Jump to content


Photo

The Lo Shu 洛書 (River Book) Magic Square


  • Please log in to reply
12 replies to this topic

#1 Stigweard

Stigweard

    The Janitor

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3933 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toowoomba, Australia
  • Interests:Master Ni Hua Ching, Taijiquan, Qigong, Neidan, Laozi, I Ching.

Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:23 PM

In response to Gold's questions in the ghosts thread:

To Stigweard and TheWhiteRabbit:

Thank you! That was interesting. Stig, your square gives me more questions than it gives answers. Why square? Why only 9 squares? Why that order of numbers? Needless to say nothing there seems intuitive to me and it makes no sense. Why is hun on the left sude, west, and po on the right side, east? Why can't hun be north or a corner? I just don't get it.

It's obvious to me that the square is arbitrary, and that's fine. But! If you make a system like that, it better have some interesting and elegant properties. However if the system is arbitrary, but is not intuitive, and has no interesting properties and no elegance, then I don't think it's a good system. It is subjective, but that's my take on it. The magical square appears clumsy to me.


Excellent questions Gold ... I will preface my answer by saying that this is all on the periphery of my understanding so I apologise in advance if my response is in any way inadequate.

The Lo Shu (River Book) Square 洛書 was said to have been discovered on the back of a magical river turtle by the Emperor Hsia Yu 夏禹 (c. 4000 BC). It appeared as a 3X3 gridwork of black (Yin) and white (Yang) dots:
Posted ImagePosted Image

Count the dots in each section and you get:

Posted Image

The reason it is called the Magic Square is because when you add up the numbers in each row, column and diagonal you always get 15.

Posted Image

This basic mathematical understanding was eventually formalised into the I Ching by King Wen (1766-1121 B.C.):

Posted Image

And of course the entire body of Taoist sciences, Feng Shui, TCM, Astrology, Military and Political Strategy, Martial Arts, Spiritual Alchemy etc., find their root here.

#2 Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1901 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:09 PM

this goes back to Ancient Bon po & Ancient Persia (Ancient Sufi).

10,000 + years ago

Edited by Vajrasattva, 12 March 2009 - 10:10 PM.

Om Benza Sato Hung Phey

#3 TheWhiteRabbit

TheWhiteRabbit

    ...

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 472 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:12 PM

this goes back to Ancient Bon po & Ancient Persia (Ancient Sufi).

10,000 + years ago


Yeah wasnt that the Zoroastrians?
I know Judaism and Christianity has its roots there...

The indus river valley peoples spoke of people bringing this strong spirituality (aryan, persian) peoples to that area.

Id like to give some links regarding the different arts based upon the hexigrams and energies using similar principles...
Five Arts WebForum

Books Available on the subject:
Joey Yap's Books and site - You can get Chinese Metaphysics Compendium Here!

If you have trouble getting a handle on a qi men dun jia book:
David Twicken has one here for sale

Most of the more complicated diagrams and castings use the magic square or PAN as it is called to cast.
Learning these arts is a difficult undertaking alone.

the bone oracle times are when this river diagram came from, the time of heating turtle shells and reading the cracks in the shell to see the future. To this day a lot of magic books are still etched in bone fragments also as a side point.

Hope that helps.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“To be great is to be misunderstood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.” Benjamin Franklin
“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” Dalai Lama
“To understand everything is to forgive everything” Buddha
How Metaphysical Messages work:
Spoiler

#4 Stigweard

Stigweard

    The Janitor

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3933 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toowoomba, Australia
  • Interests:Master Ni Hua Ching, Taijiquan, Qigong, Neidan, Laozi, I Ching.

Posted 12 March 2009 - 11:25 PM

this goes back to Ancient Bon po & Ancient Persia (Ancient Sufi).

10,000 + years ago


Cheers for this :D

It would be great if you could provide some links or references to support what you say ;)

#5 Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1901 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 March 2009 - 04:54 AM

Cheers for this :D

It would be great if you could provide some links or references to support what you say ;)



I did not learn this from the internet but its common knowledge in Bon po. My Lama taught me this.

And if you are in an esoteric sufi order its all there aswell.

I would be also almost certain that the free masons have it too.

this has some insight probably the only commercial thing out there that does.

http://www.boandbon.com/
pg. 241 in Dimitry Ermakov's book.
Om Benza Sato Hung Phey

#6 Stigweard

Stigweard

    The Janitor

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3933 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toowoomba, Australia
  • Interests:Master Ni Hua Ching, Taijiquan, Qigong, Neidan, Laozi, I Ching.

Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:20 AM

I did not learn this from the internet but its common knowledge in Bon po. My Lama taught me this.

And if you are in an esoteric sufi order its all there aswell.

I would be also almost certain that the free masons have it too.

this has some insight probably the only commercial thing out there that does.

http://www.boandbon.com/
pg. 241 in Dimitry Ermakov's book.


