Jehovah's Witnesses

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/26/2013

Jehovah's Witnesses are best known for their door-to-door preaching, distributing literature such as The Watchtower and Awake!, and refusing military service and blood transfusions. They consider use of the name Jehovah vital for proper worship. They reject Trinitarianism, inherent immortality of the soul, and hellfire, which they consider to be unscriptural doctrines. They do not observe Christmas, Easter, birthdays, or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. They consider secular society to be morally corrupt and under the influence of Satan, and limit their social interaction with non-Witnesses.

Jehovah's Witnesses consider the Bible to be scientifically and historically accurate and reliable and interpret much of it literally, but accept parts of it as symbolic, Witnesses are discouraged from formulating doctrines and "private ideas" reached through Bible research independent of Watch Tower Society publications, and are cautioned against reading other religious literature. Adherents are told to have "complete confidence" in the leadership, avoid skepticism about what is taught in the Watch Tower Society's literature, and "not advocate or insist on personal opinions or harbor private ideas when it comes to Bible understanding." The religion makes no provision for members to criticize or contribute to official teachings and all Witnesses must abide by its doctrines and organizational requirements.

They believe that the holy spirit is God's power or "active force" rather than a person. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is God's only direct creation, that everything else was created by means of Christ, and that the initial unassisted act of creation uniquely identifies Jesus as God's "only-begotten Son". Jesus served as a redeemer and a ransom sacrifice to pay for the sins of mankind. They believe Jesus died on a single upright torture stake rather than the traditional cross. They teach taht God's kingdom is a literal government in heaven, ruled by Jesus Christ and 144,000 Christians drawn from the earth. They believe the kingdom was established in heaven in 1914, and that Jehovah's Witnesses serve as representatives of the kingdom on earth. Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Satan and his demons were cast down to earth from heaven after October 1, 1914, at which point the end times began.

Protestantism and The Catholic Church

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/26/2013

Luther's attack by the elite clergy for his study of Hebrew and Jewish texts, brought him fully in line with the humanist educational reforms who favored academic freedom, Luther borrowed from Humanism the sense of individualism, that each man can be his own priest. Led by Erasmus, the humanists condemned various forms of corruption within the church, Erasmus held that true religion was a matter of inward devotion rather than outward symbols of ceremony and ritual. Favoring moral reforms and de-emphasizing didactic ritual, Erasmus laid the groundwork for Luther. Humanism's intellectual anti-clericalism would profoundly influence Luther. Some philosophers of the Enlightenment, including Voltaire, attacked the Catholic Church, its leadership and priests claiming moral corruption of many of its clergy and pope's control over political matters and also taxes ,In the North, burghers and monarchs were united in their frustration for not paying any taxes to the nation, but collecting taxes from subjects and sending the revenues disproportionately to the Pope in Italy especially considering the recent strings of political humiliation, such as the apprehension of Pope Boniface VIII by Philip IV of France.

Luther appealed to the growing national consciousness of the German states because he denounced the Pope for involvement in politics as well as religion. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially the sale of indulgences.this cause provoked Martin Luther to write his Ninety-Five Theses, condemning what he saw as the purchase and sale of salvation. In Thesis 86, which asks: "Why does the pope, whose wealth today is greater than the wealth of the richest Crassus, build the basilica of Saint Peter with the money of poor believers rather than with his own money?"He insisted that, since forgiveness was God's alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.The Ninety-Five Theses not only denounced such transactions as worldly but denied the Pope's right to grant pardons on God's behalf in the first place: the only thing indulgences guaranteed, Luther said, was an increase in profit and greed, because the pardon of the Church was in God's power alone.

