Chinese Or Western Medicine?
Medical Qi Men Dun Jia: A method for determining which type will prove effective in healing
(c)Jack Sweeney 2007

One dilemma faced by practitioners of Chinese medicine comes in deciding whether Chinese medicine or Western medicine would more readily cure a specific ailment and thus benefit the client. The borderline between Chinese and western medicine is fairly nebulous, with no clear demarcation. Most practitioners must build up years of experience before coming to know when to refer clients to western doctors, and when to continue with Chinese medicine.

The reverse is seldom true. Most doctors of western medicine persist with western medicine until the end, often at great cost in time and money to patients. Only after western medicine has failed to cure a disease, often after a long and expensive medical journey, will a patient decide for herself that Chinese medicine might prove more efficacious than western medicine. In rare cases, doctors of western medicine will suggest Chinese medicine, usually only after they have thrown in the towel.

There is a simpler, easier and far less expensive way. Medical divination by Qi Men Dun Jia, the ancient Chinese style of imperial divination may help practitioners decide whether Chinese or western medicine can more readily cure disease. A straightforward medical divination can reveal within minutes whether Chinese or western medicine would prove more effective, or whether both would prove effective or ineffective, in any particular medical case.


Qi Men Dun Jia is an ancient Chinese form of divination based on the Yi Jing (I Ching), China’s traditional lunar calendar, and the doctrines of Yin and Yang and the Five Elements (Five Phases). A series of symbols is imposed on a 3 x 3 magic square, and the symbols are rotated around the magic square every two hours, in accord with the double – hour of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. The symbols are arranged in four levels which correspond to Heaven, Spirit, Earth, and Humanity, and rotate from square to square (or palace to palace, as per Qi Men Dun Jia terminology).

In medical divination, the Qi Men Dun Jia analyst devises a “situation” based upon the time of day that a client poses a question about a medical condition. The analyst calculates the positions of the symbols during the particular double – hour when the question is posed, and then conducts analysis of the symbols to investigate the medical condition of the person in question.

Qi Men Dun Jia is relies on the selection of certain symbols to represent particular aspects of disease. In general, the Tian Rui Star denotes the disease, while the Heavenly Stem Yi represents Chinese medicine and doctors who practice Chinese medicine. The Tian Xin Star represents western medicine and doctors who practice western medicine. The palaces and other symbols represents parts of the body, blood and fluids, as well as temporal aspects that influence healing, recovery, or worsening of disease conditions and death.

Analysis of Five Element relationships leads to conclusions about the condition of the person. Each palace pertains to one of the Five Elements – Water, Earth, Wood, Fire or Metal – and when the Use Spirits fall into those palaces, they are governed by that element. The analyst reviews the engender and curtail relations between the elements. When Yi or the Tian Xin Star curtail the Tian Rui Star, this indicates that Chinese or western medicine or doctors would prove efficacious in healing a specific ailment. When one or the other, or neither, fails to curtail the Tian Rui Star, then a given treatment would prove ineffective against disease.

The analyst constructs a series of conclusions about the person’s condition to build a logical argument that leads to a concrete determination. For example, a series of symbols may indicate a problem in the head, which is associated with blood, and that includes a blockage of some sort. The analyst may then draw a tentative conclusion that the person suffers from a blocked blood vessel in the head.

Additional interpretation of symbols may lead to similar conclusions, and in this way, a logical case is constructed, based on a series of solidly – reasoned conclusions. Ideally, the symbols present a medical story that unfolds with clear logic and no contradictions. If contradictions are encountered, these should be met and analyzed until the argument appears flawless, and the actual medical condition revealed.

As an example of how Qi Men Dun Jia analysis works in practice, this paper provides an example that was originally written by a Chinese Qi Men Dun Jia analyst, Mr. Shi Jianguo. The case was originally published in Chinese and has been translated into English by the author of the present paper. The original work has been completely translated, and there is no additional information about the case available.

