Today I have briefly read the Ma Qian Ke comprising of fourteen (14) separate prophecies or omens attributed to Zhuge Liang, a renowned Shu Han strategist of the Three Kingdoms era, and commented on by a Buddhist priest named Shou Yuan of White Crane Mountain. And preliminary translated and commented by Steve Moore with technical assistance from Steve Marshall. (Also see other credits given in the translation)
This preliminary translation (in PDF format) is made available to readers at the following web address on the Yijing Dao website:
It is the first time I have been able to read this text and the accompanying commentaries in its entirety, with thanks to Steve Moore.
Notwithstanding my brief comments on the Ma Qian Ke or ‘quick prophecies’ by Zhuge Liang aka Kongming as a whole, readers should take into account the various research done by Steve Moore on the authenticity and reliability of this text, especially as to the originality of attached hexagrams and fortune indications to the cryptic verses.
These are my first impressions (which may be refined with further research into the respective hexagrams concerned):
1) Apart from the first omen on Zhuge Liang himself and the Wei Dynasty, apparently each omen refers to a dynasty or a specific era in China.
2) The cryptic verses are similar to those given by Daoist celestial immortals.
3) Those familiar with interpretations of accurate prognostications or Yi omens could know the authenticity of the respective hexagram accompanying each prophecy.
4) I have done a quick check on the first and the 12th prophecies after reading the entire text and found the accompanying hexagrams genuine, since they do bear some relationship with the respective cryptic verses therein.
5) While whether it was Zhuge Liang himself or not who attached the accompanying hexagrams is debatable, whoever has had added them in, certainly possessed the know how to interpret omens. (Also see No: 4 above)
6) This lends additional support to my observations that the correct interpretation of Yi prognostications and omens are repeatable by the very experienced, even though they are from different ‘worlds’ or eras.
7) The accompanying fortune indications are similar to those on Guan Yin Oracles, some or all of which could be later additions. Steve Moore could perhaps do some research into the advent of fortune indications to ascertain the timeline of their addition, if any.
8) While some of the fortune indications look suspect to those familiar with good, average, and bad hexagrams having acquired such experience through extended Yi divination over the decades, one can still learn something from them.
9) Though I know from such extended divination experience which are the best (shang shang), the average (zhong zhong), and the worst (xia xia) hexagrams in Yi prognostications, the subtle and slight variations (shang zhong, zhong xia, for example) presented are not much different from my table self-made on July 9th, 1993 on good, average, and bad hexagrams for investments. This table comprising of the 64 hexagrams in the Book of Changes also contains slight variations in the expected returns on investments for each particular good, average, or bad hexagram.
10) On double checking with this table, the fortune indications on the 9th and the 12th omens appear corrupted. The other twelve fortune indications are appropriate.
11) In my books, the 9th omen, Hexagram 35 Jin / Progress fortune indicated as zhong shang (above average) should rank zhong xia (below average) or lower. And the 12th omen, Hexagram 28 Da Guo / Preponderance of the Great favorably fortune indicated as shang zhong (good) should be ranked xia zhong (bad) instead. Of course my divination experiences would differ from the personage who added in these two fortune indicators. Therefore readers should take in my comments in this particular paragraph with a bit of salt.
12) Hexagram 12 Pi / Stagnation (the 5th omen) is indeed an omen in my books. That was how I knew, again through extended divination experience and observations, about the expected exodus of foreign funds from Asia before it happened. (In early May I have already blogged about my sell down of shares to a very manageable level.)
13) A final comment. If Yi aficionados think that trigrams would indicate good, average, or bad fortune, they could be using incorrect ideas for the interpretation of Yi prognostications. But how would I know?