Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

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Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Xu Yuan » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:29 pm

While looking through the internet for information on Zhuge Liang, I came across the strangest page that said that Zhuge Liang had predicted that the Chinese Communist Party will fall, and that everyone would live in peace, hatred would be abolished, etc, etc. All good that can happen, happens. Now, he quoted something called the "Ma Qian Ke", which was a book I had never even heard of until... well just last night? Because this site seemed so obscure I laughed it off as just a prank, or a new piece of folklore regarding Zhuge Liang, though later I came across another mention of the Ma Qian Ke and Zhuge Liang's prophecies, this time on a Chinese Tourist site!

http://www.foreigners-in-china.com/the- ... gdoms.html

That I found a bit strange, even stranger was the apparently high status these prophecies have by being in the mausoleum of a former high ranking member of the CCP (near its creation in fact) by the name of Chen Jiageng also known as Tan Kah Kee. To him the prophecies seemed to be the predicting of the rise of the Communist Party and nothing about a fall, so if anyone would know anything about this anomaly it would be the fellows here. What is the origins of this Ma Qian Ke and why is Zhuge Liang's name attached to it?

http://www.chenjiageng.com/ay-yl-e.htm
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:10 pm

(disclaimer: I myself do not believe in prophecies, but am explaining them for the interest of people on the site)

Zhuge Liang was said to have written this prophecy, it's a fourteen stanza poem, and through wordplay and symbolism can be dissected to be an accurate prediction of the periods of history and events in China since his death.

Just searched this up on Chinese websites. It's a fairly famous prophecy, but it's also pretty ambiguous. Just from a few glances, it seems there's fourteen stanzas and each one is regarding one dynasty. I've spotted the seventh, eight, ninth and tenth stanza can quite obviously be interpreted to refer to the Yuan, Ming, Qing Dynasties and the Republic of China respectively.

Now, the eleventh stanza, the pro-communists will argue that it's about the latter days of the Republic of China. Whilst the anti-communists may argue it's about Communist China. Regardless, the eleventh stanza is pretty grim and does predict the fall of an ideology.

The twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth stanza are on the other hand very optimistic and glorious. So pro-communists will claim that those three refer to communist china which will continue ruling forever after. The anti-communists will claim those refer to future regimes.
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby agga » Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:51 am

searching "ma qian ke" on google brings up a number of not just anti-communist, but Falun Gong-affiliated (e.g. Epoch Times) websites. it's not surprising that they would push an old fortune-telling prophecy, it's kind of their area, mystical mumbo jumbo etc.

that said, i had never heard of it til now, interesting. Chen Jiageng was a Chinese millionaire and philanthropist who made his fortune in Singapore (and sided with the Communists in the civil war) - the shrine whose website you found is in Singapore. i'd be surprised to find that the CCP gives any credence to this sort of thing (though nowadays, they'll take legitimacy wherever they can get it).
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Xu Yuan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:10 am

agga wrote:searching "ma qian ke" on google brings up a number of not just anti-communist, but Falun Gong-affiliated (e.g. Epoch Times) websites. it's not surprising that they would push an old fortune-telling prophecy, it's kind of their area, mystical mumbo jumbo etc.

that said, i had never heard of it til now, interesting. Chen Jiageng was a Chinese millionaire and philanthropist who made his fortune in Singapore (and sided with the Communists in the civil war) - the shrine whose website you found is in Singapore. i'd be surprised to find that the CCP gives any credence to this sort of thing (though nowadays, they'll take legitimacy wherever they can get it).


That would explain the alternate name for the man, yes. Though what exactly is the Falun-Gong, on that note? I've heard of them before but don't know much other than them being a sort of... well from what I can tell, modern day Yellow Turbans.
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:26 am

Falun Gong is a religious movement popping out of China in the recent decades. The movement is extremely popular amongst the Chinese populace and in a few decades managed to gain an estimated 120 million or so followers. Eclipsing Christianity, Islam and other faiths which have been in China for centuries.

Falun Gong is currently viciously and brutally suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party and Government. The Government claims Falun Gong is a cult with many homeopathic practices which leads to refusal of medicine, psychiatric treatment etc. and harms the welfare of it's followers. Detractors of the Chinese Government will claim it's because the Communists are afraid of a movement which attracts people at such a prodigious rate and can upset the control the Communists exert over the nation.

So basically Falun Gong hates the Chinese Communist Party and the CCP hates Falun Gong. And there'll be all kinds of horrific accusations thrown back and forth, and if even half of them are true it'd make Falun Gong akin to maniacal Satanists and the CCP akin to Nazi Germany.


Personally I find the beliefs of Falun Gong, which does include many aspects of Homeopathy, also some other rather backwards belief such as an opposition to interracial marraiges and relationships, fairly distasteful, and as an atheist I'm obviously no big fan of a religion which can influence it's followers to reject modern medicine and treatment. But what I find even more wrong is the CCP's decision to suppress and persecute on a level and scale they've not done since the Cultural Revolution, people for their religious beliefs. A secular government should not be concerned with what people's beliefs are.

