An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Cuiguanpian 催官篇

Jan 5, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Cuiguanpian 催官篇 "Adhortation to the Officials" is a book on geomancy (fengshui 風水) written by the Song-period 宋 (960-1279) scholar Lai Wenjun 賴文俊, courtesy name Taisu 太素, who hailed from Chuzhou 處州 in modern Zhejiang.

Lai was a local official in Jianyang 建陽 and was known as as an expert in landscape divination. He later retired from office and wandered around as a teacher, under the name of Buyizi 布衣子 "Master with the Simple Robes". He is therefore also known as Lai Buyi 賴布衣. Lai authored the books Shaoxing dadai baqian 紹興大地八鈐, Sanshiliu qian 三十六鈐, and the 2-juan-long Cuiguanpian.

The latter is divided into four chapters, dealing with dragons, "cavities" (xue 穴, i.e. lairs of positive energies), "sand" (sha 沙, i.e. smaller heights in the surroundings of a mountain), and water. The text is written in verses. The chapter on dragons describes 24 different types of Yin and Yang 陰陽 (often translated as "female and male") dragons that have the power to generate three different auspicious influences (sanji 三吉) in relation to the trigram zhen 震 and the cyclical signs geng and hai 庚亥, and six efflorescences (liuxiu 六秀) out of the combinations of the trigram xun 巽 and the cyclical signs xin and gen 辛艮, as well as the trigram dui 兌 and the cyclical signs bing and ding 丙丁. A change of these combinations will lead to a change in the auspicious landscape.

The chapter about cavities describes how certain points in the landscape accumulated positive energies, and how these points differed from the surroundings. The chapters on "sands" and water have a very cosmological character and relate the activities of landscape dragons with the starry sky and the health of the human body.

Compared to older texts on geomancy (or such pretending to be older), the book Cuiguanpian is very systematic in the description how Yin and Yang, the Five Agents 五行, the Celestial Stems (tiangan 天干) and Terrestrial Branches (dizhi 地支) were interrelated to each other, and how their combination influenced the energies moving through the landscape.

The text is furnished with an old commentary the author of which is not known. This commentary is very detailed and of great help for the understanding of the complexity of the science of geomancy.

The Cuiguanpian is included in the series Siku quanshu 四庫全書, Dili daquan 地理大全 and Simi quanshu 四秘全書.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1786.