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The Image in divination

IrfanK

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How do you use the Image in divination?

I must admit, I always took it more or less for granted that the Image was part of the reading, that it was only slightly secondary to the Judgement. Yes, yes, I know it's not part of the Zhouyi, that it's a later commentary, probably from the Warring States period. But it's just always been there. Wilhelm has to take responsibility for this, I think. He put the Image in prime place, in Book One, with all other references to later commentary tucked away in Book Three, where most people don't look. And most translators and commentators have followed him. Not all, of course. Anyone in the modernist faction tends to leave it out.

It's almost always in the shape of advice, how the "superior person" would act in this situation. I like to look at it when I ask a "What should I do?" question.

@hilary : Have you ever done a blog post specifically on the issue of how to use the Image? Or do you know if anyone else talks about it much? Thanks!
 

IrfanK

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I asked a question yesterday about a precarious situation and received 56.6. A lot of images to do with burning nests and lost cows. So I followed up today with a question about how to protect the cow and the nest, a "What should I do?" question. And received 23.4. The advice part seemed to be in the Image.
 

IrfanK

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Hey @hilary, just checking to see if the tag thing works after our email chat earlier!

A FEW SECONDS LATER: Yep! Sorted!
 

Gmulii

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With most other styles of reading in the Five Arts we read only based on Images(象 - i like the literal translation as elephants, something so big and obvious you just need to look in that direction and everything becomes clear).

Using the text there aren't that many sources of Images we can layer together, so no idea how it would be used with the text. Its helpful in the other styles, as they are based on Images and relations.
 

IrfanK

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With most other styles of reading in the Five Arts we read only based on Images(象 - i like the literal translation as elephants, something so big and obvious you just need to look in that direction and everything becomes clear).

Using the text there aren't that many sources of Images we can layer together, so no idea how it would be used with the text. Its helpful in the other styles, as they are based on Images and relations.
Hi Gmuli, hmmm. Yes, the Zhouyi text is filled with images. And I like the thundering elephant too, ever since an extremely dramatic weekend when I "consulted" with the Yijing by accidentally dropping my copy of Karcher on the sand of the beach on a tiny island and it opened up to 16, just as a huge tropical storm rolled over the horizon, with loud thunder booming everywhere.

But I was talking more specificially about "the Image," the part of the text that comes from one of the wings of the Yi, I forget which one. Most translations of the Yi include it just after the Judgement text.

Funny, despite its name, it's generally not as rich in terms of images as the line texts or judgement, it's usually giving advice. So, the image text for 23 (Wilhelm) is as follows:

The mountain rests on the earth:
The image of SPLITTING APART.
Thus those above can ensure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.
 

remod

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How do you use the Image in divination?

Even before reading any text, and even before looking at the hexagram number, the image that first strikes me is the one associated with the two trigrams, It depends on the question I have in mind, of course, sometimes it's the same as (or similar to) what's in the "image" section, sometimes it's not.

"Water over Earth" may be a gentle rain that satisfies the arid earth, or a rushing river that flows guided and contained by its banks. "Thunder below Mountain" could be the sound of something struggling to get free from oppression or the fear that may linger in the hearth of even the bravest man who looks solid as a rock.

Those are the first things that pop into my mind and generate an image that, in a way or another, drives me through the reading of the text. This "first image" is often contrasted or reinforced by the many other images the text offers but it never leaves my mind while reading.
 

IrfanK

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Even before reading any text, and even before looking at the hexagram number, the image that first strikes me is the one associated with the two trigrams, It depends on the question I have in mind, of course, sometimes it's the same as (or similar to) what's in the "image" section, sometimes it's not.

"Water over Earth" may be a gentle rain that satisfies the arid earth, or a rushing river that flows guided and contained by its banks. "Thunder below Mountain" could be the sound of something struggling to get free from oppression or the fear that may linger in the hearth of even the bravest man who looks solid as a rock.

Those are the first things that pop into my mind and generate an image that, in a way or another, drives me through the reading of the text. This "first image" is often contrasted or reinforced by the many other images the text offers but it never leaves my mind while reading.
Ah, I'm always happy to hear what people have to say when they look at the trigrams and how they work together! But again, I'm not talking about images or imagery in general, I'm talking about that part of the text of the Yijing that is specifically referred to as "the Image" (by most people who include it. Hilary, Wilhelm, Balkin ...)
 

