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Values and beliefs in the Yi Jing

C

cheiron

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Hi Anon99

My take on this:

I think the Yijing is a value belief system apart from being much else besides.

One could cite many key concepts such as the mean.

Throughout the millennia there have been various movements which emphasised different systems of thought in the Yijing eg. Daoist; Confucian and Buddhist values.

Most great world texts have been subjected to the academic treatment of being compared (re Values Beliefs / philosophy) with other key texts like the Christian Bible the Tora or Quoran.

Curiously this has not happened with the Yijing in the West as far as I know.

I am really an 'end user' and in no way a philosopher so I am ill equipped to say much about whether some value systems are fundamental and others not.

As an ?end user? I have never found a value or belief which has come up in an oracle or casting which was not both very pertinent to my issue and which, after some reflection, I was very comfortable with.

--Kevin
 

anon99

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Re your last paragraph - that is probably the expereience of most ? - if it is not, if there are times when people find their value system clashing with Yi, it would be quite interesting to hear about it.

So if many many people, all with very different value systems and beliefs are always comfortable with, or at least find no dissonance in the values Yi seems to hold, then in must be the Yi goes somewhere beyond these, transcends these in order to reach a myriad of people.

Or of course that we make of it as we wish, what suits us to believe. I disregard this to some extent as so often its advice is contrary to ones assumptions and makes you see things in new light.

By 'end user' do you mean someone who consults Yi but who has little knowledge of its origins, and history, who isn't a taoist, buddhist or anything else just consults and gleans what they can. If so I am one of these too.


Here on this forum it is evident that peoples values and beliefs diverge widely, yet they all consult the Yi and all receive oracles which are pertinent to the issue and which ultimately they are comfortable with.
 
C

candid

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I question whether Yi has a value system of it?s own. I had this conversation with my friend a couple years ago and to be perfectly honest, I?m still not sure whether there is or is not a value system in Yi.

Specifically, I asked my friend ?do you believe the Ching would guide Hitler in his efforts?? His position was that Hitler would have received no coherent answers, and that he?d have thrown the book away as useless. I?m not so sure of this. It would imply that Yi has a particular bias in terms of values.

This came up not long ago in the Open Space concerning ?what would Yi say about Bush?? My position was that Yi is non-partisan and would take no position other than relative to the inner condition of the inquirer. Brad?s position was that Yi specially and historically spells out right and wrong concerning ethics of politics and warfare.

Interested in hearing further views on this.
 

RindaR

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Like Kevin,I make no claim to be a philosopher. I think it might be quite valuable to look at the question of Yi's core values.

Is keeping one's balance in the face of change a core value?

Is the importance of staying aware of [that still small voice, one's third eye, that of God within us, the holy spirit, the wisdom we can access when sitting in stillness] a value?

Rinda
 
C

candid

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If Yi?s principles are not universal then they can not apply to any set of cultural mores.

IE 1: As I understand it, the popular socio-political framework of the time of Yi?s inception was not democracy but instead a sovereign monarchy. Would then Yi offer council to a democrat or republican? My answer is, yes, but only relative to the particular inquirer?s question and condition.

IE 2: Will Yi address a monotheist and a polytheist according to Yi?s own principles or core values, or would Yi?s answer pertain to the particular framework of the inquirer?

IE 3: How about a culture which practices polygamy? Ancient lords also had many wives, or at least had that option. So then would Yi council a monogamist concerning their fidelity?

IE 4: Does Yi support slavery or freedom from slavery? How about concubines?

IE 5: What about corporal punishment, or capital punishment?

IE 6: Or abortion?

When you speak of core values, whose values are these? Whose are they compared to? Can you provide an example of universal values?
 
R

rhett

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Hi Candid,

When you mentioned

"Specifically, I asked my friend 'do you believe the Ching would guide Hitler in his efforts?' His position was that Hitler would have received no coherent answers, and that he?d have thrown the book away as useless."

Tom Riseman's book "Understanding the I Ching" says that Mao Zedong used the Yi. If this is true, perhaps recent Chinese history was (is?) again influenced by the Yi...

Aloha,

Rhett
 
C

candid

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Hi Rhett, thanks for another great example.

This topic fires me up! Hope there's more comments.
 
