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Comparing the obstacle hexagrams: 3, 12, 39

CuriousGeorge

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Hi all,

I have been throwing 18.2.5.6>39 quite frequently, and I've also been getting various iterations of 3 and 12. There seems to be a venn diagram in the explanations of these three hexes, with 3 and 39 speaking of temporary difficulties, and 12 and 39 speaking of some tangible obstruction to progress. Can anybody speak to the difference in their experiences with these three? I am too inexperienced to have much to lend to the conversation but I am hoping others have some insight
 

hilary

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Good question!

Wilhelm calls 3 'Difficulty at the beginning': more than anything, it's about beginnings. Lots of creative energy, everything highly charged and ready to go. I think the difficulties are more a matter of chaos and confusion rather than some specific thing in the way. Maybe it's just hard to get moving before you know where you're going.

12: stopped, blocked, stymied, :brickwall: . No messages get through, nothing doing, nothing works. It doesn't matter how ingenious, creative, loyal or persistent you are; it isn't happening.

(Until you have lines changing and a few bricks in that wall start shifting, that is...)

39: it's definitely hard to climb this rock... in the torrential rain... when your shoes are too small... and you have chilblains... Have you tried walking round it instead? 39 is the kind of obstacle that asks you to stop, turn yourself around and rethink. (And get some help.)

Gardening examples:

It's May, and everything's growing and proliferating like mad: vegetables, nettles, hoverflies, flea beetles, everything. (3)

The purslane I sowed and watered in that carefully-prepared seed bed didn't germinate. (12)

I've no idea how to beat carrot fly, so I'll buy carrots from the shops and grow salad leaves instead. (39)
 

jukkodave

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Hilary, Hi. Puzzled I am in your interpretation of the Hexagtams. You quote Wilhelm so I will quote from him.
Hexagram 39.. "perseverence brings good fortune". So I cannot see how you would be thinking that giving up, just because you may not at this point know how to beat carrot fly (which isnt that difficult by the way) is a reason to stop trying when "perseverence" is clearly the indicated way to proceed. Buying carrots when you have a few carrot fly, as 39 clearly isnt a complete disaster, hardly seem to be presevering. Try growing a different variety, companion planting to hide the scent, a barrier, as carrot fly only fly a certain height from the ground, how about just cutting out the inedible part and enjoying the flavour that only comes when you grow your own and pick fresh.
Hexagram 3 is obviously about finishing what has been started, and not taking on new tasks, nothing should be undertaken. But puzzled I am as to how you derive that the garden is growing and proliferating when the message is clearly one of difficulty, apart from the flea beetles, which only happen once the initial difficulty has been overcome and everything is growing, every thing in your garde seems to have gone beyond Hexagram 3.
I take Hexagram 12 to be a fantastic opportunity, a time to recognise that the external is temorarily stuck, that I had no part in it being stuck, and so cannot permit any reward that might arise from it, it is a time to focus on the "inner ", it is not the time of action in the external but it is the time for action in the internal, what a wonderful Hexagram, shame that we dont get more external stagnation.
All the best, Dave
 

moss elk

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39 clearly isnt a complete disaster.
Nor is a brick wall or flooded gully, you just have to do things differently or choose a new path, it counseling specifically to take a look at what you are doing, and do something else.
The persistence/perseverence in 39 isn't quite the same as in hex 1, 39 does not say continue what you are doing, in fact it says to do different than you have been.

Hexagram 3 is obviously about finishing what has been started,
You may want to look more at 3, it isn't about finishing what you started, it is about reaching out for help/allies at the start of something, creating networks.

shame that we dont get more external stagnation.
That is a very odd thing to say.
 

hilary

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Hilary, Hi. Puzzled I am in your interpretation of the Hexagtams. You quote Wilhelm so I will quote from him.
Hexagram 39.. "perseverence brings good fortune". So I cannot see how you would be thinking that giving up, just because you may not at this point know how to beat carrot fly (which isnt that difficult by the way) is a reason to stop trying when "perseverence" is clearly the indicated way to proceed. Buying carrots when you have a few carrot fly, as 39 clearly isnt a complete disaster, hardly seem to be presevering. Try growing a different variety, companion planting to hide the scent, a barrier, as carrot fly only fly a certain height from the ground, how about just cutting out the inedible part and enjoying the flavour that only comes when you grow your own and pick fresh.
I think maybe it's just my interpretation of carrot fly that puzzles you, rather than of Hexagram 39 ;) - I'm an entirely novice gardener. 39 is not 'stop trying' but 'try a different way' and 'get help' - so companion planting might be a good application, come to think of it.
Hexagram 3 is obviously about finishing what has been started, and not taking on new tasks, nothing should be undertaken.
Hm?

