Now, you probably already know that 福(Fú) refers to happiness, or more commonly, blessing. But do you know how its meaning was derived? To answer that question, we need to deconstruct the word into its four components: 示, 一, 口, and田.
“示” (shì): offering—this represents praying for one’s well-being
“一” (yī): one—this represents one family
“口” (kôu): mouth—this represents a person
“田” (tían): field—this represents having one’s own garden and produce
This explanation concurs with a common Chinese saying, “It’s a blessing to be able to eat”. This shows that our ancestors think of blessing as the state in which every person in the family has their physical well-being taken care of.
You may agree. Or you may be wondering, “Is that really the case? Does having material possessions make one blessed?” Whichever side you’re on, you probably can agree that material possession can satisfy—but only temporarily. After all, nothing in this life is permanent and the things we have do not last. How then can one be truly blessed?
There is another story behind the word 福(Fú) which you may be interested to hear about; it involves something a lot more valuable and lasting than material possession. And just like the earlier story, its meaning is also derived from the specific meaning of each component. But here’s the difference:
“示” (shì): worship—this represents worshipping and relying on the Creator God
“一 ” (yī) “口”(kôu): one breath—this represents God giving the first man he created—Adam—the breath of life.
“田” (tían): Garden—this represents the Garden of Eden
Now, when you put all the parts together to form the word 福(Fú), this is what it means: Adam, enjoying a relationship with God in the garden of Eden.
To put it another way, imagine a perfect world where all your needs are provided for and you have the most intimate, complete and satisfying relationship with someone who will never fail or disappoint. That was the picture-perfect life Adam enjoyed with God.
And that is the same life God is extending to you as well. Would you want this 福(Fú)-filled life too?