C

candid

Guest
(just thinking aloud)

I think the separation is between moral codes and principles, and cause and affect principles. Certain actions cause certain results. Beyond that, I find no ethics beyond tradition.

I view heaven the same way, with no agenda of its own. It is what it is and does what it does. Its up to the earthly principle to decide, up to the will and up to the conscious mind. One fills one?s world according to one?s own perceptions and beliefs, and then sees that as God?s will.

Not stating any of this as fact, just a thought process, because I also ?believe? there is a Great Mind which guides, teaches and nourishes. But what of a conscious mind that believes there is no universal love, or no God(s)? Doesn?t that person wind up believing what they themselves have created? Or a person that believes that love is the guiding universal force? Doesn?t that person form that love within themselves?

Does the Creative have a will?
What of the mandate of heaven?
 

bradford_h

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Hi all-
I'll go ahead and take the stance that not only does the Yi embody a value system, this system is coherent and consistent even as the Yi develops its relativistic and situational ethics.
Those who want to explore futher might consider taking some of the searchable electroic versions (Legge, Wilhelm and mine) and looking for key terms related to values (like happiness or persistence).
b
 

heylise

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The hexagrams are archetypes. Or rather: images which come as close to archetypes as possible, because the archetype itself cannot be described in its totality.
So the marrying maiden of 54 is an image of 'marrying into a situation', and can be applied literally to a maiden who becomes fourth wife. But just as well to a director of a multinational, who will have to answer to many demands of his situation, even though he is the boss himself.

Hexagrams have no good or bad in the form of morality, only life and death. Which is a much more universal form of good and bad. They can point you to making your life stronger, or warn you for disease. Stronger might very well harm someone else, but if a tiger consults the Yi, the deer will not like the answer (to stay close to all those tigers around). If the deer also consult, he will tell them how to stay away from the tiger.

Harm someone as an evil deed is not directed towards life, not for the victim of course, but not for the querent as well. Very deep inside, everyone has this knowledge of universal laws. If you go against them, it will harm you. Maybe not make you sick, but your radiation will tell. I don't know how much is true about those holy men who did not decay after death, but being true to this inner knowing might have a result like that.

An archetype everyone knows about is God. Everywhere he looks different, has another name, other books, other rituals. But it is all the same power. Even atheists have this image, but give it no name, or an entirely different name.

Without archetypes you would become instantly crazy. Nothing could make any sense anymore, no possibility to recognize people, a tree, food, love, no inner power anymore to stay healthy. You would wither like a dead leaf.

LiSe
 

bradford_h

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More...
I should probably qualify something. In the west we are used to values being "championed" and considered absolute. In the Yi every value reaches a point where it ceases to be valuable and the Yi is careful to define its limitations (happiness and persistence for example).
But I wouldn't use the notion of "moderation" to describe this. More like "optimization" which tends to be on a middle path. But the middle path is not an avoiding of left and right, it's the utilization of both.
b
 
R

rhett

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Hi All,

The text of the Yi is a collection of Chinese characters, redacted over 2000 years ago. The characters have both symbolic meaning and historical-usage meaning. There are many translations, which adapt the characters into meanings consonant with thinking today. The character of the text can be viewed as a system of teachings, whether it was King Wen passing his knowledge to his kids, or the Sages of Old writing down their wisdom.

The use of the text, when you ask the Yi something, is different from the text itself. When you ask the Yi to comment on something, you receive a Hexagram (or pair). From where does the Hexagram arise? From your interaction with the universe. The text does not read itself, _you_ read it and see whatever meaning it has for you. What does the passage mean? Whatever you think it does.

As for the meaning, I like Lao-tze's comment on the Tao [S. Mitchell translation]:

"When a superior man hears of the Tao,
he immediately begins to embody it.
When an average man hears of the Tao,
he half believes it, half doubts it.
When a foolish man hears of the Tao,
he laughs out loud.
If he didn't laugh,
it wouldn't be the Tao."

Aloha,

Rhett
 
C

candid

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Brad, I hope you know how much I value you and your knowledge, and so if I challenge your statements or attempt to qualify them, it is done so only to hopefully prompt further understanding.