Ah - Wilhelm/Baynes. The phrase he's translating there is 'you you wang', literally 'having a direction to go' or 'going to the far place'. It's about having a specific purpose, going in a specific direction, exploring away from the centre, none of which is a good idea at the very beginning.
But puzzled I am as to how you derive that the garden is growing and proliferating when the message is clearly one of difficulty, apart from the flea beetles, which only happen once the initial difficulty has been overcome and everything is growing, every thing in your garde seems to have gone beyond Hexagram 3.
Again, it's a matter of garden-interpretation rather than hexagram-interpretation. In this part of the world, it's in May that things really grow like mad. And in my experience, Hexagram 3 is more creative chaos and less 'initial difficulty': 'Clouds, thunder, Sprouting.' (Which is exactly what happens. You have an apparently-empty seedbed, and then it rains, and suddenly the seedlings are 4 inches high while the weeds are turning into a jungle.) The Sequence (xugua) begins with 3:

‘There is heaven and earth, and so the ten thousand things are born.
Overflowing the space between heaven and earth, the ten thousand things.
And so Sprouting follows: Sprouting means filling to overflowing;
Sprouting means the beginning of things’ birth.’

I take Hexagram 12 to be a fantastic opportunity, a time to recognise that the external is temorarily stuck, that I had no part in it being stuck, and so cannot permit any reward that might arise from it, it is a time to focus on the "inner ", it is not the time of action in the external but it is the time for action in the internal, what a wonderful Hexagram, shame that we dont get more external stagnation.
All the best, Dave
Hm, yes, at one level I think you're right. The nuclear hexagram of 12 is 53, so it holds that potential for deepening/ rooting. But the experience of 12 is not at all wonderful.
 

jukkodave

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Hi Hilary,
I agree that Hex 39 perseverence is not identical to another Hexagram, but the point I was making that with your gardening analogy you were suggesting giving up and perseverence obvbiously does not mean doing something different than you have been.
I have to disagree with waht you say about Hex 3 not being about what you started. An "undertaking" is after all about newness, we dont undertake a task that we are in the middle of. So Hex 3 is about starting something, having difficulty, not giving up and persevering and reaching out to others for help in order to to be able to continue the initial course.
What could possibly be odd about the opportunity to grow internally, as it is only by inner growth and understanding that we could even begin to have any comprehension of the Yi. Hex 12 simply says that external is temporarily stagnated so take the opportunity to look inwards and grow.
That is after all what the entire message of the Yi is all about. The inner, the Superior Man. How tragic it would be if we only used the Yi for the external world, we really would be missing a great opportunity to grow as human beings. Ues of course the Yi does not discriminate and if one askes a question about the external you will get a response appropriate to the external, but why do we not recognise that the external that we experience is predominantly a manifestation of our inner in one way or another. So Hexagram 12 is a wonderful reading as it says the external is stuck, nothing doing there, take this wonderful opportunity to go inner and grow the "Superior Man".
 

jukkodave

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I agree that Hexagram 12 is not that wonderful, if, we focus on the outer and not on the inner. If we take the opportunity presented by Hexagream 12 then it is indeed wonderful.

I think transporting the entire ten thousand things to be a representation of sprouting is rather a large leap. We have Yin and Yang and so we have everything else and there is no space that is not filled by the ten thousand things, sprouting is everything and is just as much the virus, the bacteria, the weather or the slugs that prevent a seed from germinating and growing just as much as it is the part that we call the sprouting of a plant.

