An Introduction to Tie Ban Shen Shu, I would prefer to call it Iron Abacus Divination....
Tie Ban Shen Shu (in Simplified: 铁板神数; Traditional: 鐵板神數; Pinyin: Tiě Bǎn Shén Shù = iron plate spiritual numerology) is an ancient form of divination from China, which is still in use in China, Taiwan, Singapore and the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia. Tie ban shen shu is regarded as among the most accurate and most difficult methods of personal fortune divination. Tie Ban is as well regarded as the collective Three Arts or Three Styles (三式 sān shì), Qi Men Dun Jia, Da Liu Ren and Tai Yi Shen Shu , China's highest metaphysic arts.
 History : Tie Ban Shen Shu is associated with Shao Yong , the metaphysician of the Northern Song dynasty, as he is often credited as author of the 12,000 lines of texts used in Tie Ban Shen Shu divination. Those texts were regarded highly enough by Qing Dynasty scholars as to have been included in the Qing Dynasty archive, the Four Treasures Siku Quanshu 四库全书 collection.
Chinese legend also holds that learning Tie Ban is problematic, as the literary sources are deliberately obscured to prevent novices from easily gaining this precious knowledge.
 Technique : Tie Ban Shen Shu contains 12,000 individual lines (Some are blank which some later day masters would add in with their individual composed proses) compiled in 12 books (Some masters would compiled their own set), which are applied to each individual divination, through a series of twelve different procedures. The procedures for arriving at the correct texts are based on the Four Pillars (Ba Zi), which include the ten Heavenly Stems and twelve Earth Branches, numerology, the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching and the Six Familial Relationships of Chinese metaphysics. Tie Ban’s emphasis on the specific quarter hour (fifteen minute segment) of birth ensures the relatively high degree of accuracy, in comparison with other divination methods. This is because another 120 charts can be worked for that Shi Chen 時晨 or Chinese hour.
However, this will involved a sort of interview with the client to work out the 15 minutes segment of birth but at times this part of the divination method got abused by commercial fortune tellers. After this is done, some masters would then asked the client to refer to the books while they work out the sequences of numbers for the proses to be compiled. At the end of the session, the client would then go off and come back again to collect the compiled proses from the master on another day. It has been said that some masters would not explain the proses to the client who have to figure it out. If that is the case, I would suggest that you look for one who will, this is because some of these proses refer to Bazi analysis, Zi Wei astrology and even ancient Chinese historical events with hidden meanings which a layman would not be able to figure out.
Looking for Love
One raining morning, in a park pavilon, two men were taking shelter from the rain. One was a young man called Ah Tong who is working in a property company and the other was a middle aged man called Xiao Wu who is a school teacher and a sociable person by nature. They each were jogging and because of the sudden downpour had then coincidentally met in the pavilon. They had known each other for a few years after they had met in the park. Xiao Wu is also a Chinese metaphysics ethusiast which Ah Tong had come to know when they chatted during breaks from their routine. While waiting for the rain to stop and to pass time, Ah Tong had then asked:
'Is it true that our destiny is fixed and we cannot change it?'
Now most of us who practised any Chinese metaphysics arts especially destiny analysis like Bazi, Zi Wei Astrology and so forth, are bound to meet with questions like this from friends.
Xiao Wu reply easily as this had become a familiar question to him: 'Yes, we can't change destiny however, we can take actions to improve part of it like through Feng Shui, Social work, Education as what has been always being quoted: First, Life; Second, Luck; Third, Feng Shui; Fourth: Merits; Fifth, Education.'
Ah Tong nodded and then asked out of curiosity: 'Which then do you think is the most accurate of all the destiny analysis arts?'
Xiao Wu: 'Mmm, China has many schools of metaphysic arts like Zi Wei Astrology, Iron Plate Divination and so forth. Each are different with the methods and therefore different in strength and weakness in certain parts. It would also depends on the profiency of the masters.'
