|Chinese medical divination has a history that dates back some two thousand years. Qi Men Dun Jia is one form of divination currently practiced in China, Taiwan, Singapore and SE Asia.
Qi Men Dun Jia is an ancient form of divination that, according to Chinese legend, originated with the Yellow Emperor. Just as Chinese Medicine traces its origins to the Yellow Emperor´s Internal Classic ????, so does Qi Men Dun Jia claim the Yellow Emperor as its founder. In the Zhou Kingdom, the royal government separated divination from formal medicine, and the two have been divided ever since, at least on the official, government level. In recent years however, steps have been taken to re-unite the two traditions in China and abroad. In the past year, the spread of Qi Men Dun Jia to Southeast Asia and around the world signals the development of this trend.
From China´s remote antiquity to the Zhou era, Yi over Wu formed the character for medicine. This reflected the fused traditions of medicine and shamanism with classic works such as the I Ching ?? (Zhou Yi ??). Etymologically, the connection between medicine and shamanism was seen in the joining of the character Yi ? (doctor or medicine) and Wu ?, (shaman) to represent medicine. During the Zhou ? era, Zhou royal governments separated Yi from Wu, replacing Wu with the characters She and You:
The intention of the Zhou government was to permanently cleave medicine from shamanism, to develop a more "scientific" or government-sanctioned body of medicine while at the same time proscribing shamanism, or at least banishing shamanic practices to the countryside. The conflict between officially-sanctioned medicine and shamanic folk practices continues today with official medicine largely in the urban areas and folk medicine thriving in rural Chinese towns and villages.
In recent years, a trend has appeared to merge these two traditions of Chinese medicine. Yang Li, a Beijing medical professor who specialises in medical divination, has published three books on the subject, one of them based on lecture notes for her medical classes in Beijing. Yang describes a number of ancient divination systems, including Wu Yun Liu Qi ????, Da Liu Ren ???, Tai Yi ?? and Qi Men Dun Jia ????. In "The I Ching and Chinese Medicine," Li advocates the adoption of Qi Men Dun Jia for use in medical divination:
"In general, both Qi Men Dun Jia and Wu Yun Liu Qi ???? have solid astronomical backgrounds rooted in ancient mathematics. Both systems take the Zhou Yi, the theories of Yin and Yang and Five Elements, Heavenly Stems and Earth Branches and the Sixty Jia Zi as the basis for their methods of prediction. The two systems stand as shining pearls among the divinatory treasures of ancient China, and each held important influence in the divinatory milieu of ancient China. Each system has its merits and ideally should be used to complement each other to enhance the function of these Chinese cultural treasures."
The introduction of Tibetan medicine into the west has fuelled the trend toward medical divination outside China. Tibetan medicine never experienced a division between divination and formal medicine in that way that Chinese medicine has. Indeed, it remains proscribed to search the internet for "Tibetan Medical divination" within China today. Divination developed in Tibetan culture along with practical Tibetan medicine and was introduced to the west in holistic form beginning in the 1960´s.
Qi Men Dun Jia developed in China primarily as a form of military divination, but today has applications in business, law enforcement, match-making, trouble-shooting and medicine. In the reform era following the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (after 1976), some Chinese scholars revived the ancient tradition of I Ching or Zhou Yi research. Foremost among these scholars is Zhang Zhichun, head of the Hebei Province Zhou Yi Research Association, based in the Hebei provincial capital of Shi Jia Zhuang, a few hundred kilometres south of Beijing.
By the mid-1990´s, Zhang had become proficient enough with Qi Men Dun Jia to qualify as a master. In addition to his knowledge of Chinese metaphysics, Zhang has a background in Chinese medicine. Students take classes and weekend seminars with Zhang at the association in Shi Jia Zhuang. Chief among those students is Du Xinhui, who became a teacher with Zhang at the association. Zhang published two books on Qi Men Dun Jia and Du published his own. The example below is selected from Du´s work and has been translated as part of this author´s books.
Skilled Qi Men Dun Jia analysts like Zhang and Du are capable of drawing up a situation and completing an analysis or diagnosis within ten minutes. A situation may be drawn up with paper and pencil, on the fingers of one´s hand, with reference books or with computer software. The diagnosis may indicate the location of the illness, its severity, whether or not the disease can be cured, whether Chinese or western medicine offers appropriate treatment, the efficacy of a particular treatment, as well as the duration of disease. Moreover, Qi Men Dun Jia helps determine the quality and suitability of doctors, the physical direction of a qualified doctor and in some cases, the actual costs of medical treatment.