I think I understand the confusion about Hexagram 3. One can of course wander around with no direction at all but that really would be rather is foolish thing to do. How can we begin any indertaking unless we know where we are heading, so "you you wang" is simply saying know where you are heading, and of course is one starts an undertaking, moving away from the centre, without knowing the destination or even the direction one is intending then one really has to be considered ignorant of understanding and needs the assistance of others. There being a findamental and huge difference between exporation of the unknown and moving in a particular direction. There is nothing in Hex 3 to suggest that there should be an exporation of the unknown, in fact you confirm that it is about a "specific purpose and direction, so should be understood before the venture was begun. No wonder that we get Hex 3 if we have failed to have the understanding of where we are intending to go and the dorection we might take to get there. No wonder we have difficulty at the beginning and need the help of others. So I think that "you you wang" really validates my initial point that Hexagram 3 means a different thing than the gardening analogy suggests.
 

hilary

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To each their own, of course (life would be boring otherwise). Still, here are some different perspectives on 39 and 3 -
Hi Hilary,
I agree that Hex 39 perseverence is not identical to another Hexagram, but the point I was making that with your gardening analogy you were suggesting giving up and perseverence obvbiously does not mean doing something different than you have been.
Paying attention to words like 'zhen' is always a good thing, but it's good to read them in context. There are many different kinds of perseverance/ constancy/ determination (or insert your preferred translation here...) in the Yijing. 39's Oracle says,

'Limping. Fruitful in the west and south,
Not fruitful in the east and north.
Fruitful to see great people.
Constancy, good fortune.'

The constancy that means good fortune is going to be found in the west and south, and through seeing great people. This is not the same as just doggedly continuing in the same direction; if you were going north and east, you can best be 'constant' to your original goal by finding a different route.

More in this article, and the linked one about Gun and Yu. (I wouldn't recommend Byron Katie so enthusiastically nowadays, though... I should edit that...)

If you can enjoy Hexagram 12, then good for you :) .


I think transporting the entire ten thousand things to be a representation of sprouting is rather a large leap.
The leap in question was made by the authors of the Xugua. I find they generally seem to know what they're doing ;) .
We have Yin and Yang and so we have everything else and there is no space that is not filled by the ten thousand things, sprouting is everything and is just as much the virus, the bacteria, the weather or the slugs that prevent a seed from germinating and growing just as much as it is the part that we call the sprouting of a plant.
... and yes, exactly, all that. Blackspot, radishes, flea beetle eating the radishes, lettuces, slugs eating those, the whole lot. This is why the noble one needs to weave with the warp, and why we need feudal lords: there is a lot of stuff out there to get to grips with.
I think I understand the confusion about Hexagram 3. One can of course wander around with no direction at all but that really would be rather is foolish thing to do. How can we begin any indertaking unless we know where we are heading, so "you you wang" is simply saying know where you are heading, and of course is one starts an undertaking, moving away from the centre, without knowing the destination or even the direction one is intending then one really has to be considered ignorant of understanding and needs the assistance of others. There being a findamental and huge difference between exporation of the unknown and moving in a particular direction.
Yes, you'd think so, but this expression can cover both. Have you read Harmen's article about it?

There is nothing in Hex 3 to suggest that there should be an exporation of the unknown,
It might be better to describe it as working to expand the realm of the known, or knowable. That's a big part of what feudal lords are for: to expand your reach.
in fact you confirm that it is about a "specific purpose and direction, so should be understood before the venture was begun. No wonder that we get Hex 3 if we have failed to have the understanding of where we are intending to go and the dorection we might take to get there. No wonder we have difficulty at the beginning and need the help of others. So I think that "you you wang" really validates my initial point that Hexagram 3 means a different thing than the gardening analogy suggests.
I'm not quite clear what you're getting at here, but now is probably a good moment to go back to a simple, literal translation of the original:

'Sprouting.
From the source, creating success, constancy bears fruit.
Don't use this to have a direction to go,
Fruitful to establish feudal lords.'

First: yuan heng li zhen, just as at the beginning of the whole book. The whole mantic formula, the full creative potency. The next two lines are responding to that: here's how to behave amidst all that creative energy in the beginning times.

