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A Question of Balance

jerryd

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I am and have been studying and trying to interpert the I-Ching for some months now. I have followed conversations here from the estute and the novices alike, I my self am daunted by some of the remarks. The elite are beyond my criticism and the novice often give me pause to think I am on the track to understanding. It is not an actual lack of my not interpeting it is a matter of technique. If there is one technique.

Some of the very best advice has come from the mainstays here in these pages, and some of the most frustrating also. It has been said that the only true interpertation which may be relied on is one which we our self may acquire from being able to understand the ancient language which it is written. If this is a truth then should I just leave I-Ching to the scholars and busy my self with something I can actually decipher? Perhaps I have miss read or take to much to heart what is given at times. At any rate at the risk of showing a complete lack of understanding can someone please tell me this is not essential to the root understanding of the true I-Ching.

I believe in my self to the point where I an insightful and intuitive enough to make sense of the readings I do and find they fit pretty well
within the range of others here, but I have no ability to access the truth or falsity of this to my satisfaction. So is it parctice makes (perfect)or scollarly effort in understanding? Or a combination of both.

Thank you for any comments you might wish to present.
 
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bruce

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Hi Jerry, long time no hear from.

That?s a pretty gutsy question, and I?m very curious to see who steps up to volunteer their answers. I?ll offer my own opinion.

I think understanding Yi is no different than understanding anything else. Take music for example. Someone with a strong academic aptitude goes to Julliard and learns music theory, they diversify and learn several instruments, they study famous composers through the centuries, they expand their knowledge in all the arts, and they graduate with an in-depth knowledge of ?how music works?. The question is: can they make music?

Another young music student spends their time playing music, experimenting and expanding in improvisation, testing and trying, learning from their clumsy mistakes. They may have limited knowledge of formal technique or ?how music works?, but you pass him on the streets of some well known city, playing for quarters, and the cat wails a soulful sax with undeniable skill and style.

Which of these two musicians understands music? Then there are those rare ones who are gifted in their academic comprehension and also have the heart of an artist.

To say understanding the Yi requires in-depth knowledge of it?s origin, language and history is like saying you have to master music history in order to play music. But this takes nothing away from someone whose passion it is to study origin, language and history, because that brings its own kind of understanding. But if academic understanding of Yi?s origin, language and history is all they possess, it?s doubtful their knowledge is of more use than teaching someone else origin, language and history.

I wouldn?t be intimidated by those who know more than you, or who specialize in Yi?s rich past. There will always be someone who knows more than you. I don?t see it as a contest. I?m just glad that however Yi found its way into my life, I can find the answers I seek, and somehow be assured that there is a great consciousness at work in the background ? always.
 
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micheline

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Jerry, I can so relate..there were times on this forum when I felt like a fool, as if I had just realized I knew nothing about the Yi....even though I had used it happily and effectively for years.

Funny thing is, that as soon as i would lose faith in myself as a reader, the Yi would start giving nonsensical answers to me...when I got back into my skin so to speak, the happy relationship resumed.

The YI works on many levels. Even though I am absolutley sure that someone like Chris lofting, for instance, is really on to something, I myself have no understanding of it and I have to leave it alone until perhaps another time... when I want to happily explore it providing I am ready and relaxed!

delving into the history, text, interpretations, etc , etc is all fun and never "wrong"..it can yield lovely new insights and greater understandings and take you up to different levels.....BUT the yi, like any other spiritual tool, must be approached from where you are NOW-- organically.....you cant force yourself to be at a different level, and it wont work as well for you if you do. that's my opinion.

It is a personal thing. and it works for the fool as well as for the scholar.

to borrow a phrase from 12 step programs:KISS: Keep it simple, Silly!

or - Utilize, dont Analyze. That one is really apt for someone like me..

when i first used the Yi, it was a skinny little volume with no changing line text and so elemental..i have never seen that little tiny book again..but guess what? It gave me some astounding guidance at the time, I still remember it so vividly, and I followed its advice to good end. That made me a believer, and I was about as green as a person could be.

so use the forum to have fun and share thoughts , take what you can use and leave the rest.

good to see you here again, Jerry! Micheline
 

jte

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Wow, I think the answer above are really quite good. Along similar lines of thought, I'll repost an answer below from a related thread about six months ago:

It's my layman's understanding that ancient Chinese is ambiguous enough that most statements in the Yi could be translated multiple ways.

Some commentaries are translated from Chinese commentaries and some are added by authors. In either case, it's still ultimately "their take" on the particular hex/image/line.

It's also worth considering that a given line's "meaning" as an answer can be quite different in the context of a different question. I think much of what commentaries do (esp. in Wilhelm) ultimately boils down to expanding on that range of meanings with particular examples. This adds value, but is by no means exhaustive.

