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且太歲、天別神也，與青龍無異。龍之體不過數千丈，如令神者宜長大，饒之數萬丈，令體掩北方，當言太歲在北方，不當言「 在子」。其東有丑，其西有亥，明不專掩北方，極東西之廣，明矣。令正言在子位，觸土之中直子午者不得南北徙耳，東邊直丑、巳之地，西 邊直亥、未之民，何為不得南北徙？
Chapter XXXIX. Questions about the Year Star (Nan-sui).
Common people have a feeling of uneasiness, and are prone to believe in defences and prohibitions. Even the wise become doubtful, and are at a loss how to settle these questions. Consequently, artisans carry the day, and scholars and well informed people submit to them. Books on auguries outshine the Classics and Canons, and the utterances of artisans have more weight than the words of scholars and students. Now, I propose to inquire a little into this question, that others may see for themselves, weighing right and wrong, and that people in general may be roused.
Concerning the moving of one's residence, they say that to encounter T`ai-sui1 is unlucky, and that to turn one's back upon it likewise bodes evil. The encounter of T`ai-sui is termed "Jupiter's descent," 2 and the moving in opposite direction to it, "Jupiter's destruction", 3 wherefore both are attended with misfortune.
In case T`ai-sui is in chia-tse, people on earth must not move in a northerly or a southerly direction. Building a house and marrying, they should avoid this as well. When they move to the east or the west, 4 or in one of the four intermediate directions, these configurations are all lucky. Why? Because then they do not collide with the T`ai-sui, nor meet its shock.
Let us ask what this avoidance of T`ai-sui really means. Does it object to people's moving altogether? Then all moving would entail calamities. Or does T`ai-sui not prevent people from moving, but resent their collision? Then all people going north or south on the roads would be visited with misfortunes.
The feelings of T`ai-sui would be like those of a high officer. When a high officer is on a road, and somebody runs against the carts and horses of his men, he would fly into a passion. Why should T`ai-sui chastise only those who, carrying their furniture and transporting their things, in changing their domicile run against it?
Of yore, when on a trip, the Emperor Wên Ti5 was crossing the Pa-ling bridge, there was an individual on the road who, falling in with the cortêge, jumped down from the bridge. Trusting that the carriages of the emperor had already passed, he suddenly emerged again, and frightened the carriage-horses. The emperor, very angry, handed him over to the sheriff Chang Shih Chih6 for trial. Provided that the spirit of T`ai-sui7 travel like Wên Ti, then those who fall in with it would resemble the man emerging from below the bridge.
At present, many wayfarers are unexpectedly drowned, or fall down dead. How do we know but that they also encountered T`ai-sui on its journeys?
Those moving their residence cannot stay in their former home. Unable to stay there, they ignore whether they will meet with the Year Star or not, and not knowing this, they cannot make up their minds what to do.
Moreover, in case the spirit of T`ai-sui really travels about, then perhaps it proceeds along a crooked line, and not necessarily along a straight one, south or northwards, 8 as with high officers, leaving their houses, it happens that they take a crooked road. Should it, as a spirit of Heaven, take the straight road, and not a crooked one, 9 then people moving from east and west and in the four intermediate directions, would also run against it. 10 A high officer proceeding southward and northward, and people moving from east to west, the configuration of these intermediate directions would be like that leading to a collision. 11 If T`ai-sui does not go straight south and north, how could people, moving in these directions, fall in with it?
If T`ai-sui did not move at all, then it might perhaps stay in its palace and behind its walls without meeting anybody; how then were man to encounter it?
Supposing T`ai-sui had no body like high officers and, shaped like vapours, clouds, or a rain-bow, stretched straight across the firmament, reclining at its extremities in the south and the north on tse and wu,12 then people, moving east and west as well as those taking an intermediate line, would also run against it, just as men of our time, encountering an extensive fog and malarial exhalations, no matter whether they moved straightways or sideways, backward or forward, would all be affected. 13 If T`ai-sui were really like air, people ought to meet it and even, without moving, they would have to suffer from it.
Further T`ai-sui is another spirit of Heaven resembling the Green Dragon. 14 The body of the latter does not exceed several thousand chang.15 Let us suppose that the size of our spirit is exceptional, and measures several ten thousand chang, and that this body covers the north. Then we ought to say that T`ai-sui stands in the north, but not in tse. East of tse is ch`ou, (N.N.E.) and west of it, hai (N.N.W.). If it be shown that T`ai-sui does not cover the whole north, it is owing to the great distance between the extreme eastern and western limits of the north. But if it be held to be just in the tse point, and colliding with people on earth, only those settled in tse and wu regions should not move south and north; why should those living eastward as far as ch`ou (N.N.E.) and sse (S.S.E.), or westward as far as hai (N.N.W.) and wei (S.S.W.) refrain from doing so?
Provided that the inhabitants of the ch`ou and hai regions move up and down on the right or the left side of T`ai-sui southward and northward, or east and west, they are quite safe. Ch`ou being east and hai west of tse, the people of these quarters moving simply east and west, 16 must come into collision with the position of T`ai-sui, and those of the sse and wei regions moving east and west, be afraid lest they suffer destruction by the planet.