Also, those two lines are set up as a contrast: don't use this time/ energy for this, but it will be worthwhile to use it for that. So then we get to engage our imaginations, along with whatever historical insight we can muster (can anyone find a link to that article of Harmen's? Google isn't helping...), and see how 'having a direction to go' might contrast with setting up feudal lords. Both activities are 'centrifugal' and about expanding one's realm of influence, so what's the distinction being made here?
 

jukkodave

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I think I see the misunderstanding here. I am trying to focus on the spirit and essence of the Hexagram and not the particular words, which if course come after the event if a Hexagram.
So I would say that a Hexagram exists as a fundamental essence and the words that try to describe it will always struggle to do so. If we get overly caught up in the language we may well miss the fundamental principle that is at the core of each Hexagram.
My take on the Yi is really very simply. 6 lines, each one having its individual place and its meaning within the whole. Line 1 is always the essence of line 1 and so on through to line 6 but the meaning of each line can only be taken in the context of the whole Hexagram, just of course as the whole Hexagram can only be taken in the context of each line. The Hexagram and its lines are yet another manifestation of the changes of Yin and Yang, you could say that in one sense a Hexagram is moving towards a Yang manifestation and a line is moving towards a Yin manifestation. Neither exists without the other and so neither can our understanding.
So when you suggest (insert your own translation) that only adds to complexity when surely the goal of the Yi is to find the simplicity. Some translations are "easier" to read but they cannot be saying anything different , one to the other, and if we see any difference in one translation over another we must be missing the essence of the Hexagram. So;

'Limping. Fruitful in the west and south,
Not fruitful in the east and north.
Fruitful to see great people.
Constancy, good fortune.'

says exactly the same thing as Wilhems translation ir any other translation. The Hexagram has not changed just because the translation has changed.

The constancy that means good fortune is going to be found in the west and south, and through seeing great people. This is not the same as just doggedly continuing in the same direction; if you were going north and east, you can best be 'constant' to your original goal by finding a different route.
But is this not that was what I was saying but not what you indicated in your original gardening analogy.

If you can enjoy Hexagram 12, then good for you :) .

I didnt say that I enjoyed Hexagram 12, I said that it was a wonderful opportunity to realise that everything is temporarily stuck on the external and that gives the possibility if exporing the inner. Of course if one wants to focus on the external then Hexagram 12 is a difficult time, it is all stuck, so nothing is going to happen, it is going to be frustrating, but why not do as 12 invites and focus in the inner. If we dont know what that is then Hexagram 12 is saying that we should.


It might be better to describe it as working to expand the realm of the known, or knowable. That's a big part of what feudal lords are for: to expand your reach.

Got well rid if the fuedal lords around here. No use whatsover for anyone telling anyone else what to do.


I'm not quite clear what you're getting at here, but now is probably a good moment to go back to a simple, literal translation of the original:
The point I was trying to make is that in order to move to a destination one has to need to have a direction to go or one is wandering around lost. Personally I am not that keen on the translation you give, I think that it is trying to be something that is not indicated by the Hexagram. Yin and Yang are confusing, they are towo extrem, to liable to change at the simplest of movements, there is no stability in either Hexagram 1 or 2. Hexagram gives us the first movement from the chaos that is inherent in 1 and 2. Whether you say dont use this to have a direction to go or nothing should be undertaken it means the same thing, we are being told that we dont understand, we need assistance form the fuedal lords/helpers.
My point being that only if one knows the destination can one know the direction that one needs to take and threefore if we get Hex 3 we are being politlely told of our ignorance and informed to seek guidance.

'Sprouting.
From the source, creating success, constancy bears fruit.
Don't use this to have a direction to go,
Fruitful to establish feudal lords.'

Not sure what you relevance you are attaching or mean by "the next two lines". It took me a while before I realised that the "lines" that are given in the Yi are commentaries on the moving lines, there arent any commentaries on what the lines in an unchanging Hexagram mean individually. They of course do mean somethinf individually but I think that the fact that no one has ever come up with a coherent description of the meaning if the lines within a Hexagram just shows how little we really understand about the Yi.
While I have grave reservation about the interpretations that some have attempted to ascribe to the Yi in a medical sense I would have to agree that the Yi, if it is a represenation of life, must reflect the world of human physiology and health. An important criteria in Chinese Medicine is that things flow, and so the flow of one line to the next in a Hexagram has to be maintained to give the result of a final aspect of physiology. That rather indicated taht our interpretations of the Hexagrams as being good or bad, detrimental or benificial is rather of target. Ther is nothing detrimental about normal human physiology. I will have to sit down one day and dierive the functions of human physiology as corresponds to the Yi.
The commentaries that we have of the lines are obviously not flowing from one to the other, they jump all over the place in terms whether they might be consider to be "good" or "bad". But as there is nothing good or bad about the physiology of a human being, which is what the 64 Hexagrams describe the commentaries of the lines can only be in reference to if they are moving lines and so the lines ascending in each Hexagram have to also be neither good not bad but just a description of what is. Only when we get to the moving lines do we break away from the harmony of the 64 and into the realms of disharmony and disease. But to understand that movement into disharmony we would have to fully appreciate and understand the maaning of the 64 unaltered Hexagrams.
My questioning of the gardening analogies was an attempt to try to strip the Hexagrams down to those fundamentals, to observe the essence, so as to see that the various translations are saying the same thing and so it really shouldnt matter which translation we use, or who said what about what as long as they are saying the same thing. In fact we can use the comparision of one translation against the rest to see as a uselful tool to see if any part of any particual translation is off the mark or on the ball.
Really if we understand the flow, the movement, the change, that is revealed by the Yi we should see the similarities and so the simplicities rather than the differences and the complexity.