I think what Cello said (in a prior thread) about "creating your own commentary" as you learn the Yi is right on target. IMO, no one understands the whole Yi perfectly. So, each translation will have different strengths and weaknesses depending on the author's particular insights vis-a-vis your particular questions and way of understanding. But ultimately you start seeing what the hex/line means *to you* and I think that's where you really start understanding it on a deeper level.

This takes a long time, and even so for most lines there's still a range of meanings and new ones continue to emerge.

- Jeff

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frederick

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Hi, Guys!

Try this on for size -

"... Tao operates and the given results follow:
things receive names and are said to be what they are.
Why are they so? They are said to be so!
Why are they not so? They are said to be not so!
Things are so by themselves and have possibilities by themselves.
There is nothing which is not so and there is nothing which may not become so...

... These are all leveled together by Tao.
Division is the same as creation; creation is the same as destruction.
There is no such thing as creation or destruction, for these conditions are again leveled together into One.
Only the truly intelligent understand this principle of the leveling of all things into One.
They discard the distinctions and take refuge in common and ordinary things.
The common in ordinary things serve certain functions and therefore retain the wholeness of nature.
From this wholeness, one comprehends, and from comprehension, one to Tao.
There it stops.
To stop without knowing how it stops - this is Tao...

... Who knows the argument which can be argued without words, and Tao which does not declare itself as a Tao?
He who knows this may be said to enter the realm the spirit.
To be poured into without becoming full, and pour out without becoming empty, without knowing how this is brought about - this is the art of 'Concealing the Light'...

... Mankind forgets not that which is to be forgotten, forgetting that which is not to be forgotten.
This is forgetfulness indeed!
And thus the Sage sets his spirit free, while knowledge is regarded as extraneous growths...

... For the Sage does not contrive, and therefore has no use for knowledge;
he does not cut up the world, and therefore requires no cementing of relationships;
he has no loss, and therefore has no need to acquire;
he sells nothing, and therefore has no use for commerce.
These four qualifications are bestowed upon him by The Supreme Spirit, that is to say, he is fed by The Supreme Spirit.
And he who is thus fed by The Supreme Spirit has little need to be fed by man..."


- Not so random selections from Chuang Tzu (modified Lin Yutang transliteration)


I am thinking, therefore I am - Descartes

Know thyself - Inscription on the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi, Greece

What do I know? - Mongaigne

I yam what I yam, and that's all that I yam - Popeye

Words... Go figure - Freddy
 

jerryd

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Grinns and gratitude from this side of the of your conversations.Bruce, Micheline, you wise words are well spoken and many thanks to you both. Jeff, yes to creativity and comments and thank you for your input to my constrination. Freddy, gosh I must have struck a chord of understanding, perhaps you actually have thought about this question before to a greater length. Yes I have studied all these wounderous words of the wisest and the profound. I am still seeking a foot hold on the mountain but with the help of a root and a rock I will stand firm until rain comes to wash away hope.
You all have been a big help, many thanks. Perspective is one thing and perception is quite another I am finding out. (its about time hee:)>}
 

frederick

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I am still seeking a foot hold on the mountain but with the help of a root and a rock I will stand firm until rain comes to wash away hope.

Jerry:-

I'm back again. I've been bouncing off your last statement for a week now, and I'm somewhat unsure and more than a bit bothered.

Being an ex- bushwhacker and -cliff dogger, I understand the root and rock reference.

But...
The until rain comes to wash away hope. I hope it's a typo. If not...

Then, if you don't mind me asking with a little emphasis: What the hell does that mean?

The rain, from my perspective (reguarding the Yi), is for the most part a time of breakthough, release, a time of renewed hope.

No one else seemed to notice, or felt the need to react; but I generally don't follow the masses.

(I am a student of lurk and some times more than a little reckless; so I need a sincerity coach.
Lets see... Bruce! You're it.
If I'm out of line here, simply let me know and I'll go back to the desert and resume sitting under my dead tree. Dispite popular opinion, this is not a bad thing...)

Hello? Jerry?

Freddy
 
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bruce

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laughin here, Freddy.

You have no sincerity deficit that I can tell. And recklessness, for better or worse, comes with that territory.

I'm also curious what Jerry meant. What I read in his 'washing away hope' comment was something in the light of 23, which despite popular opinion, is not a bad thing.

your fellow desert rat
 

frederick

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The mountain, supported by the entire Earth, splitting apart from the inside and ready to topple.
Nice picture.
I agree, not necessarily a bad thing...
You think that's was going on here, Bruce?
 
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bruce

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Hard to say what Jerry meant, but he seems like a generous soul.

I believe it's the outer that is being washed and worn away to the benefit of the valley, where everything grows.

