Give and Take

Translation of the Chinese character “福” (fu, 2)is very tricky (just like all other translations). It means, blessing, lucky and happiness — what is given by the “heaven” or a “god.”

But these days I saw some post online (probably I should not have taken it so seriously, and according to some scholars, if they are online, and not sorted into some professional journals, they are unserious and useless), that the original version of this character, traced back to thousands of years ago (here left out another thousand words describing the process of dating back into history), means literally “having wine in both hands (a sign for respect) and giving to god.”

Somebody would ask, so what’s so special about this?

You probably have noticed, the current/derived meaning of this character simply means “asking for something from god/the Heaven”; while the original/ancient meaning of it is “to giving things to god with respect.”

So there’s a transition of meanings of one character, what’s the big deal?

I would suppose, the character conveys a philosophy that, the devotion of sincerely and devoutly giving and serving god, in turn, you would be repaid and granted blessing, and luck, in whatever you wish for.

It is only the greed and blindness of later people that diminished the original philosophy that buried deeply inside the one of the most common characters in Chinese language.

Focusing on giving, not on asking for.

Gaining comes when it is supposed to come aside.


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