Not sure that I can aggree that both are centifugal. In terms of centrifugal that is only one choice of how to move, other movements are just as valid and occur in all sprouting. We have an expansion outwards only if we have a contraction outwards. As everything in the universe moves the decision to stand still is just as much a movement as any other sort of movement. As human we can choose the action of moving in a particualr direction and we can choose our rate of movement in that direction, we can choose whether to continue on a straight line vector or choose to implement a change or subject ourselves to the accelerations of a change of direction.
Did anyone relise that Newton was describing Yin and Yang and how they interact.
 

Liselle

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It would help if you'd edit your post and put [quote][/quote] tags around things you're quoting from other people's posts. You'll have to type them in manually if the button doesn't work (sometimes it does; sometimes it doesn't).


And of course we do try to see the similarities among translations. But I daresay it's beyond the capacity of any human (I Ching authors included) to understand everything Yi could put under the umbrella of a hexagram or line.
 

jukkodave

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Hi Liselle,
Please forgive my formatting youthful folly. I am ignorant of the ways of such technicalities. I have acheived it in one post, but that must have been luck rather than any skill or judgement. I shall endeavour to correct my ways to make any post more readable
.
I have to raise issue with what you say about "beyond the capacity af any human (I Ching authors included) to understand everything Yi could put under the umbrella of a hexagram or line"
Firstly why should we place any any "I Ching authors" on any sort of pedestal and think that they had any more insight that we are capable of. Human beings one and all, no more insight than potentially anyone else. Secondly off course if we direct our focus and our energies externally it is an endless world of complexity and we can never comprehend the wonders of the Yi. But we can also direct our focus to the inner and recognise that the Yi, while it can be taken in the most external way possible, is a reflection of the inner world in general and our inner world specifically. The essence, the fundamental of the Hexagram, of each unchanging line, has to be understood unless we are to be caught and entrapped in a world of semantics. Of course we need a language to be able to comprehend, but why have we not realised that any language will do, the essence, the fundamental of the Hexagrams and lines is not Chinese, the Chinese have no more insight into the meaning of the Yi, even if they can claim to be the originators, the Yi is a universal language. The original Chinese versions are in effect a translation of the essence of the Yi. Translations of translations gets to be very much like chineses whispers if we are not careful.
There is so much that we seem to almost take as set in stone and that does not add to our understanding. I have recently been looking at the suggestion that Hexagrams come in pairs. That of course is one way of laying out the Hexagrams, there are others that make more sense in terms of flow and progression. But as a potential tool to get us thinking it is certainly useful to consider the version that was laid out thousands of years ago that we use to day that numbers the Hexagrams 1 to 64. It really doesnt matter at the end of the day, if we "understand" that particular sequence, though a lack of comprehension of why one particular sequence is preferrred over another will limit our ability to fully comprehend the meaning of any particular Hexagram as we can only know the part by knowing the whole. It may be useful to get some sort of perspective and to give us a comprehension that everything has its complementary "opposite". For that to work it would have to be consistent but it simply isnt. We start of with the most obvious "pair", 1 &2, polar opposites in every sense, and then jump into the pair of 3 &4 which may be paired in some way but certainly not in the sense of opposites established by 1&2. No consistency, much confusion. Some pairs make sense, some dont. Some "pairs are opposite in some way, the lines are reversed, as in 1&2, some are reversed in another way, so cannot be the same sort of "pairs".
What I am trying to say, in a rather long winded way, is a take issue with your statement because it "limits" what we think we can understand, it places the "authors" above the rest of humanity. King Wen may have devoted much time to the Yi but why would we ever assume that he was right on all things, in fact to be brutal why would we ever assume that he was right on anything, though that might be to chjallenging a concept for most it is certainly worth throwing into the debating ring. Do we not have the same eyes and heart to be able to see and know as he did, is the Yi not a universal representation that is just as real to a non Chinese as it could be to any Chinese human being. Yin and Yang are real for everyone, the movement, the change, represented by the Yi exist for everyone, whether that is represented in Chinese or English matters not one bit. Like all things if we really understand something we can write it ourselves. Translations are all very interesting and nowadays can serve to act as a discrimnatory tool but where is "our " understanding today, where do "we" say, in the language of today, what Hexagrams 1-64 mean. Where is our detailedunderstanding of how the 64 Hexagrams represent the human physiology (and psychology).
It seems to me that the repeated presentation of yet one translation after another just says that we do not know what we are talking about. If a translation is correct it cannot be improved upon or changed, only if we acknowledge that previous translations failed in in some important way in their accuracy could anyone even feel the need to attempt another translation. Simple logic then tells us that our latest translation is never going to be fully accurate and that someone else is going to come along alter and "corrct" us. NO translation from the Chinese is accurate enough, no translation can ever describe the essence or the fundamental, words can only do so much.
Perhaps if we started recognising that what we dont know is considerably more than what we do know there would be less confusion. Perhaps if we focussed more on questioning "why" we might be able to see beyond only a limited perspective.