Moreover, he backed the nobility, which was now justified to crush the Great Peasant Revolt of 1525 and to confiscate church property by Luther's Doctrine of the Two Kingdoms,Luther's book, On Secular Authority, was an ardent expression of the principle of Liberty of Conscience. "Liberty of conscience" is the principle that forbids human authorities from coercing people's spiritual beliefs. In this book, Luther insisted that God requires voluntary religious beliefs. Compelled or coerced faith is insincere and must never be allowed. Luther insisted that "liberty of conscience" was one of Jesus Christ's principles. According to Luther, the civil government's role is simply to keep outward peace in society. The civil government has no business enforcing spiritual laws. "The laws of worldly government extend no farther than to life and property and what is external upon earth", Luther's articulation of the parameters of civil government was a monumental step in the development of the separation of church and state. He argued for a clear distinction between two separate spheres: civil and spiritual. This is known as the Doctrine of the two kingdoms.

Protestantism is one of the major divisions within Christianity. It has been defined as
1) (Solo Christo) denying the universal authority of the Pope,  the teaching that Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and that there is salvation through no other, This principle rejects "sacerdotalism," which is the belief that there are no sacraments in the church without the services of priests ordained by apostolic succession under the authority of the pope.
2) (Sola fide) affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone without any mixture of or need for good works, it is summarized with the formula "Faith yields justification and good works" and as contrasted with the Roman Catholic formula "Faith and good works yield justification."
3) the priesthood of all believers
4) (Sola scriptura) the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth, it is perspicuous and self-interpreting.

Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement that began in the 17th century, Calvinists broke with the Roman Catholic church but differed with Lutherans on the real presence of Christ in the Lord's supper, theories of worship, and the use of God's law for believers.

Augustine Influence on Protestant reformers in Free Will

Augustine taught that Adam's guilt as transmitted to his descendants much enfeebles, Total depravity is a theological doctrine derived from the Augustinian concept of original sin. It is the teaching that, as a consequence of the Fall of Man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and, apart from the efficacious or prevenient grace of God, is utterly unable to choose to follow God, refrain from evil, or accept the gift of salvation as it is offered., He also argues that those who are saved have been predetermined to be saved by God prior to birth.
Protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin affirmed that Original Sin completely destroyed liberty
The Catholic Church maintains humans retained a free but wounded will after the Fall. Accordingly, the Catholic Church condemned as heresy any doctrine asserting "since Adam's sin, the free will of man is lost and extinguished"

Pope's Supremacy Over Faith

Another disagreement between Catholicism and Protestantism is over the office and authority of the Pope. According to Catholicism the Pope is the “Vicar of Christ” , and takes the place of Jesus as the visible head of the Church. As such, he has the ability to speak ex cathedra (with authority on matters of faith and practice), and when he does so his teachings are considered infallible and binding upon all Christians. On the other hand, Protestants believe that no human being is infallible, and that Christ alone is the Head of the Church. Catholics rely on apostolic succession as a way of trying to establish the Pope’s authority. But Protestants believe that the church’s authority does not come from apostolic succession, but instead is derived from the Word of God. Spiritual power and authority does not rest in the hands of a mere man, but in the very Word of God. While Catholicism teaches that only the Catholic Church can properly and correctly interpret the Bible, Protestants believe that the Bible teaches that God sent the Holy Spirit to indwell all born-again believers, enabling all believers to understand the message of the Bible.

Church's Rule over Civil States

When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Catholic Church as a spiritual City of God (in a book of the same name), distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. Augustine's City of God was closely identified with the Church, the community that worshiped the Trinity. Augustine distinguished two kingdoms of men and God, the temporal and spiritual power. The temporal power, because it is based on natural law, which part of inequality physical men, is imperfect. The temporal power must submit to the spiritual power, and just perfect. The State, with Augustine, must be the guarantor of divine order, serve the interests of the Church

The Catholic Church has a similar doctrine called the doctrine of the two swords, in the bull Unam Sanctam, issued by Pope Boniface VIII. In this bull, Boniface teaches that there is only one Kingdom, the Church, and that the Church controls the spiritual sword, while the temporal sword is controlled by the State, although the temporal sword is hierarchically lower than the spiritual sword, allowing for Church influence in politics and society at large.The Bull lays down dogmatic propositions on the unity of the Catholic Church, the necessity of belonging to it for eternal salvation, the position of the pope as supreme head of the Church, and the duty thence arising of submission to the pope in order to belong to the Church and thus to attain salvation. The pope further emphasizes the higher position of the spiritual in comparison with the secular order.

