Chinese Power of 9

“Nine has always been respected by the Chinese, for it has tonal resonance with ‘long lasting’ and was also associated with the Emperor, who had nine dragons embroidered on his robe and ruled over a court divided between nine ranks of courtiers who could gain nine sorts of reward. This respect for the power of 9 led to many social listings of 9, often charged with an observant sense of humor, as well as the more serious concept of how individuals were bound ninefold to their family, clan, and community.

Here are the 9 Admirable Social Habits:

*Relieving tension * Courteous attention. * Discreet

Mention * Tenacious retention * Assiduousness *

Wise abstention * Calculated prevention * Truthful

Intervention * A sense of dimension

The 9 Virtues—as defined for the near legendary Emperor Yu (2205-2100. BC) by his chief minister Kao-Yao:

*Affability combined with dignity * Mildness with

firmness * Bluntness with respectfulness * Ability with

reverence * Docility with boldness * Straightforwardness

with gentleness * Easiness with discrimination * Vigo

with sincerity * Valor with goodness

The 9 Follies:

*To think oneself immortal * To think investments are

secure * To mistake conventional good manners for

friendship * To expect any reward for doing right * To

imagine the rich regard you as an equal * To continue to

drink after you have begun to declare that you are sober

* To recite your own verse * To lend money and expect

its return * To travel with too much luggage

The 9 Jollities of a Peasant:

*To laugh * To fight * To fill the stomach * To forget

* To sing * To take vengeance * To discuss * To boast

* To fall asleep

The 9 Deplorable Public Habits:

*Drunkenness * Dirtiness * Shuffling * Over-loud voice

* Scratching * Unpunctuality * Peevishness

* Spitting * Repeated jests

And the 9 Final Griefs:

*Disappointed expectations * Irretrievable loss

* Inevitable fatigue * Unanswered prayers

* Unrequited service * Ineradicable doubt

* Perpetual dereliction * Death * Judgement”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

 

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