For me I have to say that my understanding is so very limited. I do a reading, I get a particular Hexagram, do I really understand it, can I really understand it in separation from the remaining 63. For me only when I really understand how the Hexagrams flow, how they connect and inter relate one to the other, how one Hexagram may move smoothly to another, but is less inclined to be mates with another could I even begin to say I really have a comprehension if the essence and fundamentals of the Yi. I have used the correlation of the Yi and human physiology and so in that sense we could say that if a particualr Hexagram represents the blood vessels that it flows smoothly to a Hexagram that represent the Heart, which flows smoothly to a Hexagram that represents breathing. But does not flow so smoothly to the Hexagram that represents the removal of waste. Chinese Medicine shows that certain "flows" are more likely from one part or function to another and less likley in other cases.

To me I have learnt so much, not just be taking in information but by breaking down the concepts and acceptances tht come with any information
 

Liselle

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Please forgive my formatting youthful folly. I am ignorant of the ways of such technicalities. I have acheived it in one post, but that must have been luck rather than any skill or judgement. I shall endeavour to correct my ways to make any post more readable.
Thanks.

Firstly why should we place any any "I Ching authors" on any sort of pedestal and think that they had any more insight that we are capable of.
For the reason you said later - they spend a lot more time on it than I, at least, ever will. Same reason experts in any field know more than non-experts.

Also, people who write books on subjects (ones that are recognized as "good"), have skills I don't possess. So - combination of time spent, and skills/aptitude, and probably some other factors.

But I do agree (paraphrasing you, I think) that "knowledge" and "insight" (/wisdom) are often two different things. True experts in a field have both.

But we can also direct our focus to the inner and recognise that the Yi, while it can be taken in the most external way possible, is a reflection of the inner world in general and our inner world specifically.
I think this is why no single human being will ever be able to apprehend the complete meaning of any part of the I Ching, because everyone's "inner worlds" are different.

I'm not sure that's completely different from a lot of other things. I.e. my inner experience of looking at a painting, or a sunset, or reading a book, or listening to a piece of music, or eating a dish of ice cream, is not the same as anyone else's. Of course there will be a lot in common - most of us will agree that a scary movie is scary, and that ice cream is sweet, and we have a perfectly good common understanding of what those words mean.

My overall reactions to what you're saying are - first of all, I think I can understand it. As you say, you want to get to the fundamental essence; that's an understandable and even commendable impulse. But I also think it's not possible to do, the way you want to do it, and you're tying yourself in knots. But good luck trying (and it'd be nice, in the meantime, to be a little less argumentative and critical of everyone else, don't you think?)
 

hilary

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I think I see the misunderstanding here. I am trying to focus on the spirit and essence of the Hexagram and not the particular words, which if course come after the event if a Hexagram.
So I would say that a Hexagram exists as a fundamental essence and the words that try to describe it will always struggle to do so. If we get overly caught up in the language we may well miss the fundamental principle that is at the core of each Hexagram.
I share your feeling that each hexagram has a 'fundamental essence' that we can seek. (Though I also think Liselle's quite right that it's ultimately ungraspable.) How do you arrive at your sense of what that is?

