Saturday, January 06, 2007

To be blessed by heaven

Blessings from heaven can come in many forms: rain in a drought area (think farmers and peasants); heavy downpours that extinguish fierce fire traps (think Sima Yi and sons); special gifts - children for barren parents, a son for those who desire one; miracles - the extensions of and saving of lives; special stock market ‘tips’; and many others.

From ancient times till now and whether religions had been established or not, while the way people think may change, heaven has not changed. Many people down the ages liked to be blessed by heaven. Who would not want miracles to happen or to become rich without doing much – like finding a gold mine, striking a ‘snowballed’ lottery or winning the football pools?

People around the world like to think that if they pray to this god or that deity they would get heaven’s blessings. Others tend to believe that if they follow this or that Daoist sect, heavenly immortals will make them rich. If it was that simple and easy, every devotee, religious follower, and/or disciple will become rich and no one needs to work. Therefore if their real intentions to practice a religion were to secure great wealth and miracles, most will end up disappointed since money does not fall from heaven and miracles do not just happen. Those who cannot think through may then lay blame on the various religions or even heaven.

However, all is not lost, since we could learn a thing or two from the Zhouyi and the ancients on how to obtain a blessing from heaven. The top line of Hexagram 14 Da Yu / Possession in Great Measure means:
He is blessed by heaven. Good fortune. Nothing that does not further.

Confucius says of this line:
To bless means to help. Heaven helps the man who is devoted; men help the man who is true. He who walks in truth and is devoted in his thinking, and furthermore reveres the worthy, is blessed by heaven. He has good fortune, and there is nothing that would not further.

That is one thing we can learn from the great sage’s explanations on how a person of truth and devotion can get blessings from heaven.

We can learn another thing from the Image of Da Yu:
Fire in heaven above: The image of Possession in Great Measure. Thus the superior man curbs evil and furthers good, and thereby obeys the benevolent will of heaven.[W/B]

If the Junzi curbs evil and furthers good thereby obeying the benevolent will of heaven, would heaven not stand on his side and give him blessings?

Another great sage, Laozi, had answered this question in Chapter 79 of the Tao Te Ching:“The Way of Heaven is impartial; it is on the side of the good man.”

For starters, Buddha, yet another great sage had this to say in the Dhammapada:
Not to commit any sin, to do good, and to purify one's mind, that is the teaching of (all) the Awakened. [Chapter 14 The Buddha (The Awakened)]

From the wisdom in the Zhouyi, and confirmations by three great sages - Confucius, Laozi and Buddha, surely we can think of how to be good, going forward, to be blessed by heaven. If devotees, religious followers and disciples alike do not earnestly and sincerely cultivate to be good and do good deeds to help their fellowmen, they will most likely end up disappointed for not being blessed by heaven. After all what did they ever do for heaven and Tao to deserve such blessings?

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