Government may be, and should be, rule by the ideal Christian ruler, whom the Protestants later called “the godly prince”; such a ruler would lead his people in obedience to God.


Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/20/2013

Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations. Population genetics is the study of allele frequency distribution and change under the influence of the four main evolutionary processes: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation and gene flow. It also takes into account the factors of recombination, population subdivision and population structure. It attempts to explain such phenomena as adaptation and speciation.

There were four major alternatives to natural selection in the late 19th century. Theistic evolution was the belief that God directly guided evolution. The idea that evolution was driven by the inheritance of characteristics acquired during the life of the organism was called neo-Lamarckism. Orthogenesis was the belief that organisms were affected by internal forces or laws of development that drove evolution in particular directions, and saltationism was the idea that evolution was largely the product of large mutations that created new species in a single step.

Natural selection
is a process in which traits vary among individuals, leading to different rates of survival and reproduction, trait differences are heritable.Thus, when members of a population die they are replaced by the progeny of parents that were better adapted to survive and reproduce in the environment in which natural selection took place (Fitness). The concept was simple but powerful: individuals best adapted to their environments are more likely to survive and reproduce. As long as there is some variation between them, there will be an inevitable selection of individuals with the most advantageous variations. If the variations are inherited, then differential reproductive success will lead to a progressive evolution of particular populations of a species, and populations that evolve to be sufficiently different eventually become different species. This process creates and preserves traits that are seemingly fitted for the functional roles they perform. Darwin presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution.
Natural selection is the only known cause of adaptation, but not the only known cause of evolution. Other, nonadaptive causes of evolution include mutation and genetic drift.

When Charles Darwin proposed his theory of evolution in 1859, one of its major problems was the lack of an underlying mechanism for heredity. Darwin believed in a mix of blending inheritance and the inheritance of acquired traits (pangenesis).

Blending inheritance would lead to uniformity across populations in only a few generations and thus would remove variation from a population on which natural selection could act. This led to Darwin adopting some Lamarckian ideas "use and disuse inheritance" in later editions of On the Origin of Species.Lamarck's theory was that physical changes to an individual to adapt to its environment were passed on to its offspring. The example always quoted in textbooks is that a proto-giraffe who developed a longer neck by constantly stretching it would have offspring with a long neck.The discovery of how DNA works completely refutes this idea. Altering the muscles in your neck does not affect the DNA in your gametes. Before that, though, people could simply observe that the process wasn't happening. Children do not inherit traits that their parents acquired during their lifetimes, only traits that the parents were born with.

This led to the Eclipse of darwinism until genetics was integrated with Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection through the discipline of population genetics. The work of Ronald Fisher (who developed the required mathematical language and The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection) J.B.S. Haldane (who introduced the concept of the "cost" of natural selection), Sewall Wright (who elucidated the nature of selection and adaptation), Theodosius Dobzhansky (who established the idea that mutation, by creating genetic diversity, supplied the raw material for natural selection: see Genetics and the Origin of Species), William Hamilton (who conceived of kin selection), Ernst Mayr (who recognised the key importance of reproductive isolation for speciation: see Systematics and the Origin of Species) and many others formed the modern evolutionary synthesis. This synthesis cemented natural selection as the foundation of evolutionary theory, where it remains today.

Genetic drift
is a change in allele frequencies caused by random sampling. That is, the alleles in the offspring are a random sample of those in the parents. Genetic drift may cause gene variants to disappear completely, and thereby reduce genetic variability. In contrast to natural selection, which makes gene variants more common or less common depending on their reproductive success, the changes due to genetic drift are not driven by environmental or adaptive pressures, and may be beneficial, neutral, or detrimental to reproductive success and chance has a role in determining whether a given individual survives and reproduces.

is the ultimate source of genetic variation in the form of new alleles. Mutation can result in several different types of change in DNA sequences; these can either have no effect, alter the product of a gene, or prevent the gene from functioning.