(I find my feeling for a hexagram emerges from its structure and what it says, along with its relationships with other hexagrams, along with experience in divination.)
 

Freedda

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I share your feeling that each hexagram has a 'fundamental essence' that we can seek .... I find my feeling for a hexagram emerges from its structure and what it says, along with its relationships with other hexagrams, along with experience in divination.)
That seems about it in a nutshell - and how each of us puts all the pieces together is going to be a bit different.

I'd add that I never see the Yi as being just about our inner reality or only about 'spiritual matters.' I think that the diviners who wrote it and used it most definitely had their feet in 'both worlds' - that of the spirit and of the worldly. We get advice here about our attitudes and ways of looking at things (perhaps what what we might call our 'inner' world), but we are also given advice and told about the natural world, human relationships, family, seeking wise counsel, and about times to move ahead and to hold back - to name just a few.

Though not from the same sources, Buddhism also speaks of this. For example, the Buddha's 8-fold path describes both inner work -- right concentration, right effort; and about our 'outer work' or how to be in the world, and in relationship and community -- right speech, right livelihood, right relationships, etc. I see the Yi in the same way.

D.
 

jukkodave

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Hi Liselle
I have to say that my experience is that "experts often dont know that much at all. They know the language and the terminology, that gives the illusion that they know what they are talking about but often have little depth beyond their "learnt" expertise and most experts have little or nothing new to offer and mostly just repeat what they were taught and history tells us that most of the things that we used to know are flawed and/or . It is of course the same with Chinese Medicine, which relies so heavily on the ancient texts. But why is that, we have far more knowledge than those who wrote the Neijing, why can we not "know" the actions of the points and the functions of the Zang Fu just as those that discovered that Medicine in the first place. Then we have no need to rely on the commentaries of the Neijing.
It is of course the same with the Yi. There is no reason why we cannot understand the fundamentals and the essence we have the tools, we should have, after thousands of years have the proper and even a better understanding of Yin and Yang.
So I have to say that there is no reason at all why we cannot have a full understanding of the Yi, though of course I have to agree that no one can ever have a "complete" understanding, but then no one can ever have a complete understanding of everything in any field. It is an oxymoron after all as the only completeness is what is signified as the Dao, which cannot be spoken or named. Bet we certainly can have a full understanding of such things as the Yi, it is finite, we are finite and so as finite we can commprehend the finite.
But I think that what you mean by "everyones inner world" is not what I was referring to. I was referring to the inner, that is the realm of the Superior Man, the world of Yin and Yand the world of the Dao, what many call inside is really another aspect of the external to that reality, so that inner is not what I was referring to and not what the Yi refers to. Know the inner and we "know" the essence and while there may be no words to pin it down we can certainly see when we fall f away from that understanding. The two are diferent of course. The essence of something can be known by the inner self, but being the essence can be difficult to pin down in words by the external self, and while there may be an eternal struggle to describe the essence we can delight in everyones attempts to describe the beauty of the fundamental essence. But when we know something what we also find is that when ther is straying away from that essence it is abundantly obvious.
I am sirry that you seem to find my posts argumentative and critical. There are only two options, either one agrees or one does not. How else can it be said if one finds that one does not agree with with something someone has said. We agree or we disagree and if we disgree we are "arguing", whether anyone finds that "critical " or not is surely down to how important it is that they are seen to be right. Personally I have no problems with direct and open disagreement or argument, my interest is in knowing the truth and I really dont care if I am the first to realise something or not . If an argument is correct it will stand up to detailed scrutiny if not it will fall and if I am ever proven wrong I will be the first one to admit it and thank the person that pointed out my errors. So I find no problem with constructive criticality or a good argument. If we all agreed we would unlikely learn much.
All the best
Dave
 

Liselle

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So I find no problem with constructive criticality or a good argument. If we all agreed we would unlikely learn much.
I agree. But it depends on one's definition of "constructive" criticism and a "good" argument, and how one presents those.

