XU ZIPING (10th century A.D.)


Xu Zi Ping or Xu Ziping (徐子平) was a Bazi Grand master, who reformed the system of Fate calculation (Suan ming). Under his influence this system became more sophisticated and more accurate. Instead of the Old school practicies he abandoned some of the old techniques and started to use some new solutions. Grand master Xu is a founding father of the new school, which is named school of Ziping in his honor. Today this school of Four pillars is the most popular approach to the study of Destiny (Ming).

Little is known today about his personality. His real name was probably Xu Juyi and Xu Ziping was his later style name. There are two historical quotations about him; one quotation tells to us that he lived at the time of Five Dynasties Period (907-960 A-D.), when he was a hermit in Huashan Mountain. The other quotation mentions him as an expert in Fate calculation (Suan ming) at the time of Northern Song dynasty (960-1127 A.D.). With these considerations we are allowed to presume that he lived somewhere around 960 A.D.

Before Xu there were even more sages, who were developing the method of Fate calculation, mainly with the help of Yi jing. Sanming tonghui, a late book from 16.-th century, mentions that the actual father of Bazi was Yi Xing (cca. 683-727 A.D.). Bazi definitely developed along with the western and Indian type of astrology and used comparative method and Yi jing verification. It is possible that Yi Xing, with real name Zhang Sui, was the real father of Bazi fundamentals. And it was Yi Xing, not Li Xuzhong, who was claimed to be the best Fate calculator of Tang dynasty.  But all this remains uncertain. Fate Calculation was probably developed from 2nd century B.C. onwards.

Unfortunately all ancient books, which are reported in the chronicles and other historical sources, are now lost with the exception of Li Xuzhong’s book on Fate calculation. Li Xuzhong died before 824 A.D. as his death, caused by poisoning with fake elixir of immortality, was mentioned by Courtier Han Yu. Li Xuzhong was the first known master, who used different cycles of luck for males and females. As Han Yu quotes, master Li was a great scholar of Five elements (Wuxing) doctrine and used day, month and year pillars in his calculations. Probably he never used an hour pillar. Checking of the hour pillar was a technique, which seems to be interpolated into his book on Destiny calculation by later authors, who lived in Song times. His book was remodeled by them and actual authorship was ascribed to impossible and fictitious Guigu Zi from the remote time of Warring States (403-221 B.C.). It is clear, that Li Xuzhong belongs to the Old school. His supposed emphasis on the day stem is later interpolation.

What remains clear is that Xu Ziping was not working without any background matter. By the middle of the 10.th century a great lore of Fate calculation has been established. Old school developed the rules for clash and combine, it was using hidden stems, many special stars, technique of twelve palaces and the luck cycles. The basic reform claimed to be dealt by master Xu is transfer of Heavenly Origin (Tian Yuan) from the year pillar to the day pillar. We should check up that claim, because Xu Ziping remains very mysterious person.

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