As translated by Micheal John Paton
General Discussion—Chapter 1
This chapter especially explains the principle of the branches and trunks of the water dragon.
In fact, consider the passage of large bodies of water as the moving dragon and call this the trunk. Consider small bodies of water such as canals and ditches as the separating borders and call them branches.
The method for nodes is to seek from the branches but not from the trunks.
This is like there being no true connection amidst the rise and fall of high mountains and folded ridges, yet the old dragon develops tender shoots and there begins to be a structure. The central governing idea of this writing is to use a dragon trunk which encloses in an embrace to obtain the qi and form a situation, and to use the correct and harmonious intersection of a branch dragon to obtain the nourishment of internal qi.
With this the particularity in discussions of the principles of the water dragon is beauty and completeness because even though great rivers have a winding embrace, their qi is wide and boundless and is not closely related to grave sites. It is decidedly difficult to put one's hand to it. It is necessary with this to have branching water to create the original constellation which surrounds and embraces to develop the embryo.
Then the seven internal qi are produced and the veins of qi of great rivers are completely taken possession of without any remainder. This makes great land. I have observed the famous graves of ancient families. (Around them) there are branched waterways and small trunks in their flow from head to tail. Their form winds and folds in a thousand turns. However, if one obtains a node in the abdomen of the dragon which is complete even though there is no bordering water of the inner hall, great development is also possible.
At the end of these small branches, either a simple turn of a single watercourse or the embrace of the border of two flows, which isolates the area, deepens the storage of the spiritual beauty and concentrates it. Wherever aristocratic and great families are buried, it is always like this and it is not necessary to have an exhaustive discussion of the external situation. The strength of their good fortune is already limitless. Therefore this book is unable to be completely relied on.
However, with a small trunk which does not have any branches even though the situation is great, it is necessarily so that only after a long time can one receive a response because it is difficult to develop rapidly.
With a branched dragon which does not have a trunk although the effect is rapid, the qi is exhausted, easily wanes and is unable to continue far. After all, these are not as good as land which has a branch and trunk for mutual support. One can expect the effectiveness to last from sunrise to sunset and, moreover, one can hope for the favor of prosperity over time.
Thus, can the significance of this book be rejected and its theories not be investigated? What is most important in a particular confluence of water is that its meeting with beauty establishes the node. Although this is a correct view to take, necessarily desiring that this meeting with beauty enters the confluence is still a biased opinion because the subtle use of the water dragon is only in the flowing spirit which is meandering and vivid and the machinations of movement and change are naturally manifested. This flow goes to the front, back, left and right appropriately; the favorable and the contrary and the approach and departure accord with every direction. In general, according to my opinion whoever considers the position and the direction as the control whether they are to the right or the left, they will all be unavoidably drawn towards the correct position.
As for the method of lake and marsh dragons, this book selects completely the surrounding and gathering of a multitude of watercourses. In fact it resembles the theories of the patterns of the mountain dragon sleeping in accordance with the position of the stars and constellations. If this is so the method of the patterns of these situations consolidates the subtleties.
However, I have inspected all of the land in the kingdoms of Wu and Chu. With the three rivers and five lakes the mighty immersions are manifold. However, in seeking what agrees with these patterns, I have not met one in a hundred. This just means that one (should) penetrate these theories in order to learn their meaning and that is all. If one must follow pictures to find a thoroughbred horse, are they not being too foolish?
Then afterwards one can expect the development of good fortune. If one only seeks a yang site of a large marsh, can there be a place of return for a yin grave, which would be necessarily difficult to control? In other words, the borrowing of the external sand to wrap and protect (the site) is also, in fact, of the method of branches and trunks, it having diversity in its use.
As for the effect of the water dragon, it exists completely in the eight trigrams and the Three Principals. Rivers, lakes and marshes all converge into one. If you are not familiar with this principle even if appropriate land is obtained, you cannot escape from the idea that in seeking good fortune you conversely receive misfortune. Again these are the secrets of heaven and earth. A mind with the wisdom of a sage has passed them on but those who have not written the book are unable to know them.
