Translated by Micheal John Paton
Residence and the dead must have a tomb. If residences and tombs are both auspicious, then both man and spirit are at peace. If man is at peace, the path of the family is happy and prosperous. If the spirit is at peace, the descendants prosper.
Thereupon, man should select land for a residence and in particular should select land for a grave. With this, for the family to have wealth, nobility and longevity, it is necessary that the graves of the ancestors are sheltered and watered.
The ancestors are the roots and the sons and grandsons are the branches and buds. When the roots are harbored in fertile beautiful land, the branches and leaves flourish. When the roots reside in infertile meagre land, the branches and leaves are withered and dry. This is the common principle.
However, the way to selecting appropriate land is, in fact, not easy to speak of. The four directions, the wind and the soil are not the same. The form and the configurational force are each different. Some are in mountains and valleys and some are in flood plains. There are even nodes at the bottom of water and in the gaps be-tween rocks.
The various types cannot be put into the same category. The Book of Burial says that one must have brilliance of sight to see to for the bottom of water and must obtain a wise teacher for the gaps between rocks. This idea is the true subtlety.
Now in appraising land, it is necessary to investigate the approaching dragon. The point of the node must welcome true veins. Mountain ridges and the paths of water are all dragon veins. It is suitable that they approach from the distance like a winding dragon changing mortal bones into immortal ones like flowers being connected to the tree. This is what is meant by branches and trunks.
The Book of Burial also says to first of all obtain water and secondly to shelter from the wind. Only then is the land connected to the node. Master Tao said that there is love between female and male and there is connection between heaven and earth. Therefore, water is not far from mountains and mountains are not far from water. In choosing a form which takes a node, follow the category to decide on it. It is necessary to obtain the Nine Stars shining down upon it. Then one should seek out the Three Auspices yet avoid the six inauspicious aspects. It is also necessary that the two flanks broadly contain (the node), and that there be a surrounding, embracing and turning around it. The direction must be correctly established and the reception of the water must harmonize with the stars and the trigrams.
A closed water mouth accords with the pattern. When there is sand at the back facing the hall, it is the proper method and has feeling. Only then is it auspicious land. The Classic says that one values flatness in land and branches in earth. Therefore, land that is flat and vast also has branching veins and is related to water and mountains. Observe the land, pools, rivers, fields and earth of the flat vastness (flood plains).
In front there is no mountain dragon and behind there are no branching veins. There is no approach of dragon veins, and there is no corresponding star or peak to establish the site and make peaceful the grave. At the sides there is no Dragon or Tiger for protection. Outside there is no mark to record the direction of welcoming.
What is seated facing it does not discern the Five Stars. How then can the path of the water be separated into the eight trigrams? However, as long as one obtains such land, it is often of wealth and nobility. How can forms and situations that are extremely flat and vast be conversely victorious over those which are ridged?
The former worthies said that if there are mountains, rely on mountains. If there are no mountains rely on cities. If there is water, rely on the water. If there is no water, rely on the form. Because in the flood plains one considers water as the dragon, the accumulation of water is like the halting of mountain veins and the flow of water is like the movement of mountain veins.
If the water flows, the veins of qi disperse and fly away. If the water accumulates, the veins of qi gather together. Great rivers are categorized as the form of trunk dragons. Small rivers are the body of branch dragons. If at the back there is a river pocket, it is a site of glory and magnificence.
If at the front one meets pools or ponds, know that this is a family of wealth and nobility. If to the left and right there is a surrounding embrace which has feeling, one piles up gold and accumulates jade. If in front and behind there is a turning and winding without a break, there are the dress and adornments of the high official. Land desires water to produce feeling and likes it to turn and face the node. In fact, water guides the veins of the dragon.
Fear, indeed, gushing and shooting forth and the upturned bow. Hate most rapid cutting and being tied down as they cause much sorrow and little happiness. Particularly fear oblique flying as one will meet with recalcitrance and after a short time there will be penury. Either establish the site facing the front of the path of the water or conceal it behind a mound in a field to make a peaceful tomb. All of these should not be selected.
In summary, for the principles of the earth one must do research and it is most important to be proficient in yin and yang. If one achieves the accumulation of yin, heaven must protect him. Those who are light in good fortune find it difficult to meet intelligent teachers. Those who have good fortune which is thick will naturally come across auspicious land. Do everything one should do in order to await the intentions of heaven. This must be derived from the Way. Therefore, I have put together this book to show to later scholars.
The Ballad of Seeking the Veins of the Water Dragon
The principles of the earth which have been truly passed on from generation to generation are seldom met. The mysteries of the art of yin and yang are difficult to completely under-stand. In seeking the dragon and grasping the veins, observe the mountains and the water. Ridges and peaks and flood plains are all the same. For land of the flood plains, water is the dragon. On all sides in the vastness one does not recognize the traces. If one is enlightened by the masters who understand the principles of the essential mystery, the source of the tributaries and the male and female principles will be discerned.
Few men know the mysterious method of the water dragon. Be careful not to pass this down to common scholars. It is not because the emptiness and importance are easily recognized and changed. But by trying to find a horse by a drawing, one will become a fool. Water approaching the Dark Warrior is the dragon body. In deciding on the province of the node, it is necessary to look at the form of the water. Accumulation and gathering naturally form the structure. With a divided flow and scattered qi, the node is not true.
A large watercourse winding around clear and deep is a trunk dragon. Small rivers happily meet with branching water. When the qi of a trunk dragon is finished, it is difficult to make a peaceful node. The point of a node on a branch dragon is auspicious and naturally exalted.
If the land of the Dark Warrior has lakes and pools, the residence overlooks the front and good fortune follows. Creating the node for a peaceful grave is similarly met. This accumulates jade, piles up gold and bestows beautifully embroidered clothes. Water should not flow through lakes, pools and pockets of water. If water does penetrate, qi does not accumulate.
With a mound in the fields which blocks the mouth of the water, the descendants will have endless wealth and nobility. The qi of the dragon veins of rivers returns to the bay.
Mark, record and understand sand and be careful to add to it. If there are no breaks or defects in the situation, the clothes of the descendants will be of brocade and they will serve the court.
Discern the approach of the flow and the configurational force of water resembling a knife. A spear piercing the flanks and dashing against the heart cannot be blocked. An embankment of a sharp lance is land of ruin, death or wounds and loss of the farmhouse by litigation.
The water behind is an approaching dragon which resembles an up-side-down bow, each of the descendants will be rebels, scattered east and west. For burial which meets with such water without feeling, your land will be lost and you will live in poverty.
The flow of the water must be winding and not straight. A direct approach and sudden departure means capture. Furthermore, there is no shelter on all four sides. Waves beating and the wind blowing is what one can be most concerned about.
Water in the form of the character shi has neither a back nor a front. The characters finer' and nian are both the same; they are only auspicious where men congregate. A single dwelling cannot be peaceful. The configurational force of the water winds around and embraces the body. The true qi of a moving dragon exists within. If there is a path of many departing turns, the descendants become noble ministers.