Iron Abacus Numerology for Fortune Telling - Part 1
The self-help, positive thinking, motivational guru crowd has lots of advice on goal setting, time management, visualization and affirmations, but none of this touches upon the true cultivation process for positively, absolutely altering your fate. That's why I wanted to write this book.
To get to the heart of the matter, I investigated the Zen inspired story of Liao Fan who changed his karmic fate using merit accumulation, the Zhunti mantra and meditation, as well as the stories of Shao Kang Jieh who invented countless fate forecasting systems. I spent several years collecting fate altering stories from all the major religions - Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Zen, ... you name it . as well as the ledger and demerit system of Benjamin Franklin, goal setting systems and the works of Brian Tracey, Napoleon Hill and so on.
After analyzing all these stories along with the teachings of famous masters and astrologers on how to change your fate and karma, it was impossible to come to any other conclusion other than that they all used components of the same basic system, and that the system was based on cultivation concepts of samadhi generation, mantra, cessation-contemplation practice, merit making and discipline.
Without exaggeration, the heart of this information simply blows away anything that the New Age crowd has put together contentwise on how to change your karma (life) for the better since most of that stuff is fluff anyway that's "proved" by coincidental changes in fortune cycles rather than by anything that really alters one's life. Since then I've been writing everything up in a book I've been calling "White Fat Cow" in draft form. Today you'll be privy to one of the more unremarkable yet interesting sections of this upcoming work because I want to teach a very important lesson.
One of the fascinating karmic forecasting systems I came upon in my researches is the Tieh Pan Shen Shu, Iron Abacus numerology (astrology) system of China that I often tell people about. So what I've done this week is take a few pages about this system and put them together for your leisure, because I want you to know that such systems really exist.
Why is it so important to know that this system exists? Read on. If it truly does as I describe, which it does, it proves that karma exists, and that certain rules of karma can be computed. If the system works it verifies many concepts of spiritual cultivation that people can only authenticate after they reach very high stages of meditation. So take hold of your seats and enjoy reading this week about a very interesting predictive system called "Tieh Pan Shen Shu"(Iron Plate Divine Number) and pondering what implications this has for your own fate, fortune and destiny.
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When I first arrived in Asia years ago, I had already been familiar with the doctrine of reincarnation and karma, as well as the fact that some individuals with advanced meditative abilities can actually foresee and foretell your future.
There are countless stories of this, from all sorts of traditions, for us to know that this might be true. The reason anyone can do this is simply because karma does indeed exist, for if it did not exist with its tentacle-like extensions into the future, then "seeing into the future" would naturally be impossible. So if one person can somehow see into the future or calculate someone's fate, you have to recognize that this is only possible because karma exists in the first place.
Even the famous physicist, Stephen Hawking, concluded that everything is governed by the set of physical rules of the universe. In essence that means the future is predictable, or that karma exists. However, Hawking felt we cannot predict most outcomes because the equations governing matters are so complicated. Not knowing any of the predictive techniques himself, he therefore concluded that it's better to act as if life is not predetermined since you cannot know what is determined for us. He didn't say that there is no predictability but rather, admitted his personal ignorance of any of the rules of predictability, and therefore said we should act as if there is no fate even though there is.
The Book of History, which is one of the five classics of Chinese culture, says that "Fate exists, but is difficult to be believed by most people because it is very changeable." This is precisely true. Ordinary people simply cannot see the strands of fate which they have woven, and fail to recognize it because their vision is limited. Therefore they commonly claim that good fortune and misfortune are unpredictable. Nonetheless, fate and destiny do exist.
Having previously worked as a Research Director in the investment field, where we normally investigate anything that might help forecast prices and give a clue as to their future direction, I already knew about quite a wide variety of Western mathematical fate forecasting systems when I first came to Asia years ago, including various forms of Western astrology. These systems are quite interesting in themselves, but from an evaluation standpoint, I was generally unimpressed with the scope and quality of these various predictive techniques.
