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Skuo Kua / Discussion of the Trigrams

rosada

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CHAPTER 1

1. In ancient times the holy sages made the Book of Changes thus:

They invented the yarrow-stalk oracle in order to lend aid in a mysterious way to the light of the gods. To heaven they assigned the number three and to earth the number two; from these they computed the other numbers.

They contemplated the changes in the dark and the light and established the hexagrams in accordance with them. They brought about movements in the firm and the yielding, and thus produced the individual lines.

They put themselves in accord with tao and its power, and in conformity with this laid down the order of what is right. By thinking through the order of the outer world to the end, and by exploring the law of their nature to the deepest core, they arrived at an understanding of fate.
-Wilhelm
 

rosada

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This first section refers to the Book of Changes as a whole and to the fundamental principles underlying it.

The original purpose of the hexagrams was to consult destiny.

As divine beings do not give direct expression to their knowledge, a means had to be found by which they could make themselves intelligible. Suprahuman intelligence has from the beginning made use of three mediums of expression - men, animals, and plants, in each of which life pulsates in a different rhythm.
CHANCE CAME TO BE UTILIZED AS A FOURTH MEDIUM; THE VERY ABSENCE OF AN IMMEDIATE MEANING IN CHANCE PERMITTED A DEEPER MEANING TO COME TO EXPRESSION IN IT.
The oracle was the outcome of this chance.
The Book of Changes is founded on the plant oracle as manipulated by men with mediumistic powers.
-Wilhelm
 
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pantherpanther

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An interesting historical fact is the markings of the lines of Heaven and Earth that are in the I Ching
appear on the back of Otzi, the " ‘Ice Man" recovered in the Italian Alps, who had remained frozen from the Copper age 4500 BC, at least 6500 years.ago.
 

hilary

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THE VERY ABSENCE OF AN IMMEDIATE MEANING IN CHANCE PERMITTED A DEEPER MEANING TO COME TO EXPRESSION IN IT.
That is a very resonant sentence.

Now... what is three-like about heaven, and what is two-like about earth??
 
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meng

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Possibly three was used for heaven because one was too abstract? Thunder from the abyss (3) can be a representative of god/gods.

But I have no idea if that's what Wilhelm meant.

It's also not clear to me if Rosada quotes Wilhelm or is commenting herself.
 

rosada

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So far I'm just posting Wilhelm.
Wilhelm addresses the assigning of numbers in the next paragraph:

The established language for communication with suprahuman intelligences was based on numbers and their symbolism.
The fundamental principles of the world are heaven and earth, spirit and matter.

Earth is the derived principle; therefore the number 2 is assigned to it.

Heaven is the ultimate unity; yet it includes the earth within itself, and is therefore assigned the number
3.

The number 1 could not be used as it is too abstract and rigid and does not include the idea of the manifold.

Following out this conception, the uneven numbers were assigned to the world of heaven, the even numbers to the world of earth.
-Wilhelm
 
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meng

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Ok, thanks.

How 10th century BC. :D

Here's Hilary's answer re creative number 3: "Heaven is the ultimate unity; yet it includes the earth within itself, and is therefore assigned the number 3."
 

pantherpanther

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From Legge:
Treatise of Remarks on the Trigrams
Chapter I. 1. Anciently, when the sages made the Yî, in order to give mysterious assistance to the spiritual Intelligences, they produced (the rules for the use of) the divining plant.
2. The number 3 was assigned to heaven, 2 to earth, and from these came the (other) numbers

Legge comments on this:
"On paragraph 2 it is said that heaven is round; and as the circumference of a circle is three times its diameter, hence 3 is the number of heaven. Again, earth is square, and as the circumference of a square is four times its length or breadth, or it consists of two pairs of equal sides, hence 2 is the number of earth."

Since ancient times the Chinese have represented the earth as square and the heavens as a circle.

