Zhengshou Chaoshen Runqi Jieqi

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Tianyi Zj


Day cycles Position of Rest Gate jiazi, yicbou, bingyin, wuzi, jicbou, gengyin, renzi, kan guichou, jiayin dingmao, wucben, jisi, xinmao, renchen, guisi, yimao, kun bingchen, dingsi wuwu, jiwei, gengsben, gengwu, xinwei, rensben, jiawu, zben yiwei, bingsben dingyou, tvuxu, jibai, guiyou, jiaxu, yibai, xinyou, sun renxu, guihai bingzi, dingcbou, wuyin, gengzi, xinyou, renyin qian jimao, gengcben, xinsi, guimao, jiacben, yisi dui bingwu, dingwei, wusben, renwu, guiwei, jiasben gen yiyou, bingxu, dingbai, jiyou, gengxu, xinbai li in their respective palaces. The Eight Gates are placed according to a set of rules that determine the position of the Rest Gate (xiumen), from which the other seven Gates are arranged in a clockwise direction in the order of Rest, Life, Injury, Rejection, View, Death, Fright and Admission. Combinations of the auspicious colours (1 white, 6 white and 8 white) with the three auspicious Gates and auspicious deities formed by stems and branches of the year and month with those of the day would be looked for in this particular system of Qimen. However, this system is not our immediate concern, although it had some application in weather forecasting, for example the Blue-Green Dragon Qinglong would be watched for rain. We must return to the Qimen Dunjia system itself.

Other applications of the Qimen Dunjia system

The Huangdi yinfujing, as we have seen, is concerned exclusively with military matters. Although specializing in the department of warfare the Qimen Dujia system also found other applications. Within the Astronomical Bureau it was employed for meteorological forecasts. It also found applications in the prediction of human affairs. Although weather forecasting was not considered the most important application of Qimen Dunjia, it deserves special attention in this book.

Meteorological forecasts

Let us observe the application of Qimen Dunjia to weather forecasting and try to understand the rationale of the method in terms of the traditional Chinese worldview. The mutual interactions of the items on the heaven board and the earth board see the traditional Chinese theory of Yin and Yang and that of the wuxing in full action. The Sombre Warrior and the White Tiger were often used in the Qimen Dunjia as well as the Liuren method to predict rain and wind respectively. However, the Qimen Dunjia method also made use of some of the Nine Stars for meteorological purposes. Table 4.4 shows the Nine Stars together with the xing f / to which they belong and their special synonyms where applicable.

Table 4.4

Nine Stars xing Meteorological synonyms

Tianzhu (Celestial Pillar) Metal

Tianying (Celestial Elegance) Fire

Tianfu (Celestial Supporter) Wood

Tianchong (Celestial Clash) Wood

Tianpeng (Celestial Vagabond) Water

Tianxin (Celestial Heart) Metal

Yusbi (Rain Master) Dianshan llf^ (Lightning Flash) Fengbo .lift (Wind Elder) Leigong Hf-^- (Venerable Thunderer) Shuishen zKtt (Water Spirit) (forecasting snow)

To forecast rain, for example, one method was to search for the Rain Master {Metal) together with one of the two Water stem radicals, ren and gui, on the heaven board and directly above one of the two Metal stem radicals, geng and xin, or the Metal Trigram dui A on the earth board. Under such conditions, Water is produced both by Metal in the sky and on earth, resulting in rain. In Figure 4.5 the Rain Master Metal Tianzhu in gen Palace Eight has no Water to produce and hence there would not be rain.

To forecast snow, the Rain Master would be substituted by Tianxin (Celestial Heart), the Metal nature of which would produce snow under the same conditions as above. In Figure 4.5 Metal Tianxin in zhen Palace Three again has no Water to generate on the heaven board, and hence snow would not be expected.

The Water Celestial Vagabond in the same position as either the Water Trigram kan or the Metal Trigram dm on the heaven board and directly above one of the two Water stem radicals ren and gui on the earth board would produce cloud, mist and fog. In Figure 4.5 the Water Vagabond Tianpeng is in sun Palace Four and does not satisfy the conditions for cloud, mist and fog.