While various practitioners of astrology and other methods might from time to time be able to make insightful comments about your personality or your hidden talents or temperament, and while they might sometimes strike a bulls eye in terms of the timing and appearance of unexpected events, they generally are quite useless when used to make very definitive, accurate predictions of the far future. Hence while the psychological profiles they can accurately provide can indeed be helpful at times, their usefulness falls far short of no-nonsense, definitive predictions of the future events you can expect to experience in your lifetime.
Even when Western astrologers can look at a horoscope and predict great wealth or poverty, sickness or health, fame and loss of status, power or spiritual development, their analysis is usually missing definitive statements as to when all of this will occur. Rarely can someone say something like, " you will be able to move into the house of your dreams after five years, you will marry in April two years from now, you will divorce after eight years, have three children," and so on. Yes this can be done in certain instances, but it's very rare. In addition to the quite general statements usually provided in an astrological reading, the extent or level to which these attributes will materialize is also left open to question.
An astrologer might be able to say that you will be wealthy, but exactly how much money? Double the average person's income? Will you become a millionaire, multi-millionaire, a billionaire, or just well off? And will this good fortune arise from stock investments, real estate, or some stroke of luck?
Of course there are some forms of astrology which are very powerful in answering these questions, such as certain branches of Vedic and Chinese astrology, but if the practitioner is not very skilled in his craft, the readings you get can be worthless as well.
This is what I felt until I encountered Tieh Pan Shen Shu Iron Abacus Numerology. A half-dozen or so different friends, who had gone for readings, kept showing me this system of prediction which, based upon your birth time, computed a series of forty or fifty numbers. Each of these numbers pointed to an indexed sentence in a book that explicitly stated the years your parents were born, whether they were still married or divorced, living or deceased, their status in society, particular characteristics and even their occupations.
On and on the information would go. There was no room for misinterpretation involved, for the sentences were either entirely right or wrong. And they were produced by computation rather than through any sort of psychic abilities. They were produced according to the rules Stephen Hawking was ignorant of, but which do indeed exist.
The sentences might tell you your occupation. They might tell you the number of your brothers and sisters along and when they were born, the number of your children (or whether you were to have none), pertinent details about your spouse (if you were likely to get married), and all sorts of other very specific information. They would even include details on your future health and finances, including a future career you might enter upon. At times, even the names of locations or people you would meet in life, as well as the capacity in which you would meet them, can be mentioned in a reading!
All this sort of information is written in a set of 12 to 24 books having 1000 sentences each, and all you need is someone who knows the secret formula for computing the numbers for the sentences applying to your individual fate. These calculated numbers are related to your birth time, and there are nearly 12,000 or 24,000 sentences that could possibly pertain to your life depending on the system used. The information that Iron Abacus astrology reveals or "predicts" is so varied, yet accurate, that despite having seen the calculation process for several dozen times, it still continues to amaze me.
Taking all these factors together, when you see a reading you quickly come to realize that the Tieh Pan Shen Shu technique is in actuality a type of "fixed karma calculator." In other words, through its calculation mechanisms, it points to sentences that specify the "fixed" karma that you have built for this life. These are the karmic issues you have inherited, and which are very difficult to change.
Why should the Iron Abacus technique be called a fixed karma "computer" or "calculator"? Because when you give a rules-based computer program certain input information to process, the software will continue to give you exactly the same output every time you feed it the same input information. This is exactly what the Tieh Pan Shen Shu method does.
The methodology that Iron Abacus Numerology uses is therefore no different than a computer algorithm since for a given input, it always gives you the same output of numbered sentences specifying your fortune. Give it the same birth time and birth date, and the same sentences will pop out each and every time - there is no variation. For an English speaker, your only difficulty is in scheduling a reading, and then having to translate the thousand-year-old sentences from ancient Chinese into modern English.
Several different Tieh Pan Shen Shu practitioners, when using the exact same system and given identical birth information, will calculate out the exact same indexing numbers which point out an individual's sentences of fate. The system therefore involves a constant algorithm, or fixed methodology, for calculating the details of your fortune.