In Chinese tradition, Qi Men Dun Jia is known for its ability to allow one to "see what the angels see." In its capacity to fathom the unseen forces of nature at work, Qi Men Dun Jia often reveals what lies hidden to the human eye. This is where the true value of Qi Men Dun Jia lies, especially in Chinese medicine, which emphasizes the distinction between root and branch patterns, and in which patients may present with complex, overlapping patterns.
Essential to Qi Men Dun Jia analysis is an understanding of Five Phases and Yin - Yang relationships in Chinese medicine. Symbols engender and curtail each other, based upon their Five Phase relationships. These are tied into the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, which provides the Time element in Qi Men Dun Jia diagnosis. The powerful combination of the eight hexagrams of the I Ching, eight directions, Yin and Yang Theory, Five Phase Theory and the lunar calendar together comprise a precise divination mechanism capable of revealing the heart of many difficult problems as well as a timeline for recovery.
Qi Men Dun Jia divination is conducted by examination of a board upon which are fixed the positions of ten Heavenly Stems, nine stars, nine spirits, eight gates, eight hexagrams, and eight directions. These elements are divided into levels which represent Heaven, Earth, spirit and humanity. Analysis of the board positions of the elements yields clues which permit practitioners to draw conclusions about health problems and their solutions.
Qi Men Dun Jia divination emphasizes key times in a given case, usually the precise hour during which a patient requests a diagnosis. The practitioner selects the particular Qi Men Dun Jia situation that "governs" that two-hour time period during which the request is made. The analyst then begins to diagnose the patient´s illness, based on the specific configuration of symbols at that hour of the day or evening. Through an aspect of Space - Time relations that is not yet understood by modern physics, the corresponding Qi Men Dun Jia situation always holds relevance for the question at hand; no matter what time the question is posed.
Qi Men Dun Jia is based on the traditional Chinese lunar calendar and the traditional Chinese clock. In Qi Men Dun Jia, a day has only twelve hours, and seasons consist of fifteen days. These are divided into three periods, or yuan, each lasting five days. Each yuan consists of sixty hours, (12 x 5). A season consists of 180 hours, with twenty-four seasons in the Chinese year. A lunar year of 360 days contains 4,320 hours or situations (360 days x 12 double-hours per day = 4,320 double hours, or situations). Through repetition, the 4,320 Qi Men Dun Jia situations are reduced into 1, 080 basic situations, and these are divided between 540 Yin and 540 Yang situations per year. The Yang half of the year begins at Winter Solstice and ends at Summer Solstice. The Yin half of the year begins at Summer Solstice and ends at Winter Solstice. The example below illustrates one Qi Men Dun Jia situation that repeats four times per year.
One double - hour equals one situation in Qi Men Dun Jia, as an hour in traditional Chinese time, based on the lunar calendar, equals two contemporary hours. The elements that comprise a situation in Qi Men Dun Jia shift places every two hours, "flying" from palace to palace, as the stars rotate in the skies above.
Proper selection of "Use Spirits" is essential to correct diagnosis. In the case of medical Qi Men Dun Jia, the symbol known as the Tian Rui Star ???generally represents the illness, ailment or disease. The Heavenly Stem that corresponds to the patient´s birth year serves as the Year Fate, which represents the patient in the Qi Men Dun Jia situation. The Heavenly Stem Yi Qi ?? generally represents the doctor or medicine in the situation.
Careful examination of these symbols, coupled with application of Five Element and Yin - Yang principles, leads to a diagnosis. The practitioner must further take into consideration any special rules, postulates or conditions that apply to the specific Qi Men Dun Jia situation in question. Two thousand years of continuous practice of Qi Men Dun Jia have created a fairly large body of such rules, which may be likened to common law and conventions in British law.
Qi Men Dun Jia functions as a type of algebra and geometry of Space - Time, and as such offers only a general overview of a condition. The practitioner must combine their knowledge of Qi Men Dun Jia with medical knowledge and common sense to arrive at a correct diagnosis. The practitioner´s knowledge of the specific facts of a case governs the application of the information generated from a Qi Men Dun Jia situation to the specific condition of a given patient.
While Qi Men Dun Jia may enhance the skills of medical practitioners, a word of caution is in order. Zhang Zhichun writes that Qi Men Dun Jia offers no substitute for professional decision-making. Divination cannot replace traditional diagnostic methods, whether in traditional Chinese medicine or in Western Medicine. However, Qi Men Dun Jia may complement traditional diagnostic methods, Zhang writes, by providing reference to doctors and medical practitioners.
Professor Jack Sweeney
Based at Foreign Affairs, Wuhan University of Technology, China