Gmulii

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Hi Gmuli, hmmm. Yes, the Zhouyi text is filled with images. And I like the thundering elephant too, ever since an extremely dramatic weekend when I "consulted" with the Yijing by accidentally dropping my copy of Karcher on the sand of the beach on a tiny island and it opened up to 16, just as a huge tropical storm rolled over the horizon, with loud thunder booming everywhere.

But I was talking more specificially about "the Image," the part of the text that comes from one of the wings of the Yi, I forget which one. Most translations of the Yi include it just after the Judgement text.

Funny, despite its name, it's generally not as rich in terms of images as the line texts or judgement, it's usually giving advice. So, the image text for 23 (Wilhelm) is as follows:

The mountain rests on the earth:
The image of SPLITTING APART.
Thus those above can ensure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.

Yea, I know. I think in Tao of I Ching there were drawings somewhat based on the Images too.
I think its the same, but since it had to reflect a whole situation its with more words then usual.
But I think its the same Images, mountain rests on the earth in this case is exactly that.

In this case reflected, so lets see what we can say for a mountain rests on the earth reflected in human society.
The mountains are viewed often as "dragons" in the Five Arts, old and powerful and we get charged by them depending how we have situated the environment(living place). So they would be something we need to:
1)Be mindfull of, as they can change the way we move on the earth.
2)Something that can give shade(yin) or provide shelter.
3)Something that will change the rules we have, as we need to adjust for their presence, yet often in a beneficial way.
4)And also something that can bring Qi flow, as the movement from higher to lower positions and form are a way to generate it
etc.

And in human sociaty same Images can be seen in governing people in ancient China.

But that is when we view it from Trigram point of view(Mountain on the Earth). And they are both earth so supporting each other.
However, if we view it as lines in the whole Hexagram, then we have Yin lines that have already taken all position except the top line. So everything is becoming inactive, only in the highest possible position, even above the ruler there is still charge left.
Now, its up to the Diviner to figure out how to bring that charge down, as everything below Heaven is just receiving at that point.

And there we can focus on:
Thus those above can ensure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.
Basically - all other levels have become unreliable to take flow from, look at the highest possible level you can reach(top line) and bring it down if possible.

And depending where we choose to view it from it can bring different Images, then we can find them in the situation.

The short answer would be - in that specific text it seems to be the same Image however with some added commentaries(however, considering how the Chinese character works I would guess we can also view it as all of it only Images even what it seems like commentary when translated in English, not sure however).
 

remod

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Sorry IrfanK, I was not clear. I meant that I consider "The Image" text extremely important, I always read it and contrast/supplement it with the image I got formed in my head by the trigrams. If the text in "The Image" section is not the one I have in mind I try to understand why and I might get insights on the questions. So, I'm not surprised that you felt that the essence of the response you got was in "The Image" section of the text, it seems pretty normal to me.
I might have been too convoluted in my answer :).
 

dfreed

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To clarify, what you are referring to are the Daxiang, Wings 3 &4 - the greater (Da) figures (Xiang) commentary. (I believe Wings 3&4 also include the ‘xiaoxiang’ the lesser figures commentary, about the individual lines.)

These 64 verses mention each hexagram’s two trigrams and feel to me like lessons about the actions of kings and princes:

Hexagram 17 , Following - still water with thunder below: a prince thus, when evening comes, goes inside to rest and relax.

Hexagram 36, Brightness Obscured - light goes under earth: a prince thus supervises the masses, using darkness to shine in.

So, they include both the trigram ‘images’ and the imagery contained in each: a prince going inside; a prince supervising the masses, and so on.

I mainly work with the trigrams and the Zhouyi text, and hardly with the daxiang. That’s just a personal choice, in part, because their words often - but not always - feel disconnected from both the trigram imagery and meanings I work with, and also disconnected from the text of the zhouyi.

d.
 
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IrfanK

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These 64 verses mention each hexagram’s two trigrams and feel to me like lessons about the actions of kings and princes:
Or lessons for kings and princes? Yes, every now and again you get one where the trigram imagery is brilliant, but often not. I do use it, but lightly. Since it's almost always describing correct behavior in a situation, it works well when you ask for advice questions, I find. But it does often seem very disconnected from the text of the Zhouyi. And a completely different feel and taste to it.

By the way, does Rutt include a translation of the Daxiang somewhere in his appendices? It would be fun to read through them all in a row, without other distractions in between.
 