Gene flow
is the transfer of alleles or genes from one population to another, Maintained gene flow between two populations can also lead to a combination of the two gene pools, reducing the genetic variation between the two groups. It is for this reason that gene flow strongly acts against speciation, by recombining the gene pools of the groups, and thus, repairing the developing differences in genetic variation that would have led to full speciation and creation of daughter species.

is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise, Ecologists refer to speciation in terms of ecological niches. A niche must be available in order for a new species to be successful. In ecology, a niche is a term describing the way of life of a species. Each species is thought to have a separate, unique niche. The ecological niche describes how an organism or population responds to the distribution of resources and competitors (e.g., by growing when resources are abundant, and when predators, parasites and pathogens are scarce) and how it in turn alters those same factors (e.g., limiting access to resources by other organisms, acting as a food source for predators and a consumer of prey).

Unit of Selection
is a biological entity within the hierarchy of biological organisation (e.g. self-reproducing molecules, genes, cells, individuals, groups, species) that is subject to natural selection."The generality of the principles of natural selection means that any entities in nature that have variation, reproduction, and heritability may evolve. ...the principles can be applied equally to genes, organisms, populations, species, and at opposite ends of the scale, prebiotic molecules and ecosystems."

Selection at the level of the gene
The contention is that the genes that get passed on are the ones whose consequences serve their own implicit interests (to continue being replicated), Dawkins writes that gene combinations which help an organism to survive and reproduce tend to also improve the gene's own chances of being passed on and, as a result, frequently "successful" genes will also be beneficial to the organism. An example of this might be a gene that protects the organism against a disease, which helps the gene spread and also helps the organism..Proponents of the gene-centered viewpoint argue that it permits understanding of diverse phenomena such as altruism and intragenomic conflict that are otherwise difficult to explain from an organism-focused perspective, where organisms act altruistically, against their individual interests (in the sense of health, safety or personal reproduction) to help related organisms reproduce, can be explained as gene sets "helping" copies of themselves (or sequences with the same phenotypic effect) in other bodies to replicate. Interestingly, the "selfish" actions of genes lead to unselfish actions by organisms.

Selection at the level of individual organism
it can be described as Darwinism, and is well understood and considered common. If a relatively faster gazelle manages to survive and reproduce more, the causation of the higher fitness of this gazelle can be fully accounted for if one looks at how individual gazelles fare under predation.

Selection at the level of the group
If a group of organisms, owing to their interactions or division of labor, provides superior fitness compared to other groups, where the fitness of the group is higher or lower than the mean fitness of the constituent individuals, group selection can be declared to occur.
Specific syndromes of selective factors can create situations in which groups are selected because they display group properties which are selected-for. Many common examples of group traits are reducible to individual traits, however. Selection of these traits is thus more simply explained as selection of individual traits.

Financial Crisis

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/04/2013

a deregulated economy which the government doesn't interfere and leaves the economy to the market, banks used credit system (buy now and the bank pays as a loan for you and you pay later to the bank with benefits) then Investment banks bundled mortgages (house credit loans)  with other loans and debts into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which they sold to investors. and promised credit default swap (CDS) is similar to a traditional insurance policy, in as much as it obliges the seller of the CDS to compensate the buyer in the event of loan failure ,(CDS) was akin to an insurance policy. Speculators could buy CDSs to bet against (take a short position in) CDOs they did not own. But people had no money to pay back the loans and due to CDS , the banks had to repay the investors , but the banks had no money (they were given as credit to people) so the economy collapsed (the money cycle stopped) and the government had to buy all the debts for the cycle to return to work

The Hero Of A Thousand Faces

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/04/2013

Jung's idea of the "Archetypes" constantly repeating characters who occur in the dreams of all people and the myths of all cultures. Jung believed that these archetypes are reflections of the human mind - that our minds divide themselves into these characters to play out the drama of our lives. Stories built on the model of THE HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES have an appeal that can be felt by everyone, because they spring from a universal source in the collective unconscious, and because they reflect universal concerns.