Divination of Cancer of the Digestive Tract

Shi Jianguo was working in the office of the Zhou Yi (I Ching) Research Association in Shi Jia Zhuang city, Henan Province, China, on 19 November 1999 at 09:30 when he received a telephone call from Mr. Zhang Fengming, of Shi Jia Zhuang city. Mr. Zhang requested a medical divination for his father, who was born in 1929. Shi Jianguo requested that Mr. Zhang wait for fifteen minutes before calling him back. In the meantime, Mr. Shi devised a Qi Men Dun Jia situation on a piece of paper and then conducted analysis of the medical condition of Mr. Zhang’s father. When Mr. Zhang called back, Mr. Shi told him the following.

“Your father has a disease of his digestive system, specifically, he has cancer of the tract that carries his food, and his condition is comparatively serious.”

“Master Shi, you have divined quite accurately. The doctors have examined my father and found that he does indeed suffer from cancer of the digestive tract. They have found malignant tumors.”

“There’s more bad news. Neither western medicine nor Chinese medicine can save your father now. At best, Chinese medicine may help relieve your father’s pain along the way. He will survive this year, but will run into great danger during the third lunar month of next year.”

Later, Zhang Fengming informed Shi Jianguo that his father had died on the 27th of the third lunar month, which was a Ji Wei date, or 1 May 2000.


Click to view larger Image

Click to view larger Image of Analysis Chart

1. How to determine that the patient will die? The Zhi Shi represents the subject matter of the divination, and here Death Gate indicates that this story concerns the death of Mr. Zhang’s father. When a trigram meets Five Do Not Meet, then the person will soon die. The Tian Rui Star falls into Li Palace 9. The structured situation of Ji Added Xing (Wandering Soul Enters the Grave) means that malevolent departed souls are causing trouble in the dimension or realm of the deceased. The structured situation of Bing Added Xing unites Bing and Xing. In divination of disease, unity of two symbols is most feared, since this indicates that the disease will prove difficult to cure.

These symbols fall near Fear Gate, an added negative, and Fear Gate Added View Gate hosts a negative turn for disease. While these symbols ride the positive symbol of the Zhi Fu, the positive aspect is cancelled by the great negatives wrought by the structured situation. The Zhi Fu remains unprotected, and when the Zhi Fu lies unprotected, lives fall into danger. From another perspective, the Zhi Fu represents the head, so this may indicate the process of a serious disease reaching its climax, with the most dangerous period in view.

2. How to determine that the disease lies in the digestive tract? The Hour Stem may represent the disease, and here Xing falls into Xun 4 to ride Flying Snake. Xun is associated with the digestive tract, as is Flying Snake. These symbols encounter Death Gate which implies obstacles and blockages. The Tian Ying Star is associated with Fire and Fire indicates inflammation. The structured situation of Xing Added Yi carries the meaning of the White Tiger Goes Wild, which brings bankruptcy and loss of human life. Xing falls into Xun 4 in the condition of Entering the Chen Grave, a large negative. This rides Flying Snake, which symbolizes entwined, complex affairs, so the disease will prove difficult to cure.

3. The Zhi Shi gate symbolizes the matter to hand, and here Death Gate falls into the same palace as the Hour Stem. These have been explained above.

4. How to confirm that the disease is cancer of the digestive tract? Wound Gate may be selected as the Use Spirit to represent the disease, and here Wound Gate falls into Kan 1, near Ren Water, which hosts the digestive tract. These fall near Geng, which represents obstructions, and ride White Tiger, host of wounds and loss. Kan Water engenders Wound Gate and when a negative gate is engendered, that increases the negativity of the gate. Taken together, all of the symbols indicate cancer of the digestive tract.

5. How to determine whether Chinese or medicine would cure the disease? Yi Qi falls into Zhen 3 (Wood) where Chinese medicine fails to curtail the disease in its palace. The Tian Xin Star represents western medicine and falls into Dui 7 (Metal) and fails to curtail the Tian Rui Star (the disease) in its palace (Fire). Thus, neither Chinese nor western medicine will prove capable of curing the disease. Taking the analysis one step further, the Tian Xin Star falls into palace to meet a vacancy, which indicates that western curative methods would prove completely ineffective in this instance. For this reason, Shi Jianguo advised Mr. Zhang to have doctors provide Chinese medicine for his father to minimize the effects of his cancer, even as he headed toward death.

