Research Project


Critical Edition and Translation of the "The Leaking Essence of Heaven" (Di Tian Sui 滴天髓), a Central Classic Work on Birth Horoscope theorization

Dr. Manfred Kubny

Internationale Akademie für Traditionelle chinesische Astrologie, Berlin
Research stay: January – September 2011

The book entitled The Leaking Essence of Heaven (Di Tian Sui 滴天髓 is a well known classic of Bazi Suanming – the Eight Characters, i.e. the art of creating birth horoscopes, that are determined by eight characters, from which a separate tradition of analysis and interpretation emerged. The tradition of the Di Tian Sui represents the literature of the expert consultants and is explaining how an appearance of the Eight Characters has to be read, analyzed and interpreted. Its origin is linked to the authorship of Liu Ji 劉基 (1311-1375), also known as Liu Bowen 劉伯溫, the famous minister and consultant of the first Ming-Emperor but, in the earliest version of the Di Tian Sui, the words of Liu Ji are very cryptic; therefore, nobody understood the true meaning of the text. Its first commentary in classical Chinese was produced by Chen Su´an 陳素庵, who wrote the Di Tian Sui Jiyao 滴天髓輯要 (Essential meaning of the Di Tian Sui). Chen Su´an was an official in the late Ming dynasty. Because of the difficult content of the commentary of Chen Su´an upon the Di Tian Sui, which often was treated as secret, "high tech" knowledge, a second commentary was needed in classical Chinese in order to make it more comprehensive. Ren Tieqiao 任鐵樵 (1773-?) wrote the Di Tian Sui Chan Wei 滴天髓闡微 (Finest explanations to the Di Tian Sui) published after 1820 – an additional enlarged commentary on the Di Tian Sui 滴天髓. It includes the summit of theories and altogether 512 explained samples of basic dispositions (= Eight Characters) in Bazi Suanming. The theories of the Di Tian Sui Chan Wei are one of the most advanced teachings in classical Chinese literature about Bazi Suanming. They are developed mainly based on the theories of the five elements and yin and yang and also on the technical language of Classical Chinese Medicine. Its main concepts are the terms "operative consciousness" (yongshen 用神), "desiring consciousness" (xishen 喜神), "neglecting consciousness" (jishen 忌神) and the "leisure consciousness" (xianshen 閑神). These terms are used to express different aspects of the human consciousness.

Kubny is currently working on a complete translation of the Di Tian Sui Chanwei and is analyzing its structure and content. The original classical text is 480 pages long and contains 512 examples in order to explain how the theory of Bazi Suanming can be recognized in a Bazi chart. The translation of the whole book (including all examples and additional explanations by the translator) will easily fill at least a 2000 page book. The edition of the Di Tian Sui Chan Wei that Kubny is using for his translation was organized by Yuan Shushan 袁樹珊 (1881-1952 ?) in 1920-1930.

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