In other words, this fate prediction technique does not depend on psychic abilities, interpretative skills, or chance. It is just a mathematical, rule-based system which anyone can use to calculate out an individual's fortune. Of course to secure their source of income and keep down the competition, the readers do not publicly reveal the algorithms that they employ. That is the problem for most people who desire to learn the technique.
Now anyone who uses the same computational algorithm and employs the same book of sentenced predictions will produce the same word-for-word reading every time. Where the difference comes in between competing practitioners is that they may use different algorithms or different Tieh Pan Shen Shu sentence books for their readings. This means that the detailed sentences provided in your reading will depend upon the sentenced book being used, with some Tieh Pan Shen Shu manuals being more complete than others.
The Iron Abacus method is so popular in Hong Kong that some forgeries of these original manuals have even been concocted over time, and some unscrupulous fortune tellers perform readings using these fake manuals. Of course they tell people that they are using the genuine original system, for otherwise they cannot make money. The fortunes from these forgeries are e accurate in some places, such as in indicating the birth years of the parents, but much else of what they offer has to be suspect.
In Hong Kong I personally came upon three blatant forgeries, and know that India has a similar system of fate prediction that suffers from this same problem of fakery. If you therefore want to disprove this sort of system, the best thing to do is head directly for a forgery and use that one! If you want to test whether this system really works, then you have to seek out one of the well known honest readers, which are usually more expensive. Today I'm told a reading costs almost HKD$50,000, which is about USD$ 6,400. years ago you could get a reading in Shanghai for about USD$5, and no one wanted one!
Before we can analyze this system of fate prediction, I must point out that even doctors, who have been rigorously trained in the modern "science" of medicine, vary in their skills and interpretative abilities when examining patients. That is to say, even though medicine is a science, you will usually get different medical diagnoses and treatment protocols if you go to several different doctors in turn. But here, if you go to two or three Tieh Pan Shen Shu readers trained in exactly the same methodology and using exactly the same sentence manuals, they will all calculate exactly the same numbered sentences. You will therefore get the same predictive fortune word for word.
Since there is no skill of interpretation involved in these calculations, as is required with normal astrological readings (or in the practice of medicine or law), and since the calculation process is 100% repeatable, and since the events predicted of your life and written in the referenced sentences can be rather detailed and specific, Iron Abacus Numerology is the only method I know of that can externally validate the truth behind astrology and the principles of karma. After all, the method either works or it does not work, and this has absolutely nothing to do with one's beliefs. If it can tell you such things as the birth years of your parents, then it offers hard factual evidence that it is able to tap into some of the secret rules of fate.
These principles of fate which it encapsulates are actually superior to the predispositions we attach to genes and DNA. The Iron Abacus readings tell you why you inherit certain genes, and what dispositions are likely to come out in life because of genetic inheritance. Can the DNA of genes tell you this sort of information? Can psychology? Can medicine? Can physics? Absolutely not! If being able to compute your parents' birth years, their occupation, and the number of your siblings or children is not part of the proof behind karma, then I do not know what is.
The great Zen master of this era, Nan Huai-Chin, always emphasized to me that the rules of karma are so complicated that even the most powerful super computer would not be able to accurately calculate all the future details of an individual's fate. It is not that you cannot calculate out certain things, but that all the rules by which karma manifests cannot be exactly specified. Sounds like Stephen Hawkings again. Furthermore, there are always some variables within our control when it comes to fate, and these are things which people cannot calculate.
The outcome of karmic recompense is a very complicated reflexive process where on thing feeds on another, and yet some of the basic rules behind the play out of fate can be known. But since most of the rules predicting specific events are unknown and thus cannot be mathematically coded, the results of karma often seem quite unfathomable. As an example, when Chinese fortune tellers are shown my teacher's birth information, some will say that he should have been born blind in the countryside.
As this never happened, my teacher has always explained that this type of inaccurate prediction is due to the fact that these fortune tellers know some of the rules of fate prediction, but not all of the principles that counteract certain prediction guidelines. You could also say this is an instance where great merit overrides and alters the outcomes of fate. Nevertheless, here we have a system where some of the major karmic rules have been codified in a special skill set.