The Hero Cycle
The Hero is introduced in his ordinary world
The hero is presented with a problem, challenge, or adventure,
The Hero is reuctant at first
The Hero is encouraged by the wise old man or woman who becomes his mentor
The hero passes the first threshold by fully entering the special world and there's no turning back,
The hero is forced to make allies and enemies in the special world, and to pass certain tests and challenges
 that are part of his training. 
The Hero reaches the inner most cave where the object of his quest is hidden.
The Hero endures the supreme ordeal facing death in the fight with the beast
The Hero seizes the treasure having survived the ordeal 
The hero is pursued by the vengeful forces on the road back
The hero is resurected by emerging from the special world, transformed by his experience.
The hero comes back to his ordinary world with the treasure 
The order of the hero's stages as given here is only one of many variations. The stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically reshuffled without losing their power.

The Crane - Iron Pentalogy "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 1/04/2013

  Part I:   "Crane Frightens KunLun"
(20 chapters)

The story begins in the late section of the Qing dynasty.

The leader of the Kun Lun clan, called old Master Bao by others, killed one of his disciples (Jiang Zhi Sheng) in a rage because this disciple broke the rule of not having affairs with married women. He also tried to kill Jiang Xiao He, the young son of the disgraced dead disciple, to avoid being revenged later. Jiang Xiao He escaped. He met a martial artist (Li Feng Jie) from Mount Jiuhua who kindly kept him and later taught him martial arts.

Twelve years passed, Jiang Xiao He was 26 years old and became a martial art expert himself. He swore to revenge his father's death. But he and Bao Ah Luan, his childhood friend and the granddaughter of old Master Bao, are deeply in love with each other. They found themselves with a love-hate dilemma. The master uses Ji Guang Jie to fight against Jiang Xiao He, Bao Ah Luan decided to kill herself in exchange for her grandfather's life. Jiang Xiao He was too late to stop her. Seeing what he had wrought, old Master Bao was filled with regret over what he had done and also killed himself.

Jiang Xiao He sent Ah Luan's body back to their hometown. The memories were still fresh. Being deeply grieved, Jiang Xiao He went to Mount Jiuhua to live as a hermit. Later, he became an errant knight and sought to spend his life combating evil and helping the weak. He renamed himself Jiang Nan He (Southern Crane).  Southern Crane asks Ji Guang Jie to teach Li Mu Bai, son of Li Feng Jie.

   * The crane is a symbol of immortality in traditional Chinese culture.
   ** Two friends of Southern Crane - one of whom later became Li Mu Bai's father and another of whom was entrusted to be Li Mu Bai's master by Southern Crane - also figure in this novel.

  Part II:   "Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin"
(34 chapters)

This story starts off thirty years after Southern Crane went to Jiuhua Mountain.

A handsome young martial artist named Li Mu Bai fell in love with the daughter of a security firm master. Yu Shu Lien was said to have no match in her martial art skills and beauty. However, Li Mu Bai soon learned that Shu Lien was already engaged to Meng Si Zhao - a son of Master Yu's friend who lived in another town and someone who Li Mu Bai had never met - by family arrangement. Li was extremely disappointed. Shortly afterwards, he decided to leave his hometown.

Master Yu was threatened by some enemies. Not wanting anything to happen to their daughter, Master and Madam Yu decided to send Shu Lien to Meng's family to get married. On the road, Master Yu was chased by the enemies. At one point, he also got framed and put into jail by a local officer who was enamored on Shu Lien's beauty but was rejected as his daughter's suitor by Master Yu.