The writer of this book has not set down his name. It was probably written by someone of recent times. The discussions established in each chapter unavoidably still contain vulgar opinions. I consider the theories of branches and trunks to be the primary significance of the water dragon. Therefore, these maps were chosen to be arranged as the first chapter. If one singularly sticks to these theories one by one, reality will be obscured as with a star in the Milky Way. I annotate this book to ennoble what the scholar is good at.
Written by Dahong
Discussion on the Subtle Movements in the Machinations of Qi
In the original world there was only one qi. If one examines the origins of this qi, there is nothing earlier than water. The sediment in water entwines and becomes earth. When earth and water are agitated, the water falls and the earth emerges. Mountains and rivers are thus formed. Thereupon, mountains have their observed up thrusting blue/greenness and consequently water has the force of its ripples and waves. The Classic says, `qi is the mother of water and water is the son of qi. If qi moves then water follows. If water stops then qi nourishes'. Mother and son are of the same feeling.
Water follows qi like a shadow follows its form. Qi is singular. Its brimming over beyond the land is formed as water; its moving inside of the land is without form and is qi. Water is its external manifestation. Qi is its essence. The internal and external flow together. The manifestation and the essence are of one movement. Thus fate is the subtle use of the natural.
Therefore, if one desires to know whether the qi of the land tends to the east or west, one can gain a rough approximation by the comings and goings of water. So to observe the movements of the mechanisms of qi, one must look at the water courses.
Does the sighing of Confucius show that he saw this principle? Yet a moving dragon must have water to help it and a stationary dragon must have water bordering it. The qi of a moving dragon is singularly in the water. Therefore, one examines from whence the water comes in order to know the origin of the issuance of qi. The qi of a stationary dragon also exists in the water. Therefore, one examines the water's confluence in order to know the place where there is harmonious connection.
The Classic says, `If it is bordered by water then it stops'. It also says, 'External qi moves laterally, and internal qi stops producing'. Is it indicative of this? Now, the qi of heaven and earth is naught but yin together with yang. The Yijing says, "One yin and one yang are called the Way." It also says, "Yin and yang are mutually in each other, and stillness and movement are mutually the basis. When yin and yang change in relation to each other, the myriad things are purified." Guo Pu has said that yang alone will not give birth and yin alone will not develop. When yin and yang harmonize their virtue, one achieves the perfection of birth and development. Therefore, the up thrust of mountain veins and the flow of water veins each have yin and yang.
Water is yang. Mountains are yin. The two are mutually connected and are unable to be an instant apart. The movement of the veins in the land relies on water to guide it. The termination of the veins of the land relies on water to congeal it. How is it able to both direct its movement and congeal its termination? It is because the abundant external qi recombines with the internal qi, and the oscillation between the two forms entities. This is like the achievement of a man and woman coupling, thus giving birth. Yang is the male. Yin is the female. With yang nurturing yin and yin containing yang the male and the female meet. This is the nature of the male animal and the female animal being together. Therefore, it is said, "When yin meets yang, one's luck and wealth will be enduring. When there is a clashing of yang with a harmonizing of yin, the myriad things are born". This is the natural mechanism of transformation within heaven and earth.
From the overall perspective, the body of the chaotic world of prehistoric times is, in fact, at one with the body of myriad things and at one with the subtle function of the Great Extremity (taiji). From a concrete perspective, the relationship of each entity is such that each one of the myriad things is at one with and obtains the original profundity of the Great Extremity. When one has knowledge of the principles of the Great Extremity, one can realize the subtlety of the mechanism of transformation. When one knows the subtleties of the mechanism of transformation, one can speak on the studies of manifestation.
The Ballad of the Natural Water Method
The water methods being great in number, it is difficult to give an exhaustive account. Let us pick up the outline to explain any vagary. In the world there are a thousand experts who have passed on the precedents for divination. This one says auspicious and that inauspicious yet (the theories) cannot be put into practice. So with the natural water method you must remember this, sir; there is nothing other than the meandering that possesses feeling. With the approach do not desire lashing waters and the departure should not be straight. For the lateral do not desire opposition and the oblique should not be quick. The lateral must detour and embrace to the extent that the bend of a stream is encircling.