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dfreed

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y the way, does Rutt include a translation of the Daxiang somewhere in his appendices? It would be fun to read through them all in a row, without other distractions in between.
Rutt's Zhouyi includes a translation of the entire Wings Commentaries. His is the only translation I have - and that I know of - which includes these. Not too shabby for a modernist I'd say. That he keeps them separate from the Zhouyi makes sense, since his main emphasis and offering is a translation of the Zhouyi.
 
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kanlithunder

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How do you use the Image in divination?

I must admit, I always took it more or less for granted that the Image was part of the reading, that it was only slightly secondary to the Judgement. Yes, yes, I know it's not part of the Zhouyi, that it's a later commentary, probably from the Warring States period. But it's just always been there. Wilhelm has to take responsibility for this, I think. He put the Image in prime place, in Book One, with all other references to later commentary tucked away in Book Three, where most people don't look. And most translators and commentators have followed him. Not all, of course. Anyone in the modernist faction tends to leave it out.

It's almost always in the shape of advice, how the "superior person" would act in this situation. I like to look at it when I ask a "What should I do?" question.

@hilary : Have you ever done a blog post specifically on the issue of how to use the Image? Or do you know if anyone else talks about it much? Thanks!
The best way to use the Image in divination is to see the elements at work, in other words, to take it as a descriptive image.
I grew up on Wilhelm/Baynes and still love it, am by no means through with it - although exploring other translations is what life's all about. Taoism examines nature through those eight forces (in some translations it is seven Forces with Heaven being the one Awareness). Let's say you ask it something and get 53. Development (Gradual Progress). The first line in the Image is always a summary of what you see: "On the mountain, a tree". Those words have stuck with me as an ode to letting something grow while remaining still.
Then, as you say, how the "superior man" responds to that picture follows. "Superior" is in terms of exhibiting virtue elements of the Tao: kindness, gentleness, clarity. In W/B it's as if the Judgement offers an objective overview and the Image draws it in a little closer. And the changing lines are of course the most specific of all.
Let's do one more. 6. Conflict. The Image: "Heaven and water go their opposite ways: the image of conflict". I may have never understood what it meant without that explanation. Then the advice. Very moderate. The Judgement is more complex here.
The translation highlights The Image as much to teach you about the I Ching as to lend advice.
Enjoyed responding to your question, thanks much.
 

dfreed

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With most other styles of reading in the Five Arts we read only based on Images .... Using the text there aren't that many sources of Images ... so no idea how it would be used with the text. Its helpful in the other styles, as they are based on Images and relations.
Gmulii, I'm a bit unclear about some of what you're saying here.

* When you say (five arts styles are) 'only based on Images' I assume you mean the images and imagery we find in the trigrams, or do you mean something else? In other words, which one of the different 'image' definitions do you mean when you say 'Images'?

* I find that the text of the Zhouyi is filled with images and imagery, so I don't understand it when you say, that with 'the text there aren't that many sources of Images'? (Or are you saying that the Image text from Wings 3 and 4 don't contain much imagery?)

* You say, you have 'no idea how it would be used with the text'. What is the "it" that you don't know how to use with the text? By 'it' are you perhaps referring to one of the 'five arts' systems, in which case you are saying something like: 'I have no idea how I'd use the text with these (five arts) systems' - or 'I have no idea how I'd use the Image statements (from the Wings) in these systems'. Or?

* And you seem to be saying something contradictory above: that the text are not a good source of images, so they are therefore 'helpful in the other styles, as they are based on Images (and relations)'???

Best, D
 
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Gmulii

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* When you say (five arts styles are) 'only based on Images' I assume you mean the images and imagery we find in the trigrams, or do you mean something else? In other words, which one of the different 'image' definitions do you mean when you say 'Images'?
Well, we can use the Trigram Images sure. We do a lot in Mei Hua. But there is more. We can use the Images of the Lines. And we can also relate all that to the element of the Hexagram.

We know the cycle of the 5 elements, wood controls earth, produces fire etc.

We can view the whole situation initially as the first hexagram. It has an element. It can be fire(expansive), wood(growing) etc.
Then each line can carry an element, if a line controls the situation it gets Images of authority.
It can be a doctor, husband, government official etc.
If the element of the line produces the element of the situation/hexagram it would be parent. So it could be documents, or protection etc.

Overall, we set layers and layers of Images based on relations of everything present and we read when we see something shows more often and also based on what we want to read on.

Trigrams are part of that, sure, can do it only with Trigrams as well. But it becomes very impressive when we add all the other parts as well if we know how to use that.

* I find that the text of the Zhouyi is filled with images and imagery, so I don't understand it when you say, that with 'the text there aren't that many sources of Images'? (Or are you saying that the Image text from Wings 3 and 4 don't contain much imagery?)

