by Master Zhongxian Wu
(Foreword to Calculating the BaZi by Karin Taylor Wu)
Did you ever wonder why it seems that some people are born with luck while others are merely lucky to be born? Most people prefer to believe that they alone make choices that shape their future. Yet, in large part, our destiny is designed for us, oftentimes without our conscious awareness. In general, our life patterns reflect the patterns of our deeper destiny. According to the Daoist tradition, this is because the experiential reality of a person’s life is ruled by his or her own Ming 命 (karma).
In Chinese, we have a very well-known saying:
A person’s reckoning will never compare with heavenly reckoning
In other words, no matter how carefully you prepare for any event, the influence of the universe is immensely more powerful. However, this does not mean you will never be able to affect your life events through the power of your own choice. In fact, for thousands of years, the very essence of Chinese philosophy holds that our lives are not solely controlled by fate:
My life is in my hands It is not controlled by fate
Through mindfulness and effort, we all have the ability to improve our karma and achieve true autonomy.
How? In order to do so, you first need to know what the heavenly reckoning, TianSuan 天算, or the Cosmic Agenda, is. The way to access TianSuan is, in fact, to have highly refined qualities such as clarity, judgment, and skill, or, in other words, to have well-informed RenSuan 人算.
In Chinese wisdom traditions, there are many arts of RenSuan that help people improve their daily lives. These arts fall under the category of ShuShu 數術, the art of number/ calculation/ mathematics, and include: Chinese medicine, Fengshui, astrology, cosmology, Yijing prediction system, and others. In the higher levels of these arts, specific calculations are applied to bring understanding of the TianSuan behind any condition or phenomenon. SuanBaZi 算八字 is the art of connecting with the TianSuan of your destiny, and it is one of the best ways to optimize both your daily and overall experience of life.
SuanBaZi translates literally as “calculating eight woods/characters.” This art form is also known as SuanMing 算命, which means “calculating destiny.” In the western world, SuanBaZi is most commonly known as Chinese astrology. Over the years, I have come to understand that most people believe that Chinese astrology refers to identifying the characteristics of a yearly animal sign. Unfortunately, this gross misconception is actually intentional, born from an effort to offer an over-simplified view of Chinese astrology to the masses. For the most part these days, people seem to use the Chinese animal signs as entertainment while waiting for dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
Do not be mistaken. The information gleaned from a single-use table placemat represents a minuscule percentage of what actually influences the Chinese astrology chart. Your basic BaZi (Chinese astrology chart) is made with eight Chinese characters that relate to the year, month, day, and hour of birth and includes many, many indicators that can be used to help each individual gain a broader understanding of their life patterns, including precise details about health, finances, and romance.
To make a decent Chinese astrology chart, you must be able to utilize at least a few GanZhi BaZi 干支八字 calculations.
Literally, GanZhi BaZi means “Stem Branch eight characters” because the fundamental aspects of each person’s destiny are mapped out using a unique combination of eight special Chinese characters. Some practitioners refer to GanZhi BaZi as “Stem Branch Chinese Astrology.” Decoding the GanZhi BaZi provides a fast track to changing a person’s karma. It is also one of the most esoteric and challenging Daoist concepts to learn well. Traditionally, it is quite difficult to find a teacher who can clearly and effectively pass this hidden knowledge on to dedicated students.
I have been teaching and providing consultations on GanZhi BaZi since the 1980s. I have observed that in the beginning most students find it very challenging to maintain a clear grasp on the basics of the BaZi. I have also noticed that, after some time passes, many students, especially those who fall out of the rhythm of a regular BaZi practice, find that they no longer understand their own notes! Over the years, I have met requests to write a BaZi book, even a beginner-level BaZi book, with resistance. As I personally prefer to teach the BaZi in real time, I have always answered that I would not have the patience to write such a book. As Confucius states in the Ten Wings of Yijing 易經:
The written word can never fully express the spoken word
Fortunately, with her rich knowledge of the GanZhi BaZi, skillful writing talent, and steadfastness, Karin Taylor Wu is offering us her SuanBaZi workbook. This book delivers clear instruction for making a GanZhi BaZi astrology chart and calculating the cosmic influences. With careful precision, she lays out numerous sample exercises to help students develop their understanding of the calculations, offers many practice exercises to help students get into the flow of chart building, and presents opportunities for deeper understanding by providing real BaZi case studies. On top of all that, this book reveals (for the first time) my own secret method for making a chart without needing to have a GanZhi calendar on hand!
Karin Taylor Wu’s SuanBaZi will bring continual benefits to serious students of Chinese wisdom traditions, such as medicine, astrology, cosmology, Fengshui, Yijing, internal alchemy, Qigong, Taiji, and others. It is an extraordinary tool to help you access your TianSuan, the Cosmic Agenda!
With Destiny Shaping Qi,
Master Zhongxian Wu
BingShen ZhongQiu 丙申中龝 (Mid-autumn of Fire Monkey Year)
“Rainbow Harbor,” Sweden