Taiyi Calculation

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closely with those in the Historiographer's 'Remarks'. The only exception is the case for the yisi year of the Taishi reign-period (ad 465), for which Xiao Zixian employs Configuration 102 instead of Configuration 222 as he should (see Figure 3.15). Both are for a yisi year and both show Taiyi in Palace Two, but these two configurations belong to two different epochs and what Xiao Zixian should have used would not explain the happenings that he intends to explain. The use of Configuration 102 in this case may be attributed to the result of a momentary lapse of concentration during the process of calculations, but may also be interpreted as intentional. A clearer case of a copyist's error comes near the end of the Historiographer's 'Remarks' with the sentence 'Taiyi was in the Gate of Rejection, descending upon Palace Eight.' This sentence is wrongly placed after the 1st year of the Shengping reign-period, when it is already stated earlier that Taiyi was within Palace Seven. The sentence ought to come after an additional statement 'In the 3rd year of Shengming reign-period' and amended to read, 'Taiyi was within Palace Eight, with the Host General in the Gate of Rejection (in Palace Two) diagonally opposite (ge This would readily serve the purpose of explaining the abdication of the Liu Song Emperor Shundi, marking the beginning of the Southern Qi dynasty.

The examples in the Historiographer's 'Remarks' do not give complete information on the Taiyi method: the account given in this book is also not meant to be exhaustive. For example, we can easily note that Figure 3.5, taken from the Taiyiju, includes several items not mentioned in the 'Remarks'. One of these items is the Year Star Taisui jsMi, the invisible counter-rotating correlate of Jupiter. It would be an ominous omen of war to find Taisui in direct opposition to Taiyi.29 Another is the second consecutive deity behind Taisui, known as Taiyin APk, which was regarded as an auspicious omen involving intermarriage or presentation of beautiful girls from foreign lands to the emperor. There were also the Combination Deity Heshen and the Plan Determinator Dingji Terrestrial branches combined to form six different pairs of Combination Deities, as listed in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2

zi yin mao chen si wu chou hai xu you shen wei

For example, when the year was used and the year was zi then Heshen, the Combination Deity, would be in the chou position, and vice versa. When it became difficult to read from the Taiyi configuration whether one ought to adopt the host or a guest position for a battle, one would reassess the situation and use the Plan Determinator to recalculate the Guest Count to re-examine whether it would be advantageous to initiate an attack on the enemy. Considering the fact that in traditional China defending a position was regarded as easier than attacking the invader, the Plan Determinator was there to prevent the temptation of taking the easier path without discretion. Outside the 'heaven board' are written names of branches, colours and shapes corresponding to the wuxing and directions for military purpose, as a reminder to the appropriate battle formation to employ, colour of banners and uniform to wear and so forth, as described in the next section below.

Traditional applications

In the application of the Taiyi method to war and state affairs, the year was used to find the position of Taiyi. The method using the year to determine the position of Taiyi was also known as Nianji Taiyi (Taiyi calcu lated by the year) or suiji Taiyi JUtt^Z. Taiyi would represent the Head of State. The Scholar Wenchang was the Spirit of Mars and represented the leader of the civil officials. The Planner Jisben was the Envoy Spirit of Jupiter, making plans in battle and observing whether victory or defeat would belong to the host or to the guest. To locate Jishen, see Table 3.1. The Attack Initiator was the Spirit of Saturn and the planner for the guest warriors. The interpretations of the four warriors are self-explanatory. The most important thing was to distinguish between host and guest. The side taking the initiative to launch a military campaign was the host; the other side would be the guest. However, in subsequent battles, the side making the first attacking move was the guest and the defender the host.

There were several undesirable situations for Taiyi to be in. Briefly, it is not good for any of the seven deities to appear in a segment or a palace next to Taiyi. This was called po il. when the prime minister would exert himself upon the emperor if it was the Scholar, or the military chief having the emperor under his control if it was the Host General, and so on. In the special case of the Attack Initiator appearing next to Taiyi, it would be called yan i® (conceal) or yanji (concealed attack). In front of Taiyi it would be a warning of rebellions among feudal lords, senior ministers or foreign people, and when behind Taiyi it would come as a warning that some members of the imperial household or his in-laws would revolt or usurp power. Taiyi being hemmed in on either side would not be any better. If on one side was the Host General and on the other side the Guest General, the emperor would be under the threat of both his own army and the enemy forces. Worst of all for the emperor would be having something diagonally opposite to Taiyi, known as ge ^ (blockage). This was used in the same sense as the modern term geming (revolution), particularly when the Host General or the Scholar was opposite. Such a situation would indicate a rebellion by the military chief and the prime minister respectively against the emperor, as in the last case in the Historiographer's 'Remarks'. Xiao Zixian also used the term guanqiu If 0 (confinement and imprisonment), a general term for multiple occupancy of the same segment on the Taiyi board. Sharing the same palace with Taiyi would be known as qiu, while warriors sharing the same segment (without Taiyi) would be known as guan, that is when the last digits of the Host Count and that of the Guest Count are identical. For example, Taiyi in the same palace as the Planner would forebode assassination of the emperor or defeat in battle, while Taiyi sharing the same palace with one or more of the other warriors would forebode execution among the ranks of civil and military officials. Warriors sharing the same segment would mean that certain officers could not participate effectively in action.

