The 5 Elements of the Chinese Zodiac

Sep 3, 2011 | Views: 73,851
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Inter-relationship and interaction between the elements

The elements – Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Earth – are an integral part of the Chinese Zodiac which define a universal balance. All things arise from and return to the earth – when we study the Zodiac, it’s important for us to bear the elements in mind, as every one of us are made up of these elements and are deeply connected to them.

Since the 5 elements are components of the Earth, they are all interdependent. Each element is controlled by another, while at the same time, each element brings about another. This indicates that each element has its own equal strength and weakness, and they have equal influence over each other.

 

The Generating Cycle: How One Element Creates Another

From Metal we get Water, from Water we get Wood, from Wood we get Fire, from Fire we get Earth and from Earth we get Metal:

 

Metal (in the form of a container) holds Water

Water (as a nourishing element), helps to grows Wood

Wood is burnt to create Fire

Fire burns every other element down into Earth

Metal is extracted from the Earth

 

The Controlling Cycle: How One Element Controls Another

Fire controls Metal, Water controls Fire, Earth controls Water, Wood controls Earth and Metal controls Wood:

 

Fire melts Metal into liquid

Water extinguishes a Fire

Earth absorbs and directs the flow of Water

Wood (as roots of a tree) holds the Earth together or breaks it apart

Metal, as axes, cuts down trees into Wood.


 

THE 5 ELEMENTS

The Animals and the Elements

Each of the 12 animal signs within the Chinese zodiac is associated with one of the five elements. This is known as the fixed element of the sign:

 

Metal

Earth

Fire

Wood

Water

Monkey

Rooster

Ox

Sheep

Dog

Snake

Horse

Tiger

Rabbit

Dragon

Rat

Pig

 

Then, each animal sign is further divided into the five elements, depending on the year that the sign occurs. E.g.:

  • Metal Horse (1930, 1990)
  • Earth Horse (1918, 1978)
  • Fire Horse (1966, 2026)
  • Wood Horse (1954, 2014)
  • Water Horse (1942, 2002)

 

Each of the five elements occurs within each animal sign occurs once every 12 years. Therefore, each specific animal-element combination – e.g. the Fire Ox – repeats once every 60 years.

A person’s characteristics are determined both by the ruling element of their sign as well as the element of that particular year that they are born. E.g. A Water Rooster will be controlled by both Water and Metal.

Click here to read each of the 12 Lunar Animals influenced by each of the 5 elements:

Rat
Ox
Tiger
Rabbit
Dragon
Snake
Horse
Sheep
Monkey
Rooster
Dog
Pig

Or read by element type:

Metal
Earth
Fire
Wood
Water

How to work with the elements

If a family or any working team is fortunate enough to have all five elements within its members, it is said that they would then enjoy a lot of harmony. The presence of all five elements within one unit creates an overall balance and each element would “generate” – or support – the other.

One of the best ways we can make use of these interactions is at the workplace. Study the Controlling Interactions to determine who you would be able to lead well and harmoniously; and examine the Generating Interactions to see who would support you well. For example, if you are a leader of a company and are looking to hire people to work under you, it would be good for you to find people of signs that are “controlled” by you. E.g. If you are a Fire sign (Snake or Horse), you would find it best to employ people of a Metal sign (Rooster or Monkey). From studying the generating interactions, you would find good support in people born under the Wood sign (Tiger or Rabbit)

 

The Characteristics of each Elements

 

Metal ()

Those born under the Metal element will have the following characteristics:

  • Ambitious and very success driven
  • Competitive
  • Good leadership qualities
  • Fiercely independent
  • Determined and driven
  • Not easily swayed or influenced by others
  • Not easily discouraged by failure or rejection
  • A fighter who will not back down
  • Handles difficulties head-on, preferably on their own
  • Disciplined and focused
  • Often spiritual, holding high morals and high standards
  • Strong instincts when dealing with monetary aspects

 

Weaknesses:

  • Opinionated
  • Non-expressive, or expressive only to a certain limit
  • Can be very stubborn and unreasonable (especially if things are not to their expectation)
  • Susceptible to being merciless and unkind
  • Unafraid to cut ties with those who fail to conform to their expectations or hold opposing views

 

Earth ()

Those born under the Earth element will have the following characteristics:

Strengths:

  • Naturally organized and effective planners
  • Serious and practical
  • Analytical
  • Good insight to situations
  • Keep things as factual as possible, they rarely dramatize their findings
  • Approach things in a logical manner
  • Hard-working
  • Wise and intelligent
  • Natural entrepreneurs
  • Very good at handling money
  • Disciplined, reliable and stable
  • Very responsible
  • Able to fully utilize their resources to bring out successful results
  • Trusting, loyal and honest
  • Good at nurturing others

 

Weaknesses:

  • Conservative and reserved
  • Overprotective
  • Obstinate
  • Miserly
  • Like to “play it safe”; not very adventurous; don’t like to take risks
  • Unimaginative
  • Boring

 

Fire ()

Those born under the Fire element will have the following characteristics:

  • Spontaneous
  • Versatile
  • Charismatic and attractive
  • Commanding presence
  • Highly intelligent and knowledgeable
  • Passionate and enthusiastic
  • Positive
  • Ambitious and self-motivated
  • Adventurous, thrill seekers
  • Likes a challenge and driven by risk
  • Expressive and has dynamic speech
  • Motivators, likely to inspire others to action
  • Creative, innovative
  • Decisive
  • Born to be leaders

 

Weaknesses

  • Dislikes being alone, and may seek for attention
  • Restless and impatient
  • Insensitive and inconsiderate of others
  • Can be manipulative
  • Susceptible to mood swings
  • Too aggressive and dominating
  • Impulsive and volatile
  • Tendency to rush into things without thinking

 

Wood ()

Those born under the Wood element will have the following characteristics:

Strengths:

  • Warm and sociable
  • Innately kind and compassionate
  • Altruistic, empathetic and sensitive to others
  • Understanding
  • Ethical, has high morals
  • Self-confident
  • Finds it easy to make friends
  • Generous; finds it easy to share
  • Adaptable
  • Diplomatic
  • Co-operative, able to work well with others
  • Socially-conscious
  • Good at prioritizing and categorizing their work
  • Practical and organized
  • Always keen to grow

 

Weaknesses

  • Tendency to overcommit; do not know their limits or boundaries
  • Can quit things easily
  • Too passive
  • Indecisive, fickle
  • Can tend to waste money

 

Water ()

Those born under the Water element will have the following characteristics:

Strengths

  • Diplomatic, good communicators
  • Influencers
  • Observant and very aware
  • Open minded
  • Empathetic, sensitive to other’s feelings
  • Good counselors
  • Pacifist, will make good meditators
  • Tend to have good memory
  • Persistent and determined
  • When they feel fear, they are able to hide their feelings
  • Meticulous
  • Able to identify projects with big potential, to bring great results
  • Resilience
  • Able to exert a lot of effort and hard work
  • Intuitive and flexible
  • Soft-hearted and gentle

 

Weaknesses

  • May be susceptible to being self-centered
  • Self-indulgent
  • Indecisive
  • Rely too much on others for support
  • Too passive

 

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12 Responses to The 5 Elements of the Chinese Zodiac

  1. Cynthia Ng on Sep 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    哇哇哇。。很清楚又详细的解释,又再一次让我们彻彻底底的认清自己以及身边的人,该如何的去和别人相处,这样可以解决人与人之间的相处问题。
    感恩仁波切的分享让我们受益良多。

  2. 慧芬 on Sep 5, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    晕死了! 太准确啦!弱点太吓人了

  3. tenzin llhamo on Sep 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you Rinpoche.

    Love this one :
    Wood (as roots of a tree) holds the Earth together or breaks it apart…

  4. Frederick Law on Sep 6, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    everything links together, creating harmony by knowing what each elements entails. i always like this 5 elements very much as it mostly accurate to understand oneself, and to understand others using it. Thank You Rinpoche.

  5. Koh Hee Peng on Sep 8, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    After reading the above post, I realise that I haven’t fully explored the full potential inside me, if what have been stated above is accurate and true.. haha..and if I had, I would be a very very successful person in terms of actualising whatever goals and targets that I wish to achieve in this life :D

    Dear Rinpoche, thank you for sharing :D May you have long healthy life, be surrounded by sound and enthusiastic students, and may all your dharma activities be spread to the 100 directions benefiting all sentient beings :D

  6. sharon on Sep 11, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    This is an interesting post – I am of the earth element and it’s pretty accurate!!! I must work on the weaknesses eg become less boring and more adventurous hahaha!

