All Good Knowing Ones:
Most of us are Chinese and so we should know the great events that have occurred and the influential figures who have lived during the last hundred years in China. In my opinion, although we are Buddhist, we cannot be unconcerned about national affairs. Nor can we be unconcerned about individual family affairs, nor about our own physical health. That is why, in Los Angeles and other places, 1 have discussed the following. Now that 1 have come back to Taiwan I also want to give a simple description of the events that have happened during the past hundred years in China.
We who study Buddhism cannot be without a country, without a family, nor without our own physical being. Our physical bodies are the capital we invest in our study of Buddhism. The family is the source of our life. As to our country, whether we are left-home or laypeople, we are all under the protection of our country. Therefore we should be loyal to our country and filial to our family.Towards all people we should be trustworthy. If at home we are not filial to our family members, then we turn our back on our moral obligations. Therefore we must fulfill our filial duty.
It's said, "Men and women living together is the beginning of human relationships. The way of the superior person begins with man and wife." It's also said, "The superior person applies effort at the foundation. After the foundation is established the Way will come forth. Filiality and fraternity must be the foundation!" Then in order for the country and the government to protect us there must be a certain number of people to provide national defense. In establishing our identity, in dealing with the world, and in interactions with people we must be trustworthy. In our relationships with everyone we must be trustworthy. We cannot be without trustworthiness! Confucius said, "If a person is not trustworthy, one knows not what he is good for." If a person does not believe in trustworthiness and righteousness, then it's not known of what good he can be. Therefore, trustworthiness is very important to us. Toward the country we must be loyal, toward the family we must be filial, toward ourselves we must pay attention to our health. In that way we will not become a burden to the country. I have already spoken twice on the topic of the great events that have occurred and the influential figures who have lived during the last hundred years in China. There have been many influential figures during the past hundred years in China. Now we are selecting just a few. Who spoke this prophecy? The Buddhist monk Bu Syu spoke this during the thirtieth year of the Gwang Syu reign period of the late Ching Dynasty (1904) at Bi Yun Monastery on Western Mountain outside of Bei Jing. This prophecy poem refers to the influential figures in China, but when he spoke it no one knew who he was speaking of. Because he veiled his language and used riddles. You yourself have to guess.
Who is the first verse referring to? Sywan Tung, the last emperor of the late Ching dynasty. How does his story go?
Clouds heavy and dark,
Vapors dense and gloomy,
The dragon has gone back to the earth, and mud is modeled into a monkey.
A three-year-old child only enjoys three years of blessings.
Under the moon there is no host and the waters dry up.
The mists and ripples throughout the land suddenly disappear.
What is meant by "clouds heavy and dark, vapors dense and gloomy"? It refers to the time. At that time it was as if there was no sunshine. The clouds were dark, the atmosphere gloomy. Why? Because "the dragon has gone back to the earth, and mud is modeled into a monkey." They were playing with the monkey. Who was the monkey? It was the last emperor of the Ching dynasty, Sywan Tung. Sywan ("Proclaiming") Tung ("Ruling") can be interpreted as Sywan ("Hung") Tung ("Poking") which indicates grave danger, as might occur when a person pokes a hole in a wall. And so Sywan Tung ascended the throne when he was three years old. When he ascended the throne, he sat on the lap of his legal representative (guardian). That's how he became emperor. But the child had no idea what was going on and sat on the throne crying. His legal representative said, "Don't cry, it will all be over soon." You could say that was a bad omen, and indicated that Sywan Tung would not be emperor for long. "A three-year-old child only enjoys three years of blessings." This means he only had three years' reward of blessings. "Under the moon there is no host, and the waters dry up." Beneath the character "moon" (月) there isn't any ruler (主). But above the moon there is a ruler (主). "The waters dry up" means there's no more water. What character is this describing? This refers to the character "Ching" (清) of the Ching dynasty. The three dots of the water radical are dried up (清). And there's no host under the moon.（清）This refers to the "Ching" dynasty. At that time, although it was the thirtieth year of the Gwang Syu reign period of the late Ching dynasty, no one understood this reference. Even to this day, it's to be feared that no one understands. And so the Ching was gone. "The mists and ripples throughout the land one day will disappear." This refers to the beautiful mountains and rivers in China—someday the dynasty will change. The Chinese character for "one day" (一旦) combine to make the character Sywan (宣) minus the top element (穴). This is what happened to Emperor Sywan Tung's reign. Later Japan used him as a puppet emperor to rule the country of Manchuria and his reign was called Kang De. The Manchu reign was separate from the Ching dynasty and the Republic. This is the general story of the Emperor Sywan Tung.
