extremely likable character. Hard working, self-possessed and sharp, the Horse skillfully acquires power, wealth and respect. However, the Horse's sometime-appreciated frankness can be tactless. The Horse's impatient pursuit of success may become selfish and predatory. Horses can be obstinate. In truth, they are more cunning than intelligent, and they know it. This is why, despite that air of assurance, the Horse lacks confidence in himself.
Above all, the Horse is cut out to be in politics, a career which could bring great personal satisfaction with the opportunity to grind his own ax. He could be a winner here, for he has the facility to sway the crowd.
He is very quick-witted and he is right in there with you before you have had the chance to finish what you were saying; he's on to the thought in your mind even before you've expressed it. This permits the Horse to forestall any arguments that anyone can dream up.
With the Horse, movement is everything. Freedom and independence are as essential to Horse-born people as the air they breathe. A low boredom threshold, both in terms of interests and friendships, is characteristic of those belonging to this sign, and adds a whimsical quality to the otherwise levelheadedness of these folk. Consequently, they tend to act on impulse, and this means there is an element of unpredictability about them.
Like the symbol by which they are represented, Horse-born people are high-spirited and lively. Their vivacity and enthusiasm make them very popular. With a deft sense of humor, Horses are masters of repartee. They love to take center stage and delight audiences everywhere. Sometimes rash and willful, they can be prone to rapid changes of mood and, although seldom really explosive of temper, when they do see red, it is not a pretty sight. Those who have suffered a Horse's rage will never feel quite the same about him again, for his fits of temper are inevitably a bit childish. If he wants to succeed, he has to master them.
Resourceful and self-confident, Horses approach all things enthusiastically. Quick-witted and mentally alert, they are quick to catch on and efficient in all their undertakings. Because of this ability, this dexterous and incisive mind of theirs, they can make accurate judgments and sound decisions instantaneously. They are particularly skilled at handling money, very often in business dealings following their hunches. When it comes to intuition they have a sixth sense that is quite uncanny. Unfortunately, as the Horse is a creature of changing moods he's liable to lose interest suddenly in things he's taken up, whether it's a love affair, a single deal in business, or a whole career. He'll start again with the same determination, and he'll enjoy an equal success. He can make it in any career that demands neither solitude nor meditation, for he is an extrovert and he needs to be surrounded by people who approve of him and flatter him.
Due to their dislike of inactivity, Horses get involved in many sorts of works outside their chosen trade. Good with their hands and attracted to art, they are skillful craftsmen with a talent for innovation.
The first and second part of the Horse's life will be full of ups and downs. He will leave his home and family while he is still young, and this will bring its own disappointments. His love life will be by no means smooth. But the third phase of the Horse's life will be a peaceful one.
Under influence of the Fire element, he is flamboyant and itinerant, excitable and hot-blooded, with superb intellect and great personal magnetism, trying to bring about change through force and sheer willpower. He is easily distracted and volatile and too inconsistent for repetitive or boring tasks. He has flair, wit and charm, needing a great deal of spice and variety in his life. He loves travel, action and change and works best when in charge as he does not tolerate supervision well. His gifts are ingenuity and resourcefulness but not perseverance.
Years ago, while visiting a small Asian border town, I saw a peculiar advertisement. In English, it read, "Love your girl child." My hosts explained that infanticide of girls was still practiced by some uneducated villagers. The only explanation I was given was something about boys being valued more because girls leave the home when they marry. I couldn't then and can't now reconcile that answer with infanticide. Years later, when I learned about Fire Horse women in Chinese astrology, I understood the significance of the phrase "love your girl child."
Unlike the astrology based on sun signs that my mother reads in her daily newspaper, Chinese astrology is closely linked with Chinese philosophy and astronomy. A person's destiny is determined by his or her birth, the season, and the hours of their birth. Most of us have found our birth year on the placemat in a Chinese restaurant-I'm the Ram. Yet the Chinese actually follow a 60 year cycle that is much more complicated than the animal of their birth year. Depending upon the year born, a person can also be one of the elements wood, fire, earth, metal, or water. For instance, born in December of 1967, I am a Fire Ram. If I had been born just ten months earlier, I would have been a Fire Horse. As a Fire Horse, I would have had a very different destiny.
In general, Horses are outgoing, people-loving, and successful. However, in the Fire element their freedom-loving traits turn to rebelliousness, hubris, and destruction. While this potential was tolerated in a male child, it was thought to be ominous in a woman. The common belief in most Asian countries was that a Fire Horse woman would devastate her nuclear family, drain them of resources, and bring about the early death of her father. If a husband could be found for a Fire Horse woman, he would be mistreated and meet an early death himself. Several stories have perpetuated this fallacy such as a popular Japanese tale dating as far back as 1682 about a Fire Horse woman who nearly burned down the city of Edo.
The power of cultural myth is strong as evidenced by the decline of births in the year of the Fire Horse. The birthrate in Japan during that year is down a half million as compared to the previous and succeeding years. In China, Tibet, and Korea there is also data of a plummet in birthrates. Stories of infanticide of girls from this period persist. You can be sure that women born in 1966 are not quick to reveal this in public.