Is it safe to say that these ethics you've mentioned in Yi: happiness, persistence, etc. are all based on the inquirer's desire for a particular result? And that these desires vary from person to person, culture to culture, time to time? (?Times change, and with them their demands.?)

LiSe's "but if a tiger consults the Yi, the deer will not like the answer" describes perfectly what I'm asking.

Lise, could you please give me an example of universal law which is other than relevant on a subjective level? Life and death are entwined as one, are they not? Referring again to your tiger/deer analogy: death to one is life to the other. So which of these is universal law? Is the universe pro-life or pro-death? Or is it amoral altogether?

Brad, I just read your last post before sending this, and that seems to change your original position. That is, your first statement sounds absolute whereas your addendum seems relative.

Hope my devil's advocate role here isn't annoying. I'll chill my jets on this awhile and see where things go. To me, this is such a facinating and important topic, relatively speaking, of course.
happy.gif
 

bradford_h

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That's why I qualified it!
It's a very different approach to values, not seen in the west until Nietzsche:

Valuing is Creating! Hear it ye creating ones:
Valuation itself is the treasure and jewel of the valued things.
 
R

rhett

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"but if a tiger consults the Yi, the deer will not like the answer"...

perhaps if the Tiger stops to consult the Yi the deer will get away ;-)

Rhett
 

hilary

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I like the way Rhett puts it. The text may or may not have a coherent value system - and the odds are that the different layers have a few different ones. But whatever we might be able to (re)construct by analysing the text (and I'm all for analysing texts), that isn't what/whom I talk with when I divine.
 
C

cheiron

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I like a lot of what I see here on this thread - learning... learning.

Also

"that isn't what/whom I talk with when I divine."

Most definitely for me too.

--Kevin

PS Not ignoring you Rinda - Listenning - Greetings
happy.gif
 
C

candid

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No one has tackled my questions directly. Perhaps because directly isn?t the way of Yi or the way it?s values operate. Rather than a fixed and immobile code of ethics, the mean is without form until form develops through the exchange.

To return to LiSe?s comments on archetypes then.

The dragon makes his appearance in the field, and appears differently to each according to their nature and condition (1.2). Then there is a transition, whereby a course is determined according to the individual?s nature (1.4). Following, the individual aligns him/herself, and attains the Way of heaven (1.5). If the individual beholds himself as the mean, he alienates from the Way (1.6). Therefore he hides away the Tao within the earth, within himself. He hides his light, yet still shines (36). (from reading concerning this topic)

I do think we then need to be cautious when assigning a specific value to a generality, such as imposing our way onto others as being the Way.
 
C

cheiron

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Hi Candid

"the mean is without form until form develops through the exchange."

Or

...through the moment in time?

Put that past me again willya?

Thanks

--K

that is K with --

Welcome Wolverine
happy.gif
 
C

candid

Guest
Hi Kevin,

Through the exchange between Tao and the individual - in time. The mean has no set value until the value is created through a cooperative exchange, such as the value created through casting and interpreting.

Or as Brad quoted Nietzsche: Valuing is Creating
 
C

candid

Guest
Kev,
I do believe this idea is expressed in 59.

Thus the kings of old sacrificed to the Lord
And built temples.

The sacrifice is to the Lord, but we ourselves build the temples, or values.

We see the frightening examples that occur when a temple is built upon 1.6: when men take the lives of others in the name of God, or to a lesser degree, when one group condemns another because their values do not align with ?their own.? This has nothing to do with universal values, and is a departure from the mean.
 

bradford_h

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Back again.
I should have mentioned that I think the Yi very carefully avoids discussing beliefs and their systems. It is much more concerned with the attitude that the human being has while approaching his altar than with what the person is actually praying to.

Here's another one from Nietzsche on Value as a verb. I think that taking charge of our ability to appreciate things as they present themselves to us is a recurring theme in the Yijing. This one I associate with Gua 14:

From the Sun did I learn this, when it goeth down, the exuberant one: gold doth it then pour into the sea, out of inexhaustible riches, so that even the poorest fisherman roweth even with golden oars! For this did I once see, and did not tire of weeping in beholding it.
 
R

rhett

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Brad,

Beautiful quote from Nietzsche. I have often enjoyed the dazzling display of the Sun as it dances at the edge of the Earth upon the sea. Never so well expressed.