I mean that they don't overlap in the same way.
We can't see Images of the Hexagram(situation) then see Images of each part of it and relate them to each other.
We can have many images of the line we read and we can somewhat relate it to the Images of the whole Hexagram or the Hexagram it changes into, but that is not as easy flowing as it is if we had a lot more, yet a lot shorter Images on each step of the way.

* You say, you have 'no idea how it would be used with the text'. What is the "it" that you don't know how to use with the text? By 'it' are you perhaps referring to one of the 'five arts' systems, in which case you are saying something like: 'I have no idea how I'd use the text with these (five arts) systems' - or 'I have no idea how I'd use the Image statements (from the Wings) in these systems'. Or?
I mean I don't know how we can layer images with the text. While we do have Images, sure, layering them suggests different "zooming" to everything. We can do it with the Trigrams, we read the text of the Hexagram and relate it to the Trigrams(one showing inner parts of the situation, the other outter, so how is the environemt vs the person asking local surronding etc.)

So if we add the Trigrams we have some limited layering, layer of the Trigrams vs layer of the whole Hexagram and the text. But that goes beyond the text already.
* And you seem to be saying something contradictory above: that the text are not a good source of images, so they are therefore 'helpful in the other styles, as they are based on Images (and relations)'???
Hmm... I should rephrase that. : )
Lets say the text is not a good source for layering Images. As much of it happens on the same layer, so there isn't depth in the same way. It is good source of Images, probably better then Mei Hua at times, depending on the practitioenrs knowledge, but they are more different to work with.

Somewhat like trying to use a language where each word is actually a block of 5 sentences vs a language where each word is just 3 letters, but there are words behind words and words encompassing words on different levels and heights etc.

In first case it can convey a lot more of an idea, but it will be less flexible to show everything we may need it to show at times.
In the second case it will need us to remember a lot of info to be able to use, also to be very clear on how they relate to each other.

Overall, I'm kinda saying that the text is less flexible in using Images. It still uses it and still in a usaful way sometimes. But it isn't exactly the same, its like the Images there are already premade and provided in a merged form, compared to what is used in other styles, most of the time.

Its really difficult to explain, as it is very different. But it isn't a minus for the text, its just different approach where we can see signs of Images left, yet they aren't as flexible to use as they would be in other places oftten.
 

hilary

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@hilary : Have you ever done a blog post specifically on the issue of how to use the Image? Or do you know if anyone else talks about it much? Thanks!
Not that I can remember. I do like them, though, and use them. I think Wilhelm had the right idea, promoting the Image to Book I: I find them thoroughly ingenious and insightful, and also a good lesson in how to use trigrams (to paint pictures and draw analogies). Often they draw out something already implicit in the text - particularly the text of line 5.
 

IrfanK

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Not that I can remember. I do like them, though, and use them. I think Wilhelm had the right idea, promoting the Image to Book I: I find them thoroughly ingenious and insightful, and also a good lesson in how to use trigrams (to paint pictures and draw analogies). Often they draw out something already implicit in the text - particularly the text of line 5.
Hmmm. Someone contacted me by PM with the same point about line 5. He referred to the Image text as a kind of "Cliff's notes" for the hexagram. Very interesting. Thanks!
 

dfreed

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Overall, I'm kinda saying that the text is less flexible in using Images. It still uses it and still in a usaful way sometimes. But it isn't exactly the same, its like the Images there are already premade and provided in a merged form, compared to what is used in other styles, most of the time.
Okay. Much of what you said above is still confusing me, but overall the way you’re thinking about and using the Images - is perhaps based on layers of images from associations with the 5 elements and stems and branches, and the seasons, etc.

But overall, what you’re talking about has little to nothing to do with the Image statements, the daxiang, from the 3rd and 4th Wings - which was the original topic of this discussion.

Do I have that about right?
 

dfreed

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Often they draw out something already implicit in the text - particularly the text of line 5.
Someone just mentioned this idea to me as well, so I looked at eight or so hexagrams, but I found no consistent connection or shared meanings between the Image statements and the 5th line statements - it was there only one time that I could find.

It made me curious however where this notion of a Daxiang Image-5th line connection comes from? Is it something you noticed on your own? Or is it from Wilhelm? Or another author or source?

Thanks, d.
 
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Gmulii

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Okay. Much of what you said above is still confusing me, but overall the way you’re thinking about and using the Images - is perhaps based on layers of images from associations with the 5 elements and stems and branches, and the seasons, etc.