The Literati considering the Nine Provinces "under Heaven" 17 hold that they cover the entire length and breadth of the earth, north, south, east, and west. These Nine Circuits comprise five thousand Li which alone form the country of the Three Rivers, 18i. e., the centre of the earth. With reference to the Duke of Chou, consulting the tortoise, about his new residence the Classic says, [Let the king come here as the vicegerent of God, and labour in the centre of the earth. 19 ] Consequently Lo is the centre of the earth.
Tsou Yen, arguing on the subject, maintains that of the Nine Continents the five thousand Li form only one Continent, situated in the east and called Ch`ih-hsien.20 Of continents, each comprising nine circuits, there are nine. Nine times nine gives eighty-one, consequently there are altogether eighty-one circuits. This view is probably imaginary, but it is difficult to know the shape of the earth. Should it be as described, there would also arise one difficulty.
In case all land under Heaven forms Nine Circuits as the Literati conceive it, then merely the circuits due south from Lo-yi and north from the Three Rivers viz. Yü-chou, Ching-chou, and Chi-chou could be frequented by T`ai-sui. How could it be between Yung and Liang-chou, in Ch`ing-chou, Yen-chou, Hsü-chou, and Yang-chou? 21
Should Tsou Yen's view be correct, and the Nine Circuits of the empire occupy the south-eastern corner of the earth, and not be lying exactly in tse or wu, how could T`ai-sui be present?
If T`ai-sui did not keep its position at the confines of Heaven and Earth, and were wandering about among the people, then the house of every family might harbour it, and although a person did not move south or north, it would come across it all the same. Moving from an eastern to a western village, it would find T`ai-sui there, and should it move from an eastern into a western building, T`ai-sui would be in the western dwelling too. It would be east or west, north or south of the person in question, just as, walking on a highway, one falls in with other people in the east or the west, the north or the south.
Provided that the space filled by T`ai-sui measures several thousand, ten thousand, or hundred thousand chang, and that all mankind under heaven by moving entails some adversity, then how can their moving be regulated? If T`ai-sui stands in the interstice between Heaven and Earth, it has a similar position to a king in the midst of his country. People in the eastern part of it, bending their bows and shooting westward, would not be supposed to have wounded the king, because their bows do not carry as far as the king's capital; they merely shoot in their own place. Now, how could people moving proceed as far north as where T`ai-sui has its resting-place? Moving no farther than perhaps a hundred steps, how could they be charged with having hurt T`ai-sui?
Moreover, people moving their residence, are warned to go south or north, because T`ai-sui is held to stay in the tse point; tse breaks wu,22 and those moving north or south, receive the shock, which is called a calamity. Now, in order to smash something, one requires a hammer. If there really be such a tool, then all people, even those not stirring, would be smashed and destroyed with it, but how could they be smitten in default of such a tool?
Thunder is the heavenly fluid. When in mid-summer it strikes, it splits trees and rends mountains, and, at times, suddenly kills a man. If the blow of T`ai-sui should be like a thunderbolt, there ought to be a crashing sound also, and death ensue instantaneously, for, otherwise, there could not be destruction either.
If the knocking together, and the falling foul of each other be said to cause destruction, how can the knocking and striking have this effect? The meeting of east and west is called knocking together, and the coming into contact of south and north, falling foul. Provided that knocking and running foul be calamitous, then east and west must be always baleful, and south and north always fatal. 23
In case a collision with T`ai-sui proves disastrous only because of its being a spirit, it should be borne in mind that there are no spirits more powerful than Heaven and Earth. If Heaven and Earth meeting, dashed one against the other, no human life would be possible between Heaven and Earth.
Perhaps there are Twelve Spirits above, Têng-ming, Tsung-k`uei and the like, 24 which the artisans declare to be all celestial spirits. They always occupy tse, ch`ou, and the other cardinal points, and are endowed with a fluid rushing and dashing against whosoever crosses their way. Though in spiritual force not equal to T`ai-sui, still they must do some minor damage, and those moving their residence, although they may eschew the perils of T`ai-sui, would, nevertheless, fall a prey to the attacks of the Twelve Spirits. Therefore, whenever they are going to move they should be prevented.
The winter air is cold and corresponds to water, which has its position in the northern quarter. The summer air is hot and corresponds to fire, whose place is in the south. Autumn and winter are cold, spring and summer are warm; that applies to every place throughout the empire, and water and fire are not solely encountered in southern and northern regions. Now, T`ai-sui stands in tse only, but it is formed all over the world, and it is not merely encountered in tse and wu. Should really the position alone be decisive, then in wu there would be a hot summer and in tse, a hard winter. Would those moving south and north, in winter and summer, still meet with disasters?
In the beginning of spring, kên represents the king, and chên, the minister, sun is the embryo, and li means annihilation, k`un death, and tui imprisonment, ch`ien disgrace, and k`an tranquillity. 25 The king incurring death, and the minister imprisonment, king and minister have knocked against the respective positions, 26 and elicited the fluids of death and imprisonment.
