Monday, 20 August 2007

Learning Chinese R/W way - Lesson 14

I came across this today.
一命二運三風水.
四積陰德五讀書.

This is one of the more difficult sentence to translate. First a little background of the source: According to Joseph Yu

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:

一命二運三風水
四積陰德五讀書.


In this sentence, you can see the first 5 numbers: 一二三四五. So you know this is a list. Using Joseph Yu's translation, it is
(1) Destiny
(2) Cycle
(3) Feng Shui
(4) Accumulation of hidden virtuous deeds
(5) Study books


The first three are difficult to change, the last two are something we can work hard on. That basically sums up my philosophy of life.

In the 5 elements, 命 belongs to 土 (earth),運 belongs to 金 (metal),風水 belongs to 水(water),陰德 belongs to 木(wood). What is missing here is 火 (fire).

We belief that the 5 elements are inter-related. In order to change, we can accummulate more "virtuous deeds". We can also study. Wood and Fire reinforces each other and can change the rest.

I think the best translation may be "Opportunities present themselves only to those who are prepared".

1 comment:

Matt Whyndham said...

Feng Shui could be related to the learner's environment, which they certainly can select or alter to some extent. Even to the degree of choosing the best place in the house to read.