Today is another milestone in China’s re-ascendency. 40 years after the last lunar rovers from the USSR and US landed on the moon, China now has its first. It is named after Yutu, the Jade Rabbit.
The image of Yutu is visible on the face of the moon, mixing an elixir of immortality for the moon goddess. A Buddhist tale describes how Yutu got there:
A monkey, otter, jackal and rabbit came across a haggard old man begging for food. The monkey gathered fruits and nuts from the trees. The otter caught some fish. The naughty jackal did a bit of thieving. The poor rabbit, wanting to help, but unable to provide anything, threw himself onto a fire to offer his own flesh. Fortunately for the rabbit, the man was no normal man – he was Buddhist deity, Śakra. Śakra saved the rabbit from the fire, and touched by the virtue shown drew a likeness on the moon for all to remember the jade rabbit’s goodness.
I decided to mark China’s achievement today with my own rendition of Yutu, the rabbit on the moon, busy mixing an elixir.
The next time you look up at the moon, you can see the real Yutu as hundreds of generations have done before: