Erica and her friends held a birthday party for their old friend Henry in his absence, as he passed away a fortnight ago at the age of 89. On the birthday cake, three wishes were printed: health, wealth and wisdom. These are the three important things in life, Henry believed. Erica pondered whether these three words bear any hidden messages. So, I replied:
Etymologically speaking, health means “wholeness, a being whole, sound, well or uninjured” (in Chinese 冇穿冇爛). Wealth is an analogy of health, and bears the meaning of well-being (a definition of health). Of course, we tend to reserve health for our physical body and wealth for our physical belongings. Surely, health or wealth can apply to stuff other than physical, such as social, political, cultural or organizational matter. Yet wisdom is always about our mind. In short, health is for body (身); wealth is for belongings (身外物); and wisdom is for mind (心).
These three concepts can be taken a bit more educationally by connecting them to a structure suggested by Guy Claxton (the four Rs in learning: resilient, resourceful, reflective and reciprocal). Being healthy is being resilient (personally), that is being able to be recovered from illness or mishaps. Being wealthy is being resourceful (materially and socially). Being wise is being reflective (personally) and reciprocal (socially). I think Henry showed the goal, i.e. the direction and destination of human life, while Claxton pointed out the pathway to reach that goal.
For me, I pray for the wisdom to be healthily wealthy. I pray for the health to let me learn how to be wealthily wise. I pray for the wealth to keep myself wisely healthy.
I pray for the wisdom to be healthily wealthy. 但求有智慧取財有道兼有度：
I pray for the health to let me learn how to be wealthily wise. 但求有健全魂魄（人格與體格）承載「懷百川兼納百穿」之心智：
I pray for the wealth to keep myself wisely healthy. 但求有剛好不過的資源來護持中用而合用的仁體：
剛好不過的資源 (healthily wealthy)，即有度之財富，剛好不過並非餐搵餐食餐餐清地捉襟見肘，而是適度有餘地積穀防饑，當然不同於貪婪聚斂。究竟要用剛好不過的資源來護持甚麼呢？仁體，即指身心俱全的人，要知道在戰國竹簡，仁字有時寫作上身下心。