This year, 2016, sees the welcoming to the Chinese Year of the Monkey (猴), the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac calendar. It is also associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 申.
On first hearing of the Year of the Monkey, it reminded me of the infamous tale of the Three Wise Monkeys who could – “Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil.”
Although strictly speaking not Chinese, these “Three Wise Monkeys” featured above depict the story told at Japan’s historic site of Nikkō, located in the Tochigi Prefecture, which is located 135.5 km north of Tokyo. The sacred site is part of a UNESCO world heritage site which encompasses 103 buildings or structures.
The images of the Three Wise Monkeys were carved over the door of a 17th Century Sacred Horse Stable (as pictured above).
According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable:
- “Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil and See No Evil.” has been translated from the Latin motto: Audi, Vide, Tace = “Hear, See, Keep Silent“.
- The same motto is used by the United Grand Lodge of the Freemasons.
- It is also reminiscent of a traditional Yorkshire rhyme:
“Hear all, see all, say nowt,
Aight all, sup all, pay nowt,
And if ever tha does owt for nowt
Do it for thisen”.
(Trans: Hear everything, see everything, say nothing;
Eat everything, drink everything, pay nothing.
And if ever you do something for nothing,
Do it for yourself.)
Lastly, in 2016 whatever you believe in and whatever you do, be aware of “Monkey Business” and be aware of what can be seen, heard or said by yourself or others, that may dis-harmonize your professional stature.”