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seminal work by Mou Zongsan (20th Century Philosopher)

denis_m

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Friends,

I just learned that an English translation of NINETEEN LECTURES ON CHINESE PHILOSOPHY is available on the web. Here is the URL: www.nineteenlectures.org
{If you google the translator, Julie Lee Wei, you'll see some articles on the I CHING that she has written for Sino-Platonic Papers.)

Mou Tsung-san is a seminal Chinese philosopher of the 20th Century, and this
book gives an overview of his thinking. Mou studied under Liang Shuming at Beijing University in the Twenties. As an undergraduate he wrote a book about the I CHING. In the Fifties and Sixties, as research fellow at the New Asia Academy in Hong Kong, he initiated the New Confucian movement. In the Seventies and Eighties, he was the pre-eminent teacher of Confucian philosophy outside of Mainland China.
Mou's work is not dry and musty. He is the only modern Chinese philosopher I know who could write with an immediacy and adventerous spirit that comes anywhere near Nietzche.
Although the main body of his work does not discuss the I CHING directly, it shows us what resources modern Chinese philosophy has that can be brought to bear on the I CHING.

Regards,

Denis M
 

lindsay

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Thank you very much, Denis. It's hard to find material like this without belonging to the club. I believe I will find Mou Zongsan very interesting, and I am grateful to Julie Lee Wei for sharing her work with the world.
 

stevev

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Is the IChing really Chinese ?

Now I don’t ask this is order to enable a hostile takeover of their obvious moral and intellectual copyright. It’s just that for a long time now I haven’t really associated it with China, until I came here and started reading about it‘s history. After the Chinese words have been translated and replaced, the ideas just seem human, and I wouldn’t even really go that far, maybe just animal will do, although I don’t like to exclude plants and aliens either, let’s just go with cosmic !

I remember a Jamaican reggae musician, possibly Peter Tosh, saying that white people’s greatest strength was our ability to take whatever we wanted from whatever culture and use it as our own. I think he said this in reference to 10cc’s “I Don’t Like Cricket”, it made sense then as now.

Also, I learned something about Indian and then Chinese philosophy before I’d even heard of Aristotle and it’s never seemed alien to me. I don’t know what people are talking about when they say Westerners have trouble understanding or adapting to these philosophies. I just heard that again today on the “$100 Taxi Ride” with an Indian closet philosopher, sorry, taxi driver.

I’m no scholar, and I’m really not very interested in the definition of western or eastern philosophy. I have no trouble accepting that there are differences, but after I ignore the bits I don’t like in all of them the rest just seems the same.

I haven’t finished reading these essays yet, who am I kidding, I’ll never finish them unless they’re in point form somewhere, and I’m not sure whether this guy is saying there is or there isn’t, but he’s saying a lot about it.

18. (Repair)

Sorry, have I made this off topic now ?

 

denis_m

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There's really no need to go into Chinese philosophy when working with the I CHING. And you're right, there's no point in mystifying the differences between Western and Eastern thinking. Some Westerners are adventurous and they try out new edges. Thhey can turn into intellectual magpies (as in Peter Tosh's remark relayed by Stevev), or they can settle into something and develop it deeply. So the edge between East and West breaks down.

People who work with the I CHING are going direct to the fountainhead. Those symbols can give you traction when you're thinking about broad swaths of experience. (To me, that's really philosophy.) Also, by working directly with the I CHING, you can avoid some of the artificialities that belong to the baggage of academic philosophy.

However, a person who likes the I CHING may find interesting things in Chinese philosophy. The Chinese thinkers took some ideas from the I CHING and ran with them. They had a lot of time to turn those things over in their collective mind, so that is a resource for us. Sometimes, I don't like what they've done, so I take that as a negative example, and get a clearer sense of my own approach.

The words yin and yang were drawn out of Qian and Kun by philosophically minded people. Maybe Qian and Kun were too raw and full of associations with fertility magic, so philosophers came along and rationalized them into yin and yang. But they couldn't fully discipline those concepts and make them into pure substances, since it's natural for people to think in metaphors. The concepts of yin and yang have lent themselves to muddled thinking. They have also been used by clear-thinking people. It's instructive to look at how they have been used.

