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Either This or That, but Which?

ddely

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Hi everyone,

I'm hoping to get everyone's insight on something. I hope this question doesn't upset anyone, that's not my intent. Please understand that it stems from my own frustration in learning and trying to understand how to read the IC's answers.

I noticed that in a lot of hexagrams, the IC answers in a way that is pretty much common sense. What I'm referring to are answer like this, for example:

If one does this, there is no blame, good fortune, etc.....but if one does this, he will fail, there will be evil, etc.

I understand that if we are asking the IC a question like, "what will be the best course of action for me...." then an answer like this is most valuable.

But, if trying to determine what will happen in a situation that relies on the actions of another, how is this question answered at all? For instance, I already know as a matter of common sense that John Doe could choose to do this, or he could choose to do that...he has these choices...but if we're trying to find out what will result in a situation, an answer like the one above really doesn't answer it for us, does it?

I fully understand that we have free will to choose our course of action, and how we choose to react, etc., affects the outcome of any situation. What I don't understand is how to read the answer in a way that tells me what will most likely happen....period.

After reading alot of the answers, I still don't feel confident in knowing what will happen, I'm left with the same root of confusion I had before, "OK, I understand that, but which course will he take...A or B?"

I read through the threads endlessly it seems, I know that some of you are able to read the hexagrams and are able to understand the answer even when receiving a hexagram that seems to answer with an "either this could happen/or that could happen".

Please help me to understand how you arrive at this place of knowing, and confident in understanding the answer that is being given to you. Is it the overall tone of the hexagram, or the individual trigrams, etc?
 
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proph

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I find the answers by not relying on only one translation, that way you don't get only one way of seeing the answer, and you can surmise what the answer really is, but if the answer really is that John Doe will either do this and this will happen or he'll do that and that will happen then that's your answer and if you want to know which ask which.
 

Samgirl

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I am also starting with the Yi studies, and many times I am doubting of what I receive because I think that I might be colouring the answers with my own wishes, mostly when the answer is not straight forward. It helps in my case to do another question, asking for a clarification of the original question. Then normally it turns a lot clearer and any doubt I had with the first answer dissipates. It also helps to me to review my first question, as perhaps it is equally ambiguous to the answer. And I guess, lots or practice and time helps. Keeping your questions in a journal or something similar that enables you to go back later on and review the answers. The possibly their meaning is clearer and your experience grows.
 

fkegan

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I am also starting with the Yi studies, and many times I am doubting of what I receive because I think that I might be colouring the answers with my own wishes, mostly when the answer is not straight forward. It helps in my case to do another question, asking for a clarification of the original question. Then normally it turns a lot clearer and any doubt I had with the first answer dissipates. It also helps to me to review my first question, as perhaps it is equally ambiguous to the answer. And I guess, lots or practice and time helps. Keeping your questions in a journal or something similar that enables you to go back later on and review the answers. The possibly their meaning is clearer and your experience grows.
Hi Samgirl,
You describe the process of developing experience with Yi oracles. One's own emotional upset tends to interfere with calm appreciation, though the only way to deal with this that most of us know about is just to keep doing the things you are doing and growing older each day toward eventually becoming calmer.

The question of texts is always an issue. This gives rise to various translations of the Chinese text and other texts seeking to extend the traditional text into the author's personal interpretation of what is really meant by the Yi.

As to Oracle questions about what will John D do next in our relationship they are always difficult. If you are open and supportive, the universal advice such as the book "He just isn't that into You" works well-- if he cared about the relationship your being open to him and supportive of his reality would be all that mattered.

I personally have developed a perspective upon the Yi where the meaning of the hexagrams or any specific oracle can be simply and easily described in terms of the line values and line place positions all by themselves. It is a symbolic perspective, but shows that there are many ways to interpret an oracle without the specific advice added by Confucian commentators based in the use of the Yi as advice for Imperial bureaucrats trying to keep their jobs without being found at fault for anything.

