This is part 2 of ‘Dao Talk,’ which was first published in July 2009.
Will humanity naturally cross from the Early Heaven into the world of the Later Heaven in accordance with the principle of heaven and earth’s cycle?
That is correct. After the Early Heaven of the cosmic spring and summer comes to an end, the Later Heaven of the cosmic autumn shall dawn, a time when all things will become mature, harmonious, and unified. The coming of the Later Heaven is both cosmic providence and a necessity.
When the cosmic autumn is about to commence, all-encompassing changes will take place, overthrowing the framework and order of heaven and earth. Such drastic changes in heaven and earth shall befall humanity as rigorous tests and ordeals; and, since these changes are nature’s providence, human beings will not be able to avoid them. Only after humans surmount the changes and accompanying ordeals will they be able to enter the Later Heaven’s world. The overall changes that shall occur in the framework and order of heaven and earth at the dawn of the maturing autumn—these are gaebyeok.
The term ‘gaebyeok’ is also used outside Jeung San Do. The term’s meaning, as other people use it, is: ‘to be drastically changed or overthrown.’ What is Jeung San Do’s gaebyeok?
As a matter of fact, those who study the Book of Change, Jeongyeok, Eastern philosophy, or who are interested in Eastern Learning, do indeed mention the term gaebyeok and then advance their own explanations of the term. Although they assert that gaebyeok signifies that the world will be altered, their explanations nevertheless lag far behind the original meaning of gaebyeok as demonstrated by Jeung San Do. Their conceptions of gaebyeok typically omit the aspects of the Early Heaven and Later Heaven. One should know of the Early Heaven and the Later Heaven if they are to understand the true nature of gaebyeok. For example, the term ‘Later Heaven gaebyeok’ (or ‘Autumn gaebyeok’) must be clearly recognized to denote the transition that will bring forth the cosmic autumn; so far, however, none of the previously mentioned groups have advanced any such explanation. Some scholars who study gaebyeok nevertheless possess no understanding of Jeongyeok and do not even recognize its value. The problem with such people is that when they are informed, “In the future, gaebyeok will occur and the time of Jeongyeok will arrive,” they simply dismiss this pronouncement as nonsense.
Such commentators on civilization show little interest in the profound nature of gaebyeok or in the coming change in the order of heaven and earth. They simply devote their attention to issues such as changes in cultural structure as they discourse about a new civilization or a new paradigm of culture. They are simply incapable of conceiving of so vast a concept as the transformation of the very framework and order of the universe, or of changes in the framework of cosmic time. If we in Jeung San Do attempt to explain gaebyeok from such a standpoint, they hold firm to a prejudiced view that we are spreading morbid doomsday stories and criticize us on this basis. They do so simply because they are not well versed in the true nature of gaebyeok.
The concept of gaebyeok in Eastern culture is related to the creation of the universe. It was in explaining the origin of the universe—the birth of heaven and earth—that the idea of gaebyeok was itself born. When we use the term in the context of the creation of the world, gaebyeok means ‘heaven opens; earth opens’ or ‘heaven and earth are born.’
What, then, is the gaebyeok discussed by Jeung San Do? First of all, this gaebyeok embraces the changes that take place in the world at the transition of the cosmic seasons. When discussing gaebyeok, the Early Heaven gaebyeok and the Later Heaven gaebyeok must be clearly differentiated.