How our karma ultimately plays out in life can be compared to the choices given a photon, which can equally appear to us as either a wave or particle. The karma which is due to come to us might therefore manifest itself as either a general environmental condition (which would be analogous to the wave field), as a singular point event (which would be analogous to the particle), or as some mixture of these two possibilities.
Since it is hard to predict these things even for the "hard science" of physics, you can imagine the problems you must face when you are asked to apply this sort of task to the determination of human affairs. Nonetheless, there are indeed some rules and general principles available that will enable you to calculate some of the future karmic environments and events you are likely to encounter in this life, as well as the timing and locations where you will likely experience such things. You cannot do this for all cases, but for some cases this can indeed be specified, as many stories of fate prediction will testify. If this wasn't the case, the field of astrology in all its various forms would not have lasted so long. That's common sense.
Sometimes the information provided by Iron Abacus astrology can be very specific in nature, such as "Your father is a policeman." Sometimes the information is quite general in nature, such as "You look more like your mother than your father," or "You are very smart." It also has definitive rules for predicting absolutely unavoidable events in life that are "fated" to happen because the past intensity of their causes makes them very difficult to change.
An example of how you can create this type of inescapable or inalterable karma is when you purposely, repeatedly, and with full awareness and determination try to cheat people in some manner or another, and feel happy afterwards without regret. The more you engage in this sort of behavior, the more the retribution from your actions will tend to become fixed. Of course when you determinedly work hard to do something positive over and over again in order to help others and bring them joy, the wonderful karmic returns from this sort of service become unavoidable as well, for you will end up enjoying good fortune no matter what you try to do.
You see, karma is the result of our own past actions that mature-whether for good or bad. You reap what you sow, so if you sow good deeds then good fortune will come to you. If you perform bad deeds then bad fortune will come to you. The general understanding of karma is just this simple, but as to the specific rules behind the manifestation of certain events, for that we must turn to methods like Tieh Pan Shen Shu.
Whenever an astrologer says that several astrological techniques are overlapping to indicate the same effect in your fortune, that is an example of this sort of prior determined causation. In other words, a general rule of astrology is that when a variety of different forecasting systems seem to reinforce each other with the same conclusion, the commonality of the prediction means that those events are highly likely. These events are the ones with the highest probability of occurrence because of prior determined causation.
This is the way that things usually go, but we must remember here that if man features as a necessary contributing factor in the manifestation of these events, then these fortunes are not necessarily fated. When your mind and will are strong enough, and you seize upon a new course of action with commitment and determination and discipline and awareness, you can triumph over any previous patterning of destiny you may have created.
A strong mind and will can carve out an entirely new fortune and destiny. However, you will always need to apply yourself in a determined and disciplined way in order to alter what you may have created as a prior fate. If you have the right wisdom as to how to succeed in this, however, then you can definitely change even the worst sort of fated fortune into something much better.
Incidentally, this ability that we have to make decisions that can alter our karmic fate is why you can never rely on astrology, divination or fortune telling for most affairs. This may sound like a contradiction of everything I have been saying, but it is not. All that I have been saying is that (1) karma exists, (2) your life is an expression of that karma, (3) this karma can often be calculated or seen through various methods, and (4) you have the potential to change it if you become committed to changing it, but that requires working a WISE plan with massive effort. The big question is how? How do you change it in a way that is actually carve a new fortune rather than having your attempts at change following fortune as well?
Because you can change your fate and fortune, the really great person never relies on fortunes to run their life. The really great person cultivates wisdom and willpower so as to change any situation that arises into something better. They replace the potential to err with the right process of self-correction, point themselves in the right direction, and then work to create whatever they desire in this life. In cultivation, it all comes down to behavior.
All karma starts with thought because our actions and behavior are our thoughts expressed. They are the manifestation or expression of our thoughts, for our thoughts go before them. Our thoughts are the roots of all we do, for to achieve we must first conceive. Accordingly, and not surprisingly, when you change your thoughts and intentions then you will alter your actions and behavior, and that is how you can go about changing your fortune. If you follow a direction other then how your fate-meaning habits--would normally have impelled you, then you can resist a fated scenario and blaze a new uncharted trail through life.
