As translated by Micheal John Paton
Preface to the Secretly Passed down Water Dragon Classic
Of the writings on the principles of the earth that DaHong passed on, only the GuiHouLu (Record of Returning to Sincerity) is the most outstanding and there are many copies in the world. Yet this water dragon classic in five chapters has certainly never been seen before. I do not know when it entered the library of Xi of YuFeng. His man wanted a heavy price to set it aside. So it was not purchased until the library changed hands. While flipping through a jumble of papers, I discovered and recognized a mysterious volume.
I have often placed it in my luggage to use it for divining residences. This is the only volume in the world and I am afraid that it will consequently sink into oblivion and be lost. Moreover, much of the original book was in the wrong order with sentences omitted and characters written erroneously and with the mistaken incorporation of writers of the category of YangYunsong and LiuBoWen. Therefore, I made corrections and wrote out another copy and returned the original to QingHe.
I once took it out and showed it to experts on the water dragon like Wang JinGuang and Zhang ShiZhi who exclaimed in wonder at this singular copy and made a copy of it and left. From this you can know the value and importance of the book.
I have examined the mountain dragon and water dragon according to the opinion of antiquity and it was believed that (the idea of) a dragon had come from the GongLiu of the Book of Songs.
`If one ascends, they are at the peak. Moreover, one ascends the south ridge.' This then is the method of observing the mountain dragon.
`Behold the flowing spring becomes meagre and comes to an end.' This is the method of observing the water dragon.
However, in deciding on the middle of the area one matches a 'gradual rise' to 'look down', which indicates that these are the shallow theories of latter men who mixed everything together and that these do not come from the ancient theories. How can these be considered to be the first observations of DaHong? The only possibility is that the ancient method has not been passed down and that all the records of history consider this method to be the theory of the Form School, is it not?
The method of measuring the land is wholly within discerning the form. Yet the form of a mountain is vexatious. When one climbs to look into the distance from a high place at layer upon layer of ridges, it is difficult to bring the distant closer (to observe it better). Even with a form of water which is clearly manifested upon the land as lakes with twisting and turning for a hundred li, there will still be many considerations of the biased being correct and the pointed, round which will often fool the generation and damage the people.
However, discussion of situations according to books is essentially useless. Only those who have spiritual understanding and who have exhausted themselves in bitter effort can ascend the hall and enter the profound. This is what DaHong in the book often refers to as having knowledge with spirit and, thus, understanding the changes. Moreover, what is of utmost importance in the book is the Three Principals and the Nine Palaces. I had sought the method of the intention of the heavenly principal for several decades and still had not found a good copy until now. So I knew that there was much of the theory of Da Hong that had not been passed down. Da Hong associated mostly with the famous gentlemen of YunJian, Chen and Xia. Among all the books there was nothing that was not pried into by him. The different methods of divination such as GuXu, DunJia, ZhanZhen, and HouQi even down to QiaoGuan and FiCi were all essentially examined.
Moreover, he was also able to disappear and fly away. Therefore, the world speaks of when YuSi arose at ShaoXing he desired to work together with DaHong and securely locked him in a solid room. One evening DaHong disappeared and cavalrymen were sent to the four directions but no trace could be found of him. The meaning here is that DaHong was an intimate friend, a sensible person and a reclusive gentlemen.
Moreover, I have seen The Farewell of Da Hong on his Travelling North, written by Ge Zhi of YuFeng styled WoLong ShanRen who said: "JiangZi is a man of purpose and principle. For the sake of his work he would rather be driven by hunger and cold with the fear of unexpected horrors. He will wade the Huai and Si rivers to pass through Zou and Lu, lingering between Shanggul and Yuyang. Now the Huai and the Si are the rivers where Marquise Han once fished and it is here that he received the mystery book. The kingdoms of Zou and Lu are where the bells and drums of Confucius are still sounding and small evergreen shrubs in Confucius' native place are still thriving. Shanggu and Yuyang are the places where GengYan and WuHan initiated their meritorious achievements. JiangZi will drive his carriage in these areas and will be so touched that he must gain something."
Master Ge's words being like this seem to indicate that Dahong is a person who desires to test his talent and intends to 'throw stones' and `stroke the grass'. This man was certainly unique and so writing books was his spare time activity, and the study of the Form School was a spare time activity of this spare time activity. I have recorded this and wait for the assessment of others.
Cheng Muheng of He city in Qianting recorded this in the twenty fourth year of Qian Long.