But I could be wrong.

Yo, Jerry?
 

frederick

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True, very generous.

The best top soil comes from where the floods have cut through a range...
It all begins and ends on, comes and goes through, this mountain.

Bruce, you could be onto something here.
I don't think you're wrong.

What do you think, Jerry?

Hello?

Tap...tap...tap... Is this thing even on?
 
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bruce

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Frederick, thanks for the image of floods cutting through a range. I'll look at crevasses a bit differently now. I usually associate erosion here with wind, but you?re right. Water strips the tender meat between the bones, feeding the earth below. The mountain becomes time itself.

May I ask what desert region you're living in?
 

frederick

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At one time I did live in the Central Oregon high desert; now I use Sitting in the Desert Under a Dead Tree only as an euphemistic expression of solitude and quiet contemplation; which is the way I've choosen to live life for the past couple years.

...But, Everything changes, I've reciently had one of the finest examples of feminenity...
er, femenin...
no, faminein...
Womanhood(?) I've ever witnessed come plowing into my life...
Solitude and quiet contemplation, I'm quite certain, will soon be a thing of the past.

She wants me to get a telephone! The nerve...

I am, sincerely, very fortuate and grateful.

Physically, I live on a large rock, an island, that lies between the coasts of Washington State and Vancouver Island, B.C.

Where are you?
 
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bruce

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LOL! Well, change is good. Just keep reminding yourself! But seriously, best wishes with your new love. Amazing stuff, that..

Awesome area up there. I lived in Wenatchee a few years and visited the sound a fair amount on business. Also played up in Bellingham. Btw, that rock isn't Bremerton, is it?

Currently I'm in northern AZ. Moved here 3 years ago from Reno. Prior to that I zigzagged like the wind across the fruited plains. Next year? Who knows?

And where the hell is Jerry?
 

frederick

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No. Not Bremerton. Nice town though.

I almost landed in Bellingham. I fell in love with the place one summer a few years ago while frequenting the ferry to Ketchikan; wonderful waterfront parks, fairly enlightened student population, lots of open mikes... I went back, dug a little deeper, and found a strong underlying element that I couldn't live with.

I ended up bouncing around the San Juan's, finally landing in a little cabin-ish hovel in the woods overlooking a small harbor.
A writer's paradise.

Jerry who...?
Oh, yeah!
Jerry.
Right... Not that I keep track or anything; but the abductions in the mid-west have tapered off considerably. Maybe the aliens went down under... though I can't imagine why.
Kangaroos, Koalas, and I'm sure many other things that start with the letter 'K'. One would think that for the amount of time they've been buzzing this planet they would at least be up to 'V'; at least 'R'.
Meticulous little devils, anyway.
Maybe this isn't their first time 'round.

Give 'em hell, Jerry! We got your back. Tear 'em up...
 

frederick

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They could've done 'D' twice. I've read about individuals that can do this...
 

jerryd

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Chorkel,Giggles and a Guffahhhhh....sorry about the lag in my responses...I shifted houses and lost my beloved connection to the net and yall. So as to an explaination.....

It never rains in southern California, also very rarely in Western Australia, also there are no what we call mountains here either...
So my reference is a very positive...Im here for the duration, or the rain loosens my foot holds or washes away the roots I cling too...Sorry about the vagery guys and gals....***:)>)>
 
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bruce

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I opened for Leon Redbone and John Prine in Bellingham. Never have I played for a more enthused audience. Perhaps enlightened as you've said. Bellingham didn?t strike me as having the typical hipper-than-thou snobbery of many other college towns though. It seemed more genuinely organic somehow. Maybe it was just the mushrooms.
crazy.gif


Jerry, we were about to send search and rescue! Sounds like you're navigating the transitory well. Good on ya, mate.
 

jerryd

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Geeze guys it was not all that serious, LOL...First I appologise for leaving you to figure out my nonsense...I had to shift houses in the middle of trying to find a foot hold on the mountain,...also in Western Australia it almost never rains...sort of like Southern California and Oklahoma In the summer, dry as a baptists liquor cabnet.....anyway my meaning was if you find yourself clinging on to a slipery slope with a precarious hold the last thing you would wish is to have it snow or rain to make holding on that much more difficult..

Thanks guys for the concern...alls well that ends well, oh well, its all good.

And yeah the "K" words do get a heck of a work out down under.....LOL
 

jerryd

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Oh...Shi....I was certain my first post did not get there and yikes there it is.../Please disregard one or both of these embaressments.....LOL
 
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rosada

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Thoughts...