Frank
 

Samgirl

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Hi Samgirl,
As to Oracle questions about what will John D do next in our relationship they are always difficult. If you are open and supportive, the universal advice such as the book "He just isn't that into You" works well-- if he cared about the relationship your being open to him and supportive of his reality would be all that mattered.
I am also finding quite interesting to make questions that relates future events. At first I wasn't sure how useful they were due to the continuous change that we all go through, but lately I understand that -at least in my personal experience- the answers I receive about possible events depend a lot on my present state. I have found that when I am very anxious about something and I expect a specific outcome, I seem to be receiving scary answers -or at least they appear to be scary. The, when my state of anxiety is gone and I ask the same question or a better question, the answer is serene and clear. In some occasions, I receive an answer that takes away a heavy weight from within and removes my anxiety completely.

I understand why many of us turn to the Yi to pacify anxiety... It's like going to mum when we feel afraid, so we can hear her saying "don't worry, everything will be okay". Normally, when we throw the coins we are alone as well. I am finding that -when I am honest enough to accept that it is fear what is triggering my question, the Yi gives me back this loving comfort. In any case, I am a truly believer that the Yi is a mirror of ourselves, the wise part we have in us that knows the answer to any question our mind have.

I do have this feeling that I will not understand completely the Yi unless I can read Chinese. I hope I will improve my understanding once I gain experience and deeper study on the symbolisms, trigrams, lines, positions. I have been using several translations and it amazes me sometimes the differences I find, depending of the author. As I am studying other things that are taking me to understand that there is no bad or wrong or any kind of judgement on what happens; I am wondering how this relates to misfortune, good fortune, without fault, and other judgements that are found in the translations of the Yi. I am certain that there is an answer that clarifies this however I don't have a clue of where to find it.
 
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ddely

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Thank you all so much for your responses.

Frank, although much of it is way above my level of understanding at this point, I'm very much enjoying your writings. I haven't read it all yet, but it's my intention.
 

tuckchang

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Hi ! Ddley,

I am not a diviner; I’m just interested in studying I Ching; but I would like to randomly provide the following from my observations of some professional diviners for your reference.
1) The answer is a summary of a reading method which is familiar to you but with flexibility, a wide image adoption, a thorough comprehension of the text………….and experiences.
A) What does flexibility mean? It comes from your memorizing all the texts. It will guide to many links as reference materials. I will take lines 1 & 2 of hexagram 54 at my last post as one of the examples and I quote as the follows (remarks: Please read divination sample at page 3 / shared readings, if I didn't succeed in quoting it):
B) A wide image adoption: For instant, hexagram 50: Ding, Ding is the image of a three-legged cooking cauldron which is used to feed people; thus it is annotated by Confucianism as ‘to nourish and recruit the virtuous & able person’. Some of the cauldrons are embossed with legal provisions and were meant to be used in sacrificial ceremonies as the ritual utensil, i.e. a symbolic of the regime. The raw and bland material is put into the cauldron to become delicious food after cooking; therefore its extended meaning is innovation. The bottom trigram Shun is the wind and represents wood; the upper trigram Li is fire ………….
In addition to what it automatically tells us, it also reveals, for instant, a legal provision and banquet when you ask for a marriage; it signifies recovery i.e. innovation when a young man is sick but it might mean a ritual utensil when an elder is concerned.
C) A thorough comprehension of the text: For instant, hexagram 3: Cui, line 6: Riding a horse but encountering lots of horses gathering side-by-side in front (or being stopped and alighting); crying nonstop with bloody tears. Confucius’s remarks: Crying nonstop with bloody tears; how can it last long?
Hexagram Cui means difficulty in initiating; the last line stays at the extreme of difficulty and the end of initiation; it is sad to an extreme, as one will perish if one can’t make a breakthrough (i.e. to be given birth). Obviously a change requests to be made as the hexagram after this line change, is I: to enrich (hexagram 42), the text of which advises that it is instrumental in going somewhere, and it is instrumental in crossing the river.
What I intend to say is: you must collect as much information as possible and build your data base, and you must make I Ching become your I Ching; otherwise, I Ching is only a book. Yi was originally designated for divination; however, the divination of I-Ching is definitely not fatalistic but rather meant to provide advice for people to contemplate a problem from different perspectives of viewing and look for proper measures.
2) Usually the first picture or the first judgment come to your mind is the answer; even if it is a wrong reading, some diviners said.
3) A notebook and constant practices, it goes without saying, are the must. Sometimes you really can’t find the answer at sight. One of my classmates had a divination for checking whether he should join the I Ching class. He got hexagram 29: Duei and we had lots of discussions but none knew what it exactly means. He didn’t show up after that day because he was transfered to a new job located at a town named the abyss. Last but not least, you must build confidence. To my knowledge, all the diviners known to me have a small temple at their houses. I Ching is the communication tool with their gods. I don’t like to talk god and ghost here, but seemingly there is really something functioning. I will say, at least, you must trust it’s invisible power if you want to use it. You might misread the message, and you need adjustment via practices and experiences in order to build the bridge with it. One day your explanation and judgment will spring up like a fountain. Sometimes I even wonder whether my teacher, master Liu Jun Zu, sets an answer first and then looks for the question.

