Difference Between Bazi and Zi Wei Dou Shu (ZWDS) – Part I

In Chinese Astrology, there are 2 schools of studies that are commonly available, namely Bazi (also known as 4 Pillars) and Zi Wei Dou Shu (“ZWDS”, also known as Emperor Astrology). Among the 2, the former is much more well-known and a bigger practitioner and fan base. This is hardly surprising given that Bazi has a much longer history (approximately 2000 years longer) and thus more widely practiced and followed.

A common perception is that both methods can predict the same events and thus a lot of enthusiasts do not see the point to learn both. They chose to learn Bazi as it has a bigger fan base and thus commercially more viable. Now are both methods really the same? After being fortunate enough to be the rare few to master both techniques, I would say both methods are as different as the magnifying glass vs the microscope. Although both Bazi and ZWDS allow us to delve deeper into the details of one’s life and destiny, the level of details, clarity and use is not the same. It can be conceptualized as the same piece of cake, going under the magnifying glass and the microscope allow us to read deeper into its details. What we see of the same piece of cake through the magnifying glass vs the microscope is very different.

On a broad level, learning Bazi is much easier but mastering it to be able to read till the level of details a ZWDS reading can offer is tough. The reason why Bazi is easier to learn is because the logic is easier to grasp and hence it is popularly embraced and studied by the scholars and commoners throughout ancient China history. On the other hand, ZWDS is not popular because many principles requires one to memorize them by hard without a logical link.

It is interesting to note that historically, Bazi became part of Chinese way of life since most ancient Chinese scholars studied it and ancient Chinese farmers know it. As for ZWDS, it became an exclusive knowledge that quietly became the privilege of the Imperial Court from Ming Dynasty, which makes it exclusive. The ancient Chinese Emperors are known to be selfish and suspicious. Now, why do you think ZWDS remain an exclusive knowledge for the Imperial Court for such a long time then?

To most people, Bazi is an easier subject to learn and hence they mistakenly think mastering it is easier as well. Bazi is like the magnifying glass, easier to construct but reading the intricate details eventually run into a stumbling block for most. ZWDS is like the microscope, constructing it takes hell lot of effort but when you go beyond building it, the clarity and intricacies are all too easy to observe. In my next article, I will continue to explore deeper the difference between Bazi and ZWDS.