The 5 Elements of the Chinese Zodiac

Sep 3, 2011 | Views: 103,953
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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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14 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) [...]

  13. Paige on Sep 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    I’m the Water Horse my elements Water and I’m a Horse And it fits!

  14. y4h0 on Feb 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    Thank you for you clear explanations Rinponche.
    My understanding of the 5 elemenets greatly imporved :)

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His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and His Holiness Karmapa were very good friends. They respected eachother's practice very much. Tsem Rinpoche 
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This is a 5,000 year statue of Sangdup Jamphel Dorje in Reting Monastery in Tibet. Very holy and owned by Atisha. TR
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His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness the 10th Panchen Rinpoche and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Both Trijang Rinpoche and Panchen Rinpoche practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Masters of sutra and tantra. Beautiful photo.
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Beautiful huge Manjushri Chapel in Ganden Sumtseling Monastery in Yunnan.
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His Holiness Panchen Rinpoche Losang Choky Gyeltsen predicted that when after Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen entered into clear light, he took rebirth as Kangxi Emperor of China. Kangxi help to build the great Ganden Sumtseling Monastery and the famous Amarbayasgalant Monastery for Zanabazar Rinpoche, the head lama of Mongolia. He was known to be kind and practiced dharma and benevolent to many other religions. Tsem Rinpoche
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H.H. the 5th Dalai Lama made a chapel and large statue to Dorje Shugden in Lhasa. This chapel still stands in Lhasa hundreds of years later. This is the magnificent statue inside the shrine. This statue commissioned by 5th Dalai Lama.
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In the great Sera Monastery in Tibet, in their chapel they have a special Dorje Shugden statue available for the monks and public.
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In His Holiness the Panchen Rinpoche's large Tashi-Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet, there is a special large chapel and prayer hall dedicated to Dorje Shugden. Here is the main statue in this chapel. The 9th, 10th and current Panchen Rinpoche all worships Dorje Shugden.
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This is Setrap and Dorje Shugden together in Gaden Monastery built by Tsongkapa in Tibet. They have been worshipped for hundreds of years together in this holy Protector chapel.
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Very rare painting of Yellow Yamantaka. He has Manjushri's head on His own head and holding Manjushri again. Beautiful.
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This thangka is so complete. It has: Gaden Heaven, Yamantaka, Vajra Yogini, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, Setrap one level in the mandala above Shugden, Shugden's complete entourage, Kache Marpo below and also below is Namka Barzin. Beautiful.
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  • The Girl Who Couldn't Cry - Water is Life
    The Girl Who Couldn't Cry - Water is Life
    It's really hard to educate a generation of people born in conditions where they take things for granted. A simple slogan campaign that says, "Save water, It's precious" isn't sticky enough to make inroads. That's exactly where this video steps in: to make people realize how precious water actually is. A brilliant video that follows the heartbreaking story of a young girl that cannot cry. Sounds like fiction? Sadly, it is not.
    10 months ago
  • -
    -
    Dear everyone, All sentient beings deserve to live, be happy and not hurt, including animals. We should never hurt them or eat them. Look how much this chicken welcomes a hug and love. Observe carefully. Don't eat beings who can feel pain because the karma comes back. Tsem Rinpoche
    11 months ago
  • The appreciation shown here is so deep and touching.
    The appreciation shown here is so deep and touching.
    Dear friends, See this incredible video. This chimp was found in captivity for many years. Dr Jane Goodall released him into the wild. Look how he comes back to thank her with deep apprecition. It's amazing. Animals have such strong feelings of pain and happiness just like us. We should never hurt them and share with others to not hurt them. Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com
    11 months ago
  • Aki drinking some water in the aviary
    Aki drinking some water in the aviary
    Aki is a rescued bird, he now lives in Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary
    1 years ago
  • Jamyang enjoying some fresh corn
    Jamyang enjoying some fresh corn
    Jamyang is one of our rescue birds that live in Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary
    1 years ago
  • The Cute Mumus Practising Dog Orchestra at Kechara Forest Retreat
    The Cute Mumus Practising Dog Orchestra at Kechara Forest Retreat
    Today the Mumus (dogs) decided to do a dog orchestra rehearsal together with the Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR) dogs.
    1 years ago
  • -
    -
    Gongkar is our new bird for Kechara Forest Retreat's aviary. Gongkar never had friends and the original owner could not bring him to his destination. Now he is with us and assimilating in his cage within the aviary for a few weeks then released into aviary. Look at how much he wants attention from the other birds. Cute. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago
  • Mumu, Oser and Dharma running and having a good time. I love seeing them playing. Tsem Rinpoche
    Mumu, Oser and Dharma running and having a good time. I love seeing them playing. Tsem Rinpoche
    1 years ago

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Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

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Related Links To Myself

My Blog in Chinese:
zhandugu.blog.163.com
My website:
www.tsemtulku.com
My organisation's website:
www.kechara.com