The reverse side of the charm has no inscription or pattern other than having the circular central hole with the radiating four corners of the square.The charm is 29.4 mm in diameter and weighs 8.4 grams

The pagan Celtic year was divided into quarters and these Bronze Age people apparently thought of their spiritual dimension as a circle in a square, with the world of the living being the square and the spirit world the circle around it. At the corners of the square the distance between the realms of the living and the dead were “thinnest.”Each of these corners was exactly half way between a solstice and an equinox. The winter and summer solstices are, respectively the shortest and longest days of the year, something a Bronze Age person could observe and measure directly. Likewise the equinoxes are 24-hour periods during which day and night are of equal length, also something that can be measured by people with clocks.
 
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pocossin

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They invented the yarrow-stalk oracle in order to lend aid in a mysterious way to the light of the gods.
The 'gods' were primarily ancestral spirits.

Suprahuman intelligence [of ancestral spirits] has from the beginning made use of three mediums of expression - men [visions], animals [oracle bones], and plants [yarrow] in each of which life pulsates in a different rhythm.
The living are more responsive to spiritual influence.

The Book of Changes is founded on the plant oracle as manipulated by men with mediumistic powers.
Chance, Wilhelm's fourth medium, is now based on inanimate matter -- dried yarrow, bamboo, metallic coins, dice, etc. He does not consider the fifth medium -- the human mind. 'Mediumistic powers' should be 'powers of the imagination' since diviners need not put themselves into trance but may instead depend on a contemplative frame of mind.
 

hilary

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'Mediumistic' is so out of place I went to see if it was a dodgy translation. But no, Ms Baynes is right (as usual): "medial veranlagte Menschen", people of mediumistic inclination.

3 as Pi? Love it! Must go see what Wang Bi had to say...
 

sparhawk

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The reverse side of the charm has no inscription or pattern other than having the circular central hole with the radiating four corners of the square.The charm is 29.4 mm in diameter and weighs 8.4 grams
Interesting charm, looks like a coin but I doubt it is one (Chinese coins usually have a square hole). Do you a reference that goes with it?

Thanks.
 

hilary

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Must go see what Wang Bi had to say...
Well, Lynn's footnotes say the commentary is actually from Han Kangbo, and it only says that 'three signifies the odd numbers, and two signifies the even numbers'. Fair enough. (Makes me think of geomancy, with the key distinction between odd and even at the beginning.)
 

rosada

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The hexagrams, consisting of six lines each, are, so to speak, representations of actual conditions in the world, and of the combinations of the light-giving, heavenly power and the dark, earthly power that occur in these situations.
Within the hexagrams, however, it is always possible for the individual lines to change and regroup themselves; just as world situations continually change and reconstitute themselves, so out of each hexagram there arises a new one. The process of change is to be observed in the lines that move, and the end result in the new hexagram thus formed.
-Wilhelm
 

sparhawk

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There is a square relief frame around the hole however. Round holes were probably easier to make.

Interesting stuff.
Easier, yes; appropriate for the symbolism of Qin Dyn and onward coins, no. But, then again, to my knowledge, that isn't a coin (as in "used as currency") but a charm/talisman (mind you, all Chinese coins were considered charms/talismans of one sort or another). The curious thing about that "squarish" diamond in the center is that it isn't a proper square but formed by semi-circles. A repetition of the circle theme could be an indication of the intention of the charm. There are representations of these types of charms in art where coins are symbolized. In that link PP posted there is even an example of a coin with a representation of two of these charms within. I had never seen one like those actually coined.
 

jilt

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Chuang Tzu (Zhuang Zi) lived around 360-300 before christ. About number he said:

there is one and oneness. When there is one, there also must be not one. So there are two. (not one and one) One and two make three. A good counter easily comes to tenthousand.
But he was a bit of an anarchist.
My quotation is free after Fung Yu Lan, as I remember this one since some 25 years, it is great fun and very taoistic

The anarchistic philosopher is mixing joifully the digital divisions as coming from defining things, counting and the metaphor the Chinese used for everything existing: the tenthousand things.
As far as I know the numerology from the yi is from the early Han-period, so around 0 (or was it 200bc?)
 