During Taiyi's sojourn in the nine palaces, his presence in Palaces One, Three, Four and Eight would generally favour the host, while in Palaces Two, Six, Seven and Nine generally the guest. What was considered to be more important were the Host Count and the Guest Count. The numbers 5, 15, 25 and 35, which would place the warriors in Palace Five in the centre depriving them of a place on the outside board to take part in the proceedings, were bad omens. The Biography of Zhang Kang in the Xin Yuanshi iffjci (New Official History of the Yuan Dynasty) narrates an instance when Khubilai Khan (1215-1294), in the year 1282, consulted Zhang on his intention to invade Japan, but called off the campaign when he was told that there was no count on the Taiyi board (for the Host General and the Host Lieutenant).30 The year 1282, a guiwei year in the Chinese calendar, would give Configuration 32 on the Taiyi board. If the calculation were performed before summer solstices, using the Yang order counting of, the Host Count would be 25, which would be a strong warning against initiating a military campaign. The Wubeizhi Sffiife (Compendium on Armaments) contains a section entitled 'Taiyi miaosuan JkZjM'M-'. Before launching a military campaign the emperor would offer sacrifices at his ancestral temple and order his expert to perform operations on the Taiyi board to find out the Host Count and the Guest Count.

Odd numbers from 1 to 9 were considered bad, unless Taiyi and the relevant warriors were found in palaces with even numbers. The same also applied to even numbers from 2 to 10. Numbers like 14 and 18 were regarded as excellent, but 11, 13 and 37 were considered inauspicious, while a Guest Count of 24 was equally bad. Looking again at Configuration 276, in the first case of the Historiographer's 'Remarks', the Host Count is 12 and the Guest Count 13, showing that the count was unfavourable to the guest, and we have already noted that Palace Four was favourable to the host. The Historiographer could have simplified matters by leaving out his rather ambiguous clause 'both the host and the guest received auspicious signs' or delete the part concerning the guest in his 'Remarks'.

Abiding by the principles of the wuxing, the Host Count played a significant role in the battlefield. There, the double-hour should be used to compute the Taiyi configuration, which would be known as the Sbiji Taiyi ¡^ftt'^Zi (Taiyi calculated by the time of the day).31 The Taiyi miaosuan ^ZlJlIlf

Figure 3.16 The fangzben (Square) Battle Formation, from Wujing zongyao (qianji), ch. 8 [Qinding siku quanshu edition].

informs us that sending out soldiers to the front ought to follow the indications of the count. For example, if the count is 16 take the last digit 6, which corresponds to the dui Trigram and belongs to the west, then the enemy is to be engaged by facing them in the opposite direction, i.e. towards the east. For the type of battle formation and the colour of banners, employ the square Metal formation (fangzhen ÎTP$), and white as colour for the banners, as in Figure 3.16.32 (Own) troops should enter and join the formation from the west, the enemy should be engaged in the east, reserves and equipment should be kept in the NW. In the ENW, troops for launching a surprise attack (qibirtg if^) should be stationed. The propitious time for laying an ambush for the enemy (fubing t^^) is between chen and si double-hours (between 07:00 and 11:00 hours). Even troops on the move were governed by the same principles of wuxing. The Wubeizhi says that where the count was 6, vehicles and horses would stay right in front, foot soldiers at the rear and the commanding officer in the middle of the line, drums should be loud and movements brisk, and that offerings should be made by the commanding officer to Taiyi and his deities.33

