A prophecy is a prediction made using occult methods. It is often, but not always, obtained through divination and it usually describes human affairs before they occur. Nothing that man does or plans can be kept secret from the gods, who allow certain mortals to glimpse the future through divination.
Li Chun-feng and Yuan Tien-kang were high officials on the Board of Astronomy who wrote these prophecies at the beginning of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). They developed the "Celestial Globe" a model that showed that the world was round and that the earth and planets revolved around the sun. They also made important changes to the Chinese calender and created astronomical charts and instruments that are still extant both in China and in Europe.
Yuan Tien-kang was a master of the I Ching and was able to use the hexagrams to obtain heavenly answers to his questions. Li Chun-feng was able to accurately interpret the riddles presented by the hexagrams. They wrote this book of prophecies at the personal request of the emperor who wanted to know what troubles lay in store for himself and the future emperors of the Tang Dynasty... Their sixty prophecies encompass a period that began in the seventh century and ends approximately two thousand years later. (Page 7)
Nostradamus and the Chinese Prophecies: The most famous prophecies in the West are those of the French astrologer Nostradamus (1503-1566). What few people know is that when Nostradamus was writing his work Centurias, he adhered to the principles on which The Chinese Prophecies were based. The similarities between the two works is most evident in their design and in the content of the predictions themselves.
Because the book's predictions have been fulfilled in the past, one cannot help but fear for the future. If the prophecies are to be believed, China will control the world during the latter part of the twenty-first century just as the Spaniards, the Portuguese, and the Dutch did during the fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries; as the English did during the nineteenth century; and as the United States has done during the twentieth century. (page 13)
The First Riddle:
The boundless universe,
No one knows how it will end.
The sun and the moon eternally spinning,
Cycle after cycle.
The Second Riddle:
From the First Emperor
Until the end of time,
There are many upheavals;
Battles of dragons and tigers.
Only when the true meaning of changes is discovered,
Will the pure truth be understood.
After examining the future,
Here are our conclusions
About events during and after the Tang Dynasty.
Interpretation: A philosophical explanation of the structure of the universe.
The Drawing: The two overlapping Taoist rings of Yin and Yang that represent eternal change, death and rebirth, the beginning and end of everything in the universe.
The Hexagram: The first hexagram symbolizes Heaven. Heaven is an invisible and supernatural world that exists alongside our physical world. Man can only enter this dimension after death, when his spirit abandons his body and leaves this world. Many people doubt the existence of Heaven, but if one stands on a beach or a mountain peak at early dawn, when the first light of day and the receding darkness of night clash in the sky, one can often perceive the aura that surrounds the mysterious world known as Heaven.
The Riddles: The first riddle indicates that from times immemorial, man has tried to answer the mysterious questions concerning the origin, shape, and age of the universe...Early Taoists thought that the universe was a physical manifestation of the primordial Chi energy that gave birth to the Five Elements, and that it was shaped like a chicken's egg... What is certain however, is that the Taoists were correct when they affirmed that change is at the root of everything in the universe... If the cycle of change were to end, his universe would instantly collapse.
The implication of the second riddle is that man is trapped within an endless cycle of peace and war. Since man cannot escape this reality, the prophecies abound in descriptions of human violence and armed battles waged by unreasonable men at the expense of others. (Page 17)
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