pocossin

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Hexagram Dynamism

The hexagrams, consisting of six lines each, are, so to speak, representations of actual conditions in the world [the area between heaven and earth], and of the combinations of the light-giving, heavenly power [ideas, form,impetus]and the dark, earthly power [space, actualization] that occur in these situations.
Within the hexagrams [space], however, it is always possible for the individual lines to change and regroup themselves; just as world situations continually change and reconstitute themselves, so out of each hexagram there arises a new one. The process of change is to be observed in the lines that move, and the end result in the new hexagram thus formed.
-Wilhelm
1. Change as movement within the King Wen Sequence. Except at beginning and end, a hexagram follows and is followed.
2. Change as movement upward through the lines.
3. Change as interaction of primary trigrams.
4. Change as the integration of hexagram picture, line position value, and covering trigrams.
5. Change of a hexagram to any other hexagram by changing lines.
6. Change by changing trigrams.
7. Change in hexagram, trigram and line interpretation.

Others?
 

pantherpanther

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There is a square relief frame around the hole however. Round holes were probably easier to make.

Interesting stuff.
The round hole may represent the inner vision or the door to Heaven ? The Celts conceived of their spiritual dimension as a circle in a square, with the world of the living being the square and the spirit world the circle around it.
 

fkegan

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That is a very resonant sentence.

Now... what is three-like about heaven, and what is two-like about earth??
Hi Hilary,

Traditionally, One is the Unit and Numbers are numbers or multiples of that unit. Thus the first number is 2 and the first odd number is 3. Even is feminine and odd is male. Also Heaven is male and the Earth is female.

It is pretty straight forward number symbolism and universal. China and Pythagoras at least.

Frank
 

rosada

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In addition to its use as an oracle, the Book of Changes also serves to further intuitive understanding of conditions in the world, penetration to the uttermost depths of nature and spirit.

The hexagrams give complete images of conditions and relationships existing in the world; the individual lines threat particular situations as the change within these general conditions.

The Book of Changes is in harmony with tao and its power (natural and moral law).

Therefore it can lay down the rules of what is right for each person.

The ultimate meaning of the world - fate, the world as it is, how it has come to be so through creative design (ming) - can be apprehended by going down to the ultimate sources in the world of outer experience and of inner experience.

Both paths lead to the same goal. (Cf. the first chapter of Lao-tse.)
-Wilhelm
 

pocossin

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In addition to its use as an oracle, the Book of Changes also serves to further intuitive understanding of conditions in the world, penetration to the uttermost depths of nature and spirit.
Why isn't " intuitive understanding of conditions in the world" the same as "an oracle"? In other words, if a diviner really depends on an intuitive understanding of the inner life of a querent, is casting necessary?
 

pantherpanther

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Why isn't " intuitive understanding of conditions in the world" the same as "an oracle"? In other words, if a diviner really depends on an intuitive understanding of the inner life of a querent, is casting necessary?
The laws of world creation and world maintenance, upon which the arts and sciences are based and developed are not about the oracle/divination. They are the universal laws of how things work. To learn how to use them takes training and experience. I think "intuitive" indicates a direct experience of the laws and perhaps also a skill, like a craftsman's , in using them. To became a musician required many years,for example. Confucius was a good one. His pupils had to learn a half dozen or so of the arts and sciences. According to some legends, he had a 1000 pupils but only certified 70 as sufficiently accomplished.

The I Ching is based on the cosmology and the ideas or laws of Lao Tzu according to Wang Bi. Divination is recognized as a practice in all Traditions, as in Buddhism and Christianity (Paul is quite explicit on its use.) Some are gifted diviners,healers and so on. The teaching can include many types. The community serves the teaching, and individuals contriibute as they are able.
 
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fkegan

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Why isn't " intuitive understanding of conditions in the world" the same as "an oracle"? In other words, if a diviner really depends on an intuitive understanding of the inner life of a querent, is casting necessary?
Hi Pocossin,

To be a bit more general and objective than Panther, The Yi Oracle is about answering personal subjective questions. Something Wilhelm and most academics could not bring themselves to do AT ALL. So this is Wilhelm's way of referring to what he was allowed to appreciate: The generalized or objective description of various possible conditions in the natural world and the ongoing changes or Flux inherent in that universal human reality.

