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Divine accident is good, although the conept per se flies in the face of logic---- Is it accidental(accident), or providential (divine) and thus inevitable? Likewise, everything "arranged by heavens"(天意) is "destined" rather than "accidential"(巧合). But I would rather view the paradox from a rhetoric perspective: what is to human accidental is to gods inevitable. Thus in Chinese, we have " 上帝安排的巧合". How contradictory! How true!|
We know it's very hard to translate some isolated phrases without sufficient context. This is also true in translating "yuanfen". According to Buddhist philosophies, "yuan" was already formed during one's previous life. What you enjoy or connect to now is the result of your "doings" in your previous life. You cannot escape "yuan" but you can "build it up" during your current life, so that you have a very good "yuanfen" in your next life. (Buddhism preaches reincarnation)
So when you take a special liking to a certain color, type of music or person, then you have "yuanfen" (affinity) with them. If you were sent to a foreign city on business, were "outsourced" there several years later by another firm, and now visit it every month because it's where your girlfriend lives, whom you knew from your home country, then you certain have "yuanfen" with this city. ( What do I have to do with this place? It seems we have unfinished business. ) And here in this forum, like JL remarked, among a global population of 6 billion, out of millions of forums on the Internet, we choose this place, log in to chat about "yuanfen", isn't it "yuenfen"? Without Internet connection, without anyone of you accidentially chancing upon this BBS, without your taking interest in English study, without Jeff taking interest in Chinese, well, this would have been impossible. Do a bit of math it's not hard to find out that the "probability" equals to that in which a Boeing airplane is built by a wind sweeping through a pile of metals. And particularly when you find someone with whom you share so much in common (chemistry) that you wonder why you shouldn't had met him/her earlier, why now and here and so forth. Sort of weird, isn't it? So cherish the great chance.
Of course, there are other applications of yuanfen.