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Chinese Calendar Almanac 'Tong Shu'

Sunday, 24 February 2008
49669 viewers.

The Tong Shu (通書) is a Chinese divination guide and almanac. It consists primarily of a calendar based on the Chinese lunar year. Most of the contents of the book deals with what is suitable to do on each day. Some Chinese families still follow these days for wedding ceremonies, funerals, etc.

The Tung Shing originated from the Wong Lik (黃曆, the "Yellow Calendar").

Most of the contents of the book deals with what is suitable to do on each day. Some Chinese families still follow these days for wedding ceremonies, funerals, etc. The most common use of the Tung Shing is in choosing a wedding date. The Tung Shing contains information on the auspicious and inauspicious days for weddings and/or engagements. In addition, it provides the auspicous timing in which to carry out such activities. The Tung Shing also provide a conversion of years and date between the lunar year and the common year. In more detailed versions, the calendar will list eclipses (both solar and lunar), the start of each season, and days when it will be cold or hot. It also teaches ethics and values through stories.

Two is two version of the Chinese Almanac, aka Tong Shu 通書 or Tong Sheng 通勝. One is the thin version (about 80 pages) instead of the standard thick version. The key difference between the two is that thin version only has the calendar section and it constitutes less than 20% of the standard thick version. So in this article, I shall take the opportunity to briefly introduce the calendar section of a typical Chinese Almanac and point out what information is available in it.

The copy of Alamanc I usually use came from Hong Kong and sample pages (figure 4 and 5) are shown below. There are also Tong Sheng 通勝 publised in Taiwan, whose layout may differ from the one shown here but basically the information is more or less the same. Most standard Almanac, published yearly, are usually quite thick and more than 80% of the information are the same for each year. The first few pages, consisting of the year zodiac for example 2010 "Spring Ox Diagram" (Chun Niu Tu 春牛圖) in figure 1, "Annual Stars Directions" (Shen Sha 神煞) in figure 2 and "Heavenly God Bestowing Luck" (Tian Guan Si Fu 天官賜福) in figure 3 are unique to each year while the last 20% of the Almanac, which consists of the calendar section, is also different for each year. The 80% portion, which is repeated every year, contains topics ranging from face reading 面相, bazi 八字, dong gong date selection 董公擇日, talismans, various fortune telling systems, year charts, etc. This is why Tong Sheng is commonly known as the Chinese Almanac in English.

Figure 1 - Chun Niu Tu (Spring Ox Diagram) for year 2010 shown above

The Chun Niu Tu 春牛圖 page basically show some important metaphysical statistics for the year such as tai sui 太歲, element of the heavenly stem 天干五行, element of the earthly branches 地支五行, nayin element 納音五行 of the year, and the general conditions of the year. The left section shows the lunar start date of the 24 solar terms 二十四節氣.

Figure 2 - Annual Shen Sha (Stars) direction for year 2010 shown above

This page shows the various locations/directions of the shen sha 神煞 associated with the year for each of the 24 mountains 二十四山. The more important ones that people usually take note are the San Sha 三煞, 5 Yellow star 五黃 and the direction facing the Tai Sui 歲破.

Figure 3 - Tian Guan Ci Fu chart shown above

This page shows the shen sha 神煞 associated with each of the 12 palaces of the earthly branches. Most Chinese masters and practitioners of feng shui refer to this page to publish or make predictions for the 12 Chinese animal zodiac signs. These predictions are solely based on the presence of the good stars 吉星 and bad stars 凶星 in these palaces. For example if you are born in the year of the horse 馬, you will refer the the Wu 午 palace and see what good or bad stars are in it. Moreover, you also need to refer to the opposite palace (Zi 子 palace) and the matrix palaces 三方四正 (Yin 寅 and Xu 戌 palaces) to make a general assessment of all these stars affecting you for the year.

Figure 4 - Calendar Section: The first page of the first lunar month for 2010 is shown above.

The right half of the page shows information pertaining to the lunar month as a whole while the left half of the page show the specific information pertaining to each day, starting from the first lunar day, arranged into columns.
Figure 5 - Calendar Section: The second page of the first lunar month for 2010 is shown above.

The remaining information for each day of the lunar month are listed in subsequent pages. For the page above it show the 4th lunar day (17th Feburary 2010) from the right column to the twenty-first lunar day (6th March 2010) at the left column.

The following information below are the main focus for this article, which is to point out what the various sections of the calendar page means.
Figure 6 - Calendar Section: The various parts of the page.

The information in the calendar section of the Alamanc normally being compiled from a classical encyclopedic Chinese Alamanc known as Xie Ji Bian Feng 協記辯方. In the ancient original format, this book consists of 4 volumes in Traditional Chinese, hard to read but it is also avaliable in a single volume format printed using modern typeset font. Mainland China published ones are in Simplified Chinese and the tables and charts are neatly compiled but sometimes they contains errors in translation. Therefore instead of referring to the hard to read compliacted encyclopedic Xie Ji Bian Feng 協記辯, people just simply buy the Tong Shu for simplicity and convenience.

Naturally our online Chinese Almanac "Tong Shu" take in all the consideration for date selection.

a. It reveals Date and time selection for career, business, wealth, romance, dating, marriage, study, travel, investments, grand opening, start a new business, engagement, signing contracts plus many many more covering all aspects of your life for modern living.

b. The daily four pillars

c. Your personal auspicious hours.

d. Your personal good and bad directions

and many more...

Click here for our Chinese Almanac "Tong Shu"
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