While chatting, Xiao Wu had been observing Ah Tong face features and he then said with a smile: 'For example, if we talk about face reading, the fish tails by your eyes are slanted negatively downward. As it is the spouse palace, it indicate problems in marriage . I know you are not married, why don't you get a reading from a destiny analysis master so that you can take some preventive action to reduce any unfavorable influence.'
Ah Tong had not went for any fortune telling before and the only time in the past was during a social party, a friend had read his palm for fun. It was not a serious reading as it was more of a ice breaker by his friend to attract attentions from the opposite sex. He trusted Xiao Wu as he had observed him to be a prudent and careful person who do not make empty talks. As Xiao Wu looked serious, Ah Tong decided to ask him to recommend a destiny analysis master to him and he was also curious to find out about his marriage for the future.
Xiao Wu thought for a while and he then said: 'All-right, as we know each other well, let me call an Iron Plate Divination master who I am quite familiar with and see if he is agreeable or not. Give me a call tommorow at my office and I will let you know the time to meet that master then.'
Ah Tong: 'Thanks, I will call you and as the rain have stopped, we can go off now as I have to get changed for work. See you tommorow hopefully.'
And with that, both of them parted.
The next day, it was Xiao Wu instead who called Ah Tong first: 'I had got good news as that master is willing to do it for you. He had arranged the time in the evening at 8.00 pm, this Friday after our work for convenience and we do not have to take time off from work. You must have affinity with him as he is normally busy and some of his clients had waited months to meet him.'
The fees that Xiao Wu quoted sounds reasonable to Ah Tong and Ah Tong did not know that some famous Tie Ban masters charges as much as HK20,000 for a reading. They then arranged to meet for dinner first in the vicinity of that master's home before going for the reading.
On that day, they met at the Chinese seafood restaurant and Ah Tong had did the ordering of foods as he wanted to treat Xiao Wu for the trouble. Ah Tong had later found out from his colleague that he was lucky to be able to get an appointment with this Tie Ban master and was surprised of the exorbitant fees that it command by some masters for readings. Xiao Wu grudgingly agreed to the treat saying that they should have gone to a roadside stall if he knew as he said that it is affinity that the master agreed to see Ah Tong.
After dinner, they went up to the master' s flat which is on the second floor of an old building and were met at the door by a young man. They had then given him their names at which they were let into the flat and told to take a seat at the living room. That young man is probably a disciple as he shouted: 'Master, they are here!' . A old man in his seventies then came out, his hair had already turned completely white though still bountiful and he looked in his prime of health. Xiao Wu looks like he knew him for a long time as the master smiled and hold his two hands when Wu had put forward as a respect after greeting him. Ah Tong was then introduced to the master who is known as Master Tie Pan or Master Iron Abacus which Ah Tong thought sounds odd. The master then asked Xiao Wu if he mind sampling Chinese tea that a client had given to the master together. Xiao Wu readily agreed as he is a tea connoisseur too and he also know that Ah Tong like Chinese tea too.
They were then led into a spacious study room filled with Chinese paintings and furniture from the Qing dynasty. On the big table, there were several books and an Iron abacus with several blank paper and an ink set with Chinese writing brush. The master chatted with Xiao Wu while sipping the tea and Ah Tong then realised that the master was Xiao Wu' s uncle from the conversation.
After a while, the Master said: 'Okay, lets begin, Mr. Tan (Ah Tong). There are several books on the table, I would work out the number sequence and you refer to the book that I pointed to read the prose and tell me whether it is correct or not. This is required before I go further as I need to find out which 15 minutes segment of that hour you were born in.'
Ah Tong nodded his head as Xiao Wu had already brief him over dinner on what are the procedures and which Ah Tong was surprised as it was different from other fortune tellings that he had heard of.
The master then started working the abacus after he had written Ah Tong Bazi Chart and some drawings and numbers on the paper. After a while, the master gave him the numbers and Ah Tong was shocked on reading the prose from that book:
'Commited suicide thrice, rejected by the Hell king.'