Meteorological forecasts

When the year formed the basis of computing the Taiyi cosmic board configuration and Taiyi was found to enter a palace for the first year, the Host Count would also be used for astronomical and meteorological predictions. When the Host Count was a single digit number, from 1 to 9, one could expect comets, meteors, irregularities in planetary movement and solar and lunar eclipses in the heavens and thunder, lightning, hailstones and unseasonable clouds. During the second year of Taiyi's sojourn in a palace, and the Host Count turned out to be one of the numbers 11., 12, 13, 14, 22, 23, 24, 31, 32, 33 and 34, one could expect earthquake, floods, drought, locusts and famine. During the third year of Taiyi's presence in a palace, Host Counts of 10, 20, 30 or 40 would presage human disaster, such as war, robberies, migration of people and epidemics. For the month, the day and the double-hour were the corresponding Yueji Taiyi, Riji Taiyi and Shiji Taiyi. Together with the Nianji Taiyi, they were known together as the Siji Taiyi Htt^Zj, They were each calculated from the number of years, months, days and hours from a fictitious Superior Epoch. The Taiyiju, for example, employs an epoch of 10,155,541 years prior to the fourth year of the Ming Tianqi reign-period (ad 1624), starting from the jiazi year in the Superior Epoch at the time of the legendary emperor Tianhuang Ji '!•.. An examination question of a routine type in the Yuan Astronomical Bureau asks the candidate to calculate the palaces where the four Shiji Taiyi would be found in a given year, month, day and time. Only the date varied from year to year in questions set in other years.34 The calculation may seem laborious, but the candidate could simplify matters by just committing to memory the closest jiazi year in a Superior Epoch to the year he was in. The deity Tianmu 5c ii (i.e. Wenchang) in the Taiyi system was retained, but meteorological deities like Tianhuang Difu ifrw, Tianshi Taizun Feiniao Wuxing Eii, Sanfeng ^.jlL, Wufeng JlJH

and Bafeng AS were introduced specifically for the purpose. Together these deities were known as Taiyi Shijing iz—hff (Ten Spirits of Taiyi). Positions of the Ten Spirits are given in a table provided in the Taiyiju and a small section of the table is translated and reproduced in Table 3.3.

As an illustration, let us suppose that Taiyi appeared in Palace Two in Configuration 6, as shown in Figure 3.11. The Ten Spirits shown in Figure 3.17 can be readily found by looking up the last column in Table 3.4. Here Palace Two is extreme Yin and so is the Configuration number 6. The combination is a sign of abundant rain, especially if it is during the summer months when Palace Two is in the phase of prosperity. Wufeng meeting Taiyi signifies strong gales and changes in the sun or the moon. Feiniao and Taizun coming together also predict rain. Each of the Ten Spirits had its individual function, but was only relevant when meeting with or in opposition to Taiyi or Tianmu. However, predictions of meteorological phenomena made under such circumstances are of a lesser magnitude.

Table 3.3

Position of Taiyi in the Nine Palaces with Configuration number within brackets

One (1) Six (181)

One (2) Six (182)

One (3) Six (183)

Two (4) Seven (184)

Two (5) Seven (185)

Two (6) Seven (186)

Tianmu

shen

you

xu

Qian

Qian

hai

Tianhuang

shen

you

xu

Qian

Qian

hai

Difu

xu

Qian

hai

zi

zi

chou

Tianshi

yin

mao

chen

si

wu

wei

Taizun

Eight

Six

Two

Four

Eight

Six

Feiniao

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Wuxing

One

Eight

Three

Nine

Seven

One

Bafeng

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Wufeng

One

Three

Five

Seven

Nine

Two

Sanfeng

Three

Seven

Two

Six

One

Five

Note: Configuration numbers are those given in Figure 3.4.

Note: Configuration numbers are those given in Figure 3.4.

It can be seen from the above description that astronomical and meteorological predictions read from the Taiyi method could only be given in very general terms. They were much less specific compared to forecasting derived by means of the other two types of cosmic boards. Thus, the Dunjia and the Liuren methods played a more important part in weather forecasting. The most important role of the Taiyi method was found primarily in the prediction of matters pertaining to the emperor and state affairs. The position of Taiyi, as shown by Xiao Zixian's calculations in the Nan Qi sbu, was based on the year. This was the Nianji Taiyi method. There were also calculations based on the month in the Yueji Taiyi (Taiyi calculated by the month), on the day in the Riji Taiyi (Taiyi calculated by the day) and on the time of the day in the Shiji Taiyi, that were used on battlefields on particular days. The Yueji Taiyi method was applicable to senior officials, the Riji Taiyi to low-ranking officials and those in high social position, and the Shiji Taiyi to the common people.

