Figure 5.3 Determination of the position for yuekong, from Xieji bianfangshu, ch. 5; p.16 [Qinding siku quanshu edition].
The use of the Hexagrams in Shen Ciua's last paragraph to explain astronomical/astrological terms reflects the profound influence of the symbolic numerology school in eleventh-century Song China and justifies the inclusion of his observations of certain points concerning the Liuren system in the xiangshu section of his Mengxi bitan.
In the three passages above, Shen Gua concerns himself with the very first and the fundamental step in setting up the Liuren cosmic board. He goes into the linguistic as well as the theoretical aspects of the subject. It is not the purpose here to get heavily involved with linguistic arguments concerning the names found in the Liuren system that have attracted the attention of traditional scholars from the Han to the late Qing period, spanning a period of some 2,000 years.25 What is interesting here is that these paragraphs are concerned with the preliminary steps in the manipulation of the Liuren cosmic board, beginning with what has already been shown in Table 5.2 above. As an illustration let us see the preliminary steps in the manipulation of the Liuren cosmic boards on 4 September 1998, which corresponds to a jiayin day in the seventh lunar month that comes before the Qiufen fortnightly period. From Table 5.1 we find the branch si for the heaven board. Let us suppose that the reported terrestrial branch is in the form of the double-hour you. Rotating the heaven board such that its wu gets on top of you on the earth board produces Table 5.3.
chou yin mao chen zi si hai wu xu you shen wei
In his third paragraph Shen Gua mentions the 12 heavenly generals. In order to locate them on the heaven board the operator has to commit to memory two mnemonic rhymes to establish the position of Guiren (Noble One). Once the position of Guiren is found, the other 11 heavenly generals can be placed in their order either in a clockwise or an anticlockwise direction therefrom. The branch on the earth board with the reported hour on the heaven board overhead dictates the direction. For mao, chen, si, wu, wei and shen it is clockwise and the Noble One is known as Riguiren 0 It A (Day Noble One), while for zi, chou, yin, you, xu and hai it is anticlockwise and the Noble One is known as Yeguiren A (Night Noble One).26
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