  7. Bishumita Moktan on Aug 11, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Dear RIMPOCHE LA,
    FYAPULLO…. I m a rat born in sheep hour i wnt to knw abt my future as during ma past years i have faced so many ups n downs n i hav a daughter also i m a divorce n m worried abt ma n ma daughter lyf i wud b grateful if u wud tell me.
    thank u

  8. Sean Wang on Mar 29, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    It is amazing how everything is connected. There is one that generates the other. If they do not generate, they are capable of extinguishing. I am under the sign of the cow and my fixed element is Earth. I find it very true as I am very boring and I like avoiding risks. However, I cannot say the same with many others who are born in my year as some of them are extremely brave and rash in their behavior.

  9. Brian on May 18, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    When 2 people are snakes (1953 and 1965) and one is water and the other fire, can they be good business partners? Please respond. Thank you

  10. Karma Phuntsho on Jan 5, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Rempoche..me a fire snake and just wanted to know how I ll doing here after..especially this year la..

  11. Happy Chinese New Year! | World Adventurers on Jan 31, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    [...] element every 12 years. Visit HanBan for a great summary of the Year of the (Wooden) Horse. Click here for more information about the [...]

  12. Ano Novo Chinês | O Mundo Cabe em SP on Feb 1, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    [...] Características e relações dos 5 elementos (em inglês) [...]

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    Answer to Jo
    1 years ago
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    The 2 tortoises in Tsem Ladrang, Kadro and Menlha are enjoying their fresh veggie meal.
    2 yearss ago
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    Organic vegetables at Kechara Forest Retreat
    2 yearss ago
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    This is Dorje our friendly fish that lives with us. He captured my attention the first time because he was exceptionally friendly. TR
    2 yearss ago
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    Mumus go bye bye!!!
    2 yearss ago
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    SP's mom said that she is from Penang. This is her first trip to bodhgaya, and she truly finds bodhgaya is very holy and spiritual.
    2 yearss ago
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    Very touching video...Buddha said it was very important to visit the four holy places associated with Him before our deaths. Remembering this, I had instructed Paul to take this senior group to Bodhgaya and make sure they are able to plant imprints. When this life of 'fun', money, parties and socials are over, we cannot leave empty handed. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
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    Our two rescued tortoises who live at Tsem Ladrang happily and will be transferred to Kechara Forest Retreat where they will have much more space to roam and run. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
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    Aki is the old African Grey that was abandoned by his owner. Because he is old, no one wanted him. Well we wanted him and we took him and in and love him. He is in a big aviary and he likes his cage. We leave his cage open at all times so he can go in and out as he likes. His cage is his security blanket. Cute. He gets nice food and sunshine daily and also we play monks chanting for him to be blessed. We love you Aki. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
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    Meal time for all the cute mumus!
    2 yearss ago
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    Dear james, very nice video of Kechara outlet and the activity led by Kien. You must always make more videos. Thank you. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago
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    This little birdie was at a pet shop. He has maimed leg, permanent damage to his wing and cannot fly and also one eye blind. I don't think anyone would want the poor thing, so I adopted him and keep him safe, fed and with lots of fresh air. He's also in a large aviary so he can be with other birds and not be alone. He is alert, active, and has a good appetite. I like him very much and will make sure he is safe, happy and has a good life. I name him Lucky. Lucky will always be safe now. Tsem Rinpoche
    2 yearss ago

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My Blog in Chinese:
zhandugu.blog.163.com
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www.tsemtulku.com
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www.kechara.com