6. How to determine when the patient will die? Why would Mr. Zhang’s father face a health crisis during the third lunar month of 2001? There are a variety of ways to calculate the Determinant Period in Qi Men Dun Jia, or the period of time until a certain action takes place, such as when a person leaves hospital, recovers from or dies of disease.

The first method is that when a Use Spirit meets the condition of “flooding,” then the period of time until that flooding becomes the Determinant Period. Mr. Zhang’s father was born during a Ji Si year, and his Year Fate Ji falls into Li 9. In that position, Ji curtails Great Age of the following year, 2000, represented by Geng, in its palace (Fire of Li 9 curtails Metal in Qian 6). The third lunar month of 2000 was a Geng Chen month, which was also the month represented by Great Age (Geng). In addition, Jia Xu Ji floods and curtails Geng Chen month, which is the third lunar month. In Qi Men Dun Jia analysis, when Great Age is curtailed, then a disaster ensues.

The period of time until the Use Spirit Enters Grave may be calculated as the Determinant Period. Here, the Hour Stem Xing falls into Xun 4 in the condition of Enter Grave. The third lunar month is Chen month, and when Chen month Enters Grave, then the patient must die. Death Gate is the Zhi Shi and also falls into Xun 4, and during the third lunar month when Chen month Enters Grave, the patient must die.

Where the Hour Stem and the Zhi Shi fall into palace may be calculated as the Determinant Period. Here, the Hour Stem Xing and the Zhi Shi, Death Gate, both fall into Xun 4. Xun palace carries the numerical connotations of four and five, so I selected five. During the Yin Dun half of the year, Xun falls into the external pan, which hosts slow and distant movement. Thus, the patient’s remaining lifetime would be measured in months and in years. Adding the information together, Shi Jianguo surmised that the patient would die within five months.


Part Five above illustrates how to determine whether Chinese or Western medicine will prove effective in curing disease and healing ills. In this particular instance, neither Chinese nor Western medicine proved capable of healing the patient. Moreover, Western treatments proved less effective than Chinese medicine in helping deal with the effects of the disease as much as possible. To be sure, not every medical divination in Qi Men Dun Jia has the same outcome. At times western medicine proves effective, at times Chinese, at times neither.

While the mastery of Qi Men Dun Jia requires some effort and investment of time, the payoff can prove quite rewarding. Rather than waste money, time and effort in unnecessary and futile healing regimes, practitioners might know ahead of time whether their efforts would help patients. With this particular aspect of Qi Men Dun Jia medical divination, practitioners would know whether Chinese medicine would prove effective in helping patients, or whether western medicine would prove more likely to help.

If widely adopted by practitioners of Chinese medicine, Qi Men Dun Jia medical divination would help make Chinese medicine more efficient and cost – effective versus western medicine. Moreover, Qi Men Dun Jia medical divination might raise the public stature of Chinese medicine. Many times, the key to victory is the ability to choose which battles one will fight. If practitioners of Chinese medicine know in advance which battles they might win and which they would lose, the obvious course would be to choose victory. In those instances where Chinese medicine might fail patients, it would perhaps serve the best interests of all concerned to say so at the start of treatment, rather than after a costly string of defeats.


Advanced Medical Divination with Qi Men Dun Jia, by Jack Sweeney, Wuhan, Hubei, China. Yan Bo Publishing Company, 2007.

Shi, Jianguo, Qi Men Dun Jia Zui Xin Shi Lie Jie Xi, Hong Kong: Jian Zhu yu Feng Shui Za Zhi She, 2006.

Xu Daofu, Yu Ding Qi Men Bao Jian (Xiu Ding Ben) Taipei: Wuling Chu Ban She, 2004.


This page was created February 5, 2007.