The Chinese consider Chinese ginseng the “yang” and American ginseng the “yin”. Yang is the male counterpart to the female yin. Chinese ginseng, therefore, is “warm” and increases virility. American ginseng, on the other hand, is “cool” and relaxing. Asians consume both versions of this plant for improved well-being of the body.
It’s interesting that ginseng itself grows on virtually opposite continents. The Iroquois Native American Indians are known for smoking or chewing their ginseng. The Chinese, however, prefer theirs in tea.
This is quite a valuable plant, with the Chinese Qing Dynasty funding its rise to power from being an exclusive trader for ginseng.
Another interesting fact is that scientists have concluded that about half of the flora and fauna in Asia and North America are related. This gives credence to the fact that long ago these continents were connected.
Thus, seemingly disparate areas and cultures can be related in more ways than one!
Native American and Eastern Philosophies
Native American religious practices and Eastern philosophies are not related in their origins or ways of conveyance. However, I wanted to illustrate the idea that across cultures and histories, these two groups of people have parallels in their approach to life and living.
Many Native American groups are fundamentally intertwined with a deep respect for nature and Mother Earth. They do not have a “religion” in the same way as Christians, for example, do. Native Americans had, as part of their culture, a system of beliefs that pervaded their existence and ways of living.
Panentheism is often used to describe Native American spirituality – a belief that spirits exist in the present and in all things across the universe. There is a Great Spirit that pervades all things. They spend a lot of time in reverence and silence in honor of nature – a kind of meditation. They live their lives out in pursuit of high moral values and ethics of honesty, truth, and giving of oneself.
Similarly, in Hindu teachings, there is an inherent respect for all living things. Hinduism could be described as panentheistic, as well. It recognizes a Supreme Being, but that this being is present in all things and transcends the universe in place and time. (One could argue that it’s also monotheistic, pantheistic and Trinitarian, depending on the perspective.)
Buddhism and Hinduism both use meditation as a cornerstone for spiritual access. Both religions place high value in high moral character of the individual, including leading an honest life, living truthfully and being generous. The fact that Buddhism and Hinduism recognize the idea that everything is intertwined is similar to Native American philosophies.
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