You must never succumb to the notion that you cannot change your fortune and transform it into something better. All that this requires is that you make a determined decision to devote yourself to change, and then plot and execute a new course of positive actions in line with that decision. You can make a difference in life according to what you think, what you do, and what you do not do, and these are how you will change your fortune.
You should therefore realize that any understanding of operative causes that might surround a potential situation, in conjunction with an active application of a strong mind and will, can always overcome the forces of fate. A person who is their own master does not need to rely on anything external, but can just rely on their own internal wisdom, willpower and behavior to change things.
If you doubt that changing your mental state can change your fortune, then think about the fact that your thoughts, perhaps when you are worried or joyful, can actually change your external appearance. If thoughts can change your external appearance, then why can't they change your fortune? Countless mind-body studies have been done showing that a change in your mental state can help people get over disease or even increase their success in life.
From a psychological viewpoint we can say that just thinking you are happy makes you happy, so consider what happens when you add the stronger force of willful action into the picture. Won't new actions going against the current trends be able to change your fate if they are powered by a change in thoughts?
It is the free will behind our actions that has created our karma in the first place, and so free will can also change our destiny if we put the proper free-willed actions into effect. We are always influenced by thoughts and emotions that impel us this way or that, but it is our choice to listen or not listen to these things which constitutes our free will. Choose correctly your actions in spite of all the internal mental chatter and you can create a glorious future, even if the present seems bleak.
On the other hand, choose unwisely by succumbing to wrong notions in your head and the future will become something you would rather not experience. So while the capacity to choose a course of action is our free will, this capacity for free will does not permit freedom from the consequences of our choices.
Every day we must actively work to take fate into our own hands by being clear in our minds and choosing the right way to act with vision and merit. Maybe it seems as if it will be a little difficult to get into the habit of doing this, but if we learn to follow more disciplined ways, we can really alter any strong momentum of fate that we have previously set into motion.
A large momentum in motion certainly requires an equally large momentum to affect its trajectory. Alternatively, you can deflect a powerful force with a much smaller force if you use your wisdom in knowing when to act against it. The question of how to alter one's conditions therefore comes down to the use of skillful means for altering an impending fate, which is a valid concern whether you believe in karma or not.
Chinese philosophy explains that human beings stand between the tugging forces of heaven above and the forces of the earth below. In other words, man is influenced by the astrological timing forces of fate indicated by heaven, and the environmental forces of fate ruled by earth geomancy (feng shui).
As an example, an individual who lives in a certain region might succumb to some mineral deficiency disease because the local soil lacks the mineral and it is therefore absent in all the locally grown food. That's an influence of earth. If you know about this but then choose to take the proper vitamin-mineral supplement which contains this mineral, you can avoid the unfortunate fate of this sort of disease which is prevalent in the area, and can avoid the fate of the geography.
Another example might be the fact that some people become overly agitated during the full moon, but if you consciously choose to keep yourself busy during this time, or simply meditate rather than succumb to hormonal influenced excitement, you probably will not even notice it. This is an example of how to resist the pulls of heaven.
Since man is a creature who straddles the pulls of heaven and earth, he has the capability to or actively resist or oppose them both, live in harmony with them, or so detach from them both that they no longer affect him. It is only the ignorant man who lets these things rule him. The truly free individual learns how not to become impelled by such forces.
In learning how to detach from their pull, the truly free individual cultivates an independent mind and learns how to gain full control of himself. That is how he becomes able to consciously determine the outcome of his fate. Many people feel that these external forces bind them, but that is because they never cultivate meditation to discover what is ultimately behind these forces. If you can cultivate to reach what is behind these things and become one with it, then in achieving union with the root you become master of all the branches.
Men and women, despite the ongoing influences of heaven and earth, are without doubt the final arbitrators of their fate. They are the ones ultimately in control if they choose to be. Individuals may always succumb to the pulls of heaven or earth, but they are the ones, who in giving in, thereby determine their own fate and fortune. They make a choice in succumbing, and whether it is for good or bad that decision determines their future.