It is how Wilhelm had to phrase things to remain within his German Protestant limitations. There are a number of indications in his text that he never consulted the Oracle or had any idea what an Oracle with moving lines changing to a Resultant hexagram might possibly mean (cf hex 57.5 which he compares to hex 18 without any awareness of the Oracle hex 57.5>>hex 18--so the moving line with just a bit of a new beginning moves toward the full hexagram with the total new situation.

Wilhelm isn't saying anything about diviners or divination or how they might operate or what intuitions they might have. He just ignored all such things.

Frank
 
M

meng

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I've never, even in the beginning, felt at ease with Wilhelm's use of such terms as moral law, unless that was Baynes' choice of words? The IC never seemed to me to be about morals, and it wasn't until I arrived here that, through people like Bradford, Kevin and Chris (how's that for diverse influences), I could begin to sort distinctions between ethics and morals, and which belong to the natural world and which to the human mind. Also were considerations of personal or collective origins of concepts of morals vs ethics. Since then, the difference is night and day, in my mind. That is probably a separate subject.
 

pocossin

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The laws of world creation and world maintenance, upon which the arts and sciences are based and developed are not about the oracle/divination.
Panther, what do you mean by "laws of world creation and world maintenance"? Not the laws of physics, I think. Maybe something like the interpretation of events in terms of hexagrams and trigrams?
 
M

meng

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Quote:
In addition to its use as an oracle, the Book of Changes also serves to further intuitive understanding of conditions in the world, penetration to the uttermost depths of nature and spirit. WB
Why isn't " intuitive understanding of conditions in the world" the same as "an oracle"? In other words, if a diviner really depends on an intuitive understanding of the inner life of a querent, is casting necessary?
I think intuitive understanding is a tool: naturally gifted or developed talent, which can facilitate an oracle. But, there enters in other creatures and features, such as faith and belief and personal experience, and even personal moods and opinions, which lie beneath the answers given. When those things lay claim to be an oracle, it's no longer the oracle speaking.
 

pocossin

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. . .The Yi Oracle is about answering personal subjective questions. Something Wilhelm and most academics could not bring themselves to do AT ALL.

. . . There are a number of indications in his text that he never consulted the Oracle or had any idea what an Oracle with moving lines changing to a Resultant hexagram might possibly mean (cf hex 57.5 which he compares to hex 18 without any awareness of the Oracle hex 57.5>>hex 18--so the moving line with just a bit of a new beginning moves toward the full hexagram with the total new situation.
Frank, aren't you being unfair to Wilhelm? How can you know what Wilhelm was aware of? On page 683 Wilhelm contrasts public work (hex 57) to private domestic work (hex 18). Looks good to me.

Rosada has already posted two quotes that refer to the inner life:

By thinking through the order of the outer world to the end, and by exploring the law of their nature to the deepest core, they arrived at an understanding of fate.
The ultimate meaning of the world - fate, the world as it is, how it has come to be so through creative design (ming) - can be apprehended by going down to the ultimate sources in the world of outer experience and of inner experience.
So Wilhelm did acknowledge the inner life.
 

fkegan

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Hi pocossin,

I'm sure Wilhelm recognized the inner life and many things. It was only divination, in particular, the use of the Yi Oracle to answer personal questions that he and virtually all academics refuse to consider.

Better to check with Brad, he mentioned not to bother searching academic papers for divination, there are none. It does seems strange to translate a book mostly known for its Oracle and oracle use without any interest in divination. But that is the reality.

Inner life, sure, Divination, not so much. I always assumed it was a Christian thing, that God was only available through prayer and Church. Wilhelm describes how to cast the Oracle, he just never does it and never recognizes anything having to do with actual divination. Sorry...


morals
of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
ethics
(usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Mores –plural noun Sociology.
folkways of central importance accepted without question and embodying the fundamental moral views of a group.

Hi Bruce,

If you can make a clear distinction of morals, ethics and mores you are doing very well.

My thesis adviser defined ethics as the branch of philosophy that was soluble in alcohol, which generally works pretty well too.

Frank
 

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