CHAT PICTURES

We helped prepare Mr Mah who have been homeless for 3 weeks in Kepong for a job interview today. He was accepted to work as a caretaker in an apartment. We provided him with basic clothings and toiletries to begin a new lease of life. Mr Mah will also be listed in our food bank beneficiary programme. Justin Cheah@KSK
2 hours ago
We helped street bound Uncle Lee from Klang to move into the shelter home today. He was very grateful of our help and glad that he won't be sleeping on the street. Justin Cheah@KSK
2 hours ago
Participated in PERTIWI Soup Kitchen food distribution yesterday night! Such a good experience. Justin Cheah@KSK
3 hours ago
Volunteers with our clients happily posing for a group photo after receiving their Hari Raya goody bags and Duit Raya in the Program Ramadhan Kasih held in Dataran Bandaraya on Tuesday night. Justin@KSK
3 hours ago
One of the visitor highlights at KFR - Widsom Hall_PB
7 hours ago
One of the visitor highlights in KFR - Dukkar Apartments_PB
7 hours ago
One of the Visitor Highlights in KFR - Manjushri Hill_PB
7 hours ago
~Question asked by Bryan Chen~ Rinpoche, what is the process for becoming somebody's guru? What I mean is, you have a lot of students, but is there a formal ceremony or something, where you have to approve them, or is it something that each person recognizes for himself/herself? Thank you! ~Response by tsemtulku~ If you think in your heart this is my guru and commit, then it is your guru. If you go through a formal refuge ceremony with a teacher then they are your guru. If you formally request and the teacher accepts then he is your guru. If in your heart you feel this is the right teacher among all your teachers and you choose this person, then you hold the commitments, they he is your root guru. These are the different methods..Good luck to you always.. Read the book: Fulfillment of All Hopes by Tsongkapa -Wisdom Publications…. This book will be very good for you..it is about the relations with a teacher. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/questions/page/28 From: June Tang (Khjb)
8 hours ago
~Question asked by piggy~ dear rinpoche in the name of medical science millions of lab animals are genetically bred to suffer horrible diseases and cruel experiments.for every medical/surgical treatment available millions of rats,rabbits, pigs,dogs have been sacrificed.this is a terrible karma we are all a part of and yet unless we can say no to all medical intervention when we are sick it would seeem so hypocritical to be anti vivisection . what is your advice on this ? thank you. ~Response by tsemtulku~ Do your best to counter all this karma by going Vegetarian if you are not. Promote animal welfare. Start a animal sanctuary. Start a powerful blog site on this issue. Use social media to bring awareness. Educate others by various means to save and be kind to animals. Live your life for saving these poor beings from being harmed.Use Medicine Buddha as your main Yidam to achieve this. These would be good action dharma to counter some karma and create new karma.Talk is good when action
8 hours ago
~Response by tsemtulku~ Dear Irene, My condolences to you from my heart. 1. Grieving for loss of loved ones is ok. It is not anti-Buddhist to recognize we are attached at this stage of our path. And we do miss people. 2. Studying the 12 interdependendent links and reincarnation will help you tremedously to recover and for everyone to come to terms with this. 3. The beautiful thing is we can do actions according to Dharma that generate merits for those departed. So instead of just grieving which does not benefit them, we can generate merits for their future lives. That would be a wonderful show of our love for them. If you like, on the Science and Mysteries category of this blog, I have videos on reincarnation that might help you.I wish you the best. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/questions/page/26 From: June Tang (Khjb)
8 hours ago
~Question asked by irene~ dear rinpoche how do i apply buddhist teachings to explain and cope with the loss of loved ones knowing that i will never see them again when they have passed away ? do i regard their existence n our mutual consciousness as merely a reality collectively constructed by our samsaric mind and hence there never was a me n them or the separation caused by cycles of deaths n rebirths ? stoic acceptance that they are gone cannot resolve the grief of losing them forever . From: June Tang (Khjb)
8 hours ago
~Question asked by Sarah~ Dear Rinpoche, I'm not sure if this topic came up before, but what is your opinion on Euthanasia? How will it affect a person spiritually if he/she is involved directly or indirectly practicing euthanasia? Indirectly for example, accepting payment for the clinic etc… ~Response by tsemtulku~ This topic has come up and I have answered. 1. I would not recommend it. 2. Any type of killing will affect our karma hence spiritual growth. 3. Accepting payment from wrong livelihoods would of course result in further negative karma. I would personally not be involved in any form of Euthanasia. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/questions/page/26 From: June Tang (Khjb)
8 hours ago
~Question asked by mima~ What is the best mantra to practice to get help in letting go of all kind of attachements and fears as well as a very low-self estime. ~Response by tsemtulku~ Migtseyma would be best for both. Good luck. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/questions/page/26 From: June Tang (Khjb)
8 hours ago
To know what happiness really is ,get "Be Happy" by Tsem Rinpoche and read it ! P Han Nee
8 hours ago
谁缚绑着…而不得自在。_Hee TS
9 hours ago

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