Cheers for this. I respect the teachings of your Lama. I am interested if there is any way to verify the Bon Po root of the Lo Shu. Religions do after all have an historical habit of claiming the discoveries of another as their own :D

Posted Image

Whilst you can certainly draw lines of connection with this Bon Po Swastika we certainly cannot say with any certainty at all that it was the originating inspiration for the Lo Shu.

Edited by Stigweard, 13 March 2009 - 05:24 AM.


#7 YMWong

YMWong

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 681 posts
  • Location:Hong Kong

Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:25 AM

According to Ho Peng Yoke the Luoshu is originally chinese and was transmitted later elsewhere:

"The Luoshu diagram is the earliest known magic square in the world. It was transmitted later, probably during the Tang period, to India and the Muslim world, where it came into use as a charm, for example, for easing childbirth"

Li, Qi and Shu: An Introduction to Science and Civilization in China
By Peng Yoke Ho
Published by Courier Dover Publications, 2000

And here is Robinet's take':

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

YM

Edited by YMWong, 13 March 2009 - 06:26 AM.

Posted Image

#8 Gerard

Gerard

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2934 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 March 2009 - 06:34 AM

Way before that and in many different cultures:

http://www.midwester...swastika01.html

http://www.collector.../fa/fa086.shtml


Myths of creation and origin:

http://www.mircea-el...zen/create.html

Eliade Mircea researched extensively the topics of Religion and Shamanism.



Edited: A sudden interest in the Divine by sentient beings turned humans in their karmic evolution. Like the spark that revealed the Homo Sapiens as an evolved being.

Symbology in Religion. A very interesting topic.

Edited by durkhrod chogori, 13 March 2009 - 06:40 AM.


#9 lienshan

lienshan

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 697 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Denmark
  • Interests:Gambling on Horseraces

Posted 13 March 2009 - 09:20 AM

Count the dots in each section and you get:

1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9 = 35 turtle shell scutes :unsure:

Posted Image

This basic mathematical understanding was eventually formalised into the I Ching by King Wen (1766-1121 B.C.)

I've seen quite a few explanations of the connection between the Lo Shu diagram and the King Wen hexagram sequence.
They all have this in common, that each explanation only can be understood by the one explaining :blink:

lienshan

#10 WhiteTiger

WhiteTiger

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 670 posts
  • Location:Bay Area, CA
  • Interests:Everything that is related to health. Fitness field as well as Nutrition.<br /><br />Hope to meet a Master and a Priest willing pass on their knowledge.

Posted 13 March 2009 - 10:41 AM

I've seen quite a few explanations of the connection between the Lo Shu diagram and the King Wen hexagram sequence.
They all have this in common, that each explanation only can be understood by the one explaining :blink:

lienshan


Your not talking about one explaining it intellectually... Your talking about transmitting the actual practices.

To know is to experience.


The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name. - Lao Tzu

#11 goldisheavy

goldisheavy

    the smartest idiot

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3355 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 March 2009 - 02:28 PM

Stigweard,

Thank you! :) That was interesting. Now I have a tiny bit more background on the square. The fact that all the numbers along all the lines add up to 15 is a nice elegant property, just what I was asking about. However this property is intrinsic to the square itself and I fail to see how this relates to life in general.

So this still leaves a lot of questions. Why is hun on the left? And so on. I don't want to type 100 question, I just hope you intuitively understand where I am coming from.

My take on this is as follows. Someone had a visionary experience that this person integrated into themselves. This person found meaningful relationships between the square and one's life, and codified those relationships (either orally or in writing, or even just mentally to oneself only). However, there are many many ways to come up with competing and equally meaningful magical symbolisms. Visionary experiences haven't stopped 10,000 years ago! People still have visions and magical experiences today, and it's possible someone is seeing a seagull with a magic circle instead of a magical square, today, as we speak, and the world will discuss its implications 10,000 years from now in some future forum, perhaps on another planet, because perhaps humanity will by then have migrated across the galaxy.

Also, I agree that religions constantly claim the discoveries of other religions as their own, but I believe there is some innocent honesty in such claims. I believe that all comes from the same common mind, and because of that, different people in different locations can independently discover the same thing. We don't have to go to religion to see this. This happens in Western science pretty commonly and is fairly well documented.

The implication of this is that each person has infinite wisdom "buried" in their own mind. In a sense, all religions are stealing this wisdom from the person by implying that this wisdom is extrinsic to the person and that the person must go to religious authorities for illumination.

Edited by goldisheavy, 13 March 2009 - 02:30 PM.

You will attain whatever you set your mind to attain. No maybe about it. It's only a question of when.

#12 Stigweard

Stigweard

    The Janitor

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3933 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toowoomba, Australia
  • Interests:Master Ni Hua Ching, Taijiquan, Qigong, Neidan, Laozi, I Ching.

