Maybe it’s Ming. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

The other day, I called my best friend. It’s been a while since we have spoken.

I often marvel at how serendipitous our friendship was, and the depth with which it expands. It feels like I’ve known her forever, lifetimes before, and it has always felt this way.

Someone once told me that, in Buddhist belief, every person you’ve crossed paths with once in this life is someone you’ve crossed paths with hundreds of times in previous lives. It’s fun to think about. That we return to this life to renew old bonds and dance with karma.

It’s a belief embodied in the idea of yuanfen (緣份) and destined encounters, sometimes petty and sometimes momentous-

These innate relationships — whether romantic, platonic or familial — are destined to happen and readily made to withstand all odds, including petty feuds, long distance or loss and heartache. An ancient Chinese idiom sums it up best: “If there is yuanfen between two people, they will meet, even if they are miles apart. If there is no yuanfen between them, they can stand face to face and will never meet.”

Last night, le beau wondered aloud – what were the chances we would end up together! I said, frankly: fate. Then I went to my room.

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought about how fate doesn’t care about chances or statistical odds. I thought about the Chinese concept of ming (), directing us to a certain course in life, the way yuanfen directs us to certain people in our life. I thought about how ming is like the Western concept of fate, but with extra steps.


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