Li Mu Bai, who was on his way off to Peking, accidentally met up with the Yu family. Li helped Shu Lien and Madam Yu to get Master Yu free but Master Yu had got very sick while in the jail and passed away soon after getting out. Before Master Yu died, Li Mu Bai promised him that he would ensure that Shu Lien and her mother got safely sent to Meng's family.

When this trio arrived at Meng's home, they learned that Meng Si Zhao had injured a local tyrant and escaped from his hometown. No one knew where he was.

Li Mu Bai went to find Meng Si Zhao for Shu Lien. In Peking he made friends as well as enemies because of his outstanding martial art skills. One of the former, Li Mu Bai was to only belatedly learn, was Meng Si Zhao. The two men became good friends.

Not knowing Meng's real identity (because he was going under a fake name at the time), Li Mu Bai told Meng about his unrequited love for Shu Lien. As a fugitive, Meng Si Zhao thought Li Mu Bai could give Shu Lien a better life. So he gave his blessings for Li Mu Bai to marry Shu Lien. When some dangerous enemies of Li Mu Bai was looking for Li, Meng Si Zhao went to fight against them - alone, knowing he probably wouldn't survive. Indeed, he did end up dying from the severe injuries he sustained in that battle.

After her mother died of sadness and illness, Yu Shu Lien left Meng's family to go to Peking to look for Meng Si Zhao (whom she did not know had perished in the meantime). Li Mu Bai felt he could not face Shu Lien upon Meng Si Zhao's death. Sometime later, he killed a local tyrant in order to protect his friend and was put in jail. Li Mu Bai's relationship with Xie Cui Xian (a prostitute) ends as he is arrested. Shu Lien risked her own life and broke into the jail in order to rescue him but Li Mu Bai refused to escape. In the end, Southern Crane himself got involved in this matter and took Li Mu Bai out of the jail by force. He left Li Mu Bai's sword at Shu Lien's bedside as an engagement gift (without Li Mu Bai's knowledge).

   * At this point in the story, Li Mu Bai was around 25 years old while Yu Shu Lien was 17.
   ** The book also has a significant part which is about an unusual prostitute Xie Cui Qian. She was introduced to Li Mu Bai by a friend of his when he just arrived Peking. Cui Qian' eyes reminded Li Mu Bai those of Shu Lien's. It turned out that Cui Qian came to Peking in order to escape from her savage and cruel husband, who had killed her father and forced her to marry him. This man -- Tiger Miao was his nickname -- just so happened to be the same person who killed Meng Si Zhao but later got killed by Yu Shu Lien. Although he had never before been close to a prostitute, Li Mu Bai and Cui Qian grew fond of each other. However, their story was to have a tragic end.

  Part III:   "Sword Spirit, Pearl Light"
(22 chapters)

Continued directly from the Part II.

After Li Mu Bai had been sprung out of jail, he went to Southern China under a different name as per Southern Crane's instructions and request. On the way he stole a martial arts book about paralyzing techniques from a monk named Jing Xuan. While trying to escape, he was chased and knocked into a river and disappeared.

Fast forward three years.

Yang Bao (Luo Xiao Hu's brother), a young martial artist, obtained 40 extremely valuable pearls. Many Jiang Hu people tried to get them from him. As a consequence of some of these attempts, Yang Bao's grandfather was killed and a sister of his was kidnapped. He himself got seriously injured and died.

Outraged by the injustice, and seeing that Yang Bao's sister was in grave danger, Yu Shu Lien returned to the Jiang Hu world to save the former. She showed herself to be brave as well as skillful.

Monk Jing Xuan and his disciples were searching for Li Mu Bai in order to get the stolen book back. One of the disgraced disciples kept harassing Yu Shu Lien after being attracted by her beauty. Shu Lien injured him in order to protect herself. Later the person died of the injury. In revenge Monk Jing Xuan attacked Shu Lien and paralyzed her twice. Due to her not know paralyzing techniques, she could not defeat him.

Unbeknownst to Shu Lien, Li Mu Bai - who by now had learned these paralyzing techniques - followed and helped her.

