Monday, February 27, 2012

The mythical experience of oracle asking

The Wong Tai Sin temple is a Taoist temple in Hong Kong most famous for its stick-oracles which, according to reputable statistical research, the seekers of divine revelation reported an overwhelming confirmation of its efficacy, in predicting the future and giving good advice. The temple is still busy everyday, now witnessing more and more ladies at their 20s of 30s joining the team of older folks (reflecting an imbalance between eligible male and female, favoring the male), kneeling down and solemnly asking for divine revelation and guidance. How is this experience like?

When Carl Jung did his asking of I-Ching, he didn’t “test” the efficacy of I-Ching. He asked the I-Ching for revelation in all seriously and solemnity. According to the tradition of oracle asking, the elements of Heaven, Earth and Man must be in synch for a true revelation to come. And to Jung’s surprise, the I-Ching oracles answered his questions meaningfully and with wisdom (interested readers can refer to his commentary in Wilhelm’s I-Ching translation). And Jung’s experience was both therapeutic and meaningful, as with all other oracles seekers with a humble and non-critical mind.

We all have problems in our life, one way or the other, one time or the other. What is I-Ching’s wisdom in solving our personal problems? As the name of the book says: CHANGE! In order that change can even be considered, one needs to be humble. And humble in the sense that one truly feels one’s inadequacy and needs a guidance from someone or somewhere who, if we are humble enough, might just be able to let us have a glimpse at the deepest secret of what lies ahead, and therefore let us have a guidance that perhaps you can bridge over this unknown trouble water with less or little harm.

In the lingo of performing art, it is called “suspension of disbelief”. Children, artists and religious people have no problem comprehending this important concept. No wonder Jesus said “"Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these." Perhaps it is easier to become a child (again) than to train oneself to become an artist…

PS: There are good and bad performing arts, good and bad sermons, and good and bad oracle systems or explanations.


  1. I think an essential element in asking the Oracle is framing the question correctly and with the right spirit in one's own mind. By doing that, you've already planted the seed of what the answer will be.

  2. Indeed, framing the question is an important rational decision. (For example) A person who asks the oracle to decide whether or not to do the necessary operation for his early cancer is superstitious rather than spiritual. After that we can safely throw after our adult mind and enter the wonderful world of the child!


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