Today these women are beginning to revise these beliefs, and their stories are capturing the imagination of the world. Fire Horse myths are being rewritten to honor the regenerative strength of women born under the sign of Fire Horse. In Japan the Hinoeuma Association, was formed by six Fire Horse women to raise awareness and better the perceptions of the roughly 1,300,000 fire horse women who were born in Japan.
Films such as the 2005 Canadian film, Eve and The Fire Horse, has raised awareness while also winning accolades such as the Sundance Special Jury Prize. The first woman owned Indian film company, FireHorse Films, was founded by two Fire Horse women, Venita Coelho and Deepti Datt. They told reporters that they chose this potentially controversial name to "encourage creative women in India and around the world, who are unafraid to question the status quo and push the envelope."
Many books, too, have been published. Most noteworthy is by the co-author of Farewell to Manzanar, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston. Her book, The Legend of Fire Horse Woman, is about the survival of three generations of Japanese women and illuminates the purifying strength of women born into this destiny.
The next cycle for this rare sign will be 2026. Following the movement of these wonderful works by Fire Horse women around the world, will cultural perception be different in 2026? Will families receive these strong women with excitement, or will parents genetically engineer a year of boys. Either way, when I think of Fire Horse women, I cannot help but remember that shaky sign wavering on a screen in a dark movie theater: "Love your girl child."
Through all the moons of many a year, the Fire Horse is a dynamic creature, with a vigor that promises youth and freshness until the very end of life. The will and the spirit of the Fire Horse cannot be broken. This Horse goes through life with philosophical patience and the ability to bounce back from adversity no matter how dire the circumstances. In times of solitude, Fire Horses also have an insatiable need for intellectual stimulation and they satisfy their curiosity for learning through reading, listening, conversing, and travel abroad. Fire Horses make inspiring leaders, revered and respected. They encourage their subordinates with kindness and just the right degree of strictness and work well with people in all stations of life. Financial rewards fall in the middle ground, not too bad, not terrific, but always comfortable. Being in love with the Fire Horse brings pure rapture. These noble Horses are generous with their love, with hugs and kisses. Loved ones always know where they stand because Fire Horses demonstrate every day through their actions the love they feel deep within. Each day is a soft and tender love poem.
Question # 06 : Is it true that the Fire Horse is a bad sign?
Answer — Most authors delight in giving the Fire Horse an oversized treatment, thereby implying that he is the most important or noteworthy figure in Chinese astrology. In fact, this Horse is only one of the sixty main astrological combinations and should be viewed as such. This does not mean, however, that the native holds no specific interest. No one could remain indifferent to reports of thousands upon thousands of abortions in Japan alone during 1966, a year of the Fire Horse. (There is only one Fire-Horse year every 60 years.) Japanese prospective parents were so much afraid of begetting Fire Horses that they preferred nipping them in the bud even though their action was illegal. The same might have been true in other Asian countries.
Why is the Horse of this combination held in so much contempt and awe? Because, it is believed, he (or she) cannot fail to bring misfortune and drama to his own family. His exacerbated individualism, monstrous egoism, and utter disdain for the virtue of family loyalty and tradition tend to substantiate such a belief.
In any case, all the qualities and defects inherent to the sign are brought to an apogee in the Fire Horse. No one, not even the Fire Tiger, can surpass him in optimism, enthusiasm, blind faith, and courage. If anyone is able to move mountains, it must be he. Extremely brilliant and terribly efficacious, he detests mediocrity and failure, and his achievements are generally equal to his inordinate dreams. Good luck often seems to be on his side. He is capable of the best as well as the worst deeds.
About the Fire Horse
The six decades spanning the gaps between the years of the Fire Horse mean that this rare sign occurs only in the years 1846, 1906, 1966, 2026, etc. These years are bad for Horses themselves and bad for families who have a Horse in the house. This is because the Fire Horse's influence can change from beneficial to malignant, and during these years all Horse families will become subject to illness, accidents and bad luck in general.
Men and women actually born in the year of the Fire Horse will have the same characteristics as the ordinary Horse -- but they will be more accentuated, in the good qualities as well as in the bad. The Fire Horse will thus be a harder worker, a more cunning individual, more independent, more gifted ... and alas, far more selfish. His passionate nature and the frantic egotism which seizes him will lead him to commit his worst excesses when he is in love.
There are those who say that the Fire Horse can be a good influence in the heart of his own family. But popular belief asserts that he will make trouble in the home he was born in just as he does in the one he himself has built.
What we do know is that the Fire Horse will have a career that is more varied, more exceptional, more interesting than that of the ordinary Horse. The Fire Horse carries within himself the seeds of fame ... or of notoriety!
What It Means To Be A Fire Horse Woman
What Is A Fire Horse?
Although I'm not a believer in astrology, I'm more than willing to admit that it's fun. No matter your opinion on the topic, you probably also know your birth sign, at least according to the western paradigm. You know, Capricorn, Pisces, Libra, that sort of thing.
