Auspicious or Inauspicious, Fortune-Tellers in Pingle Tell Fortunes
By Bo, Yang
he area around Chengdu Wenshuyuan is a base of fortune-tellers. People who believe in science feel bored about it while people who are superstitious doubt the practicability of it. There is also a saying that divination will kill good luck.
As Pingle ancient town becomes more and more famous, people are planning to enjoy a cup of tea, chat and have a taste of Naitang noodle and Boboji chicken. But when they arrive at Pingle, they’ll be surprised that why there are so many fortune-tellers? Some people say that it’s not reliable because divination in Pingle is not for foreseeing life.
On arriving Pingle, a rock of Han Dynasty sculptured “Pingle ancient town, Qin Han road” is situated between the mountains and trees. Walking down the mountains, I saw the Pingle ancient town in the green basin. In the town, buildings of Ming and Qing style are distributed densely. Pingle ancient town, with a history of more than 2000 years, is an important transportation hub, an essential culture gallery and the main pier in southeast Sichuan. Pingle is a green level ground between the mountains of Qionglai. Because of its dominant geographical location, it becomes a vital distribution center, connecting with all directions.
However, Pingle’s logistic position is closely related to a significant road to civilization --- the southern Silk Road, a trade channel of about 2000km long, starting at Chengdu, passing Yunnan and towards India. It’s one of the most ancient international roads. It mainly has two routes, namely west route and east route.
Pingle is a stop on the west route, being called as the first stop of southern Silk Road.
Southern Silk Road takes Ba and Shu civilization as the center of divergence. In fourth century B.C., a trade caravan, driving the horses carrying the silk, walked out of the plain in southern Sichuan. They set feet on the rugged mountain trails, crossing the rivers and mountains, trading with India in the oldest way and opened up the oldest trade road towards southern Asia, western Asia, even to Europe.
Through this “old” road, the iron and cloth of Bashu in Qin and Han Dynasty, the silver of Zhudi, the copper of Qiongdu are sold to Nanzhong, while the Zema and Tong of Nanzhong are sold inland. The commodities imported from India and Burma mainly are felt, Zeng cloth, pearl and so on, while the goods exported from China are silk and treasures. Jade, salt, cotton, bird’s nest and velvet antler are all transported to all directions on this road.
There are historical records depicting how perilous this road is. Slight inattention will end one’s life. Therefore, from then on, Pingle, this distribution center, gathered some fortune-tellers who are good at celestial phenomena and divination. Going to the fortune-tellers before departure is a must like eating and sleeping here.
The fortune-tellers usually tell the fortune on the basis of speculations about the customer’ mood or predictions of the weather. But they have to pretend to be mysterious and capable. Perhaps, doctors are for curing illness while fortune-tellers are for soothing the uneasy heart.
Some fortune-tellers are swindlers only for money. But the fortune-tellers in Pingle needn’t cheat money, they just play a good role as a traffic policeman or a psychological doctor in the bustling road, persuading the one who is drunk or upset not going forward.
In the next dozen of years, it’s said that everyone will engage in about 14 jobs in his life. Urban civilization injects a more multifaceted micro world into the society. Human creates urban civilization, on the contrary human is manipulated by it. It seems that human beings are tired of it, so they are yearning for a spiritual home, an ideal garden. But the garden is not necessarily filled only with flowers.
The place close to nature is the ideal garden. While it seems that the people who are close to the nature are not much shackled by the urban network. People in the past devoted his whole life to one job, working on what he gains. The desire and virtue of people are derived from mountain and water. No wonder that mountain is compared to wisdom and water is compared to humanity.
Of course, the great recluses live in the city, the common recluses live in the field. But it’s hard to reach the state of being a great recluse. Anyhow, the tranquil life in the ancient town had made us realize the happiness of being a common recluse.
Transportation: FIT: Chengdu Xin Nan Men Bus Station, direct bus to Pingle ancient town, 25rmb
Self-driving: about 2h
Accommodation: Adequate housing
Entrance ticket: No