(63.3) Zhào Dá 趙達

Zhào Dá was a Hénán man. When young he followed Hàn Attendant Internal Shàn Fǔ in receiving study, in thinking he was elite and refined, and said the southeast has a ruler’s aura, and could avoid trouble, and therefore fled across the Jiāng.

趙達,河南人也。少從漢侍中單甫受學,用思精密,謂東南有王者氣,可以避難,故脫身渡江。

He researched the art of Nine Palace calculations, investigated its subtleties and aims, and therefore was able to answer opportunities to establish success, answer questions like a spirit, so even calculating locusts and finding lost objects, never was he not correct. Someone challenged Dá saying: “Flying things cannot be checked, who knows if it is correct, this is only dangerous absurdity.” Dá sent someone to fetch small beans of several dǒu, scattered them on on a mat, at once gave their number, and checking it was indeed correct.

治九宮一算之術,究其微旨,是以能應機立成,對問若神,至計飛蝗,射隱伏,無不中效。或難達曰:「飛者固不可校,誰知其然,此殆妄耳。」達使其人取小豆數斗,播之席上,立處其數,驗覆果信。

Once he passed an old friend, the old friend for him prepared food. After eating, he said: “You came so suddenly that I am out of liquor, and also without good meats, and have nothing to talk about, what to do?” Dá therefore from a plate took a chopstick, again and again turned it, and then said: “Under your east wall there is good liquor of one hú, and also deer meat of three jīn, why do you say there is none?” At the time there were seated other guests, who inside knew the host’s situation, and the host was ashamed and said: “As you are good at dousing, I only wished to test it, and indeed it is effective like this.” Therefore he produced the alcohol and they drank their fill.

嘗過知故,知故為之具食。食畢,謂曰:「倉卒乏酒,又無嘉肴,無以敘意,如何?」達因取盤中隻箸,再三從橫之,乃言:「卿東壁下有美酒一斛,又有鹿肉三斤,何以辭無?」時坐有他賓,內得主人情,主人慚曰:「以卿善射有無,欲相試耳,竟效如此。」遂出酒酣飲。

Also there was a document on which was a number in the ten millions, placed in an empty granary and sealed, and Dá was asked to calculate [the amount of grain in the granary]. Dá gave the number [on the document], saying: “But only in name and not in fact.” His profound subtlety was like this.

又有書簡上作千萬數,著空倉中封之,令達算之。達處如數,云:「但有名無實。」其精微若是。


Dá treasured and begrudged his art, from Kàn Zé and Yīn Lǐ all were famous classicist and good scholars, and personally bowed to ask for his teachings, but Dá was secretive and did not tell. Grand Scribe Deputy Gōngsūn Téng when young like to a teacher served Dá, hard working for accumulated years, and Dá agreed to teach him for a few years, but just before explaining he at once again stopped. [Gōngsūn] Téng on another day presented alcohol, waited for his color to change, then bowed and knelt to ask, Dá said: “My ancestors obtained this art, wishing to be teachers to Emperors and Kings, but in service for three generations, they did not pass Grand Scribe cadet, and truly did not wish to again transmit it. Moreover this art is subtle, head multiplying and tail subtracting, even one calculation method, father and son do not tell each other. However as you are serous without tiring, now I will truly give it.” Drinking several times, Dá rose and fetched silk books of two scrolls, as big as a finger, and Dá said: “Write and read this, and then you will yourself understand. I have long abandoned it, and do not again inspect it, now I wish to again consider it, and after several days will share it with you.” [Gōngsūn] Téng on the scheduled time went, at the arrival [Zhào Dá] acted as if searching for the book, and in alarm said he lost it, saying: “My daughter’s husband yesterday came, it certainly was by him stolen.” Therefore because of this it was lost.

達寶惜其術,自闞澤、殷禮皆名儒善士,親屈節就學,達祕而不告。太史丞公孫滕少師事達,勤苦累年,達許教之者有年數矣,臨當喻語而輒復止。滕他日齎酒具,候顏色,拜跪而請,達曰:「吾先人得此術,欲圖為帝王師,至仕來三世,不過太史郎,誠不欲復傳之。且此術微妙,頭乘尾除,一算之法,父子不相語。然以子篤好不倦,今真以相授矣。」飲酒數行,達起取素書兩卷,大如手指,達曰:「當寫讀此,則自解也。吾久廢,不復省之,今欲思論一過,數日當以相與。」滕如期往,至乃陽求索書,驚言失之,云:「女婿昨來,必是渠所竊。」遂從此絕。


