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K'un and Ken are the two faces of earth.
K'an and Tui are the two faces of water.
Sun and Chen are the two faces of air. (Sun's wind and Chen's thunder, which is essentially an atmospheric thing.
Ch'ien and Li are the two faces of fire. (Ch'ien's the divine fire, simultaneously creative and destructive.)
I think it's not a bad way to think about the trigrams if it helps you read and understand the Yi better.
Trouble is, the air-earth-fire-water notions are more fundamental in my consciousness: I've lived with them some 30 or 40 years, where I've yet to live one round of seasons being aware of the trigrams. I asked because it would help me to get a better handle on what they mean (as opposed to how they are described, if that makes any sense).In any event, the air, earth, water, fire notions would have to be somehow more fundamental than the trigrams to care about such category boxes to slip your thoughts into. Consider the trigrams as the fundamental and primary concepts and your two-faced dilemma vanishes.
Yeah, I get that.It is the clinging to such expectations which brings pain since they are not at all real and will not survive indefinitely.
Seeing patterns and analogies can be fun, but it is something of a two-edged sword as well. On the one hand the category/relationship gives you another way to think about things. On the other there is a tendency to think in terms of putting things in boxes. We then need extra effort to "think outside the box" or simply see the thing-in-itself.
So what do you think of this pattern. Is it an inspiration or a constraint? I am aware that earth-air-water-fire is not a particularly Chinese 4-scale (1) but it is tempting to see the trigrams in terms of them.
Christopher, first let me say that I enjoy reading your thoughts and I can relate to what you're presenting here.
In my thought process I observe the construct of patterns and analogies as a matter of communicative necessity. There needs to be order, and if there's one thing the human mind is skilled with, it's seeing order within a sky lit with chaos. And upon that construct I build additional constructs, and constructs upon those constructs.
Now, and for the last ten years, my efforts have been to gradually strip away those constructs, one layer at a time. The language, the symbolism, the metaphors; even the most clever of them lose their value, and I'm better off without too much of them.
Me too, hence my ambivalence. I have come to the yijing and taiji late, in my fifties. Shunryu Suzuki, a Zen master teaching in 1970s San Francisco, recounted how he had joined the monestary after his 10th birthday (very late for a Buddhist monk) and ever after was scolded (usually fondly) by his master who called him "you lately joined fellow". My situation feels much like that .Now, and for the last ten years, my efforts have been to gradually strip away those constructs, one layer at a time. The language, the symbolism, the metaphors; even the most clever of them lose their value, and I'm better off without too much of them.
Yes, indeed. Though I might put it less formally, I think we're talking about the same thing. I think of them as "scaffolding": support for playing with the ideas that shape how we see/affect the world.So the metaphors are guides to verify their value for myself by personal experience, although my understanding may be partial and incomplete.
[Do] kun, dui, li and xun align on one side contrasting with gen, kan, zhen and qian on the other[?] [W]hat does this polarity signify?
So when younger, our lives are full of theories, but as we grow older we have the opportunity to see things in their is-ness and now-ness (yet also knowing a whole web of stuff about how they relate and are used, 'without knowing'). Ah. Maybe I shouldn't be embarking on this fool's (lately-joined-fellow's) errand of learning about all this new stuff at my age? I can't resist though -- its just so fascinating .
resonates well with me as well. Although I believe I was stripping away the constructs way before I even realised that I had constructs to strip away.Now, and for the last ten years, my efforts have been to gradually strip away those constructs, one layer at a time. The language, the symbolism, the metaphors; even the most clever of them lose their value, and I'm better off without too much of them.
which seems to illustrate that the deep secrets of the Yi are hidden in plain sight and it is much more a matter of just looking at what is there, plain as the nose on your face to see it all. The deep analysis may not be the most fruitful.A good door needs no lock, Yet no one can open it.
If we accept the pattern, can we use it? Perhaps kun, dui, li and xun align on one side contrasting with gen, kan, zhen and qian on the other. But what does this polarity signify? Is it real enough to give it a name, and if so, does it tell us any more about the nature/usefulness of the trigrams for interpreting the YiJing oracle?
Thank you very much for this reply, Frank. Though I'm ashamed to admit most of it went over my head (in a good way). I didn't understand it in the same way I don't understand my Taiji teacher. He says such things can't be taught in words, only done. Once understanding has been born, from proper action, then we can talk about our insights (presumably because the words are only required to reference the known, not generate it). So I will bear these strange meandering diagrams in mind and watch for their meaning. It's happened before, so I'm hopeful...One thing I realy found fascinating over the years is that the Chinese made the 5 element jump with the 8 trigrams. This because the number 5 is a yang number it has a centre(3) and is itself also a centre of 9. And 5 + 5= 10 what is the yin expression of 1.
The everlasting cycle. The end of something is always the beginning of something new. Always liked this idea.
Naturally. That was not its purpose, though. I was trying to use the hexagrams' meanings to shed some light on what (if anything) might be in common among hexagrams with a particular trigram in a particular position. Something LiSe has already explored, it seems:Of course, it doesn't confront the fundamental issue of the utility of looking at the trigrams for primary meaning of the hexagrams.
I am aware that earth-air-water-fire is not a particularly Chinese 4-scale
The trigram order of the King Wen hexagram sequence is air-earth-water-firethe air-earth-fire-water notions are more fundamental in my consciousness
I think I got that from one of Brad Hatcher's essays in his book. Like you he basically says, we don't know. It seems reasonable that some trigram notions were around (as the Zhouyi refers to them doubled) but their meanings may have changed (developed?) over the centuries.Curious where it says that the hexagrams came first, and then the trigrams.
The trigram order of the King Wen hexagram sequence is air-earth-water-fire
That's the order of the 'double-trigrams' 1-2-29-30 and the 'lake-sequence' 43/44 - 45/46 - 47/48 - 49/50
The trigram sequence of the King Wen hexagram sequence is the upper trigrams of the odd hexagrams
21 - 17 - 13 - 9 - 5 (earth is the upper trigram of the separating odd hexagrams 19 - 15 - 11 - 7)
I like your tool-colours
I was curious if there was anything anywhere, but I didn't expect anything. It is not the kind of information diviners would be interested in. That kind of interest came later, when the oracle reached the scholars. A diviner has different priorities. Dissecting an oracle is not good for its shamanic power, how interesting it may be to find all those layers.I think I got that from one of Brad Hatcher's essays in his book. Like you he basically says, we don't know. It seems reasonable that some trigram notions were around (as the Zhouyi refers to them doubled) but their meanings may have changed (developed?) over the centuries.
I made an animation for one origin of the hexagrams. It was a lot of fun to get that idea and then make it visible. If it makes any sense.. no idea. But who cares, nobody knows the 'truth'. Like Kegan says, every individual is him/herself part of universe. So my crazy idea is as valid as any other idea.We normally expect component parts to come before the whole, but it isn't always true. Face recognition seems to come long before infants are able to distinguish features. I can recognise someone from their walk when they are far away; my poor eyesight means I can't "see" much else, but I know who they are. Wasn't that a Gestalt idea?
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