The Epoch Times is a very anti-CCP newspaper published by Falun Gong.


Modern Yellow Turbans? I wouldn't go that far. Yellow Turbans is an organization founded with the goal to overthrow the government. Falun Gong had no similar goals until the CCP started persecuting them. However unlike Yellow Turbans I don't think Falun Gong really exclusively positioned itself for the poor and dispossessed.
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Gongsun Idiot » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:39 pm

Zhuge Liang... that man always manages to surprise me. :)

Crazedmongoose wrote:Now, the eleventh stanza, the pro-communists will argue that it's about the latter days of the Republic of China. Whilst the anti-communists may argue it's about Communist China. Regardless, the eleventh stanza is pretty grim and does predict the fall of an ideology.

The twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth stanza are on the other hand very optimistic and glorious. So pro-communists will claim that those three refer to communist china which will continue ruling forever after. The anti-communists will claim those refer to future regimes.


I think since Zhuge Liang devoted only one or two poems to each of the dynasties following the Three Kingdoms, why should he devote som many poems to the ROK? I think that some of them apply to other, future times in Chinese history.
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby HowSwiftThySword » Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:59 pm

Can you post a link to this poem? I would like to read it (in English) and see what this matter is all about. This seems, as Oda Nobunaga would put it in his words, interesting...
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:20 am

Gongsun Idiot: you mean stanza right, not poem? And ROC, not ROK.

And yeah, I agree that's the main anti-communist argument. All the dynasties more or less gets one stanza. Except I think....the Song dynasty gets two or something? (One for northern and one for southern). So it seems unlikely that such a small era like ROC which only lasted for 30-odd years will get two entire stanzas. If we go by one era per stanza the eleventh should be the PRC. But the PRC is doing pretty well compared to past regimes and dynasties, relatively. And that stanza is just really dark.
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:55 am

Howswiftthysword: I can translate the poem when I get home tonight but honestly it's so deeply imbedded into the chinese language and you'll not be able to interpret it at all.

Actually I might try starting it now (this may be very wrong, my chinese is rudimentary):

No strength to turn the heavens
Die serving the cause
The dark dwells and the light dies
Eight thousand women ghosts

Fire upon the fire
A light in the middle earth
An incorrect name
There's a tiger in Jiangdong

Within the central plains
There's no master of the hills and rivers
The second and third in the place
The lamb ends and the horse begins

A man of eighteen
From Taiyuan
Will be released if moved
The sun and moon will beautiful the sky
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Re: Ma Qian Ke... Zhuge Liang's Prophecies?

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:59 am

Oh, oh. Apparently what's interesting is that Zhou Yu also has a set of prophecies attributed to him, called "Dao Xue Dao Shu" (the studies and ways of the Tao, where as Ma Qian Ke is translated as auspices infront of the horse).


Note that Chinese people in general LOVE attributing figures of Chinese folklore with various Taoist abilities and learning, because it makes them seem that much more mythical. Whereas as far as I know, whilst Three Kingdoms had it's fair share of Taoists (Zhang Lu and Cao Shuang foremost), neither Zhou Yu nor Zhuge Liang were Taoists. And the more I read about Ma Qian Ke and the ways to analyze it's prophecies, the more it seems to be entirely about Taoism.


Anyway, continuing on, with the fifth stanza, my translations:


For fifty years
The number is eight
The villain has the advantage
Life is poisoned by tea

The sky births water
Following the will of the heaven and the people
A hard centre and a soft shell
The earth begets gold

One circle begins again
Imposes steel upon the centre
A continuation of five and five
You're in the west and I'm in the east

The sun and moon beautifies the sky
It's color is like scarlet
Continuing on
For sixteen leaves

The water and moon has a master
The ancient moon is king
The rule ends at ten
Respected as a guest

After the pig and before the cow
A thousand people will have one mouth
Five and two changes place
Coming friends have no benefits

The four doors shut
Suddenly they come
The cock crows once
The whole way will die



So yeah, I'm gonna finish at the eleventh stanza for now. You can tell even by my shoddy translation that the eleventh stanza cannot remotely be considered as positive. It sounds ominous, quite scary even, and if we go by one stanza per dynasty then that is the stanza that corresponds with Communist China.

However that rule (one stanza per dynasty) is not absolute. We should note that the first stanza is referring to the last days of the Three Kingdoms, which is not a dynasty (if you take dynasty to refer to whole and unified china).

The second and third stanza BOTH refers to the Jin Dynasty in a way. The second stanza's last line is evidently about the wars of the eight princes. The third stanza covers the Eastern Jin and the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Traditionally North and South is not considered a whole dynasty either.


But then you could say "so what? maybe each era, whether peaceful or tumultuous, gets it's own stanza, it doesn't need to be unified to get one stanza to itself". So that makes sense then, the first stanza is three kingdoms, second stanza is the jin dynasty, third is north and south, fourth is sui, fifth is tang, but then fifth stanza also describes the northern and southern dynasties? Why does Three Kingdoms and Northern and Southern Dynasties get their own stanzas, but the Five Dynasties don't?
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