Posted 13 March 2009 - 03:28 PM

Stigweard,

Thank you! :) That was interesting. Now I have a tiny bit more background on the square. The fact that all the numbers along all the lines add up to 15 is a nice elegant property, just what I was asking about. However this property is intrinsic to the square itself and I fail to see how this relates to life in general.

So this still leaves a lot of questions. Why is hun on the left? And so on. I don't want to type 100 question, I just hope you intuitively understand where I am coming from.

My take on this is as follows. Someone had a visionary experience that this person integrated into themselves. This person found meaningful relationships between the square and one's life, and codified those relationships (either orally or in writing, or even just mentally to oneself only). However, there are many many ways to come up with competing and equally meaningful magical symbolisms. Visionary experiences haven't stopped 10,000 years ago! People still have visions and magical experiences today, and it's possible someone is seeing a seagull with a magic circle instead of a magical square, today, as we speak, and the world will discuss its implications 10,000 years from now in some future forum, perhaps on another planet, because perhaps humanity will by then have migrated across the galaxy.

Also, I agree that religions constantly claim the discoveries of other religions as their own, but I believe there is some innocent honesty in such claims. I believe that all comes from the same common mind, and because of that, different people in different locations can independently discover the same thing. We don't have to go to religion to see this. This happens in Western science pretty commonly and is fairly well documented.

The implication of this is that each person has infinite wisdom "buried" in their own mind. In a sense, all religions are stealing this wisdom from the person by implying that this wisdom is extrinsic to the person and that the person must go to religious authorities for illumination.


An excellent response Gold! :D

In terms of the directions this is quite easy ... if you printed this graphic out:

Posted Image

placed it on the floor with Li/Fire/9 facing the South then Chen/Wood/3 is quite conveniently in the East ;) So yes the Lo Shu is also a geographical indicator. The Flying Stars Feng Shui system is based on the Lo Shu.

And you are very right I believe in your assertion that the Lo Shu is the result of a visionary having a 'mystical' insight and articulating that into this symbolic representation. It is merely relevant to our discussions here because it is the established foundation of so much of Taoist thought and development.

:D

#13 Zhongyongdaoist

Zhongyongdaoist

    Tao Bum!

  • The Tao Bums
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 633 posts

Posted 13 March 2009 - 05:33 PM

The fact that all the numbers along all the lines add up to 15 is a nice elegant property, just what I was asking about. However this property is intrinsic to the square itself and I fail to see how this relates to life in general.

goldisheavy,

The applicability of a formal system to life is seldom obvious and the magic square of 3 is a formal system. Among other things is has a formal analogy to the matrices used to solve linear equations, but I am sure that I am only pointing out the obvious to you. It is also unique among the families of 'magic squares' in being the only one with one member and if I recall correctly also being symmetrical in all transformations. Now symmetry is important, for example:

'Some of the most basic aspects of physics follow from looking at symmetries. The symmetry under translations in space implies the conservation of momentum, while symmetry under translation in time implies the conservation of energy. The relation between these conservation laws and the symmetry transformation is much more direct in quantum theory than it is is classical mechanics.' Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, p. 36


and more interestingly:

'The SU(2) transformation properties of a particle have become known as a particle's spin. This term comes from the idea that one could think of a particle as a spinning particle, spinning on some axis and thus carrying some angular momentum. This idea is inherently inconsistent for a number of reasons. While the spin is a quantized version of the angular momentum, there is no well defined axis or speed of rotation. Spin is an inherently quantum-mechanical notion, one that fits in precisely with the representation theory of the symmetry group SU(2), but has no consistent interpretation terms of classical physics.' ibid. p. 46


In other words formal mathematical systems could be seen to determine such macro properties as why tops spin, and such necessary phenomena as the conservation of energy and motion. Particle spin even explains why we have 'matter' and 'energy'.

The magic square of 3 could be just such a formal mathematical system whose importance was discovered 2000 plus years ago and whose area of applicability happens to be to spiritual cultivation and a description of humanity's spiritual potential.

The applicability of such systems to life is determined by their 'fruitfulness' and generations of Daoist practice could be used as an argument that this system is very fruitful indeed.

I leave your other questions for another time, but the most important one has been addressed.
Donald
aka Zhongyongdaoist


'It is better for us that there should be difference of judgment, if we keep charity: but it is most unmanly to quarrel because we differ'

'Nothing spoils human Nature more, than false Zeal ... because I may be Mistaken, I must not be dogmatical and confident, peremptory and imperious. I will not break the certain Laws of Charity, for a doubtful Doctrine or of uncertain Truth'

'... I oppose not rational to spiritual; for spiritual is most rational: But I contradistinquish rational to conceited, impotent , affected CANTING ...'

All by Benjamin Whichcote, 17th Century English Theologian, quoted from Ernst Cassirer's The Platonic Renaissance in England, a much neglected book of Wisdom.

All of that said it remains true that:

Only the man of virtue knows whom to love and whom to hate. Confucius, Analects 4.3




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users