A great fortuneteller
By Janet Shin
There is an interesting fable about a frog fortune teller in Korea. He was not actually an innate fortune teller but muddled through various affairs. He didn’t become famous through choice. What he foretold turned out to be true by chance and more and more people visited him to have their fortune read. However the frog felt uncomfortable as he thought he was deluding others with misleading rumors.
In the meantime, an emperor in China lost his royal seal. He explored every avenue to find it but in vain. He ordered most the famous fortune tellers in China to seek the seal, with fruitless results. Then he heard there was an extraordinary fortune teller in Korea. He ordered his staff to bring him to China. It was the frog. Being just an ordinary frog, he, of course, was not able to find any clues where the seal was. As he anticipated it would be hard to save his life if he couldn’t carry out the mission, he requested the emperor to allow him 100 days of grace. On the 99th morning, bewailing his last day of life, he went to a well to wash his face. A willow leaf fell into his wash basin. He looked at it to find the leaf had a hole in the middle. He murmured “ryu, gong-yup” to himself. In Chinese characters, ryu means a willow tree, gong is a hole and yup is a leaf. At that moment, a monster came out from woods to kneel down in front of the frog fortune teller and said, “I was hiding myself here restlessly. You, great fortune teller, finally figured out my name. I dropped the seal into the pond by mistake. I will do anything if you spare me.”
The frog fortune teller had just proved his ability. He was eulogized by the emperor and became more famous. This fable may sound absurd in that fortune telling can just be a fluke. Then what made me tell you this story? I have tried to introduce saju with integrity, haven’t I?
Let me tell you another case of a down-to-earth person. I happened to read a column about a famous Korean fortune teller, Park Jae-hyun (1935-2000). Park was reputed for his clairvoyance and he especially showed prescient ability during the election periods of members for the National Assembly and presidents. The columnist, Cho Yong-hun, who studies Oriental culture and folklore, praised Park as one of the greatest fortune tellers he has met, having travelled all over the country. I also knew Park through one of my noble acquaintances. The acquaintance, being from a distinguished family, wanted to meet him because of his books and his studies. During several friendly chats, Park shared his vision about Korea and the world from a saju point of view, as he puts it.
In the column, while Cho mainly mentioned that he misses Park in these important days of various political elections, an interesting episode was also introduced to show Park’s prophetical ability. One day, Park told his friend who owned a herbal store that the first customer that day would be a man, with family name Hwang and given name Ha-su. Hwang means yellow and ha-su is pure water. The first customer’s name turned out to be Hwang Ha-su. The friend was quite surprised and asked how Park had such supernatural powers. Park answered that it was not because of a distinctive ability but because he learned from things and nature. In the morning, he noticed sunshine shed light on the linoleum in the room and it was colored yellow. Then the bedside drinking-water looked so pure so Park analogized the first customer’s name as Hwang Ha-su.
This seemingly preposterous story is not rare in the sphere of saju, Oriental fortune telling. It is actually proving that saju is not an occult theory. What is taught by this story is the great master’s ability to grasp certain meanings from the minuteness in our daily lives and how much we can learn from things and nature.
This is exactly to realize the importance of using our sensations to seize such significance from phenomenon around us. Every existence emits its own qi, or life energy, and it is up to our awareness to sense the significance. In order to maximize this ability, we need to train ourselves to utilize the eyes of our mind and soul.
Information: Are you interested in learning more about the ancient Chinese teaching about the “Four Pillars of Destiny?” For further information, visit Janet’s website at www.fourpillarskorea.com, contact her at 010-5414-7461 or email email@example.com.
The writer is the president of the Heavenly Garden, a saju research center in Korea, and the author of “Learning Four Pillars.”