CHAT PICTURES

Qing Ming remembrance Day 2015 at Kechara House gompa on 30/3/2015,Dharma Protector Puja ( English) For Chinese session puja will be held on 1/42015.Time: 8 - 10pm.Qing Ming dedication cards are available at Frontdesk +603 7803 3908. Lucy Yap
10 hours ago
Fortunate ones who got personal blessings from Pastor Yek Yee after the dharma sharing on Dorje Shugden. From: June Tang (Khjb)
13 hours ago
For our Dharma sharing, Pastor Yek Yee introduce to us the understanding of DORJE SHUGDEN practice and his benefits. From: June Tang (Khjb)
13 hours ago
First Dorje Shugden puja progress at KHJB now. From: June Tang (Khjb)
13 hours ago
First session puja in progress now. From: June Tang (Khjb)
13 hours ago
Pastor Yek Yee and puja team busy setting up the first puja at KHJB at early dawn. From: June Tang (Khjb)
13 hours ago
Wai Meng has shared the introduction of Dorje Shugden with the members of Kechara Ipoh Study Group upon the arrival of Dorje Shugden to our chapel today. Kin Hoe
15 hours ago
Celine has sincerely offered the butter lamp to Dorje Shugden in Kechara Ipoh chapel today. Thanks for her participation and stayed with us for the entire puja and cleaning up the chapel after the puja today. Kin Hoe
16 hours ago
Kit Ping has offered a butter lamp to Dorje Shugden upon Dorje Shugden's arrival at Kechara Ipoh chapel. May Kit Ping and her family be blessed and protected by Dorje Shugden always. Kin Hoe
16 hours ago
Through the kindness and compassion of our Guru, Tsem Rinpoche, Kechara Ipoh Study Group has invited Buddha Dorje Shugden back to Ipoh chapel today. We performed the Setrap and Dorje Shudgen puja and dedicated our prayers for our Guru's long life and good health. Our dedication extended to the victims of Germanwings airplane tragedy that took the lives of 150 people and we prayed for their good and swift rebirth. Kin Hoe
16 hours ago
"The importance of Bodhicitta" from Day 16 of Lamrim text explained by Pastor Han Nee in English adult Dharma class year 3 , Pt.1. Lucy Yap
19 hours ago
Chinese Dharma classes,term two at Kechara House gompa this morning. Lucy Yap
22 hours ago
Beginner ( level 1) English Dharma class at Kechara House gompa today, students were taught on "Vegetarianism" by Ron Wong.Pastor Gim Lee is the pastor on duty. Lucy Yap
22 hours ago
It is a good idea to become accustomed to sitting in the posture of Buddha Vairochana. Today's adult English Dharma class year 2 at Kechara House gompa, Tat Ming teaches "Vairochana posture for meditation" Lucy Yap
22 hours ago
New term starts today for Children Dharma classes for kids, juniors and seniors at Kechara House gompa. http://www.kechara.com/kechara-house/education/kids/childrens-dharma-class/ Lucy Yap
23 hours ago
Count down for the "BIG MOMENT " From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
Hurting yourself doesn’t stop with yourself. You hurt all those who love you as well.~Tsem Rinpoche From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
Everyone makes mistakes, but those who own up to it will grow and inspire others.~Tsem Rinpoche From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
Selectiveness arises from selfish mind, lazy mind, habitual mind. We are selective because we hold onto permanence.~Tsem Rinpoche From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
The conditions for someone to be perfect are impermanent. The conditions for someone to be imperfect are impermanent too – don’t be attached to either.~Tsem Rinpoche From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
~Don’t miss this: Offering onto Vajra Yogini~ I have given a short explanation of why we offer ornaments to the Buddhas in this video. Dear friends around the world, Welcome again to another post. I am very happy to have you visit. Last night myself with an artistic group of Kecharians did beautiful ornament offerings to Vajra ...~Tsem Rinpoche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dont-miss-this-offering-onto-vajra-yogini.html From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
All preparations are just for this Sunday "Big day" at Kechara (JB). From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
Have some principles of creating a zero pain free area around ourselves. That would be a great way to live. Zero pain free zone around ourselves. That means wherever we go, we create no pain for anyone. ~Tsem Rinpoche From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday
Chickens are tortured, locked up, kicked and never see sunlight and living in their own feces in egg farms. This is just to produce eggs. Billions of chickens live like this their whole lives. When their usefulness is done laying eggs, these hens are sent to the slaughter house for our fried chickens, chicken burgers, chicken fried rice, chicken sandwhiches, chicken satay, chicken fried rice and chicken soups. Remember this picture please. They can feel pain too just like us. ~Tsem Rinpoche From: June Tang (khjb)
yesterday
~Good news at Nando’s!~ GOOD NEWS! I was having a casual chat with Pastor David last night about vegetarian food and he said he heard Nando’s has vegetarian burgers! I hadn’t heard of this. I was like really?? I asked him to please check! Today he confirmed that certain Nando’s branches does have vegetarian burgers now! ~Tsem Rinpche http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/good-news-at-nandos.html From: June Tang (Khjb)
yesterday

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