Ch`ien, k`un, and their six sons 27 embody the true laws of nature which Fu Hsi and Wên Wang have illustrated to govern the world thereby. These texts are written in the Classics, and the principles are believed by all the sages. They are evidently much more certain than what we know about T`ai-sui.
If, at the commencement of spring, people should move to the north-east, they would come under the diagram kên,28 but not suffer any injury. When T`ai-sui stands in tse, and from the northeast they move to k`un,29 this diagram would be near wu,30 as when k`un is changed for kên, they would strike against the tse point. Why would the latter fact alone entail misfortune? 31
The first moon resting in yin32 is destructive in shên,33 but the moving between yin and shên is not attended with disasters in its course. Although T`ai-sui does not point to wu, they wrongly maintain that the year breaks wu. As a matter of fact, there is no adversity to be apprehended, and the prohibition to move south and north is inane and unreasonable.
Twelve months make a year and, when the four seasons are completed, and the fluid of the yin and yang reaches a certain limit, again a year is formed, which is but another name of days and months joined together. Why should it be taken for a spirit, supposed to stand in the tse point? By dissolving this combination we get days, the addition of days forms a month, several months become a season, and a number of seasons, a year, which therefore, is something similar to a day, a month, and a season.
If the year possess a spirit, have days, months, and seasons spirits also? 1,539 years form a t`ung period, 4,617 a yuan period. A year is like a t`ung or a yuan period. 34 A year having a spirit, have the t`ung and yuan periods spirits likewise? Critics deny it, but should they have them, for what reason would they injure mankind? No spirits surpass Heaven and Earth, and Heaven and Earth do not hurt mankind. People speak of the Hundred Spirits, but they do not injure them either. Why should the fluid of T`aisui, being the essence of Heaven and Earth, be so inimical to men as to strike and hurt them?
Further, the text says that in chia-tse one must not move. This may denote that chia and tse are different directions; but T`ai-sui, having its position in tse, cannot stay in chia.35 In case persons moving proceed there (to tse), and again settle in chia, taking that course, but finally staying in chia, those fixing the time for moving ought likewise to hinder them from moving eastward or westward. 36 Provided that chia and tse are combined, their calamities should be the same too. Not shunning chia, but avoiding tse, those persons fixing the time talk at random and deserve no confidence.
People living somewhere cannot but change their residence, and changing their residence, they cannot but come into collision with the Year Star. Even if they do not, they cannot avoid dying at their time. Artisans noticing people's death at present, ascribe this misfortune to a change of residence in a former time. Common folk are very timid in their minds, there are always people passing away, and the consequence is that the story about T`ai-sui is handed down from generation to generation and never dies out.
1. , a fictitious point, also called sui-yin, "the opposite of Jupiter," used for designating the year by means of the cycle of sixty. (See Chavannes, Mém. Hist. Vol. III, p. 654). The term chia-tse would correspond to the North = . Then Jupiter itself would have its position due south.
4. . Ed. A and C write for .
5. 179-157 B.C.
6. Cf. Giles, Bibl. Dict. No. 105 and p. 144, Note 5.
7. We see from this passage that the personification of "T`ai-sui" is not a recent invention as De Harlez, Le Livre des Esprits et des Immortels, p. 134 says. This spirit is venerated at the present day, and seems by some to be regarded as a dangerous spirit of the soil.
8. On the firmament Jupiter describes a curve, not a straight line.
9. The spirits of Heaven dislike crookedness.
10. While crossing the course of T`ai-sui from north to south.
11. . Ed. A and C replace .
12. , the north and the south points.
13. The fog would spread sideways as well as from north to south.
14. The eastern quadrant of heaven.
15. Wang Ch`ung seems to take the Green Dragon for a real dragon of extraordinary dimensions.
16. I. e., not always keeping on one side of T`ai-sui.
17. Equivalent to China.
18. :---the Huang-ho, the Huai, and the Lo.
19. Shuking Part V, Book XII, 14 (Legge, Classics Vol. III, Part II, p. 428).
20. Cf. Vol. I, p. 253.
21. Names of the Nine Circuits.
22. In Chinese natural philosophy the North, or cold, overcomes the South, or heat; there is no real breaking.
23. Theoretically opposite directions as well as opposite qualities of things, in short all opposites, knock together and destroy one another.
24. Cf. Vol. I, p. 534.
25. The eight terms are those of the Eight Diagrams .
26. Viz. k`un and tui.
27. The other six diagrams.
28. In one plan of the Eight Diagrams (Mayers' Manual p. 335) kên represents the North-east.
29. The South-west.
30. The South.
31. Why would the approaching of wu from kun not be disastrous?
34. Cf. p. 389, Note 7.
35. In the term chia-tse, chia does not signify any direction. Together with yi it may stand for the east.
36. Because in the east they might collide with T`ai-sui in chia, provided it could stay there.
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|Published by The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, © Copyright 2003 by Anne Kinney and the University of Virginia|