Convinced all the more of the pair being a perfect couple, Southern Crane ordered Li Mu Bai to marry Yu Shu Lien. But because they thought this act would dishonor Meng Si Zhao's memory, both Li and Yu refused.

The book ended with Shu Lien going with Li Mu Bai to Mount Jiuhua to practice paralyzing techniques.

   * Yang Bao happens to be the biological brother of Lo Xiao Hu (Lo).
   ** Why didn't Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien get married?
     - Li Mu Bai wanted to be faithful to Meng Si Zhao, who was his good friend and eventually died for him. He did not want to take Shu Lien away from Meng, whether or not Meng was alive. As for Shu Lien, she wanted to follow the old Chinese tradition whereby a woman of moral integrity would only go with one man in her whole life, and an engagement was almost as serious as a marriage. She told Southern Crane: "Even Brother Li (Mu Bai) wanted to marry me, I wouldn't marry him. I never forget I was engaged to Meng Si Zhao. I carry the hairpin his family gave me for the engagement with me all the time."
     The traditional practice that Shu Lien thought that she ought to adhere to probably will be very hard to understand for Westerners and today's young Chinese, especially when it is realized that Shu Lien decided to be a widow to Meng Si Zhao even though she had in fact never met her betrothed. Something else that ought to be known about this Shu Lien's decision is that, even in olden times, it was not something that was practiced by every woman who ended up in a similar situation as her. Rather, it was one that was idealized as being of an extremely honorable and respectable order.

  Part IV:   "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
(14 chapters)

Three years after the last events covered in the previous book.

Governor Yu of Xinjiang (in the northwest part of China) has been called back to Beijing to be in charge of guarding nine city gates of Beijing. Sir Te is given the legendary Green Destiny Sword. Later that night, the Green Destiny disappears and Sir Te asks Yu Shu Lien to investigate.

Yu Jiao Long, the 18 year old daughter of Governor Yu, was admired by many young women for her remarkable beauty and elitism. No one knew she was a martial art expert.

Years ago, Southern Crane drew The Illustrated Collection of Jiu Hua Fist and Sword (a martial art guidebook) for his fellow pupil Ya Xia (dumb warrior) based on the secret martial art of Taoist monk Jiu Hua. Ya Xia wanted to marry Jade Fox and taught her some skills from the book. After Jade Fox murdered Ya Xia, the book fell into her hands, who passes the skills to Jen. Jen had to obey Jade Fox for her action of stealing the book.

To divert herself, Jen lets street performer Cai and his daughter, who has been shouting Jade Fox's name outside of Governor Yu's house for days, into her home to do some performances. Yu Shu Lien discovers that for many years Cai was chasing Jade Fox, who killed his wife. One day, when Cai is about to finish off Jade Fox, a masked woman shows up and kills Cai. Even Yu Shu Lien is not able to defeat the mask woman because of her strange moves. The mask woman runs away only after Li Mu Bai shows up. Li Mu Bai comes for the lost sword and discovers that the mask woman's moves shared the same origin with hisWu Dang. However, Yu Shu Lien asks Li Mu Bai to leave.

A skilled martial artist stole a precious sword named Green Destiny. Yu Shu Lien discovered it was Yu Jiao Long who had done so. She advised Yu Jiao Long to return the sword. This the younger woman did.

Yu Jiao Long was to be married off to an ugly scholar but she couldn't forget about the bandit Lo Xiao Hu whom she met Four years ago in the Xinjiang desert. Four years ago in Xinjiang, Lo attacked the Governess Yu's convoy. Jen chased Lo for three days and fell in love with him. To change Lo's social status, Jen asks Lo to take the imperial exam (an open system of selecting government officials) in Beijing, but Lo fails as he is illiterate.
She stole the sword again and ran away at her wedding night. She fought with everyone who was in her way. At first, she eluded capture but her family paid dearly for her criminal actions. Her father had to resign from the position, and her mother got very sick and died. Worrying about her family, Jen secretly returns to Beijing but is arrested. Yu Shu Lien breaks into the jail and takes Jen away. While staying with Yu Shu Lien, Jen starts to understand the true meaning of warriorship and the relationship between freedom and responsibility. 

