Friday, October 26, 2012

Getting to know Heaven

This is not the original article that I had set out to write. The article in final draft forms and titled, “How to get Heaven on our side” had to be deleted after receiving a warning from Heaven (Tian) probably for revealing its secrets (Ke). Just as I was finishing that particular draft, a sudden thunderstorm appeared with loud thunder very close by. By instinct I had quickly deleted the entire draft, emptied the recycle bin in the computer, and the thunder immediately stopped. Within minutes the thunderstorm passed. Regular readers will not find anything strange about this phenomenon since they have read it before in my articles on the then yet-to-unfold global omens, and the yet-to-unfold twelfth prophecy of Zhuge Liang on China, from the Yijing.

After all, the phenomenon serves as a fair warning from Heaven to those who want to over reveal its secrets. Not too much different from the fair warning given by the two divinities to Guan Lo of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms fame. Therefore I am now writing this article instead. And you know what; there is no thunderstorm, so far so good!

Yijing aficionados and students of Tao should learn to know Heaven if they wished to or have already dedicated a lifetime to their respective studies. They may be able to get Heaven on their side if they cultivate both Human nature (Xing) and Fate (Ming) as taught by the Holy Sages who wrote the Book of Changes. And do good deeds as indicated in Daoist texts. Sincere and serious students of Tao and the Yijing should take note of this. Human lives are precious to Heaven, if you can save an innocent life (or lives); do so without hesitation.

Perchance, if they already know heaven, they can still learn something deeper from the Book of Changes or from the three great ancient sages, Laozi, Confucius, and the Buddha. For these three sages knew Heaven well. Read on.

Confucius told his students, when they were facing danger of being robbed and killed, that since the passing of King Wen, Heaven has chosen him to be the standard bearer of culture; the men of Guang (the pillagers) can do nothing to him. [Records of the Grand Historian - Shiji]

In the Analects, Confucius has had made several statements which depicted his deep and profound knowledge of Heaven but I will only use one which have much relevance in this discourse and found to be true from actual experiences and observations over the past two decades:

“He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray”. [III, xiii Legge]

Confucius had used this statement to provide a fair warning to the officer who had wanted to usurp his position.

Although ancient, what Confucius had stated two thousand five hundred years ago is still applicable till today. Truths always withstand the passage of time. Those on the receiving end of Heaven’s wrath, with or without fair warning, may still quite not understand what they have done wrong. Perhaps by reading this article, they can learn from their past mistakes.

Pedant scholars the likes of the late Professor Homer Dubs will hardly believe a word of what I say since there is dearth of literature to substantiate the phenomena of Heaven’s actions on behalf of the good, unless they are deep and thorough enough to comprehend the sayings of the three great sages. When even Xunzi, a top ancient philosopher of his time and an accredited Confucian, did not quite understand these two statements of Confucius, what more can be expected of both ancient and modern pedant scholars?

Instead of being a Confucian Junzi (superior person) who stands in awe of sages, Xunzi proffered a contrary view on Heaven which opposes the identical thoughts of the three great ancient sages, and his contemporary, Mencius.

For only those who have experienced it can appreciate the phenomena of Heaven’s moral will. They may further get to know the Mandate of Heaven (Tian Ming) around the age of fifty, give or take a few years.

In the modern context and with great contributions from science, readers should pay more particular attention to what they say or do in Daoist or Yijing forums and in this lowly blog. If they happen to come across a dull and seemingly ignorant person with no oratorical skills at all and yet ventured to talk in simple English about Tao and/or Yijing omens, stay well clear if you do not believe a word of what he says!

Never call him names, nor disparage his practices or his works, unless you really know more than this particular frog-in-the-well that had been sent-down-the-mountain by the Yijing for fellowship with men. He could already have Heaven on his side. And/or assisting the gods as indicated in the Great Treatise (Da Zhuan).

By calling him names; by disparaging his practices and his works; by injuring him with words or thievery; by reneging on agreements or promises made to him; culprits had offended Heaven and had been punished. Therefore this also goes to show that Heaven has moral will.

To remain blameless, he has always hinted to (previous and present) forum members and to readers not to cast aspersions on what he does or says unless they try to correct his mistakes, if any. And according to Confucius and the Buddha, the culprits had brought Heaven’s wrath down upon themselves.

To settle doubts, please also listen carefully to what the Buddha and Laozi had respectively said:

The Buddha asked the man who came to denounce his Way and his practice that if he offers a gift to his neighbor and his neighbor accept it not; would not the gift be returned to him? And the man replied, ‘It will’. The Buddha then said: “You denounce me now, but as I accept it not, you must take the wrong deed back on your own person.”

The Buddha said, “Evil doers who denounce the wise resemble a person who spits against the sky; the spittle will never reach the sky; but comes down on himself.” [Both quotations Google from: The sayings of Buddha in forty-two sections]

Laozi in Chapter 79 of his Tao Te Ching said:

The Way of Heaven is impartial; it is on the side of the good”.

By providing a reference on Heaven’s moral will in Chapter 79, and by providing many other references on Heaven and Earth in his Tao Te Ching for future generations, Laozi depicted his profound knowledge of Heaven.

What the Buddha and Confucius had respectively taught, ‘evil deed(s) will redound on the culprits’ and ‘those who offends Heaven will be punished and has no one to pray to,’ is but one of the ways how Heaven protects the good.

The observant and those who are directly taught by Daoist celestial immortals or Buddhas would know more ways than this. These ways form part and parcel of Heaven’s secrets. Disclosures of which can be subjected to fair warnings from Heaven!

The mysterious workings of Heaven and Tao are certainly not easy to comprehend until experienced. We should know our own limitations and be circumspect of what we say or do in public regarding ancient Yijing and Tao practices, lest we inadvertently offend Heaven.

Good deeds seemed unrewarded and evil deeds seemed unpunished yet Heaven’s and/or divinities’ rewards and punishments often manifest for those who in the know. Those who know this phenomenon down the ages based on what they have taught include Laozi, Confucius, the Buddha, and Mencius.

Perhaps after reading this article, readers got to know the ways of Heaven a bit better?

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