For wind, the Wood Wind Elder must meet on the heaven board a branch radical in one of the two phases of prosperity (wang BE) and accordance (xiang ffi). There were various definitions for the terms on the different phases of the wuxing, in one of which prosperity referred to the state when the branch radical concerned was generated by the branch radical of the month.19 There would be accordance when it belonged to the same xing as the branch radical of the month. To produce wind, the Wood Wind Elder has to be in the same palace on the heaven board as the Fire Trigram li that it would generate and, at the same time, there had to be something on the earth board directly below that the Wind Elder could dominate, such as the Earth Trigrams kun or gen H and the Earth stem radicals wu or ji. In Figure 4.5 the Wind Elder Tianfu is in dui Palace Seven, the branch zi Water in jiazi concealed in wu is subjugated by chen Earth, the branch for the third lunar month, and hence it is neither in a phase of prosperity nor in a phase of accordance. None of the other conditions for wind is satisfied either.

For lightning, the Fire Fire Spirit Tianying would be over a branch radical in a phase of either prosperity or accordance, situated in the same palace on the heaven board as either one of the two Wood Palaces Three and Four, and above one of the Metal stem radicals geng and xin. In Figure 4.5 Tianying is over yin Fire, which generates chen Earth, the branch of the third lunar month, instead of being generated. Thus it is not in a phase of prosperity nor accordance. There is no lightning although geng Metal is found on the earth board.

The Venerable Thunderer Wood Tianchong requires more Wood on the heaven board (presumably to produce a loud sound, beating against each other) and Metal on the earth board to produce thunder. Should the Fire

Spirit and the Venerable Thunderer both dominate over the Metal stem radicals geng and xiti and the Earth stem radicals wu and ji in the day and double-hour, there would be lightning and thunder. In Figure 4.5 Tianchong cannot find another Wood on the heaven board nor Metal on the earth board indicating that there is not going to be thunder.

Predictions of mundane affairs - money matters

While it is not the purpose here to put emphasis on the applications of shushu to divination on human affairs, at least a brief mention is called for to give a fuller picture of the Qimen Dunjia method and to show its attraction in traditional Chinese society. The method could be applied to almost every aspect of human activity, including travelling, doing business, marriage, birth, sickness, taking examinations, employment, legal matters, etc. It suffices here to give only one illustration that concerns money matters. The Gate of Life/Production deserves special attention in all cases where wealth is involved. If the palace on the heaven board it is sitting on is producing wealth, giving rise to a phase of prosperity (wang H3E) or is supporting it in a phase of accordance (xiang ffi) and, at the same time, one of the auspicious stars among the 'Nine Stars' and one of the Three Distinguished-Ones yi, bing or ding are also found within the same palace, flourishing business and huge profit can be expected. Absence of these auspicious signs means average profit. The Gate of Life in a phase of imprisonment or death and in the presence of an ominous star would spell great loss suffered by the business. In the case of partnership where two companies are merging, the palace on which the Life Gate sits on the earth board represents the host company, while the palace on the heaven board on which the Life Gate sits represents the joining company. The partnership will be a failure when one palace subjugates the other. The palace on the heaven board producing (or giving life to) (sheng ife) that on the earth board is a good sign for both, but favouring the host company. The palace on the earth board favouring that on the heaven board is ideal for both.


Of the three cosmic board systems, the name Qimen Dunjia received the most publicity in Chinese novels, particularly the Sanguo yanyi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms), but precious little about it can be found in recorded history. One seldom hears about the practice of this art nowadays. One might think that it must have by now become obsolete, especially with the advancement of modern military science. However, the large number of reprinted editions of books on this subject should reflect the demand from fervent readers and practitioners of the art who are quite unbeknown to us. I had two interesting encounters to show that the art is still alive, albeit in secret in keeping with tradition. I once demonstrated the operation of Qimen

Dunjia at a public lecture in Singapore and skipped over the description of the four different processes of zhengshou (direct proclamation), chaoshen (exceeding spirit), runqi (intercalation of the extraordinary) and jieqi (connecting fortnightly period). During question time one member of the audience politely enquired about the importance of these four processes. I answered the question and added that I purposely avoided the issue due to time pressures. On another occasion, the Needham Research Institute had a visitor from Taiwan shortly before I was due to do a text-reading session relating to Qimen Dunjia at which I would demonstrate the operation of the cosmic boards using a modern replica produced in Taiwan.201 showed my exhibit to my visitor. To my astonishment he pointed to the name of the maker written on the exhibit, saying that he was one of his university teachers. Hence Qimen Dunjia still thrives among Chinese communities of today, although not exactly for the purpose it was originally intended.

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