A lot of thinking about "wu"(non-being) has been done in the Chinese tradition. We've all heard of the koan "mu." Mu is the Japanese pronunciation of "wu." "Wu" wasn't a nonsense syllable when first used by Chan teachers as a koan. It already was full of prickly questions from being mulled over by the Daoists. For the Daoists, non-being is often productive. Laozi believed that non-being comes before being and is productive of being. Laozi also said that non-being is the key to the function of a thing. He gave the example of the wheel hub, and the window, and the space of a room. Actually, his thinking is intimately tied to the I CHING. Between Qian and Kun at the beginning of the I CHING you have nothing. But that is a nothing charged with possibilities. All the interactions of Qian and Kun, all the possible situations, are waiting to spring to life out of that nothing. Nothing in Chinese philosophy, since the time of the I CHING, has been the space where creative change gets played out.

Lots of other ideas from Chinese philosophy have a tie of origins back to the I CHING, or to the kind of thinking found in the I CHING. For instance, the idea of ch'i (qi). According to Wang Zhenfu (who teaches the I CHING at Fudan Univ. in Shanghai), qi is a the neutral, energy-carrying medium through which yin and yang interact. The concept of ch'i was abstracted out of the primal encounter of Qian and Kun, as people tried to rationalize the roles of yin and yang and apply them to cosmology. Later, the word qi became a multi-purpose word for energy.

Interpretations of I CHING lines tend to be influenced by those later, rationalized concepts that were developed out of the I CHING. That is only fitting. Maybe it's poetic justice, maybe creative anachronism, or maybe a circle of interpretation.

I hope this hasn't gone even further off thread, but there was no thread I can be sure of, and I started it, so I guess it doesn't matter.
 

frank_r

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denis_m said:
The words yin and yang were drawn out of Qian and Kun by philosophically minded people. Maybe Qian and Kun were too raw and full of associations with fertility magic, so philosophers came along and rationalized them into yin and yang.
Interesting Denis, so you had first Qian and kun, and later yin and yang and the duogram old yin/yang and young yin/yang also came later? Do you know during what time yin and yang and the duograms where developped?

Best wishes Frank R
 

stevev

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I couldn't agree more

denis_m said:
There's really no need to go into Chinese philosophy when working with the I CHING. And you're right, there's no point in mystifying the differences between Western and Eastern thinking.
The essays are really heavy going, so I skipped to the end for relief only to find “Filial piety”, “Scholarship and mysticism”, “Kant and logical positivism”.

Still way over my head.

And the news that “Chinese philosophy has long since disappeared”

Preserved in the IChing ?

16. (Enthusiasm)

“A young sprout breaks free, lives out its homage to ancestors simply by carrying on.”
 
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bradford

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denis_m said:
There's really no need to go into Chinese philosophy when working with the I CHING. And you're right, there's no point in mystifying the differences between Western and Eastern thinking.
You're talking lots of sense here Denis. I'd even go a step further to at least consider Chinese philosophy a detriment to Yi studies. Most of its application is seriously retro and anachronistic. I've found it a lot more helpful to see common human experiences, shared by many tribes far across the great steam, as the basis for the majority of the the Yi's analogies and metaphors. Chinese philosophy doesnt really have much use until you start reading the Ten Wings.
 

bradford

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Only the primary link works for me. The secondaries are all 404's
 

bradford

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It must have just been down temporarily. Works for me now too.
 

sparhawk

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Got all of them in the bag now. Should have done that when Dennis posted in 2006.

Sending to Kinkos online to print them in a single book.

Thanks!!
 

charly

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Maybe the same Julie Lee that said:
I should mention that through all my four years at Taiwan University, I was a source of much merriment on account of the malapropisms I uttered. Once, for example, instead of saying sheng chan, "produce," I said xiao chan, "miscarriage," meaning a miscarriage in pregnancy. All the girls in my dorm room burst out laughing.

From: Julie Lee Wei: Dogs and Cats: Lessons from Learning Chinese
at: http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp138_learn_chinese.pdf
Good for reading.

Ch.
 

sparhawk

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Good stuff but, you know, it is kind of pissing me off that those files cannot be printed. Does the author thinks we are glued to a screen 24/7? :(
 

charly

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Good stuff but, you know, it is kind of pissing me off that those files cannot be printed. Does the author thinks we are glued to a screen 24/7? :(
Not to be read, only for copy and save.

Ch.
 

fkegan

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Both the new links work for me, the first one doesn't which was a drag...

However, the rest of the material is more opinion than philosophy, more narrative than logical argument. One has to enjoy listening to the author without asking question or expecting evidence.

Frank K.
 
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