The Chinese character combination for color is 顏色
Today is my young friend Yi Ren’s Birthday. He is in Beijing – we have very limited communication and I miss him dearly. I wanted to celebrate this day with a special post to celebrate Yi and the color red.
Outside of a Confucius Church a Red Cactus Flower blooms. It caught the attention of my boyfriend because of the single red bloom. It also happens to be blooming in front of a Architecturally Significant building designed by, Chinese American Architect Eugene Kinn Choy (1912-1991). This building is down the way from my significant other’s business and he drives by often to admire this under-appreciated gem. So, of course he promptly drives me by to see the single Red Flower.
There it sat, a single red flower on a thorny cactus, in front of a mostly unnoticed church; noticed only by an exceptional few – a congregation, I have yet to see and one architectural enthusiast. I quickly took some photos and pondered as I do, the beautiful color – Vermillion. After a few days, I could see this encounter with the flower and the church was not serendipitous…
Chinese Red, Confucius Church, my friend Yi Ren and his birthday.
First, the color red, In Chinese culture the color red plays a symbolic and meaningful role. In the Theory of the Five Elements, Red corresponds with the Element Fire; The Planet Mars; The Phase Full Yang; the Energy is Expansive; the Season is Summer; Climate is Hot; Development is blooming.
It is also the color of happiness.
The Confucius Church, Confucianism is based on the belief that everyone is born good and is capable of growing better by cultivating virtue and living by a set of ethics. Which leads me to my friends name, Yi Ren. In the ethical practices of Confucianism there is the concepts and practice of Ren which translates as humanness or compassion and Yi is the upholding of righteousness and the moral disposition to do good.
Yi Ren, Righteous and Compassionate.
There is a certain naivety a cynic might say about my friend, I find it refreshing. He does believe in the good in people; he is not naive and has experienced deep lows and knows the darkness that exist in the human soul. However, he did grow up with this Confucius belief system as it was passed down through generations.
I had to the pleasure of meeting Yi’s mother and father. His father and I discussed religion and philosophy; His father, a Buddhist, who subscribes to the Confucius Philosophy and Ethics. There was a calm, compassionate, yet fatherly chain of command about him. It is no wonder my friend in Beijing is a Vermillion Bird ready to take flight to the ever expansive energy of Red. Happy Birthday Yi Ren and Happy Day Red!