Some people also know their birth sign in Chinese astrology -- mine is a horse. Others are dogs, goats, tiger, dragons, and other animals. What you may not know is that there are special personalities associated with each of the signs. 1966 was a Horse year, and it was a special kind of horse -- a Fire Horse, called "hinoeuma" in Japanese. (The Chinese astrological system is also in use in Japan and Korea as well, although each country puts a slightly different spin on it.)
Japanese women who were born that year (and the previous Fire Horse year, 1906) battle superstitions about themselves all the time. Fire Horse women are called dangerous, headstrong, and are seen as deadly to men. This may sound quaint to western ears, but the 1906 Japanese herd was subjected to poverty and starvation because they could not marry. The 1966 herd has it a bit easier, but they still fight superstitions. Chinese tradition also sees the Fire Horse as a special sign entailing either spectacular good luck, or terrible bad luck; they consider that nothing about the Fire Horse occurs in moderation. However, I've never heard of any particular problem encountered by Fire Horses in China, much less Fire Horse women.
Since I am also a fire horse, I'd heard about this superstition in a casual sort of way, and my reaction was more or less, "Oh, isn't that neat." I was unaware until very recently that this is not merely a quaint old belief from the middle ages, but that Japanese hinoeuma women battle these beliefs even today, all the time. The western woman who identifies herself as a Fire Horse may do so in casual conversation and expect her listeners to smile politely and perhaps make a remark like, "Isn't that charming?" or "I wonder what my birth animal is?" The Japanese woman who identifies herself as a Fire Horse in conversation is making a much more serious statement.
This page explains a bit about the Fire Horse superstition and Chinese astrology for the curious westerner who might not have known about this otherwise. Any Japanese hinoeuma is welcome to provide feedback if I've made any mistakes.
Chinese Astrology for the Western Skeptic
Most people are pretty familiar with the astrological signs most often used in the west -- how the sign under which you were born depends on the month you were born in, the rough order in which they proceed, that sort of thing. Some people might even know the personalities supposedly associated with the signs by believers in astrology -- that Virgos tends to be anal retentive, Leos love attention, and Pisces would forget their heads if they weren't attached.
The Chinese zodiac works a little differently. There are twelve animals in the zodiac, but they don't depend on the month you were born in. They are correlated instead with the year of your birth -- roughly the beginning of February in one year to February of the next is one sign. Since there are twelve animals, the cycle takes twelve years before starting over. I was born in 1966, and hence I am a Horse. My dad was born in 1929 which makes him a Snake, and my mom is a Dog since she was born in 1934.
The animals are, in order: mouse/rat, ox/cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar. These animals were chosen from the myths surrounding the Buddha's time on Earth. When he departed the Earth, these twelve animals came to say goodbye to him. Other myths state that they were the animal forms into which the Buddha was successively reincarnated.
There are distinct personalities associated with each among believers. For example, dogs are seen as loyal, tigers are courageous, and monkeys are fun-loving and merry.
The Chinese zodiac isn't just about the animals, though. There is another cycle laid on top of this one that is associated with the five elements in Asian philosophy. Just as there are four "elements" (earth, air, fire, and water) in the west courtesy of Greek philosophy, Asian philosophy also has their basic "elements," five of them: earth, wood, fire, metal/gold, and water. Each birth year has its own element associated with it as well as an animal, and these can combine in any way. 1929 is not only a snake year, but an earth snake year. 1934 is not only a dog, but a wood dog. Since there are 12 animals and 5 elements, that makes 60 combinations.
And both 1906 and 1966 are fire horse years, called hinoe-uma in Japanese. Since fire is already voracious and powerful, the combination of the fire and the power of the horse is seen as an almost uncontrollably independent mixture by many believers in Chinese astrology.
So what's with Fire Horses?
Fire Horses are seen as outgoing, people-loving, ambitious, rebellious, and independent. They are supposedly freedom-loving and impossible to contain.
These all sound like perfectly fine qualities to the westerner, especially to Americans, since our culture prizes individualism, but in other societies, these are not necessarily good qualities. They are especially disliked in women; wives are supposed to be submissive and dependent, not ambitious or headstrong, and that belief is not uncommon in Western cultures, either.
While ambition and independence are prized as ingredients for success nowdays, they were never seen as ideal female qualities. The proper woman was seen as submissive, quiet, and dependent, not rebellious and strong. This prejudice against fire horse women kept the 1906 herd wracked by poverty in Japan, since no one would risk marrying a woman with these qualities. Now over 90 years old, many of the surviving hinoeuma women are poor and homeless. While the 1966 herd isn't this disadvantaged, they do battle these stereotypes every day.
Thankfully, the attitudes are changing somewhat. The Japan Hinoeuma Association, formed by six courageous fire horse women, is an organization dedicated to bettering the fate of the roughly 1,300,000 fire horse women who were born in Japan. It's interesting to note that the birth rate for that year is down a half million as compared to the previous and succeeding years. Such was the prejudice against the fire horse women that parents who had girls that year often delayed registering their births to keep them from having to deal with the stereotypes.