Chinese Almanac - T'ung Shu
A friend called from England last night to announce a good news. She is getting married and her family has picked an auspicious day for the wedding. Well, most probably, the T'ung Su or The Book of Myriad Things has been consulted. The T'ung Shu is one of the oldest books in the world and is said to have originated more than 4000 years ago and has been a best-seller every year for more than a thousand years.Used to be termed superstitious this book plays a significant role in Chinese life. The ordinary Chinese may not understand the book but it is an indispensable diviner and when the need arises, a specialist will be sought and he will after analyzing the T'ung Shu, determines the auspicious date for marriage, travel, opening new premises, choosing or moving into a house etc. T'ung Shu however, is not merely for divination. Originally, it gives details of the lunar calendar and seasons to aid farmers but around this calendar now is a collection of other materials like fortune-telling, divination, geomancy, herbal medicine, physiognomy, palmistry, charms and talismans, moral codes, dictionaries, predictions, legends, planets, auspicious and inauspicious days, numerology, astronomical details, telegram and telex charts, pregnancy charts and stories. It is not a fossilized collection of folk wisdom but a book that is constantly changing and adapting even today. Indeed this revered and spiritually powerful book has been worked upon by shamans,Taoists, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians at various stages over the centuries.