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Metaphysics and the Quest for Authenticity



In the world of Chinese Metaphysics, every academic field has its own classic works that have been around for over a century. When we talk about classics, most people consider them legendary. However, the truth is that those so-called classics in the field of Chinese Metaphysics are just a bunch of confusing works. Some of the classic works in the field of WWG include "BuShi Zhengzong卜筮正宗 - Authentic Divination," "BuShi DaQuan卜筮大全 - Complete Book of Divination", " HuangJin Ce 黄金策 - Golden Strategy," "YeHe QuanShu 野鹤全书 - Wild Crane," "ZengShan BuYi 增刪卜易 - Emendation of Yi," "YiMao 易冒 - Book that covers all the Yi," "YiYin易隐 - Hidden Yi, "ChanAo GeZhang 阐奥歌章 - Elucidation of the Profound," "TongXuan MiaoLun 通玄妙论 -Secrets of Mystical Wisdom," and so on. Those who have delved deeper into the study of the WWG would usually refer to "Authentic Divination," "Golden Strategy," and "Complete Book of Wild Cranes." However, it can be observed that so far, those who truly understand these books are mostly hidden experts in the "folk" realm, meaning they are not active on any social media platforms. In other words, unless someone is an experienced practitioner, they won't be aware of their existence. Therefore, it's impossible to find a scholar in an English-speaking area who has a deep understanding of these works.


All these works have been constantly challenged and overturned. For example, the author of "Yi Mao" was a blind person. Perhaps due to the popular belief that blind fortune tellers are skilled, there is even a faction in the field of BaZi known as the "Blindman School." Hence, the blind are "considered" powerful in divination and fortune-telling. Nowadays, there are even modern individuals who identify themselves as "blindman" and dictate while others record and compile their works on the Five Arts. By the way, one of the commonly used judgment techniques in the blindman school's Ba Zi is "single pillar analysis 一柱論命." This technique has its accuracy, but from the perspective of professionalism consultation, such a method is absolutely unacceptable. It may be suitable for ̶d̶e̶c̶e̶i̶v̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶ "entertaining" others in the field, but not for serious practice.


Regarding the WWG, Li WoPing (Co-author of ZengShan BuYi) often expressed his strong dislike for the book "Yi Mao" in his work "ZengShan BuYi," indirectly suggesting that out of ten statements in that book, six are true and four are false. This shows that even ancient scholars constantly challenged the theories of their predecessors. Unfortunately, modern readers often lack such a critical spirit, especially Western beginners, who almost blindly accept the entire content of these works. As for Eastern beginners, it is another case, the impression these works give them is that the authors were highly skilled because they believe in the authors' abilities, but they find it difficult to understand the books. For example, "Di Tian Sui 滴天髓 - Dripping Heavenly Essense," a classic work on BaZi, is an actual example. Almost all the information I've come across online has a consistent view that "Di Tian Sui" is an advanced content in BaZi. People are led to believe this because the book's content is complex and requires at least knowledge of another classic, "ZiPing ZhenQuan 子平真銓" to understand it. For many beginners, they truly think this is true. However, the truth is different.


With the "Dripping Heavenly Essense," regardless of whether it's Ren Tieqiao's annotated version or the tale-said copy by the original author, Liu Bowen, the theories in the book "Di Tian Sui" are based on erroneous foundations. Hence, it's clear why later generations always find this book profound, Because if they don't understand something that is wrong, it will naturally become "profound". Yet sometimes they understand it and sometimes they don't, while sometimes it appears accurate and sometimes not. This is mainly because later generations excessively believe in these so-called legendary works. Due to this belief, they consider the content of the book to be powerful, think their own level can't match it, and believe that it is an advanced version. In reality, the truth is that those who study BaZi and WWG have a very weak foundation in Chinese metaphysics. It's so weak that they can't even distinguish what is true and what is false in a book.


Another point to mention is that "Di Tian Sui" is actually a "marketing book" created by ancient people to gain the trust of readers and to "make" money, the Chinese called this kind of "money making" as "JiangHu 江湖" (it is not the river and lake when you google it). Ironically, modern "masters" still use these inaccurate ancient texts as teaching materials for advanced content. So, whenever I see "masters" promoting "Di Tian Sui" as advanced BaZi in order to enrol students, I can't help but laugh. Unfortunately, this is the chaotic state of the Chinese metaphysics academic community!


The same applies to Feng Shui. The classics of Feng Shui, such as "Qing Nang Jing," "Xue Xin Fu," "Zang Shu," "Yang Zhai Zhi Nan," and others, are also a collection of erroneous works. Don't assume that just because "Zang Shu" is included in the " SiKu Quanshu 四庫全書," it is highly reliable. As I had mentioned earlier somewhere my previous article, "San Ming Tong Hui 三命通會," one of the classic works on BaZi, is also included in the "SiKu QuanShu" and enjoys a high prestige, but to be honest, its content is a mess. Not long ago, one of the classic works on Feng Shui, "ZhaiFa JuYu 宅法舉隅," was used by a teacher in the English-speaking domain as the blueprint for a Feng Shui course. However, less than 20% of the content in this book is correct theory. Moreover, even within this 20%, the concepts are not very complete. From this, we can imagine that learning theory from a book that is only 20% correct but also incomplete is insufficient to handle the needs. And if someone tries to apply such a small portion to people, the result can only be one thing: Feng Shui becomes a fraudulent practice. People really making this field worse!


Of course, when I say all this, a large portion of people maybe deny my statements because they firmly believe that the results they have verified are accurate. However, let's ask ourselves honestly, out of 100 cases, how many are accurate? How many theories consistently pass the test of reality? (I have to bold the word "consistently") Moreover, how many people actually conduct proper statistics? So, the concept of "accuracy" in the CM academic community is actually a sad phenomenon. Only those who are truly practicing know the reality. For instance, in the case of "Yi Mao," which Li WoPing mentioned, four out of ten statements are false. Many times, users get accurate results merely by chance, by probability, but not from a solid theory. If a theory is absolutely complete, it should produce positive results consistently when applied to the next cases. However, unfortunately, when the results are inconsistent, practitioners often blame it on "the CM being a mysterious discipline that cannot yield consistent results" or claim that "the CM can never achieve an accuracy rate above 80%." Oh my, these are just self-justifications.


In fact, CM, although often labelled as metaphysical, is not mysterious at all. It has a rigid logic embedded within it. The Chinese Medicine is a good example, such as the concept of the Qi from the Five Elements. From a materialistic perspective, it's not recognized, but the application of the Qis has a logical and consistent set of principles. The same applies to divination, destiny analysis, and Feng Shui. Unfortunately, those who truly understand this are a very small minority, and most of them are hidden within the folk realm. It's a shame not to acknowledge this fact. When beginners overly trust ancient scholars (or "scholars" that trust ancient scholars) and are unable to judge the content of the books, these issues arise. Therefore, it's important not to rely too much on claims of self-taught mastery. I will share some amusing stories about these ancient classics next time.


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