Sunday, September 23, 2007

Guo Pu

Guo Pu 郭璞 was born in the year 276 AD during the reign of Jin Wu Di 晉武帝. After the death of Jin Wu Di, his mentally retarded son Wei Di 惠帝became the emperor. The Huns invaded China and Jin Dynasty collapsed.

Wei Di’s cousin became the emperor with capital Nanjing. The empire was known as East Jin. It depended its safety on the powerful warlords. Among them general Wang Dun 王敦 was the most powerful. Guo Pu became Wang Dun’s advisor.

In the year 324 AD, Wang Dun planned to overthrow the East Jin Dynasty. Since Guo Pu was renowned in divination, Wang Dun asked him to predict the outcome of the rebellion.
Guo Pu cast a hexagram and told Wang Dun that it would not be successful. Wang suspected that Guo Pu was loyal to the emperor. He then asked Guo Pu to predict how long was Wang’s life. Guo Pu said, “If my lord turns against the emperor, misfortune will be at hand.”

Wang Dun was angry and asked, “Then how long will you live?”
Guo Pu replied, “My life will come to an end today.” He was hoping that Wang would destroy his reputation by allowing him to disprove his own divination.

Wang Dun decided to have Guo Pu to be executed although this meant that his divination was accurate. Two months later, the rebellion led by Wang Dun was crushed and Wang Died. So, Guo Pu predicted accurately his own death and Wang Dun’s death.

Feng Shui masters are of the opinion that the Burial Book 葬書 was written by Guo Pu. Ji Yun 紀昀, the chief editor of Si Gu Quan Shu 四庫全書 was of the opinion that the book was written by someone many hundred years later. According to official history, Guo Pu wrote quite a number of books but the Burial Book was not mentioned.



Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

Sounds like Feng Shui can be a dangerous profession.


Joseph Yu said...

No, Guo Pu died not because of Feng Shui. The story tells us that most people do not listen to astrological advice if they have already made up their mind what to do. They just want to hear something good about their plans.

Being honest can be dangerous if you do not select a good boss.


Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

I find my study of 4 Pillars and Feng Shui so intertwined, I forget to seperate the two. Looking at a person's home tells so much about the possibilities of their future and many times is confirmed by their astrology. There is an ebb and flow between the two.

It is too true what you write... some people are not looking for advice, they only want their desires confirmed. They use this as a substitute for the arduous task of knowing themselves.

If I ever do get serious clients, I will remember this story and think twice who I will do work for.

Thanks again for the excellent translation to English.


Laura said...

thanks for your lively story on Guo Pu! Im writing my thesis about his wandering immortal poetry. Versatile man!