Regards
Tuck :bows:
 

fkegan

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Thank you all so much for your responses.

Frank, although much of it is way above my level of understanding at this point, I'm very much enjoying your writings. I haven't read it all yet, but it's my intention.
I thank you, and I wish you well in your studies. Casting many, many oracles about things of high emotional turmoil, reading text to interpret, hoping for good news, fearing bad news is the way I learned all the hexagrams by their lines and Sequence numbers. Being very upset and finding the oracle sympathetic and encouraging brought me lots of appreciation for the Oracle. Finding I asked a question imperfectly and the Yi answered perfectly, sometimes teasing me, others just being very droll and deadpan were very poignant parts of my personal relationship with the Yi.

If the Chinese text is a major thing for you--try
http://www.yellowbridge.com/onlinelit/i-ching.php
it gives you everything all at once in one place taking the mystery and difficulty out of it all.

Discovering the structural analysis and the Pythagorean explanation of the King Wen Sequence is a more advanced satisfaction, but the appreciation for the elegance sophistication of the Yi is a delight too. Though, when I ask the oracle a question I deeply care about personally--it is still an emotional roller coaster.

Good Luck on Your journey.

Frank
 

Samgirl

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I could not help but post this - from Deepak Chopra:

Monday: Thinking for Peace

Thinking has power when it is backed by intention. Today, introduce the intention of peace in your thoughts. Take a few moments of silence, then repeat this ancient prayer:

Let me be loved, let me be happy, let me be peaceful.

Let my friends be happy, loved, and peaceful.

Let my perceived enemies be happy, loved, and peaceful.

Let all beings be happy, loved, and peaceful.

Let the whole world experience these things.

Any time during the day if you are overshadowed by fear or anger, repeat these intentions. Use this prayer to get back on center.

Please support my intention for peace by going to Intent.com. Then create your own intention to add the power of your intention toward peace in the world. Share this message with all your friends to create a tidal wave of peace for the planet right now.

You can throw darts at me if you like, I'll stick to my popcorn. :)
 

ddely

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Thanks everyone!

Tuck...what an incredibly informing post! Thank you so much for taking the time to explain all of that to me. I've come back 3 times thus far to re-read and reference what you've said.

Frank...again, I can't thank you enough. You've given me an incredible amount of interesting information to study. It will take me a while, but it is helping alot.
 

diamanda

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What an interesting thread!

Frank, thanks for the great links.

Tuckchang, thanks for managing to capture so much in just a few words,
what an amazing post!

Ddely, i've found that when you're asking about another person's intentions,
the answer really depends on if that person has already decided what they
are going to do or not! If they have, the answer will be more or less clear,
if they haven't, then you'll get something like 'either this or that'. In situations
where there's much confusion, it sounds quite normal then that the other
person is confused too and don't know what they're going to do. Still, even
if you get 'this or that' answers, it can still help you to formulate a sort of
plan A and plan B (ie if he does that, then i can do this, etc), so, still better
than nothing! :)
 

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