(2nd) (1st) 1 1
of the text. Among the Buddhist writings brought home from Tang China to Japan by the Japanese monk Shuei in the year 865 were the Duliyusijing and a fascinating and important astrological manual by Jinjuzha irttnt. The latter was the Qiyao rangzaijue -t BlIlS i&ife (Essentials on the Seven Luminaries and the Aversion of Calamities), written around the end of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth century. This work was preserved only in the Taisho Tripitaka and appeared to be written originally in Chinese by the brahminical author. It contains elements of Chinese, Hindu, Hellenistic and Babylonian astrology.48 In Hellenistic astrology the fate and destiny of a person is influenced by the positions of the stars of the heavens on the time of his or her birth, starting from the time of birth at the eastern horizon, with the region above and near the eastern horizon representing one's early life, the region about the meridian representing the period of active life, and the region above and near the Western horizon representing one's later years and demise. At first the sky was divided into four segments but later, at least not after the middle of the second century, Sextos Empeirikos made reference to the division of the sky into 12 segments. In Greek these 12 segments were known as topos (place), in Sanskrit as gfha (house), bhava (condition) and sthana (position), and in English 'house'. The Qiyao rangzaijue introduced the 12 houses to China for the first time. (See Figure 3.18 on the 12 houses in the Qiyao rangzaijue.) It explains how to calculate the positions of the planets and also mentions the two imaginary heavenly bodies Rdhu and Ketu. At the same time, it also incorporates some elements of Chinese astronomy by adopting the Futianli fficalendar system made by Cao Shiwei in the year 806 and by converting degrees into du following the custom of traditional Chinese astronomy which divided the circle into 365 and a quarter du instead of 360 degrees.
A system that enabled individuals to read their fate and destiny from the stars, like the one imported from the West, found ready acceptance in traditional China. An early Chinese astrological work containing elements of Hellenistic astrology is the Zhang Guo xingzong (Zhang Guo's
School of Astrology) included in the Gujin tushu jicheng ^WII^JEiSc.49 Both the authorship and date of this text are not known. The edition incorporated in the Gujin tushu jicheng includes as an appendix 48 horoscopes of actual persons living in the middle of the fourteenth century produced by a contemporary expert in the art by the name Zheng Xicheng SP^it (fl. mid-fourteenth century). Different examples of these horoscopes have been reproduced, for example, by Needham (1956), Yano (1986), Richard J. Smith (1991) and Yabuuti (1999).50 Another example of these horoscopes is shown in Figure 3.19. Zhang Guo was an adept who lived in the early eighth century and was granted the title Tongxuan xiansheng by the
Tang emperor Xuanzong and hence a contemporary of Yixing. However, his life was shrouded in mystery. He was said to have an indefinitely long lifespan. In Chinese folklore he became one of the Eight Holy Immortals
(baxian A fill). The unknown author of the Zhang Guo xingzong could have borrowed his name to add prestige to the book. The name Zhang Guo has also given a Daoist nuance to the book as well as to the kind of astrology it describes. The Qinding siku quanshu incorporates a Xingming suyuan M'np'fl?® (Astrology in Original Form) associated with a Jurchen writer Yelu Chun Iffi-f^Mi, said to have learned the Western system of astrology via Korea in the year 984. The names and order of the 12 houses are identical in the Zhang Guo xingzong and the Xingming suyuan. They are also similar to those in the Japanese horoscope given in Yano's book, with the exception of the 12th house, which the two Chinese books give as Appearance (xiangmao ffltft), which is called 'Calamities' in Yano's book.51 A commentary in the Gujin tushu jicheng points out that Yelu Chun's name does not appear in the official history of Liao, the Liaoshi adding difficulties to the study of the subject.
The Ziwei doushu system of astrology
In time to come the Daoists adopted the method described in the Zhang Guo xingzong. We find in the Daoist Tripitaka, the Daozang, a book entitled
Was this article helpful?