The approach then reaches the beginning and the departure meanders away. When the water is clear, still and pure, there is even greater auspiciousness. How can there be there profit in rapid drainage and waterfalls?
When the eight characters separate, man and woman become debauched. With a river flowing into three tributaries, one's estates will be exhausted. Wealth will not accumulate where there is quick run off and quick flow.
Damage will be caused to the population where there is a straight approach and a straight departure. If (the water) shoots off to the left, the eldest son will necessarily meet with disaster. If it shoots off to the right, the younger son will receive calamity and injury. If returning water shoots off from the center, the second wife's son will die young. This will sweep away the sons of the city and the descendants will be few. If there is clashing at the center and shooting at the flank, one becomes solitary and widowed. If the water jumps back, the people leave and wealth withdraws; the screens are rolled up, the daughter will become a concubine and the son will live with the relatives of his wife. If the water is clear, there will be one outstanding among men with many talents and refinements. If the water is muddy, sons of much stupidity are produced.
The great Yangzi is vast and rules over ten thousand hectares of farmland. It secretly aids in degree of nobility, good fortune and food for the 5 tripods. From pools and lakes high official ranks and prime ministerial posts con-dense. Deep and extensive water rules over unmatched nobility. Emergence which is fluttering and oblique is the luck of the peach blossom. Men and women are debauched and always break up their families; it produces coming and going and a liking for wandering about and being dissipated. The whole day is indulged in song with extravagance and excessiveness.
With beautiful water of an approaching flow which is winding, there is certainly the fame of a posted scholar. If the flow of the water departs without obstruction, there will be wealth, abundance and high official position. The water method is not restricted to departure and approach. In general, there must be a winding departure yet a return.
Three windings and five turnings approach and then arrive at the node. (The water) feels a meditative attachment and cannot tolerate to leave. Why use the nine constellations and the eight trigrams? The flourishing of birth and the ending of death are completely empty theories. Here, I am narrating the true occult art. Readers must surely be clear in their hearts. Do not be deluded by contemporary divinations. Having good or bad luck should be distinguished by yourself.
Eighteen Patterns and their Maps" Trunk of Water City Wall Pattern"
A great river approaches either from the south east or south west. Even though in its midst there is a place of meandering and winding, one certainly does not see a turning of the head to surround and bind. This is like the flight of the wild goose in that if there is not a slight turning and soaring of the configurational force, it absolutely does not descend and halt. Although the configurational force of the water is smooth flowing, in the end it is not a place where the dragon veins coagulate and gather. How could it be worthy of creating a node?
The Classic says that if it has bordering water, it stops. It also says that bordering water is what stops the approaching dragon. If one still does not see the water turning its head after twenty li, then the place in front of the meander is that of a moving dragon.
The Classic says that a dragon descends to a flood plain (pingyang) like an unrolled mat in one vast area. (The qi) is difficult to grasp. In a pingyang area only water is considered to be the dragon. The winding around of the water is the moorage of the dragon body. Therefore, in general, in seeking the dragon one looks for a place with approaching water turning and surrounding.
However, when the water's path of approach is distant and the configurational force is broad and large even though there is a place where there is a slight turning of the head and straight dragon veins bind the qi to connect with the throat, a node is still not yet formed. Only when there is a great turning and winding does qi begin to gather.
However, in the end the form and configurational force being broad and large, (the qi) is also difficult to grasp. It is necessary to seek a border of branching water to cut it. Would it not be necessarily better to have branching water inserted into the abdomen and manifesting the interior of the hall?
With sand and water wrapping neither sparse nor thick, the form would be complete and solid. Only then would it be a true node. If there is no border of branching water to cut into (the area) even though it is surrounded by a great body of water, in the end the vastness can give no indications because if the configurational force is broad, the qi will drift away and if the form is large, the qi will scatter. If the interior does not have branching water it is singularly mischievous. How can it be used to establish a node? Even if there is no great harm, it is necessarily difficult to develop good fortune.