As translated by Micheal John Paton
Foreword to the Secretly Passed down Water Dragon Classic
From the misty beginnings of time, water and mountains were considered to be Qian and Kun, the two great thrones which exist simultaneously between heaven and earth; one yin and one yang, one tough and one gentle, one flow and one peak as heaven covers and earth carries. The sun creates morning and the moon creates evening. Each is responsible for a single duty.
The specialists in the principles of the earth of later generations do not recognize the principles and are only aware of the mountain as a dragon but are not aware of water as a dragon. Even if there is loud chatter about the water method, they only consider the mountain as the body and water as the function as with soldiers listening to their general and a wife obeying her husband. In this the fame of the mountain is the only one to esteem and the power of water is small and deficient, thereupon, causing the land and water of the flood plains to be completely abandoned.
The true machination of the placement of the water dragon is twisted to the absurd theories of the mountain dragon. The whole world in its vastness seems to be ignorant to this. It is not true that the idea has not been elucidated since Yang Hui.
Indeed, did the ancients not say: "Do not ask about the dragon when you travel to the flood plains? Only look to the turning of the water and then you will find the true dragon".
They also said: "If there were no dragon and tiger, then to what place would this vast area return? So from the east to the west if one merely takes the water to be a dragon, it is easy to manifest the Three Dukes.
The clarity, fluency and logic of these words are both visible and audible to men. Unfortunately, men of today do not investigate (the concept). As to the form and structure, special books are truly rare and in the end not thoroughly developed causing scholars to face the wall (and see nothing) and have no way of entry. Is this due to the fact that since there are certain rules of the structure of mountains and the movement of water which are finite, and considering that if men know the principle of the water dragon, they will easily grasp the machinations of the spirits and realize the mystery of the great creation, so mother nature draws the bow but does not lose the arrow in order to begrudge this secret?
However, she stands high above the populace and pities those below, thus allowing this ancient secret, which has not been passed down for thousands of years, to emerge by accident. If one knows this secret but does not consider telling anyone, this is being unbenevolent. If one tells someone the secret but it is not the truth, this is being dishonest.
I am not probing into established bad habits. I desire to grasp the reins for the sake of the later erudite scholars and be a pioneer. In accordance with this limitless record, I derive the exquisiteness and completely reveal the occult art of Master Yang so that it is opened wide and becomes widely accepted.
Place high mountains in the category of the mountain dragon and flat regions in the category of the water dragon. The methods are decidedly different.
Do not be afraid to yell this out in a crazy loud voice to announce this to the knowledgeable scholars under heaven. Some will believe it. In such problems, there is always confusion yet one suddenly finds the light to clear up the confusion and the errors. Even though I am naturally happy that this elucidation is not coincidental, it still worries me. I fear risking the punishment of yin and yang.
Moreover, how dare I covet the achievements of heaven as my own contribution? When I began to pass on the method of the water dragon, I searched through documents both ancient and modern but they were vague and lacked apparent evidence.
When I obtained the Jade Mirror Classic of the Chan Buddhist master, Mu Hu, and the 'One Thousand li Eyes', which are writings on the principle mechanism of entering the node, I began to have some written evidence. Soon after, I obtained several chapters of the Water Dragon Classic. I then realized that it was not true that there were no documents on the dragon method of flat regions. This was only because the first worthies valued it highly and were not willing to let it spread uncontrolled throughout the world.
Because there was no published edition and there were errors in the words and sentences, I added some annotations and commentaries and arranged it into five chapters.
1. The first chapter explains the connection of the great body of the moving dragon with the node and the method of taking advantage the mutual relationship between branches and trunks.
2. The second chapter narrates the various patterns of the correspondence of the water dragon with the stars above.
3. The third chapter indicates the comparative similarities of the categories of objects and animals that can consign meaning to the water dragon.
4. The fourth chapter explains the crux of good and bad fortune in terms of the Five Stars, a correct branch and the nodal body.
5. The fifth chapter has the same meaning as the fourth and freely refers to it.
The first, third and fourth chapters were obtained from Wu Tianzhu. It seems that the second chapter was obtained from the family of the former eunuch of Cha Pu. I obtained the fifth chapter last from my district. Some have the name of the author and some do not. The words of each excel in the essential principles. When they are observed comparatively, one obtains the omissions and agreements but when they are together it is observed that in relation to the rules of the water dragon, there is none better.
Scholars consider this as being the principle and use the Three Principals, Nine Palaces, Book of Changes, trigrams and taking advantage of qi as the function. If one likens it to a great craftsman, the water dragon is wood for carving and the Three Principals and Nine Palaces are the carpenter's circle, square and marking line.
If one likens it to an apothecary, the water dragon is the tripods, utensils, and medicines and the Three Principals and Nine Palaces are the essence, duration and degree of heating. If there is no quality material even Gong Shu could not put his skill into practice. If lead and the mercury are not prepared, even Bo Yang could not evolve to his supremacy.
Therefore, the method of the intention of the heavenly principal is in reality the best, yet how can we slight this book? One cannot irresponsibly call something a classic. Because of this, it was not changed, was actually concealed in a golden casket in a stone house and was handed down unspoilt to become immortal like the Blue Bag and the Fox Head. If scholars of later generations do not have good fortune to surpass that of other men as well as innate cleverness, they will not come across this book.
It is a rare treasure and of the honorable of this generation only those who are virtuous are able to face it. Do you realize that the book needs to be respected? Do you realize that the book needs to be feared?
Written by Jiang Pingjie, Dahong, of DuLing in the Shuijing temple at Danyang.