But overall, what you’re talking about has little to nothing to do with the Image statements, the daxiang, from the 3rd and 4th Wings - which was the original topic of this discussion.

Do I have that about right?

Not really.

I will try to do it one last time, although I can see it doesn't seem to help much.

"The mountain rests on the earth"
Upper trigram = images of mountain,
lower trigram = images of earth,
upper on top of lower - images of mountain resting on the earth

As I tried to explain that works for the rest as well, although parts in there are related to how the elements interact, but if you aren't seeing how it works here, then seeing it there will be more challenging.
It counts for most of the text and I'm assuming the parts that doesn't fit were misunderstood or changed somewhere along the way.

Anyway, as now it seems parts of the conversation are happening on PM with people not in it, combine with the fact so far I seem to haven't been able to explain anything of what I meant, lets leave it here, I get the feeling I'm wasting both our time and no reason to do that now.
 

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It made me curious however where this notion of a Daxiang Image-5th line connection comes from? Is it something you noticed on your own? Or is it from Wilhelm? Or another author or source?
Just something I noticed - though of course now I'm going to find it hard to come up with examples. Well, there's always hexagram 5.
 

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Just something I noticed - though of course now I'm going to find it hard to come up with examples.
Okay thanks! And to clarify, I’m not saying that this notion of an Image / 5th line connection is wrong, or necessarily incorrect ; I’m saying that it is not consistent nor always true across all 64 hexagrams, which you seem to be confirming as well when you say you’re finding it hard to come up with examples.

And to therefore have - or rely upon - inconsistent ‘cliff notes’? Hmm?

best, d
 
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IrfanK

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Okay thanks! And to clarify, I’m not saying that this notion of an Image / 5th line connection is wrong, or necessarily incorrect ; I’m saying that it is not consistent nor always true across all 64 hexagrams, which you seem to be confirming as well when you say you’re finding it hard to come up with examples.

And to therefore have - or rely upon - inconsistent ‘cliff notes’? Hmm?

best, d
Nothing is ever always true across all 64 hexagrams.
 

dfreed

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Nothing is ever always true across all 64 hexagrams.
Yes, I agree! And in this case I think we can all agree, there is no consistent connection between all 64 Daxiang Image statements and all of the 5th lines of each hexagram (and this has been confirmed for me by an anonymous source, sort of the Q-anon of the Oracle realms!).

And therefore not all of the Images nor all the fifth lines can serve as summaries (i.e. Cliff’s Notes) of what the hexagrams mean.

But that doesn’t mean that they are not useful. I find the 5th lines can be especially useful when I have one as part of a reading!
 
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Liselle

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This thread has long ago died, but fwiw Hilary has also made the comment that the Image can be idealized description or advice that isn't necessarily actually present in the situation. I've found it useful sometimes to remember that.

The Image, in any case, doesn't necessarily describe what is happening, but what would be happening in an ideal situation.

As for the Daxiang's connection to, say, the Oracle, I think I remember there being a thread about that. Could be wrong, don't have time now to hunt for it, will link if I happen to see it.
 

dfreed

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This thread has long ago died, but ...
Actually, the last post was less than two week ago, so not all that 'dead' .... compared to some. Also, in response to the question: Have you ever done a blog post specifically on the issue of how to use the Image? Hilary replied above ....
Not that I can remember. I do like them, though, and use them.

However, anything else you dig up might be appreciated (and perhaps something that is not a 'blog post).
 

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Visualize the scene described in 'The Image'. Turn it around in your head and examine all factors. Imagine what sort of people or animals could live there, or spirits.
 

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Visualize the scene described in 'The Image'. Turn it around in your head and examine all factors. Imagine what sort of people or animals could live there, or spirits.
grassgrowing: Describe the ground or scenery of this thread.
Yi: 13.2.4 > 9

13.2: Union of people at the ancestral temple. Distress.
13.4: War-chariots against a rampart. Not able to attack. Auspicious.

The spirit of the times suggests some apprehension or anxiety indeed. The ancestral temple of this thread is full of spirits, karmas, ancestors, and countless deities. The "wall" or "rampart" acts as a divider against the ravages of a world rampaging with ignorance. Best to be careful not to grow too insular. Better to take what we learn here out into the real world, chariots and all.

Small edit for clarity.
 

Liselle

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Wonder if 13.2's about the early confusion between The Image (daxiang) and general imagery? :lol:

Then in line 4 that got straightened out and everyone was on a secure perch...
 

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