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Containing Symbolic Production. Linking prognostication and divination with political events had been prohibited in the Northern and Southern dynasties in China fourth through sixth centuries , and prognostication books were even burned during the Sui dynasty The punishment will be one year of penal servitude [Tang: two years]. The prohibition and penalty applies to the private study of these materials.
The aim was to prevent the legitimation of rebellion and usurpation through Heaven's signs — the political combustion when astronomy and divination were fused. For this reason, the offices of Astrology and Yin-Yang were separated so that astronomers would not engage in divination.
That being the case, we know of Otsu no Oura a Yin-Yang master and astronomer, who was twice caught. Manuals on divination, maps of the heavens, astronomical instruments shall not circulate. Students of astronomy cannot read books on divination. Astronomical observations shall not be leaked. Any event of good or bad omens, or strange natural phenomena, when detected, shall be reported to the emperor through the Yin-Yang Bureau.
These reports will be sealed after each season, and forwarded to the Ministry of Central Affairs, where they will be included in the National Histories.
Oracular statements of divination shall not be part of the reports. Cases of written or oral fabrications by others, used to lead more than three people astray, shall be dealt with in the same way. For fewer than three people, the penalty will be mitigated one degree. If the content of what was communicated was reasonable and no harm was done, the penalty is 60 strokes of the cane [Tang: ]. For the private possession of magical inscriptions, even if they are not distributed, the penalty is 80 strokes [Tang: 2 years incarceration].
If the content was reasonable, 40 strokes [Tang: 60] ,M.
All monks and nuns, who from the observation of astronomical phenomena falsely expound on the nature of omens, discuss imperial affairs, bewitch and mislead the people, a fortiori if they read or study books on military strategy, are to be taken to officials and punished according to the law.
Infringements of these rules were more serious than breaches of monastic discipline, for they precede in the same article, "murder, marriage, stealing, and false claims to enlightenment. Through the establishment of a Yin-Yang Bureau, the mode of recruiting its staff, and legislation, the state introduced a division in the field of knowledge and ritual practice which was previously undifferentiated and pertained mainly to the domain of Buddhism.
In these folk movements, however, one detects no traces of Yin-Yang influence. Commoners seem to have had little or no access to this knowledge, which at this time was available to the literate few. In the Heian period, however, things started to change. For instance, that is when almanac-making on the part of folk astrologers appears for the first time in the record, and is considered to be a problem.
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In several conspiracies, Yin-Yang specialists were among the circles of the plotters. The most famous cases are the following. Subversive Use of Yin-Yang. We know the names and subsequent careers of six men from among the thirty accused in the plot. In , Fujiwara no Nakamaro HM consulted him to make sure that the cosmic coordinates lined up propitiously for the timing and execution of his rebellion, since omens inscribe the future in the present.
However, Otsu double-crossed Nakamaro and was handsomely rewarded with a promotion into rank four, the top tier of middle officialdom. In early , two conspiracies developed within a span of three months. Three conspirators took part in both plots. Yamanoue went into exile in Oki BilK, where he remained until his pardon twenty-three years later. Rewards followed the sightings. Ki no Masumaro who reported the appearance of one such numinous nimbus to. Following the colored clouds the next year were sightings of unusual phenomena, all white and auspicious: two pheasants, a turtle, and a crow, anything even remotely albino, like a white-tailed gray horse.
It is possible that Masumaro plied his divinatory skills in service to Fujiwara no Nakamaro during his. Official Yin-Yang Activities. Through prognostications, Yin-Yang masters were able to track the presence and movement of cosmic energies, and to devise rituals accordingly to prevent evil from spreading and causing harm.
Yin + Yang
In the Engishiki , this festival appears as occurring regularly twice a. This was probably also the case in the eighth century, at least during the epidemic of , when the michiae festival enters the historical record for the first time. Experts of various divination traditions and systems often worked side by side. At various stages of the imperial virgin's career, diviners from the Yin-Yang Bureau. Yin-Yang diviners also decided on the dates and places for the innumerable ritual occasions, large and small, that accompanied the selection of her residences, travel, and so forth. At each of the six rivers, and at a couple of provincial borders that had to be crossed, an advance party of diviners conducted a preliminary purification in preparation for the lustration or other mini ceremony that took place when the said in person arrived at the spot.
In the compound, surrounded by two walls and a moat, were also offices, storehouses, lodging quarters for the several hundred helpers, maids-in-waiting, assistants, chefs, medicinal specialists, accountants, and housekeepers, including all varieties of diviners and ritualists from the Nakatomi and Inbe clans, and from the Yin-Yang Bureau. Tenmu revived the institution and most likely restructured it. During the Heian period, concern with purity as the central politico-religious value developed into a full-fledged obsession, definitely at Ise, but also in the capital.
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Yet the creators of this ideology, at least as far as the capital was concerned, were not kami W officials as one might expect, but a new brand of Yin-Yang ritualists. This may be surprising for two reasons. One, during the Tenmu dynasty, Yin-Yang specialists did not function prominently as ritualists. They read portents and drew conclusions from them for the evolving course of events including military developments, engaged in geomantic divination, were ancillary to ceremonial moments and, at most, may have conducted apotropaic, mini "house keeping" rituals around the capital and in the Home Provinces such as periodic apotropaic protection against fire and contagious diseases.
These were honorable spirits of unjustly condemned famous personalities. Although Kanmu had taken precautionary measures against some of his own ghostly relatives for obvious reasons , commoners linked these vengeful phantoms to epidemics and natural calamities, thus magnifying the inequity of court scandals.
This in turn raised the stakes for protection against not only spirits, but also dangerous rumors and public opinion. Disaster, perceived as spilling out of the spectral realm and stoked by evil ki was specifically linked to the bloodshed of court politics. His fearsome ghost had thwarted efforts to contain it in its grave on Awaji Island, where the corpse had been. It was brought back and given a new tomb in Yamato province to appease its spirit. By the Heian period, the capital, the palace, and the emperor needed to be preserved in a state of purity.
At this time, a full-fledged casuistry developed, legal as well as ritual, overdetermining the daily life and routines of officials, nobles, and commoners living in the capital. In the tenth century, cases concerning the degree of pollution and the corresponding level of purification which could not be determined first by the metropolitan police kebiishi then by legal experts.
One could get a second opinion if the first one was deemed unsuitable. Nevertheless, he prudently locked the western entrance to his estate. In the Shin sarugaku-ki Fujiwara no Akihira 66 conjures up such a popular image when he describes the powers of the Yin-Yang master Kamo no Michiyo. He can divine hidden items as clearly as if he saw them with his eyes. He can conjure auguries from weird phenomena as if he were showing you the palm of his hand. The reason is that he has only the physical shape of a human, but his mind gets through to the spirits.
His body resides among us, but he controls Heaven and Earth. Thus, the environment within which Yin-Yang developed in ancient Japan changed over time, as did its users. For the best part of the seventh century, court factions pro-Yamato or pro-Soga who had access to it through Buddhist monks wielded it as a political weapon against each other.
In Heian, the state lost its grip further. NKBT Nihon koten bungaku taikei vols. Nihon koten bungaku taikei and bekkan SU 1,.