Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gods of Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity (Fu Lu Shou)

G2 nights ago, after a meditation practice I had a new understanding of what the three wise chinese gods are. Just who are the three wise chinese gods? In Chinese tradition, they are commonly known as Fu Lu Shou, or Gods of Good Fortune, Prosperity and Longevity. These figures are not known in Buddhism but their statues are commonly dsiplayed in the homes of many Buddhist and Taoist Chinese. The below “conversations” with them will bring new light on who they are and what is the proper way to usher in good fortune, prosperity and longevity into our homes. I will present it in a conversational way so that it's easier to understand (although no conversation took place).

Fu is the first to speak and said: “Many people do all kinds of things during Chinese New Year in the hope of good fortune. But most of them are only doing external things. They wear red. They offer pineapples. They consult fengshui who told them of auspicious and inauspicious directions. They make ridiculous profit margins and cause inflations in economies. But seriously, most of them do not know how to bring about good fortune into their lives. My real name is Cut-down-Greed. Why is my name such? It is when you cut down on greed, have less desires and crazy attachments to profits and gains, that you can gain good fortune. A lot of people can be charitable in their actions but they are still miserly in their attitude. They are still not making any headway in Generosity. Alas! Many people go for bogus ways to enrich themselves. They just do not know what is enrichment. Nor do they count having more virtues as good fortune.”

Then Lu spoke next. He said, “Many people do all kinds of things during Chinese New Year in the hope of prosperity. But most of them are only doing external things. Even among spiritual practitioners, there is so much pride and competition. There is much hatred and anger among people. They have little tolerance. Even if it seems they do have patience, it is really artificial. For tantric practitioners, they desire to be the deities more than they want the qualities of the deities. They do not care whether they develop the enlightened qualities of the deities or not. Nowadays more and more young children are involved in killing and criminal activities. You cannot scold them anymore, If you scold them, they will be offended and retaliate in the most vicious manner. They donot know how to bring about prosperity in their lives. My real name is Cut-down-Anger. Why is my name such? It is when you cut down on anger, hatred and other negative emotions, that you will see more peace in your lives. Because many problems are caused by not being able to control our emotions, once you have more control over yourself, a lot of problems will go away by themselves. Unfortunately people can only see wealth as having more money. They donot see having ethical conduct and morality as prosperity. It is only when we have self-discipline and good conduct will prosperity have a chance to develop in your lives.”

The final person to speak is Shou. He said, “Many people want to live a long life. They become outwardly smarter in inventing all the new modern technology. There are also advances in modern medicine. Yet many people still die young. If it is not due to disease and illnesses, then it is by accident, whether man-made or natural disasters. But little do people know the cause of all their illnesses and accidents. My real name is Cut-down-Ignorance. What is meant by “ignorance” is really our stupid or mind with no wisdom. If we can reduce the ridiculous and stupid actions that we do everyday, and be more wise in our thoughts, actions and speech, you may find that you have less problems. If you can cut down on the many ridiculous food that we consume everyday, then perhaps there will be less chance of contracting a disease. But we love to eat and eat and eat. Sometimes, the words we speak or write can cause us many problems. So, if we can be more careful in what we say and how we say, and less fault finding with others, then we can cut down on our "stupid” words and actions. Hence we will have less problems with others and we can have a chance to live longer. On a deeper level, longevity is not really about living a long life. It is about how much wisdom we have."

The three of them then spoke in unison, "People must not see only money and material gains as good fortune and prosperity. Having a happy and harmonious family is also good fortune and prosperity even when one is not that rich. Be wiser in our daily conduct, and benefit sentient beings. This is the way to true longevity. Now do you understand how to truly invite the three of us into your homes during Chinese New Year?”

I nodded and they smiled before vanishing away. Now whenever I see the three statues of Fu Lu Shou, I will always think of them as the Three wise chinese gods called Uncle Cut-down-desires, Uncle Cut-down Anger and Uncle Cut-down-Ignorance. I suppose it is the same principle with any wealth deities. Many of us crave for material wealth without the necessary hard work and honest trade. We gain wealth by cheating others and selling things at absurd profit margins or we compromise on the quality. Similarly we do wealth rituals in the hope of becoming rich through shortcuts. That is wrong motivation. We are always looking for shortcuts to success. We donot count cutting on our mental defilements and delusions as richness. We consult fengshui master after fengshui master in the hope to overcome our problems and obtain our wishes. And in the process, we fall prey to unscrupulous ones. Who is then to be blamed? Having said that, I acknowledge the difficulty to control one's greed, desires, anger, and other delusions. I know it's not so easy. I haven't managed to control mine yet.

With this new understanding (which I can not get anywhere else and which I have never heard before from anyone, and which you too will not be able to hear this teaching from anywhere else), I try to reflect on the actual meaning of Fu Lu Shou. I take this opportunity to wish all celebrating the New Year of the Rabbit, a happy lunar new year and hopefully you will gain the real Fu Lu Shou! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Pic from:

No comments: