(Minghui.org) In the past, people took their vows seriously. It was the case in both Western and Eastern cultures because keeping one’s promises was considered a great virtue.
One of the most famous forms of vows, which we continue to use today, is the wedding vow. Husband and wife make the solemn promise to love and cherish each other, for better or worse.
Across traditional cultures, it was generally believed that the divine is watching over our words and actions. Western religions believe that God is watching us. One traditional Chinese proverb says “There are divine beings three feet above one’s head.” Therefore, if one acts against his or her own vow, serious consequences will follow.
After the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power in 1949, however, things have changed dramatically due to the regime’s doctrines of brutality, hatred, and lies. Nowadays, many Chinese no longer revere vows. They may make casual remarks at any time: “If I don’t do it, the heaven will send five lightning bolts to strike me,” “I will be killed by a car,” or “I will not have any descendants.”
They may have said those things without sincerity, but they did not realize that there would be consequences once a person takes a vow. Let’s look at some stories.
One history book of the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) had a story of Queen Xianren, the wife of Emperor Huizong and mother of Emperor Gaozong. A northern tribe Jin had frequently attacked the country of Song at that time. They took over the Song capital in one battle and captured Huizong, his son Qinzong, Xianren, and many others as hostages. Later Jin reached an agreement with Emperor Gaozong to release Xianren. When Qinzong begged her for help, Xianren swore to help rescue Qinzong upon returning to Song, “After I return home, I will try my best to take you back. If I don’t do so, I will become blind.”
However, Xianren soon found out that the new emperor, her son Gaozong, had no interest in bringing his elder brother Qinzong home. Xianren did not persist either due to vested interest of her own. Not long after that, she became blind. A Taoist came to treat her and her left eye later recovered. The Taoist warned, “Please see things with one eye and fulfill your vow with the other eye.” But Xianren still did not push it.
Another story took place during the time of Emperor Xianfeng (1831 - 1861) of Qing Dynasty. The governor of Zunhua, a Northern city close to Beijing, claimed that he was incorruptible. He displayed a couplet in his office lobby: “If I abuse the law, my brain will cover the ground; you should never cheat your conscience as heavenly gods are above your head.”
However, in real life he was corrupt, accepting bribes and stealing government funds. Although the governor managed to make it to retirement without being caught, justice nonetheless came afterward. He fell while climbing a mountain, with his head hitting a boulder. He died instantly, with his brain scattered about on the ground.
Similar stories have also happened today. Several Chinese media reported a story in 2008: To renege on a debt, a man in Fujian Province, while holding a metal bar, swore that if he owed money he would be struck by lightning. One minute later, lightning indeed struck him. His life was saved through emergency rescue. This man later returned the 500 yuan that he owed to his friend.
We human beings may not take our vows seriously, but Heaven does.
The vows mentioned above may be considered good vows in that what is being promised concerns something good, such as sticking together in marriage, repaying debts, and doing things based on one's conscience. For such good vows, keeping them will bring good consequences but breaking them will result in bad consequences.
There is another type of vows, which we call bad vows. What is being promised is something bad, such as committing a crime. For such bad vows, keeping them will bring bad consequences (say, being prosecuted for committing a crime), but breaking them will result in good consequences.
What many Chinese people did when joining the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated youth organizations is an example of bad vows. During the joining ceremony, all of them had vowed to devote their lives to the communist specter. Though they may not really mean to devote their lives, they did make the vow, putting their fate at the mercy of the vicious regime. When the time comes to hold the CCP accountable for its crimes, its members cannot escape justice either. As such, it is best to break the bad vow to devote one’s life to the communist specter in order to avoid bad consequences.
Quitting the CCP thus becomes the only way for the CCP members to annul the vow. In fact, as the CCP and communism in general are ravaging the world, rejecting the CCP is important not only for Chinese, but for everyone else in the world too, for the sake of securing a better future.