Being a clever fellow, you can probably figure out how to go back and put paragraph breaks in your post. Since there are at least a few paragraph breaks in your earlier posts, I'm guessing the problem isn't the forum bug. But in case I'm wrong, here's a link to how to fix that:
https://www.onlineclarity.co.uk/friends/faq.php?faq=vb3_reading_posting#faq_paragraphbug
 

jukkodave

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My grasp comes from the inner. How else could that be, what other reference point could we ever use, everything else is variable and changing. The outer can never do more than attempt to describe and so to limit. There have been many beautiful and valiant attempts but each are limited in their own way. We, for example, lay out the Hexagrams in a square, and that gives us one framework to develop an understanding, but Yin and Yang flow in a way that a square can never describe and of course the world is not 2d but 3d and so if we wanted to square things off we should perhaps be looking to a cube for insights. But then again a circle contains all things and the Yi is perhaps best described by those parameters such that Yin can flow in to Yang and back again and we can see the relationships between one Hexagram and another. A circle describes, in its realtionships, the fundamentsl of waveforms, which are the substance of everything. But we have become bound to the parameters set out many moons before and struggle to see beyong the limits of "square" thinking about the Yi.

I agree that a "feeling" for a hexagram comes from its structure, but what it "says" has to be debatable as it is language, and that only attempts to describe what can never be pinned down in words, and where is the framework so that we can be sure that a particular "relationship" is what we think it is. One only has to look at the various "relationships" that some have come up with in the past to see that there is not enough consistency or coherence in those framworks to be confident that they are accurate. I point I made in a previous post.
I think also that "feeling" is only one part of any understanding, we have been given the gift of intellect, we need to make use of all the gifts we have been given, as only when we use all of them can we have the contrast to be able to be sure that one is even right. Feeling on its own is just alikely to misguide us a intellect is capable of, though of course it can illuminate and give insight but by what measure in us can we know if we are deluding or illuminating. We try to use the Yi because we dont have a framework in ourselves but the fact that we need to use the Yi also means that we have no means, no framework, to really understand its message.
I first came across the Yi many years ago and without any "study" my understanding has grown because I have more understanding of life. I know that everything is connected, I know how the brain works and at least am aware that it is capable of deluding us completely, just as it is capable of illuminating, and unless we can see the difference between the reality in ourselves and the delusion in ourselves, so as to know if what we think we know is real or just the delusion that the brain creates to try to make sense of the world, we can never be confident in what we think.

My framework is really very simple, to find the simplicity in things, the seek out the fundamental, to root out the confusions and contradictions that I find in myself when the external delusion has its way. At the end of the day there is nothing that the Yi can tell is that we should not be able to know for ourselves without its assistance.
I am more intersted in the description of the world that the Yi provides rather than any interpretations that we may derive for our individual situations. More interested in finding the commonality in the Yi that joins us all. More interested on discovering how the Hexagrams flow, one into the other.
The Yi describes the universe, both inside and outside of us, and of course as it does that we can use that for the purpose of divination, but every method that describes the human universe can be used for both self illumination and divination. The Tarot, Astrology are perhaps two obvious examples, both have the capacity to be used as a divination tool and both have the capacity for illuminating our understnding of ourselves and the universe. The patterns in the Tarot, in Astrology and the Yi are the same patterns, we may not necesarily understand their connections,or how the 64 Hexagrams connected to the 22 major arcana or the 52 minor arcana or how are they connected to the 12 of Astrology. But of course they are as they describe the same universe. The language of the Tarot is the same as the language of the Yi, in its fundamental sense at least.
 

jukkodave

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Hi Hilary

I think question here has to be, what relationships.

If is the "pairings" that are constructed to reach the "verson" of the Yi that we know today, ther is obviously no consistency there at all.
Hex 1 and Hex 2 use a pairing where each line changes.
Hex 3 and Hex 4 use a reversal of the Trigrams. If Trigrams were only a method of memorisation that wouldnt really be a pair at all.

Unless there was a coherent and rational reason why one pair was a pair for one set of rules, and other pairs were pairs for another set of rules, it is hard to see how they have any real relationship at all and the relationships are just those humans have contrived for one reason or another that give no insight into the Yi at all.

All the blast

Dave
 

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