Some while back - I think it was when Nancy Reagan was urging folks to "Just say 'No!'" - there was an ad or something promoting the phrase, "I feel so much better since I gave up dope." This sound bite quickly morphed to, "I feel so much better since I gave up HOPE." This bit of cynical silliness carried the profound insight that "hope" implies a wishing for things to be different from how they are, and thus takes one out of the Now. Since the greatest good can only come Now, having no Hope is actually a great blessing.

Rosada
 

frederick

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Jerry:-
Rundancy is fine. I think it's okay to say the same thing over and over. I have no problem with people who feel the need to repeat themselves...

Nice to hear that there were basically good changes for you, then.
That's important. You had me going there for a while.

Are you sure it wasn't aliens? Some don't remember.
Did they probe you? There are very few things that I can say I truly hate; but that's not one of them.
What? Too much information...?

Bruce:-
Prine and Redbone. Sweet gig.
Yes, Bellingham holds a very apprieciatative crowd. Unfortunatly the entire area is now enshrouded in the darkness of the Great Cosmic Dust Collector, crank.
So disappointingly pathetic, I just couldn't stay.

Rosada:-
I guess it was just a matter of time before someone came along and re-grounded this thread.
Congratulations. I hope you're happy.
mischief.gif


Freddy's Book of Facts defines Hope as:
The projections of desired future outcomes which leaves one wide open to frustration and dissappointment.

"To accept the irrevocable is to let go of desire."
- Lao Tzu

To lose hope is a blessing, indeed.
Thank you.
 
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bruce

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Frederick, I'm only vaguely familiar with the Cosmic Dust Collector research, if indeed it is legitimate research. From what little I've seen, it appears to be. I have no knowledge of any unrest about it, though.

I too like Rosada's point here, and also on other threads lately. Some very keen insights, imo.
 
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bruce

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Along the line of hope: hope creates a picture of something else, visualized in a different time. I bounce ideas around about this all the time. On one hand, to visualize something else is to perpetuate what any decent daoist (is there such a thing?) would see as just another coming and going. In spite of this truth, we have the potential to break through by projecting our future, which is creating hope; or else why bother participating through our will to change, to be something or somewhere else, or doing something other?
 

jerryd

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A point well taken Bruce, hopelessness is akin to helplesness, giving up too much of ones self to the etherial and leaving ones self without feeling worthy of contuning, we would all turn to Welfair and allow no growth or improvement in our life. Depending on hope to solve a problem, with out personal action, is insanity personified.
 
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bruce

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Hi Jerry. Yeah, I never feel 100% resolved on this one. To have no hope or vision or goal seems somehow wasteful of potential. It's also why I've never bought wholly into nihilist beliefs, or any strict adherence to overcoming the flesh or ego.

Still, there's much to be said about taming the beast.
 

frederick

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To have no hope or vision or goal seems somehow wasteful of potential.

Bruce:-

My simple opinion is that hope is what a child does in anticipation of a desired birthday gift, to visualize and pursue goals requires a somewhat more mature, active participation in life. If we put aside whatever may be said are Deities, Dao(-ist, -ism) is just an individual path. How much an individual who follows Dao participates might depend upon personal definitions of contrivance (i.e. guile, cunning, and other manipulation of people/curcumstances) weighed against what may be felt as the greater good, the benefit of all, etc.
Situations prevail as the difficulties of a not so ideal world strike us on a daily basis.

Thanks and have a good week, my friends:-

Freddy

P.S. The Great Cosmic Dust Collector is what I call, without much humor, Crystal Meth/Crank; a serious problem that is tearing apart the foundations of many societies on Earth today. Is there actual, active reseach in something by this name? Is it the same thing?
 
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bruce

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Point well made, Freddy.

I think my rambling could be summed up as "to be or not to be?"

Ah, That dust. I'm all too familiar with the plague, as my youngest son was a serious meth addict for over three years. He's been clean now for five. I can understand your sadness in seeing a soulfully rich community like Bellingham fall to this destructive device.

Thanks for the open exchange, and have a great week.

PS: The Great Cosmic Dust Collector is also the gathering and study of comet particles, which just happens to have been taking place in the Puget Sound area for the last several years.
 
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rosada

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aw shucks, thanks for the kind words guys....
--

I think Bruce has hit on something with "To be or not to be..."
A life without hope does not necessarily mean a life of "helplessness". Hope implies the belief that something outside the self is stronger than self. To give up hope means to recognize that equal power resides in the self - a most empowering awareness indeed! So if not dispair, what would a life lived without hope look like? Mahatma Ghandi knew change in the government in India was "hopeless" and yet he refused to live in such a world of injustice and so he fasted. He intended to fast until death if necessary and thus by refusing to live in the world as it was he changed the world.

I personnally am not arguing for living a life without hope -all things in moderation, say I! Still to interpret "hope" as being a distraction does seem to solve the riddle of the poem.

Great week back at'cha.
 

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