Rhett
 

bradford_h

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Hi Rhett-
We get good value from the moon too.
Especially when it comes out right after a fresh snowfall.
There's diamonds everywhere and we all get
stinking rich.
b
 

candida

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Wow, this is a fascinating discussion. Can't say that I understand too much of it but I have a few thoughts. 1. Is the I Ching an actual entity in and of itself not a God exactly(because there is only one true God, the Alpha and Omega)as written in the Bible but a spirit? and if a spirit would you have to say that it is an evil spirit because the very name divination refers to devining of course which I was always taught was evil. However, the Bible says that we were all created in the image of God but after the Adam and Eves' fall in the garden, sin was brought into our lives and even though we were created in Gods' image we were now tarnished. The question about would Hitler have used and use for I Ching is a
thought provoking one. Does anyone know of any famous christians down through the centuries who have used Ching who believed it was good? I wonder when God told Adam and Eve not to touch the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden if using I Ching might be a similar scenario to this one? Tatiana
 
C

cheiron

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Hi Titiana

Being a little naughty here as some ask whether or not these people were Christians:

C J Jung (?)
Herman Hesse - I think (?)
Lawrence Van der Post (?)

I don't have a single God - as I try to be WYSIWYG - I think there is a Dao because I see it flowing throughout all... Maybe the two are the same? I have no problem with that either.

Remember to though not all religions have a 'Devil' as such - I think it is mainly the Judaic ones. I don't find the concept of Devil very useful as it creates such polarity.

But again I do not know for sure? The nice thing is does not matter so much to me either? I just try to keep watching that river of Dao going by.

--Kevin

Thanks for explaining that C.
 
C

candid

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Jung's father was a preacher but Jung was not a practicing Christian in the literal sense.

Candida, the Bible condemns the use of oracles, while at the same time lots were cast throughout both the old and new testament.

Rather than good and evil as spoken of in the Bible, Yi presents this more in terms of light and dark, male/female, day/night. In other words, the opposites in nature that bring about life.

The Adam/Eve idea comes from the loss of innocence, which happens when we are awakened to duality, hence the good/evil idea. The moment we acknowledge 'self', we separate from the wholeness of God. Yet Solomon's request to God when God offered him anything he wanted, was to know good from evil. Solomon himself then became an oracle, said to be the wisest and most discerning of judges. Because his request was considered noble, God added many other things (riches, etc) unto him.

Jesus acknowledged his wholeness when he said, the Father and I are one. He also said, the kingdom of God is within. He didn't point to God "out there" but recognized God?s wholeness within himself, and tried to teach this to his followers. This is what many other spiritual leaders have also tried to teach their followers. But its not an easy concept to accept when we tend to see ourselves as separate from God, which according to scripture was the fall of man, the loss of innocence and wholeness, resulting in being cast from the garden. There was another tree which Adam and Eve were permitted to eat from, the tree of life. The tree of life can be likened to Tao/Dao; it births and sustains all living things.
 

heylise

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I asked the Yi it/him/her self "what is the core value(s) of the Yi?", and the answer was 26, 1 and 5 changing to 57. I personally have seen 26 always as being about archetypes and maybe this is just an answer for me. But it made a lot of sense. I will enter the texts I have for them in my website:

26, Da Chu: Tame and feed the big animals, take good care of the big harvest and store it in a safe place. Your life needs the big values, the harvests of man that survive the eras.
Love has to be universal love. If it does not rely on eternal values, one cannot even call it love. But even the small things one does every day need the eternal deeds of the gods as example.
Always, everywhere, one encounters signs of the big animals, even if one sees only a footprint, or hears a rumor. Gather the signs, store them, and save them in your soul. And tame the big bulls for ploughing your fields and for riding on them in everyday life.

