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The Sinicization of Indo-Iranian Astrology in Medieval China

 
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Edward White



Joined: 27 Jan 2019
Posts: 28
Location: UK

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:25 pm    Post subject: The Sinicization of Indo-Iranian Astrology in Medieval China Reply with quote

All those interested in Chinese astrology would doubtless delight in Dr. Jeffery Kotyk's new paper, The Sinicization of Indo-Iranian Astrology in Medieval China

http://sino-platonic.org/complete/spp282_Indo-Iranian_Astrology_China.pdf

If you have an hour, you should watch this podcast, which brings some background to the paper.

http://theastrologypodcast.com/2018/11/19/the-transmission-of-horoscopic-astrology-to-china-japan/


________

I feel I should bring up one important aspect of Chinese astronomy/astrology here-- the correspondence between the Chinese 'Zodiac animals' and the western signs of the zodiac.

Many people are aware Chinese zodiac operates on a yearly level-- i.e. the signs change once a year. But the Chinese have also decided to assign the '12 animals' to the 12 divisions of the ecliptic called the 'zodiac' in the west. This is a very old correspondence, as the paper shows.

The correspondence is this:

Rat--Aquarius
Ox-- Capricorn
Tiger-- Sagittarius
Rabbit-- Scorpio
Dragon-- Libra
Snake-- Virgo
Cow-- Leo
Goat -- Cancer
Monkey-- Gemini
Chicken-- Taurus
Dog-- Aries
Pig-- Pisces.

So, whilst the west would say "The moon is in the 12th degree of Pisces" the Chinese would say "月亥十二度"- "The moon is in the 12th degree of the Pig"

This correspondence is used in the horoscopic form of astrology-- i.e. involving the positions of the planets and the ecliptic. However, this system this is hardly used anymore, as it is unnecessary in the forms of astrology most commonly practiced today (Bazi/Four Pillars, Ziwei doushu).

In the case of Four Pillars, they do assign the 'zodiac animals' to the 12 months of the year, but they do so using a different system.
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 3425
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi there,

i always remember the connection with the 12 signs and the chinese animals being the same as listed in this link, which is different then how you list them in your post...

http://www.vedic-astrology-prediction.com/articles/chinese-zodiac-signs.html

so, i am curious if you got them wrong, or if a number of other people have gotten them wrong? thanks...

i always associated the 12 sign cycle with jupiter and felt there was a direct relation to the cycle of jupiter.. i can't remember if anyone mentioned that to me some time in the past, but this is something i related to..

that 98 page pdf looks extremely interesting.. thanks for sharing that!

of particular interest in connection with a topic i raised here recently - mansions of the moon, i quote from pages 8 -10 from the pdf you shared.." With respect to the technical features of nakṣatras, in both ancient China and India the orbital path of the Moon was divided into twenty-eight lunar stations of unequal lengths. As we will discuss below, these became an important part of Chinese horoscopy in later centuries. In Chinese these are called xiu宿 or “lodges.” The Moon transits through the stations over the course of approximately twenty-eight days (its actual orbital period is 27.3 days). Despite the similarities between the Chinese and Indian systems, Dharmarakṣa’s translation of the Śārdūlakarṇāvadāna did not use the Chinese names of the stations as functional equivalents for the nakṣatras, although he did call them the twenty-eight xiu. For instance, the nakṣatra Mṛgaśīrṣa (“deer’s head”) was semantically translated as lu shou鹿首 (“deer’s head”).12 This stands in contrast to Guṇabhadra’s translation, in which he used the Chinese lunar station Zi 觜 as a functional equivalent for Mṛgaśīrṣa. It was from this early period of Sino-Indian contact that Chinese Buddhists and later other East Asian peoples generally conceived of the nakṣatras as identical to their native lunar stations despite their actual differences. These differences were cause for confusion when Amoghavajra 不空 (705–774) and his team compiled the Xiuyao jing宿曜經 (“Sūtra of Nakṣatras and Planets”), a manual of nominally Buddhist astrology, in 759 with a subsequent revision in 764. There are two primary recensions of this text: the “Japanese” and the “mainland” versions, the former being closest to the original text (Yano 2013: 253–264).13 The Japanese recension notes that the nakṣatra Kṛttikā is comprised of six stars and offers the following comment: Mao in Tang Astronomy is seven stars. Now, according to the explanation of this text, the stars are not identical to those of the Great Tang, which is why in astronomical charts of the Great Tang, [Kṛttikā] is below said lunar station.14Although in practice “Kṛttikā” and “Mao” both refer to the Pleiades, it appears that the Chinese team working under Amoghavajra was confused as a result of the variant star count. They attempted to identify similarities between the Indian and Chinese systems on the basis of star charts. They noted that most of the nakṣatras did not correspond to the Chinese lunar stations. To complicate matters, the nakṣatra system of the original Xiuyao jing uses twenty-seven nakṣatras, in which Abhijit (corresponding to the Chinese Niu 牛) is dropped. This system of twenty-seven nakṣatras was at the time a relatively recent change in the Indian Buddhist community. This revision attempted to reconcile the twelve zodiac signs — a non-Indian system — with the native nakṣatras by turning the nakṣatras into twenty-seven uniformly equal zones.15 Although nobody in China was, it seems, aware of the novelty of this new system, it did pose a problem, since in practice it would have been infeasible for the Chinese to revise their ancient system of strictly twenty-eight lunar stations. This is why there was no attempt ever to implement the system of twenty-seven for the purposes of observational astronomy.16 The Chinese simply continued using their native system of observational astronomy while utilizing nakṣatra lore in astrological consultations "
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Edward White



Joined: 27 Jan 2019
Posts: 28
Location: UK

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

james_m wrote:
hi there,

i always remember the connection with the 12 signs and the chinese animals being the same as listed in this link, which is different then how you list them in your post...

http://www.vedic-astrology-prediction.com/articles/chinese-zodiac-signs.html

so, i am curious if you got them wrong, or if a number of other people have gotten them wrong? thanks...