This is why you want people to learn wisdom, because it is only through greater wisdom that people become aware of invisible forces that may influence them and can act to ignore them, resist them, or even turn them into something positive. In most cases people's decisions in life constitute going along with their fates, but the man who cultivates clarity can make the proper decisions that will alter it.
All this means is that you definitely possess the ability to defy "the decrees of fate imposed by heaven," or the factors of conditioning imposed by the world, if you follow the dictates of wisdom and apply yourself correctly in life. The Greek philosopher Iamblichus said, "All things in the world of Nature are not controlled by Fate, for the soul has a principle of its own." Hence, it is in your power to change your life and its outcomes if you correctly use the independence of your mind.
This is where true free will comes in--it can be used to select the decisions that will determine our future. However, you need clear awareness to make the right decision about which course of action to select; you need a mentality that is free of impulsive inclinations that are the determinants of your karmic destiny.
Willpower is what must next take over to separate whim from true commitment. It is willpower that gives us the ability to hold a single thought in the mind to the exclusion of all else, no matter what the distraction. In the Eastern religions we call this ability "samadhi," and so the exercise of our will is what enables us to attain samadhi, or concentration, and it is concentration that allows us to focus energy so as to create whatever we are after.
You cannot just intellectually know what you must do in life to change your fortune, but must do those things even if the road looks long and hard! That is where the factors of will and willpower come in. The trip of a thousand miles starts with a single step, so you have to resolve to take that first step and then start upon the journey. If a person so cultivates that their mind becomes clear, then through this clarity they can determine a new course of action that can alter their karma by going against the pulls of past negative tendencies and behavioral inclinations. No one can complain that they lack the strength to do this, for the strength to do this is always available. The New Age schools offer lots of advice on this step of motivation but that's about it.
Karmically speaking, you are never born into life without enough of the necessary strength to handle any situation that comes to greet you. You are also never born without the amount of strength necessary for being able to change things. Man is an infinite being interconnected with all reality, and through his mind he can draw on the power of this infinity to change his life path.
We are all plugged into the ultimate power of the universe, and our mind is like a power transformer than can translate this energy into whatever we need. In mastering emptiness a man or woman can so forget himself or herself so that their mind, body and energy become the entire universe, and with the energy of the entire universe at your disposal, what is it that you cannot accomplish?
Your question should be, how does a man or woman connect with this All Reality? The answer is: by becoming mentally "empty" they can connect with its power, and thereby alter the pulls of fate. In other words, a person can give away their normal mental clinging to become empty, and through this emptiness they can thereby connect with universal fullness. They can detach from karmic impulses that would normally impel them, and thereby carve out a new fate and destiny.
Sometimes we call this emptiness becoming "one-pointed in thought" because you get rid of all thoughts except one-whatever you wish to accomplish. For the most part the mind is then empty except for intent. When any individual becomes single-minded in this way, they cannot help but become incredible at what they do. As Brian Tracy once wrote, "When you develop the habit of setting priorities and concentrating single-mindedly, you will be able to accomplish virtually anything you want in life. This core strategy has been the primary reason for high income, wealth creation, and financial independence for thousands and even millions of people."
How does an individual who "becomes empty" draw upon the power of the universe to accomplish their goals? He or she does not draw on it by accumulating anything. Rather, the means for changing fate involves simplicity itself, which makes the task of transforming fate all the more doable: to draw on this power a person does nothing at all. They simply cultivate a mind that is clear and empty, and they do this by letting go of thoughts rather than by creating new thoughts or involving themselves in some sort of forceful accumulation.
When a person cultivates the sort of mind that can detach from any thoughts that arise within, then they can blaze a new trail in defiance of habitual tendencies. That is what can create a new fortune, especially a fortune you choose to manufacture.
Religious people always think that "cultivating emptiness" means giving away material possessions, but that is not so. You can experience this "emptiness" in the midst of material splendor as many kings have done. The wisest people realize that emptiness means a state of mind--that it means mastering a state of clear, imageless knowing that you train for through meditation.