The Taiyi system mainly served the purpose of the emperor and state affairs, although it also had a minor role to play for the officials and the common people. However, its calculations were cumbersome, while the range of its predictions could hardly match those of the other two cosmic board systems. It is not surprising that among the common people the Taiyi method became the least known of the three cosmic board systems. However, there is a little twist in the story. As we shall see presently, under the influence of Hellenistic, Hindu and Iranian astrology, the Taiyi method had undergone a phase of metamorphosis, and evolved into a modern form of Chinese astrology that still enjoys considerable popularity among Chinese communities in many parts of the world today, while the other two methods remain in relative obscurity, known today only to a very few.

Greek, Indian and Iranian influence

The method of Taiyi catered mainly to the needs of the Chinese emperor and his bureaucracy. The common people found little use for it. Besides, the system was sometimes regarded as classified knowledge. Similarly, traditional Chinese astrology was also a monopoly of the emperor. It was not supposed to tell very much concerning the fate and destiny of an individual. It is true that since the time of Han there were various methods of fate-calculation based on one or more parameters of the year, month, day and time of one's birth.35 However, there was nothing more attractive than being able to read one's future destiny from the signs in the heavens. The ancient Chinese must have been secretly envying the privileges of the emperor that extended even to the knowledge and use of astrology.

China had developed its own unique form of astrology independent of outside influence.36 Then, in the third century, Hindu astrology first arrived in China with a translation of the Sardulakarna-vadana known under the Chinese title Modengjiajing This was followed during the West ern Jin period (250-316) by a Dunhuang translation of a text on the 28 nakshatra bearing the Chinese title Sbetou taizi ershibaxiujing lirlf A"?" — In the year 718 Gautama Siddhartha was commissioned by the

Tang emperor to translate the Hindu calendar Navagraha into Chinese. His Da Tang kaiyuan zhanjing AJiiM7Ud5l§ includes this Hindu calendar as well as the characteristic Hindu imaginary heavenly bodies Rahu (Luohou and Ketu (Jidu ftf'P). Pingree tells of the introduction of Hellenistic astrology to India about the year ad 2 6 9.37 However, it was not until the eighth century that Hellenistic astrology modified by Hindu culture found its way to China with the arrival of Tantric Buddhism, which was the sect with a special interest in astrology.

The patriarchs Subhakarasimba (Shanwuwei (637-735), Vajra-

bodhi (Jingangzhi #Ptl1f) (671-741) and Amoghavajra (Bukong ^F^) (705-774) brought Tantric Buddhism to China. The Chinese monk Yixing —fi (secular name Zhang Sui (683-727) befriended Amoghavajra and acquired from him knowledge of Tantric Buddhism and Hindu astrology. He helped in the translation of several Tantric works as well as astrological texts. The most important contribution to astrology in China by Tantric Buddhism was a text with the abbreviated Chinese title Xiuyaojing ^tBfil.38 (No original Hindu title or text can be found.) According to Yano Michio, this text was simply a transliterated record in Chinese of what Amoghavajra either dictated from memory or instructed orally in Sanskrit. It was twice translated into Chinese under the supervision of Amoghavajra, first by Sima Shiyao ^L^jfe^fi in the year 759 and later revised by Yang Jingfeng ^JR'H in 764. The Japanese monk Kukai 'iE'M (774-834) studied under Huiguo nSS (746-805), the disciple and successor of Amoghavajra, and brought home in the year 806 a copy of the Xiuyaojing along with many Buddhist texts. The Xiuyaojing is included in the Ming, the Korean as well as the Japanese Daisho edition of the Tripitaka.

Before saying anything more about the Xiuyaojing one might like to recall that remarkable astronomer, mathematician, astrologer and monk, Yixing.39 One can read elsewhere on his achievements as one of the greatest astronomers and mathematicians in traditional China. It is sufficient here to go briefly into his part in astrology and divination, of which relatively little is known. The emphasis of Tantrism is on magic and demonology and, as is expected, the vast majority of astrological works found in the Buddhist Tripitaka came from this sect. Yixing had previously become a monk of the northern Chan Buddhist sect studying under the celebrated and highly esteemed priest Puji US (651-739) on the Songshan mountain, in modern Henan province. Tantrism must have had a special appeal to him due to his own interest in astrology and divination. It can be expected that Yixing's name was being quoted in some Buddhist works on astrology and divination. For example, the Fantian huoluojiuyao ^^Afi^^S (The Paths of the Fire Rahu and the Nine Luminaries across the Heavens) quotes Yixing's calculations of the positions of these heavenly bodies over a period of 257 years from ad 618. Yixing first learned Tantrism from Vajrabodhi and maintained close contact with the three Tantric patriarchs who lived at the site of the Daxingshansi monastery in the Tang capital