The correspondence used in the page link you posted is the one used in Four Pillars astrology. The basic data for four pillars astrology are the 'zodiac animals' for the year, month, day and hour.

We are now talking about the 'month' component. The Chinese divide the sun's journey across the Ecliptic into 24 equal parts, called Solar terms. Two of these terms (i.e. 15x2=30 degrees) constitute one ‘month’ for the purposes of four pillars astrology. Each of these months is assigned on Zodiac animal.

However, there is a complication. Because of the way in which the whole system is arranged, these months actually start halfway through each western sign. Here is the system in full.

Tiger ‘month’ --- When the Sun is between 15Aqu00 to 14Pis59
Rabbit ‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Pis00 to 14 ari 59
Dragon ‘month’ --- When the Sun is between 15ari00 to 14 Tau 59
Snake‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Tau00 to 14 Gem 59
Horse‘month’ ---When the Sun is between 15Gem00 to 14Can59
Goat‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Gem00 to 14Can59
Ape‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Can00 to 14Leo59
Chicken‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Leo00 to 14Vir59
Dog‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Vir00 to 14Lib59
Pig‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Lib00 to 14Sco59
Rat Month --- When the Sun is between 15Sco00 to 14Cap59
Ox month --- When the Sun is between 15Cap00 to 14Aqu59

This is the wiki link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexagenary_cycle#Sexagenary_months

The systems are not really contradictory—any more than a person who is born in the 3rd month of the year (March) but under the 1st sign of the Zodiac (Aries).

. So now, as I type this (10th April 2019,) a person using the horoscopic astrology would say “The Sun is in the the 20th degree of the Dog, the Moon is in the 19th degree of the monkey, Venus is in 17th degree of the Rat etc.“ (in “The sinicization”, see p.27 )

But if he was using the four pillars astrology he would say today is “Year of Pig, Month of Dragon, Day of Cow” etc.

As for Jupiter’s movements: The yearly animals might have been used for that purpose in the past, but now they are a purely solar thing. For the purposes of four pillars, the year animal changes when the sun enters the tiger month (i.e. the 1st month) – 15aqu00.

I must also add the ‘animals’ are not really used in the astrological literature. They use instead a set of 12 ancient characters collectively known as the ‘earthly branches 地支’. So the zodiac animal of the Pig refers to the Earthly branch of Hai 亥 ; the Monkey is 申
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 3425
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks edward,

a couple of them look very different to me... rabbit, or pig for pisces??

they look very different to me..

here is what you first posted
Edward White wrote:

The correspondence is this:

Rat--Aquarius
Ox-- Capricorn
Tiger-- Sagittarius
Rabbit-- Scorpio
Dragon-- Libra
Snake-- Virgo
Cow-- Leo
Goat -- Cancer
Monkey-- Gemini
Chicken-- Taurus
Dog-- Aries
Pig-- Pisces.


here is the quote from your latest post
Edward White wrote:


Tiger ‘month’ --- When the Sun is between 15Aqu00 to 14Pis59
Rabbit ‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Pis00 to 14 ari 59
Dragon ‘month’ --- When the Sun is between 15ari00 to 14 Tau 59
Snake‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Tau00 to 14 Gem 59
Horse‘month’ ---When the Sun is between 15Gem00 to 14Can59
Goat‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Gem00 to 14Can59
Ape‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Can00 to 14Leo59
Chicken‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Leo00 to 14Vir59
Dog‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Vir00 to 14Lib59
Pig‘month’--- When the Sun is between 15Lib00 to 14Sco59
Rat Month --- When the Sun is between 15Sco00 to 14Cap59
Ox month --- When the Sun is between 15Cap00 to 14Aqu59


clearly i am not understanding you!
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Edward White



Joined: 27 Jan 2019
Posts: 28
Location: UK

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are correct. The systems are different. Each has its own use.

The one in my first post (Rat=Aqu) is a general system for measuring the planet's places. It is functionally equivalent to the western division of the ecliptic.

The one in the second post (Rat=15Sco00 to 14Cap59 etc.) is a system that is exclusively used when referring to the sun's position in the ecliptic, and nothing else. It is used to determine the position of the months in the Chinese calendar.

To return to the previous example, (10 Apri 2019), if a Chinese astrologer was asked about where the sun was on that date, he would say "The Sun is in 20th degree of the Dog" or in western terms 20 Aries.

If he was asked what month it was in his calendar, he would say "It is the month of the Dragon", as the sun was between 15Ari00 to 14 Tau 59.

Or, to put it another way “When the Sun reaches 15th degree of Dog, we say the month of the Dragon has started; when the Sun has reached the 15th degree of the chicken, the month of the Dragon has ended, and the month of the Snake has started”

Or, to give a western example “When a person is born with the sun in the 1st sign of the Zodiac, he was born in the 3rd month of the year.” The “12 zodiac animals” take the function of the numbers in this example.

You must remember, the twelve ‘zodiac animals’ are a set of 12 terms that the Chinese use to count things in sets of 12. Old Chinese dictionaries are also divided into 12 parts, which are also named after the 12 terms,
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james_m



Joined: 05 Dec 2011
Posts: 3425
Location: vancouver island

Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks edward,

it's a good thing i am not trying to understand chinese astrology! indian astro is enough for me at this time.. cheers james
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