Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Su Dong Po's misinterpreted saying

Su Dong Po 蘇東坡 (a famous scholar in the Song 宋 Dynasty) came from a scholarly family. His father and his brother were also great scholars. One day, someone asked him the secret to pass examination to have academic achievement (考取功名). He (probably jokingly) said:


The translation is:

(1) Destiny
(2) Cycle
(3) Feng Shui
(4) Accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds
(5) Study books

For those who have knowledge of Zi Ping Ba Zi 子平八字, destiny refers to the four pillars chart, cycle refers to the luck pillar. The four pillars do provide a limit to our achievement. It is just like a bird is born to be able to fly but a human being is not. There is no argument about it. However, it does not limit our ability to create the airplane so that human beings can travel by air. There is no contradiction in saying that our potential has a limit.

Destiny does not say that a person can or cannot be a billionaire. Destiny can only tell us that a certain person is good at doing certain things and that his achievement in this area will be much greater than other undertakings. Money is not the point.

A luck pillar is a length of time during which certain qi is strong while certain other qi is weak. It is the length of time during which a person can do well at something and not so well at others. It is not just good luck or bad luck. You can say that the luck pillar may present obstructions or a river to cross. If the person does not want to cross the river or counter the obstruction, he can choose to go a longer way to reach the destination or the go around the obstruction. It may take longer and more effort to achieve the goal but it is the way to do it.

Studying our destiny and cycles in our life can help us to go on the proper path. The path is predetermined. Without knowing this path we may be going on the wrong path that does not bring us to the destination. Life is not so meaningful and achievement may be below expectation. We cannot say that limit does not exist. We can only say that knowing the limits and limitation will help us live a better life.

Shao Yong, for example, knew his destiny and refused to take up a government post. His highest potential was not in politics. He is the best example of one who knows his destiny and makes the best use of his knowledge of destiny. He knows his limits and he knows in which area are his limits much higher.

Feng Shui actually refers to the way your ancestors were buried. This is because in the Song Dynasty, yin house feng shui was much more focused than yang house feng shui. Today we can also imply the influence of yang house feng shui as it is more in our focus. It is about tapping into the best academic qi in the house to help us do well in studies.

Accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds is to give us the peace of mind by helping others without claiming credits. This helps us develop a character that is not blinded by worldly feeling of success and visible recognition. It is in this way we can do well in presenting our ideas in writing. In the ancient days, it means the ability to write well in examination.

To study books is to read and digest the knowledge given in the books. It is to assimulate the digested knowledge for the production of new ideas and inventions.

All these are not to be measured in terms of percentages. It tells us the importance of Xian Tian and Hou Tian. Destiny and cycles are Xian Tian. These are the things we cannot change. Feng Shui, accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds, and the study of books are all Hou Tian efforts to help us live according to our Xian Tian structure.

The order of the five items mentioned does not indicate the order of importance. It is also not true that each item contributes one-fifth to the success of failure. What comes first is Xian Tian and what comes later is Hou Tian. It takes all to have success just like it takes yin and yang to form the taiji.



Monica Ottaggio said...

Dear Master,

All your words are so poetic...I feel the spirit of your teachings.


Jeannie said...

Dear Master Yu,

I feel so good to go back to basics and to my roots. Thanks again for the clarity in your writing... so simple and yet so profound.

Best wishes.

Marianna Halassy said...

Dear Joseph,

No wonder why your clients and students keep coming back to you, just to listen!
I’m amazed how you can show us another facet of the diamond each time you talk or write.
Besides the enjoyment of reading your blog, I’m so happy that you talk about astrology and feng shui and that might raise the awareness to its importance in modern life.

Warm regards

Sherab Wong said...

wondrous sayings, wise words.

CISCOMMU said...

now i got the exact wording.! in chinese. great!
I always unclear about the 5 pillars now got the exact wording. thank joseph

CISCOMMU said...

thanks for the exact wording. Finally I got the exact wording and explaination