She runs away again. Jen tries to stop a group of robbers and is besieged by them. Li Mu Bai saves her and sends her home. Lo rescues Jen from Lu's house, and the Governor still does not forgive her. Outside the Beijing City, Jen and Lo encounter Li Mu Bai. Li Mu Bai is wounded as he is unwilling to fight. Yu Shu Lien has no choice but to fight Jen. After the death of her mother and the end of her father's career, Jen fakes her death by jumping of a cliff in order to have a new life. Even in love with Lo, She could not become the wife of a bandit and thereby bring more shame to her aristocratic family, She runs away again after only one night with Lo and vanishes into the desert with a horse and a sword, the Green Destiny.

   * Unlike the movie of the same name, in the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" book, Liu Tai Bo (Bo) has an important part and is the main figure who ties the story together.
   ** Unlike in the movie, Jade Fox in the book was not Yu Jiao Long's teacher. Instead, she was a pretended wife of Yu Jiao Long's real teacher, Gao Long Qiu. Mr. Gao was a scholar who accidentally got a secret scroll on Wudang's martial arts. He secretly taught Yu Jiao Long some martial arts. But he did not know that Yu Jiao Long stole the scroll and learned much more from it by herself. He realized what happened before his death and regretted: "I've raised a poison dragon in the world!" Jade Fox was an infamous robber and killer. She hid herself in Yu family in order to avoid capture. In a night chase Yu Shu Lien killed Jade Fox and discovered the identity of the theft of the Green Dynasty (i.e., Yu Jiao Long).
   *** The "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" book also contains lengthy portions about Lo Xiao Hu's background. E.g., details are provided re how his parents got murdered and how he got separated from his brother and sisters. Also, we learn that he knew that he sought to revenge his parents' death but didn't do so, on account of his feeling that he could only live for Yu Jiao Long after meeting her. So, instead, his youngest sister went after their family's enemies, with the help of Yu Shu Lien.

  Part V:   "Iron Knight, Silver Vase"
(19 chapters)

On a snowy winter night, Yu Jiao Long gave birth to a boy in an inn on the road to Xinjiang. Unexpectedly (but on purpose), her son was taken by an officer's wife, who left a baby girl and a silver vase in his place.

After failing to find her son, Yu Jiao Long adopted the girl and named her Chun Xue Ping (Snow Vase). They lived together in the desert.

19 years later, Yu Jiao Long left the desert to look once more for her son but got very ill along the way. A young man named Han Tie Fang (Iron Aroma) elected to take care of her.

As it so happened, Han Tie Fang was looking for his mother, an officer's wife who got kidnaped by bandits when he was a baby. Yu Jiao Long realized the young man was actually her son. Knowing herself she wouldn't live long because of the illness, she wanted to take him to the desert to be with Xue Ping. However, she was too ill to finish the trip and died on the way during a storm night (and without disclosing her relationship with him to her son).

Han Tie Fang went to see Chun Xue Ping but was driven away by the young woman and her friends. He later found out his mother was actually Yu Jiao Long, the 'friend' he buried in the desert. He also met Lo Xiao Hu, who believed he had a daughter and got captured for protecting her. Han Tie Fang managed to get Lo Xiao Hu free but Lo was already badly injured and died on an icy mountain soon afterwards.

Chun Xue Ping and Han Tie Fang had more adventures while looking for the woman who Han Tie Fang thought was his mother but turned out to be Chun Xue Ping's biological mother. Xue Ping and Tie Fang finally became a happy couple - the only happy couple of this pentalogy.

   * Yu Jiao Long died at the age of 38. The book also mentioned that Yu Shu Lien died of illness back in her hometown five years earlier - when she was at her 38. Li Mu Bai - who did not die in the CTHD book the way he did in the film - went to pay his respect to Shu Lien at her graveside.

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