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Guan Lu

Guan Lu
A Qing dynasty portrait of Guan Lu
Born 209[1]
Died 256 (aged 47)[1]
Traditional Chinese 管輅
Simplified Chinese 管辂
Pinyin Guǎn Lù
Wade–Giles Kuan Lu
Courtesy name Gongming (Chinese: 公明; pinyin: Gōngmíng; Wade–Giles: Kung-ming)

Guan Lu (209–256),[1] courtesy name Gongming, was a diviner who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period.


  • Historical publications 1
  • Stories 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

Historical publications

Guan Yu was the author of:

  • "A method of contacting spirits using the I Ching"《周易通靈決》
  • "Summary of a method of contacting spirits using the I Ching"《周易通靈要決》
  • "A classic to destroy manias"《破躁經》
  • "Winnowing divination"《占箕》

All of these books were lost during the Three Kingdoms wars and are now known only by name.


At one time Governor Wang Ji of Anping heard of the fame of Guan Lu and invited him to come on a visit, in which he went. It so happened that another guest of the Governor was the magistrate of Xindu, whose wife was currently suffering from severe types of headaches while his son from pains in the heart. Guan Lu was then asked to discover the reason behind this. He followed in casting lots and said that at the west corner of the main hall there were buried two corpses, one of a man who held a spear, the other of a man who had a bow and arrows. The wall was built across them. The spearman's master had a certain gash in his head, and so his head pained through this fact. The archer's master had stabbed him in the heart, and so his heart suffered anguish. They then followed in digging where Guan Lu indicated and, about eight spans down they ended up finding two coffins, one with a spear inside and the other with that of a strung bow and wooden arrows. At the time they were all very decayed. Guan Lu bade them remove the bones and bury them three miles outside the walls. Following this, the woman and the boy had no such thing occur to them at any other time.

Another example of Guan Lu's fame was when he saw a youth plowing a field one day. Guan Lu approached the young man and asked of his name, in which it was Zhao Yang. Zhao Yang was only 19 years old at the time and Guan Lu felt as if he felt an aura of death flowing around the man, in which he would be dead within three days. This is what Guan Lu told the boy: Tomorrow go into the forest on the south there, and underneath a lofty tree you will see two men seated on boulders playing chess. One of them will be dressed in white, and he will be facing the south. He is very evil looking. The other will be seated opposite, dressed in red. He is very handsome. They will be deeply absorbed in their game and will not notice who offers them food and wine, which you will humbly present on your knees. When they have eaten and drunk, you will prostrate yourself and with tears pray them to grant you length of days. You will gain an increased span of life, but, above all things, do not mention that I told you what to do.

Following this, the man in red robes marked the number nine over the number one, in which the man was then destined to die at the age of 99. However, they told him to go back to Guan Lu and tell him if that he is to amend with the ways of fate, then heaven will surely punish him.

Following another time in the life of Guan Lu, he cast lots to foresee the fate of both Deng Yang (鄧颺) and He Yan (何晏), two officials of Cao Shuang, regent of Wei. Guan Lu told them after casting lots: "Gaoxin (高辛氏) and Gaoyang (高陽氏) aided King Shun; Duke of Zhou (周公) assisted the young King Cheng of Zhou Dynasty; all these were kindly and modest and enjoyed great happiness. You, Sir, have come to high honors and wield great powers, but those who esteem you are few and those who fear you, many. You are not careful to walk in the way of good fortune. Now the nose is an eminence. If an eminence retains its characteristic, thereby it remains in honor. But is it not that blue flies gather to foul objects and the lofty fears a fall? I would wish you to give of your abundance for the good of the poor and avoid walking in the wrong road. Then indeed may you reach the highest dignity, and the blue flies will disperse". After discussing this event with Guan Lu's uncle, he then said: "Deng Yang's gait is that of one whose sinews are loosed from his bones, and his pulse is unsteady. When he would stand, he totters as a man without limbs. This is the aspect of a disembodied soul. He Yan looks as if his soul was about to quit its habitation. He is bloodless, and what should be solid in him is mere vapor. He looks like rotten wood. This is the aspect of a soul even now in the dark valley. Both these men will certainly soon die a violent death, and none need fear them". Soon afterwards they both ended up, in Incident at Gaoping Tombs, dying just like how Guan Lu said. Through this fact, instead of Guan Lu being thought of as one of the most skilled divinationists, he is thought of as a mad man. It is not known of what proceeded for the fate of Guan Lu following this event.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Guan Lu's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms stated that he died at the age of 48 (by East Asian age reckoning) in the 3rd year of the Zhengyuan era (254-256) in Cao Mao's reign. (正元二年, ... 明年二月卒,年四十八。) By calculation, his birth year should be around 209.

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