26 line 1: There is danger. Harvest: to stop.
If there is a sign, an omen, then stop what you are doing, stop your human activities. Listen well if you hear any divine voice, ask for signs, meditate, whatever can make things go well again. Normal intellect will not tell you what is going on, you need to probe deeper. (!)
This line changes to 18, Gu, about working on what is spoiled. Everybody has alien influences embedded in his soul. Many are hidden; one does not even know they exist. It seems as if they are part of the personality. Especially those one collected in childhood.
In order to live one?s own life and one?s own fate, one has to get rid of them. The more one succeeds, the more happiness, strength and health will come back.
Every influence makes a distance between one?s mind and God, or however one calls the inner essential being. Really reaching God is very difficult ? except when one does reach Him, and then it turns out to be the easiest thing in the world. You wonder why you did not know it was ? it is because the distance is made of thinking, but to reach Him is made of being.
The corresponding line 1 (the fan-yao) says: Stem-father's decay. The deceased father has a son. Without fault. Danger. Completion is auspicious.
If something goes wrong then the most important thing is your concern. Stay calm, find out what you can do, what caused it, do not put the blame on anyone. Find out what it is, so you can do the right thing.

26 line 5: A gelded pig?s tusks. Auspicious.
The ?big? things you do in your life decide about it?s value. Not being nice, but being true. Not human love but superhuman devotion. Not the fat fertile pigs one raises for eating but the symbol-pigs one offers to the gods. Your time will be of all Time if you use your teeth for higher goals than eating or fighting.
(In ancient times pigs were brought up with beautiful tusks. The upper ones were removed, so the lower ones grew in a circle, sometimes even several circles. Poor pig, it was agony, the tusks grew often back into its face, and eating was very difficult, so it was meagre and skinny. The tusks were symbols of the moon crescent. The number of these pigs a man could offer in the course of his life decided about his welcome and status in the afterworld.)

(rest in next post)
 

heylise

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This line changes to 9, Xiao Chu, small accumulating: A shepherd keeps his sheep calm through the calmness of his own mind. He lets his sheep find their own preferred kinds of shrubs and grasses, and just sees to it, every moment, that all are safe.
Hex.9 is the treading of the soul, the moving of feelings, what one emanates towards others. Xiao Chu is the dark silence of a calm soul, the place where wei wu wei originates. Here lives a natural responsibility to do what is right, trusting the path of non-action and the power of clinging to the truth. Being content with the small gains achieved.
Modestly accepting the slow way in which nature works gives others the space to discover where their path lies, and their self-interest in following it. If there is doubt in oneself, it will be subconsciously perceived by others, inhibiting our having a good effect.
(I owe much of this to Carol Anthony, who was the only one with an ?image? of hex.9, not only advice)
The fan-yao of 26.5 is 9.5: Having truth, making order (out of chaos) thus. Rich through one?s neighbor.
One does not become a good neighbor by being nice, but by being true and open. He will know that he can rely on you, always, so he will be there for you too. He will accept your decisions, even when they are not ?nice?, because he will trust and understand you.
(I think the 'neighbor' means that you will be able to live together with the rest of the/your world, have a value for it, and also be sustained by it. The way a balanced nature is a living-together of all kinds of creatures. All making life possible for all. Of course that includes also eating each other, but that is not 'wrong', it is a inevitable part of the health and balance of nature.)

57, XUN, bestowing seals: The blueprint or the seal that one carries, decides all what one is or does. It penetrates every action like wind or roots can enter anything. It has no name, often its existence is not even known, but it is always there and directs everything one does or thinks. It decides the way one listens or looks to the world.
The emperor bestowed a seal to those who were able to carry out his ideas, and whom he trusted. The seals one carries inside come from Gods or devils, from parents or heredity, from muses or experiences with nature. Some seals can destroy a life, but others can influence the world.

I did not add or change anything, except some about the neighbour, and a little more explanation of the pigs' tusks.

LiSe
Yi Jing, Book of Sun and Moon
http://www.anton-heyboer.org

(Candid, great!)
 
C

candid

Guest
LiSe, interesting question/answer. The way I interpret your reading's answer to 'what value(s) in Yi' is that the value is guiding, channeling and nourishing life-force. I don't see any particular value which is set or directed in concrete, such as a particular moral code, but rather holding back wild life-force, containing drives, dissolving hard ego, nourishing propensity to love universally.

This is a very fluid value, but a powerful one. It is not one which we can point to and say, "there it is," yet the influential value is obviously there.

I also see in your translation/interpretation the exchange which places the impetus upon the individual to decide values based upon these influences; the specific values decided by us, but endorsed as with the seal of heaven.
 

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