Previously Sūn Quán when going on campaign, always ordered Dá to calculate the pace, and all was as he said. [Sūn] Quán heard of his methods, Dá to the end would not explain, and because of this he met dislike, and his salary and position did not rise. (1)

初孫權行師征伐,每令達有所推步,皆如其言。權問其法,達終不語,由此見薄,祿位不至。〔一〕

  • (1) Wúshū states: Previously, [Sūn] Quán took honored title, and ordered Dá to calculate from becoming Heaven’s Son afterward, would be how many years. Dá said: “[Hàn] Gāozǔ reigned for twelve years, Your Majesty will double that.” [Sūn] Quán was greatly pleased, and the attendants all declared ten thousand years. Indeed it was as Dá said.

〔一〕 吳書曰:初,權即尊號,令達算作天子之後,當復幾年?達曰:「高祖建元十二年,陛下倍之。」權大喜,左右稱萬歲。果如達言。


Dá always laughed and said of the various star and aura and wind diviners: “One can return to calculations behind curtains, without going outdoors know of Heaven’s Way, but instead to be day and night exposed to dew to watch aura signs, is it not also bothersome?” Once residing without anything to do, he used calculations on himself, and therefore sighed and said: “My calculations finish on this year, moon, and day, that is my end.” Dá’s wife repeatedly saw Dá’s effectiveness, and hearing this wept. Dá wished to calm his wife’s thoughts, and therefore again calculated, saying: “The previous one was mistaken, it won’t be then.” Later on the specified time he died. [Sūn] Quán heard Dá had a book, sought it but did not find it, then interrogated his daughter, then dug up the coffin but did not find it, and the methods and arts were cut off. (1)

達常笑謂諸星氣風術者曰:「當迴算帷幕,不出戶牖以知天道,而反晝夜暴露以望氣祥,不亦難乎!」閒居無為,引算自校,乃歎曰:「吾算訖盡某年月日,其終矣。」達妻數見達效,聞而哭泣。達欲弭妻意,乃更步算,言:「向者謬誤耳,尚未也。」後如期死。權聞達有書,求之不得,乃錄問其女,及發棺無所得,法術絕焉。〔一〕

  • (1) Wúlù states:
    • Huáng Xiàng appellation Xiūmíng was a Guǎnglíng Jiāngdū man. When young he was skilled in calligraphy. At the time there was Zhāng Zǐbìng, Chénliáng Fǔ able in calligraphy. [Chénliáng] Fǔ hated rushing, and also hated severity [in calligraphy style], [Huáng] Xiàng deliberated between, deeply obtained their subtleties, and the central states’ skilled calligraphers could not match him.
    • Yán Wǔ appellation Zǐqīng, was Minister of the Guard [Yán] Jùn second cousin’s son. In wéiqí [encircling chess, jp: i go] none could be of his class.
    • Sòng Shòu divined dreams, wrong less than one tenth of the time.
    • Cáo Bùxīng was good at painting, [Sūn] Quán had him paint a screen, he made a mistake of a paint dot, turned it into a fly, and when he presented it, [Sūn] Quán believed it a live fly and raised hand to hit it.
    • Gūchéng’s Zhèngyù was able to use physiognomy on men.
    • With [Wú] Fàn, [Liú] Dūn, [Zhào] Dá these eight men the world all praised as ingenious, calling them the Eight Absolutes.
  • Jìn Yángqiū states: Wú had Gě Héng appellation Sīzhēn, [who] understood heaven’s signs, was able to discern timing, made a star map, placing it on the ground of his house, with machines moved it, heaven turning and earth still, and above it placed a sundial.

〔一〕 吳錄曰:皇象字休明,廣陵江都人。幼工書。時有張子並、陳梁甫能書。甫恨逋,並恨峻,象斟酌其閒,甚得其妙,中國善書者不能及也。嚴武字子卿,衛尉畯再從子也,圍棋莫與為輩。宋壽占夢,十不失一。曹不興善畫,權使畫屏風,誤落筆點素,因就以作蠅。既進御,權以為生蠅,舉手彈之。孤城鄭嫗能相人,及範、惇、達八人,世皆稱妙,謂之八絕云。晉陽秋曰:吳有葛衡字思真,明達天官,能為幾巧,作渾天,使地居于中,以機動之,天轉而地止,以上應晷度。

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