When the mind becomes free of the personal thoughts and inclinations that ever arise, then it can break any past pattern of fate and the hold that it has upon you. You break fate by mastering meditative emptiness, for in mastering this mind-set you become free of the pulls of fate and thereby earn the ability to accomplish whatever you want.
The universe is always involved in a ceaseless process of transformation. That is a fact nobody can deny, and it is a principle no one can alter. If you learn to tap into its infinite power and correctly apply this energy to key junctures of this ongoing process, a calculated fate can and will then be altered. It is like a Zen master kicking someone at precisely the right moment so that they awaken, or like the father who pushes a child's swing at precisely the right moment so that it reaches the highest possible trajectory.
That is how you can go against fate. Nevertheless if you wanted to see what your natal factors had in store for you as your fortune, you could go visit a Tieh Pan Shen Shu reader and see what this karma calculator had to say.
India has an astrological system similar to Tieh Pan Shen Shu, called a nadi grantha reading. This Indian system has its readings written on ancient palm leaves, rather than in books, and these thousand year old leaves are stored at certain private residences and Hindu temples. The nadi grantha readings, when they are legitimate, also specify information about your past and future although the future predictions are rarely as accurate as those of the past. Why are the future indications less accurate? Because as stated, fate is ultimately in your own hands.
The difference between the nadi grantha and Tieh Pan Shen Shu readings is that the Iron Abacus readings are computed in your presence, whereas the nadi grantha readings are already written down on palm leaves. It is the Hindu priest's job simply to go find the correct leaf reading that corresponds to your birth time. Sometimes it can take months to find the right palm leaf, and sometimes the temple does not have it at all. After all, palm leaves get lost over the centuries or even crumble due to the ravages of time, and furthermore you cannot write down the readings for all possible birth times in advance. So the best thing about the Iron Abacus readings is that they can be computed right then and there.
This feature of the Iron Abacus readings prompts favorable comparison with a computer program because you can produce or reproduce a reading whenever you want. In addition, there is also the common trait that a computer program will always produce the same output (meaning the same predictions of fate) regardless as to who actually runs the program (that performs the operative calculations). Since there is no skill of interpretation involved in this system of numerological astrology, as we would expect for other instances of astrology, there are benefits here as well.
While for most professions the skill of the practitioner will correlate with their training and years of experience, to produce an accurate Tieh Pan Shen Shu reading, all you need to know is the method of calculating the indices for the numbered sentences. After that, all that is left is to read the sentences themselves. This methodology is not supernatural in any way, but is more akin to a mathematical algorithm imbedded in a computer software program.
What is this particular algorithm like? Based on the year, month, day, hour and minute of an individual's birth, and whether you are male or female, the Tieh Pan Shen Shu reader will attach numbers to these figures and mathematically combine them in a numerologically specific way. From these specific mathematical combinations, they will usually produce a series of some thirty to fifty numbers between 1 and about 12,000 or 24,000, the exact number depending upon the books used for the reading.
Each of these calculated numbers refers to an indexed sentence in a book, and from each of these sentences you can read an individual's fated fortune. For instance, the reader might produce the number 16961 from his calculations whose corresponding book sentence #16961 might read, "Your mother is 34 years older than you." He might calculate the sentence #9349, which might say, "One son in the family is born, then another son is born, then another son, and then you are born."
Both of these sentences have actually appeared in readings for me. As to their accuracy, my mother is indeed 34 years older than me and I am also the fourth son in the family. Some readings have revealed that I have two younger sisters, and others have not; the information that appears in a reading is not all-inclusive.
From these examples you can recognize that the readings do not specify everything in your life. After all, how could that possibly happen if only about sentences are computed? You cannot expect the Iron Abacus sentences to reveal all the secrets of your life, nor even expect them to include all the important events either.
As an example, I once did a reading for the president of a country, and while the reading revealed details about an unknown mistress and other secrets, never once did it say that this man would become the leader of a nation. Imagine that-the most important thing in his life was probably becoming the leader of a nation, and the information did not come up anywhere.
