From ancient times people were puzzled by the meaning of life, our purpose and destiny. Therefore Chinese ancestors invested much time in studying, researching and understanding the meaning of life by observing the chronology of man's destiny. During centuries ancient Chinese gained knowledge about destiny and created destiny studies (Chin. ming xue 命学) using two assessment methods: BaZi 八子 and Purple star astrological numerology (Chin. zǐ wēi dǒu shù 紫微斗數). Today we are going to learn more about BaZi.
The study of destiny (Ming Xue 命学) has the purpose to understand all aspects of human life in order to improve one’s fortune. From the very birth, we are affected and influenced by the universe and its energies. Observing for thousands of years the mutual relationship between nature and people, old Chinese found those very patterns of energies related to someone’s life destiny and coded by the time of birth, thus learning how to follow fine lines of future comings using the perfected method of BaZi. Before we go further about BaZi, we have to understand the concept of destiny studies.
Chinese believe that the universe consists of the Cosmic Trinity of Heaven, Earth and Man, distributed in equal proportion of influence.
First destiny, second luck, third feng shui – Chinese saying (Chin. yī mìng èr yùn sān fēng shui 一命，二运，三风水).
Destiny (heaven luck)
In the Chinese understanding of life, our capacity and potential in life are so-called destiny. Someone’s life capacity is closely related to his achievements and life outcomes. Destiny doesn’t mean that we cannot (by investing our time, effort, and hard work) achieve or improve things in life. The study of destiny is about knowing what is within our control and ability, and what is not.
However, when carefully observed, analyzed and tracked someone’s life path using the method of BaZi, we can assist and explain the person more about himself, and give advice when to invest more effort when needed, or to avoid events doing nothing. You may say that destiny represents an art of accepting fate in peace, therefore it is of utmost importance to understand our role in life and our capacity. Some people have easier life than others, and it seems not fair. There isn’t much we can do about it, but it is crucial that we understand it in order to live life better and gain peace. We can observe destiny as our life map which is static, and a guideline to our personal limits in life.
Destiny is not a fate. It is not pre-recorded for us, and we aren’t puppets in the hands of fate. In fact, destiny represents questions of capacity, related to our affinities or karma (Chin. yuan 緣).
Fortunes (man's luck)
Our lives aren’t represented only by the influence of destiny. It is believed that destiny cannot be changed, however, fortunes (Chin. yun 運) (sometimes called luck) can. In contrary to the destiny which is static, fortunes are dynamic and ever-changing. It refers to the quality of the map of life. When fortunes are favorable, our life’s gets peaceful anchor, and on contrary, if fortunes aren’t favorable we experience challenges and obstacles.
Luck represents work on ourselves, personal practice in order to be in balance with ourselves, earth and heavens. It means to be having ideal proportion and balance physical, energetic and mental aspects of ourselves in any situation.
There are several ancient methods developed in order to keep us in balance, in particular our body, spirit and mind. To keep our body healthy, to develop the muscles, bones and flesh, it is used Wai Gong (Chin. 外功), exercises. Nei Dan (Chin. 内丹) exercises are internal breathing and energy exercises, used in order to keep us full of vitality.
Finally, to fully understand all about mind flow, spiritual practice, our responses and mental processes, we need to work on the mind implementing Shen Gong (Chin. 神功) exercises. With all three exercise methods, we can understand ourselves better, be healthy, having more time for introspection, and truly experience happiness, being less influenced by emotions and ego.
Earth luck: feng shui
Feng shui is about how the environment and natural surroundings affect us, and how do we organize the environment around to be in balance with our destiny code and our fortunes. Earth luck or feng shui is something we can do in order to situate ourselves in time and space.
To understand the core principle of the Chinese view of life please imagine above mention three lucks as a road trip. Destiny (heaven luck) is the vehicle we are gifted with. We cannot change it, but we can understand its characteristics. Earth luck (feng shui) represents the road we take in life, where we can avoid obstacles or speed them up. Finally, the fortunes (man’s luck) represent the driver, which is us. We can entirely work on our self. As we have many options in life, we can learn more about vehicles, about roads and out ourselves in order to experience happiness, worry-free life and peace. In summary, our life journey we can spend pleasantly or desperately, it’s up to us.
Yin and yang are core concepts in Chinese cosmology, where basically yang is the most expansive and volatile, something we cannot grasp; and yin is the most concrete and material, something which is real.
From the Chinese point of view, a man, heaven and earth are the ones. We are all unique, but as we are all part of the universe, it makes are insignificant too. Understanding our uniqueness and insignificance at the same time is the core recipe to be happy.
Heaven is pure spirit (yang) and earth is pure essence (yin), while man is composed of both energies (yin and yang).
BaZi helps understand human nature. Depending on the situation, something that seems good might turn out to be bad and vice-versa. So what really is BaZi?
Four pillars of destiny – BaZi
BaZi (Chin. shēngchén bāzì生辰八字) means eight characters, or literally “birth time eight characters". These eight characters are translated from our birth information – year, month, day and hour – into four pairs of distinct Chinese characters.
Therefore, four pairs make eight characters, and each pair generate a person’s BaZi data or year, month, day and hour of birth. These characters, one on top, one below, are read together as one Pillar, and that’s why the term, Four Pillars is applied.
By decoding a person’s BaZi, we can unlock and understand a person’s life and destiny, which represents a system of thousands of possible combinations. BaZi is part of Chinese classical study which dates back to the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 to 907). Famous texts in Chinese literature includes Di tian sui (Chin.滴天髓), and Zi ping zhen quan (Chin.子平真詮).
During Song Dynasty (AD 960–1279), Xú Zi Píng (Chin.徐子平), reformed BaZi, and is considered to be a founding father of today’s system of BaZi.
BaZi teaches us when to use wu wei (Chin. 无为) which is a basic concept in Taoism - to do nothing and let things take their own course (stillness). This means that we know when to act and when not to act because we understand the flow around us - we know the best timing for our actions.
The five element theory is a source component of BaZi, and its chart code (year, month, day, hour of birth), and makes expression in the form of the five elements (fire, water, wood, earth, metal). When BaZi chart is decoded, it provides us with information what is the strength of the various elements at the time of a person’s birth. Each element represents a particular aspect of a person’s life (i.e. wealth, career, relationships). BaZi is a system that centers on the concept of balance between the elements.
Just as in nature there are unexpected storms, in human life can occur sudden changes of fortune (Chin. tiān yǒu bù cè fēng yún, rén yǒu dàn xī huò fú 天有不测风云, 人有旦夕祸福) – Chinese Saying.
BaZi is not a kind of fortune-telling, religious or superstitious practice. In fact, BaZi accumulates experiences and observations throw millennia’s very alike modern science, meteorology for example. The difference between BaZi and modern science is in the interpretation of results, where BaZi takes a more philosophical point of view. BaZi isn’t easy, it’s a lifelong learning process. It helps us understand ourselves better, factors which influence us, guides us, and helps us to make better decisions and improvement of life.