The second verse describes the Founding Father of the Republic. How does it go?
You, Sir, are the grandfather,
Refined in manner.
A ten-thousand mile rainbow breaks the waves in its quest.
Within Yellow Crane Pavillion, a jade flute was blown.
And throughout the land together they sing the song of victory.
A new flag of five colors unfurled.
This talks about our Founding Father Sun (孫國父). "You, Sir, are the grandfather." You are the grandfather. That shows that since there's a grandfather, naturally there is a grandson, right? Only if there are grandchildren can there be a grandfather, right? And so this refers to the character "sun" (孫) ["grandson" = the founding father's surname]. "Refined in manner" is not a complete idea. It's half of an idiom, which comes from the Analects. The full line reads "Elegant (文) and refined ( 質 ) in manner, one can be considered a gentleman. And so isn't it obvious that the character which means "elegant" (文) is hidden in this line? Those who understand, with one guess, with know that this is a reference to Sun (孫) Wen (文). "A ten-thousand mile rainbow breaks the waves in its quest." This refers to how Founding Father Sun travelled back and forth between Honolulu, Hawaii, and China in a ship that continually broke the waves, for the sake of the revolution. "Within Yellow Crane Pavillion a jade flute was blown." The flute was blown to call Li Ywan-hung to come forth to join the revolution and help Founding Father Sun. The horn of revolution was blown in Yellow Crane Pavillion. "Throughout the land together they sing the song of victory." Those in all directions responded to the call of revolution, Eke the wind blowing the clouds in clusters. "A new flag of five colors unfurled." When the Republic was first established a five-colored flag was adapted as the national flag. It was later that they changed the flag into a blue sky with a white sun.
To whom is the third verse referring? It refers to the Great President Ywan—Emperor Ywan.
Gentlemen use the Pacifying policy.
Change thirty years a bit.
How could he be a common person?
The night-blooming cereus briefly appears.
In the east, west, north, and south,
Dragons quarrel and tigers battle.
At seven and eight the fate is fixed.
And throughout the mountains and rivers, things began to settle down.
"Gentlemen use the pacifying policy." The first character of the word "gentleman" (吉士) and the bottom half of the first character of the phrase "pacifying policy" (懷柔) together form character "Ywan" (袁). "Change thirty years a bit" is interpreted by some people of the time to be a prediction that in thirty years from then there will be a change. But actually, that's not what's meant. What does it mean? It means under the writing of "thirty" (卅) one stroke is added and that makes the character "Shr" (世). "How could he be a common person?" When the character for "how" (豈) and the character for "common" (凡) are put together, they form the character "Kai" (凱) . And these lines form the name "Ywan Shr-kai" (袁世凱).
"In the east, west, north, and south, dragons quarrel and tigers battle." At that time there were dragons, and tigers, and Feng Gwo-jang, and Dwan Chi-rei—those people were fighting to get the country. And so the line says the dragons quarrel and the tigers battle.
"At seven and eight the fate is fixed." Seven plus eight is fifteen and refers to the fifteenth year of the Republic (1926) (the year of the success of the North War Expedition). "And throughout the mountains and rivers, things began to settle down." At that time China began to have a little bit of peace.
To be continued