Chang'an. Although there is no explicit written evidence to that effect, we can expect him to have been acquainted with the contents of the Xiuyaojing. After all, Yixing was a renowned figure in Chinese secular writings on divination and astrology. A notable Ming writer on the subject, Wan Minying HKiS, quotes an astrological text entitled Qintang yilan zhujie W'si^jW.tiM (Annotations on the Lucid Browsing of Qintang) in his Xingxue dacheng M^f&^JjS, (Compendium of Astrology), stating that Qintang or Qingtang heshang ^Hfflloi became his appellation (within the circle of astrologers) after he attained fame and that he had a disciple by the name Lu Yizhai S^^.40 The same compendium quotes elsewhere from Dong Zhongshu Ji^ff, who wrote in the year 1379 that Yixing had produced works on astrology and divination on 12 different schools.41 It is note-worthy that the content of this Ming compendium is not traditional Chinese astrology but was rather along the same lines as the Xiuyaojing, albeit containing far more information. Yixing's biography in the Jiu Tang shu mentions his works on the Taiyi method and the Dunjia method.42 The Bibliographical Chapters of the Xin Tang shu list under him 'Tianyi Taiyijing 5c—H one juan, also Taiyiju Dunjiajing ^lifM one juan\43 Hence Yixing himself was also knowledgeable in a wide range of traditional Chinese divination and astrology. For example, it is recorded that he had studied and understood the complicated divination system of Yang Xiong's £§£t (53 bc-ad 18) Taixuanjing jsC^M. (Manual of Grand Obscurity). It is interesting to note that the introduction of the Xiuyaojing to China coincided with the time of Yixing.

Yano Michio shows that in the Xiuyaojing the 12 zodiac signs were introduced for the first time to China.44 Like the two imaginary heavenly bodies Rahu and Ketu, these signs had their origin in Hellenistic astrology, but were modified in some degree by Hindu astrology after finding their way to India. For example, the male Twin Gemini became a husband-and-wife or male-and-female pair, while the half-human-half-horse Sagittarius holding a bow and arrow became only a single bow. Also, Hindu astrology regards the ram Aries as the first zodiac sign adopted by Hellenistic astrology in ad 300 when Aries was at the Spring Equinox, as shown in Table 3.4. This point is known in Sanskrit as me§adi. Today, as we know, due to the precession of the equinoxes this point has already shifted after some 1,700 years to a position somewhere between Pisces and Aries. While in the West the shifting of the equinoctial point has been accounted for, in Hindu astrology the me§adi remained unchanged. Thus, Hindu astrology under Greek influence came to China with the Xiuyaojing, which contains the zodiac system dating back to about ad 300. However, the Xiuyaojing has nothing to say about the basic characteristic of Greek astronomy, namely the 12 houses. It only divided the lunar mansions into seven different groups, depicting disposition or character, such as fierceness, constancy, swiftness, hardness, softness, etc.

It also seems likely that Hellenistic astrology also found its way to China via Persia about the eighth century. The Biographical Chapters of the Xin Tang shu (New Official History of the Tang Dynasty) include a book entitled Duliyusijing fP^^fiM in two juans and another entitled Yusisimenjing #$JtH9 HM in one juan. The term 'Duliyusi7 has no meaning in Chinese and seems like a Chinese transliteration of a foreign term or a proper name. These books attracted the attention of Ishida Mikinosuke iqEB^^Lltl over half a century ago and were regarded as evidence of Iranian influence on Chinese astrology.45 Yabuuti Kiyosi later identified the title Simenjing (Book of Four Departments) with the Tetrabiblos of Claudius Ptolemaeus (fl. c.127-170) and suggested that they were a Syrian version of the original text presented to the Tang emperor by Adam the Nestorian who had adopted the Chinese name Jingjing 46 Yano Michio went a step further to suggest that the name Duliyusi was simply the Chinese transliteration of Ptolemaios, after dropping the semi-silent 'P\ Unfortunately the full texts of these two titles are no longer extant. From the remnants we can find some calculations of planetary positions for the horoscope. It will be mentioned later that the introduction of Ptolemaic astrology modified by Iranian culture might have merged with an offshoot of the Taiyi system known under the name Taiyi rendao mingfa In passing, it is of some interest to note that the titles of Ptolemaic writings are quoted in the secular Ming manual of astrology, the Xingxue dacheng MiP^iS, as the Xitian yusijing WXMffiH and the Xitian duliyusijing 15 ?cfl$#!l#$rJ§L47 The term 'xitian' meaning 'Western Heavens', 'Western Astrology', or 'Western Countries' gives full acknowledgement of the Western system of astrology in the content

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