You see, there is always room to change fate, and there are always secrets left unspoken. Interestingly enough, one of the sentences advised this leader not to take money or he would regret it and suffer in his old age accordingly. Whether or not the newspaper accounts were true that he amassed millions of dollars while in office, it is absolutely true that he undertook some strange shenanigans, seemingly in order to protect himself, that ended up destroying his political party and his country's national economy.
The Tieh Pan Shen Shu readings often provide advice and warnings like this on how to change your fate, but this individual did not listen. It is because of this fact and its many ramifications, that he will probably not be remembered in history fondly.
Because you yourself sometimes do not know the factual information revealed through Iron Abacus astrology, that means the information does not come from mind reading or psychic abilities or from someone telling the Iron Abacus master your "secrets" either. Shao Yung designed the system so that you simply perform a series of mathematical computations, and simply read the fate which these indicate. Thus it is an algorithmic method of fixed fate prediction.
The computed sentences are very specific to your birth time. The least accurate Iron Abacus methods need the birth time accurate to the quarter hour whereas the more powerful (and accurate) versions require the birth time to be accurate to the minute. Because the sentences are very sensitive to the birth time, when the birth time is incorrect the calculated sentences will not be accurate at all. In fact, that is how you know whether you have the correct birth time.
For instance, if you give a certain birth time and the corresponding sentence reads that your father is a doctor but he is not, then that birth time is incorrect. A reader will then check all the birth times right around this time until he finds one that does work, and from that point onwards all the calculated sentences will be correct. This means that the method can even be used to verify a suspected birth time, so it is a powerful method of birth time rectification.
As a specific example, say you think you were born just a little before 12:38 am and the 12:38 am sentence from the reading comes out incorrect. The reader, according to his experience, will then try a 12:37, 12:36, or 12:35 sentence until a sentence is finally calculated which turns out to be accurate. After a sentence is found whose factual information is correct, thus confirming the correct birth time for the individual, all the successive sentences will be correct as well.
For instance, after a friend and I had gone for their remarkably accurate life reading, we asked the reader to compute several life events as if the birth time had varied by just one minute in either direction. In one case it indicated my friend would have become "a seller of fish and shrimp." In another case it indicated that they would have spent five years of their life in the hospital. Thus even a minute's difference in the birth time can translate into enormous variances in the life path.
This has very big implications if you think about it. It means that if you are born into the world at a certain time, it's like inheriting a set of clothes of a certain size that you fit into. With that birth time therefore comes a set of events that you will "fit into experiencing" because they go along with that birth time, so in order to experience certain karma that birth time must be fated. The volition skandha must suck you into it.
There is a very famous Chinese fortune telling book with future predictions of China, and it says that a sage will soon be born into China this century. He'll be born into the countryside and be very knowledgeable about all sorts of subjects including warfare. I once asked my teacher what Buddha it would be and he said they still had not decided the matter yet.
The implications of this, if his statement was correct, is that there is an upcoming birthtime that a Buddha or sage can step into for producing a certain sort of societal influence, and any Buddha of appropriate stage can fit into that set of clothes to experience that life. The karmic events that are attached to that birthtime will then transpire to that life even if the sage did not really inherit it entirely due to past karma. But being of the stage of nonego, that's entirely possible since there is no being, individual, entity or life experiencing anything.
A sage who is enlightened, being outside the scope of fate since they have realized nonego, can incarnate as they choose precisely because there is no such thing as an ego controlling their rebirth and they have reached the stage where they can control birth and death as they life. That's one of the purposes of cultivation; there is no escape from the Three Realms but you can choose whatever type of actor you'll be in this play of unreality. You can choose your own vows and execute them. Hence the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, though free of the realm of birth and death, can choose to reincarnate to perform certain tasks for our benefit and this is what makes them Buddhas and Bodhisattvas rather than Arhats. They will correspondingly suffer some of the bad karma due to that life suit, even if it isn't theirs, but for us we're sucked into whatever birthtime is the best fit for whatever karma we have to be worked out and experienced.
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