The Gods Help Those Who Self-Help: Ji Gong, of the Celestial Bureaucracy; Achievement

This is a day late because WordPress are a bunch of assholes who seem to think that changing their site layout constantly is a good way to attract interest rather than deeply alienating

Bastet’s Tips: Ji Gong was a fairly wealthy young man who joined the Buddhist priesthood. He was known as the Crazy Monk, because of his habits of eating meat and drinking, which were notably forbidden by the monastery, resulting in his being kicked out. Ji Gong, as an itinerant monk, was in the habit of fraternizing with other homeless folks, and would crack a joke, wave his fan, and more often than not, said homeless folks would find their luck turning around. This gave him a reputation that he parleyed into godhood, and I can always respect a man who can go from itinerant wastrel monk to god.

My parents were Taoist. My birth was the result of a prayer given in a Buddhist temple. Such is syncretism that this is not only not odd, but a part of life as I knew it. The religions of China tended to feed on one another heavily, working in combination.

My status as a monk was, in all honesty, probably a sort of payment for that. My parents had been told they would never have descendants. They went from temple to temple, praying for a change. In one of the shrines they visited, a shrine to Mahakasypa, one of the Five Hundred Arhas, a legendary ascetic. There are some- my parents included- who believed I was a reincarnation of him. This shows that, if nothing else, either the wheel of reincarnation or else people possess quite the sense of humor.

I was always an awful monk. Born to wealthy parents, unable to give up the pleasures of flesh and drink, I was certainly not a candidate for godhood, though I heard more than a few remarks that I would make a fine King of Hell. I was thrown out of the monastery, and if you had said what I did to the eldest monk, you would be thrown out too. It proved to be good for me. I was always a better wanderer than anything else

I travelled far and wide, gave many people good luck. Most of the time, this was because I had quick hands, and a sizable inheritance- a coin here or there could do great wonders for the people I met. And yet, I soon found that even when I did not have a coin to discretely slip into the clothes of the poor, good luck would still favor them. The tides of fortune seemed to bend under my smile, and I smiled endlessly on the poor. Good fortune was mine to give, and I saw no reason to hold it back.

Mahakasypa was an ascetic; Who knows? Perhaps I was his reincarnation, and he had wanted one last life of indulgence and excess before he stepped out of the cycle of reincarnation, and brought an end to suffering. For the moment, I have left the possibility of ascension behind; Only humans can ascend to Nirvana, after all, and I am a god- for now. Ordained by Taoism, which shamed Buddhism into recognizing me, which just goes to show that you should always shop around when looking for a career, because people are easily pushed into competition.

As to achievement, I have only one conclusion that I hope you can draw from the story of my life and my philosophy. While I was at times a glutton, slovenly, and a drunkard, I strove always to help those around me. How you act, what sins you commit, are not nearly so important as how you treat those around you. Treat them well, and you will find yourself achieving great things. Treat them poorly, and you will surely come to ruin.

If there’s any justice in this world, that is.