He replied: 'No, or do you meant that I might do that in the future?'
Master Tie Pan: 'These proses that I am checking will refer to past events only, all-right, let's redo again.'
Ah Dong: '一母, 一母, 又一母, 前有母后有母.'
'One mother after another, one infront and one behind.'
'No, from what I know is my father is not frivolous type and I am very sure that I have only mother and no other in name.'
Master Tie Pan then caculated on the abacus again and gave him another proses to check out.
'Three brothers, one enters Monkhood.'
'Correct, but nobody is a Monk.'
Now the interesting thing about this part of the divination in this art is that by these two line of proses, we can know that Ah Dong is not an orphan and have three brothers. Some talkative clients would even elaborate more and gives away more details of their personal life without knowing. Some supposed masters who have high intelligence and deductions skill would then be able to record it in the mind without the client being aware of it. This would then later be used in the second part of the divination when the master had difficulty with analysing the chart. However, Master Tie Pan is an authentic master who have no needs to revert to this course as we can see from the later part.
The master then shook his head and redo the calculation again.
'Before flowers bloom, broken branch despite pledge with still lingering thoughts.'
'This is completely true, I had a childhood sweetheart and we had separated later on. Until now, I could not get married as I still thinks of her.'
Master Tie Pan with a smile: 'Good, finally we can really started on the second part for the divination.'
Sometimes some masters might take a longer as much as two to three hours to work out this so called checking the quarter time segment 考时刻. This shows that Master Tie Pan is a competent master, he then started spouting a series of numbers. Ah Dong then read as he write out the numbers on a piece of blank paper that he was given. He was surprised as he read with amazement at the accuracy of the divination. These are some of the lines that is in the second part of the divination:
Father born in the year of the Cow, Mother in the Rabbit year.
Father not more than one wife, family with fortune.
Brother three, predestined.
Do not depend on ancestors, empty hands to built a home.
Born with justice, easy going with material gains.
Ah Dong gasped when he comes upon the last three lines of proses:
One word 4, cannot stay.
He had just shifted out from a property which have the address with number 4 and it is also on the fourth storey four months ago. He had bought it about a year ago and since then, met with a spate of bad lucks. A lucrative property deal that was almost closed had gone awry. He had then fall sick after catching a virus and was hospitalized for a few weeks. Feeling that there could be a problem with the property, he decided to sell and shift to another property temporary. His luck then started to improved and he had no more further health problems.
One word Fen (perfume), no longings.
A few months ago while he was in bad luck, he had met a nightclub hostess called Ah Fen and had become intimate with her. He had not mind her background and as he was already unattached for a number of years since his last break up. He had thought that maybe that they could be a couple in the near future. She had then once borrowed HK50,000 from him claiming that her family was in financial trouble. Ah Tong had then lent her HK30,000 instead as he was still not sure of her feelings for him. It was then later while in Macau on a company business trip, his client had bought him to a casino to look around after matters were settled and he saw her gambling on one of the table. It was completely a different person from the one that he thought with the demure, soft spoken character now shouting aggressively with a coarse look: 'Banker! Banker!' in a card game called Baccarat. After he went back to Hong Kong, he started avoiding going out with her. She also obviously had no intentions of returning the loan and in fact had asked for further financial help. Ah Tong had then treated it as a costly lesson learned and lucky that he did not got serious in the relationship further and finding out her true character before he were to get married with her. Further, he was'n t really in love with her as he was just feeling lonely with most of his peers already married.
It was the last line of proses that gave him a shock:
For wife avoid Rat, unable to cry or laugh .
The master then told Xiao Wu to come back with Ah Tong another day to collect the compiled proses. Ah Tong had already prepared the stipulated fees in a red packet and gave it to the master while thanking him sincerely. He had then recall coincidentally that the nightclub hostess Ah Fen was also born in the year of the Rat.
To be continued.......
Cheers, and have a great weekend that is coming.