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Why throw 3 coins when 2 is enough?

Tim K

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I am using computer software to calculate a reading and have never thrown coins for that purpose.
While looking at innertruth's thread about changing lines I remembered that Takashima wrote in his Ekidan that he uses only one changing line and it's enough for him.

Decided to give that method a try, rewriting my Yi app, and I just wondered why use 3 coins?
2 coins will give 4 possibilities, each with equal chance of 1/4. Yin/yang and stable/changing.
 

Tim K

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So throwing a coin thrice (or throwing 3 ones simultaneously) gives 8 outcomes, but they fold into 4 variants with different probabilities - yin '8' (, 3/8), yang '7' (3/8), changing yin '6' (1/8), changing yang '9' (1/8).
Therefore 3 coins method prefers stable lines (6 requires all three coins to fall on one side, same goes for 9).

And here I was, having thought equal chances would be better. Well I'm gonna continue to use my app, why add bias to the outcome? Let Universe speak freely.

Tried asking some questions with a new algorithm yesterday: six lines are obtained by user picking blindly from 2 options six times, 50/50 chance of being yin/yang. And then a blind choice from 8 options (no lines, all lines, and 1st through 6th line changes). The answers have the same theme as when using multiple lines but somehow I find it easier and simpler to read. Takashima was onto something here :)
 

bradford

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Equal probabilities for 6, 7, 8, & 9 will really load you up with changing lines.
You must really love those. But you ask why.
I did a preliminary study that looked at hundreds of castings from the pre-Qin era (like the Zuozhuan).
Those averaged very close to the 1331 probability spread that we get with the 3 coins method.
As far as we know, the coin method wasn't developed until the Tang.
But the Yarrow method we use wasn't developed until the Song, and it's probabilities aren't even close to those I saw in my pre-Qin study.
So I think the original was likely a lost Yarrow method that yielded something like the 1331 spread we see in the modern coins.
 
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svenrus

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In this method there are no probability spread.

I have used it for some years and mostly only one changing line appear if any at all.

Thou I find the "yarrow-method" the most contemplative.....

(btw: why not use only one coin ?)
 
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hmesker

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I did a preliminary study that looked at hundreds of castings from the pre-Qin era (like the Zuozhuan).

Bradford, apart from the Zuozhuan, what are your sources for these castings? I'd like to take a look at them as well.
 

bradford

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Hi Harmen
This is my folder on it. Several documents are in our shared PDF library.
I put it down after a quick study, with the idea to get rigorous someday later.
I do remember challenging an interpretation of old notational schemes that suggested
that bu shi were using five types of lines instead of four, which I regarded as absurd,
but not beyond the academic's knack for absurdity.
I took the approach that there were instead two different schemes used over those
several centuries and adjusted my study accordingly.

Screen Shot 2016-04-10 at 10.14.11 AM.jpg



OOPS - It appears this list is illegible here. Write to the new email at the bottom of my webpage and I'll just zip all these files and send them to you.
 
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hmesker

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I do remember challenging an interpretation of old notational schemes that suggested that bu shi were using five types of lines instead of four

This reminds me of the shuzigua 數字卦, the 'number-hexagrams' found on oracle bones, bronze inscriptions and excavated pre-Qin documents: they imply that every line position can be occupied by several odd numbers, I believe ranging from 4-9. Although 1 also occurs, but that might be a shorthand for 7.
 

remod

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The method you use for casting the hexagram influence the probability of getting one of the possible responses.
Using two coins for each line (for example HH -> 6 ; HT -> 8 ; TH -> 7 ; TT -> 9) you can get a 2 with 6 moving lines with a probability of 0,024% (1 on 4096). If you use 3 coins, the probability is 0,00038% (1 on 262144). With the yarrow stalks (or an equivalent method) you get a 2 with six moving lines only 1 on 16777216 times (0,0000059%).
So, of course you can use any method but, I believe, you should be aware that with 2 coins any of the possible 4096 outcome are equally probable. What does this means in terms of interpretation is up to you.

As for using a single moving line (as suggested in other replies in this thread) it would mean to restrict the possible outcomes to 448, again the interpretation of the response should take this into proper consideration.

The text of the I Ching and the way to cast hexagrams are, I believe, designed and fine tuned to work together. Using them differently is, of course, possible but requires adjustements in the interpretation depending on how different is our use from the intended one.

As for the unbalance in the yarrow stalk method, I believe it is really important. When something is "stable" it stops evolving. When everything is possible and equiprobable, the average is predictable. When something is off balance, instead, it may evolve in a more unpredictable way. I think this is the concept embedded into the different probabilities of the yarrow stalk method.
 

remod

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svenrus,
the method you linked is very interesting.
It's the first one I saw that assign different proabilities to the yin/yang depending on the lines position.

The probability to get a moving line is 16,7% which is lower than the 25% that both the three coins method and the yarrow stalks method have. That would explain why you saw less moving lines.

What is peculiar of this method is that it favours yin lines in position 1,3 and 5 and yang lines in position 2,4 and 6 with a percentage of 58,3% vs 41,7%.

I'm not sure of what this would mean in terms of interpretation.

remo.d
 
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svenrus

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I've been using it for three years now and I'm getting used to it. But whenever I get plenty of time I preferr the stalks of yarrow; it's more meditative. Yet I've read here and there that the method for yarrow we know today maybe isn't the original method....
On the contrary, coins you nearly allways got at hand (the book, I Ching, you hardly got at hand everywhere) - but now I'm on another track to the subject :eek:
 

remod

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I've thought about what svenrus said:

"why not use only one coin ?"

I interpreted that he meant getting just an hexagram with no moving line but, on a second thought, it can be easily extended to get lines with the three coins method or the yarrow stalks probability.

For the three coins method one simply assign the face values (2/3) and tosses the coin three times summing up the values.

For the yarrow stalks method the easiest would be to use the 4 coins method (which I learned from Mo Lei-li):

1. Toss a coin: H->yang; T-> yin
2. Toss the coin three times and record H/T
3. If, among the four tosses, you got H exactly 3 times, it's a moving line

Another way I thought of could be:

1. Assign a value to coin faces (2/3)
2. Toss the a coin
2.1 if it's 3 record 3
2.2 if it's 2 toss the coin again and record the new value
3. Toss the coin other two times and record the outcome
4. The sum of the recorded outcomes will give 6,7,8 or 9 with the YS probabilities.

Actually this last method (I thought of it myself but if anyone has already saw it somewhere, please let me know) finally gave me the idea for how to use a linear string with knots on it.

remo.d

P.S. As you all may have guessed, this is a topic I like a lot, should I become annoying, let me know :)
 
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hilary

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Wait... I've just realised that 'remod' is 'Remo D'. Hello, Remo!

Ashteroid, Svenrus - here is Remo's website - probably the internet's most complete listing of I Ching consultation methods.
 

remod

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Wait... I've just realised that 'remod' is 'Remo D'. Hello, Remo!

Hi Hilary! Yes, that's me :).
I've not participated much to the forum during these years but I came back often as I think this is one of the best communities on the Web that I've ever seen.

Remo
 
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svenrus

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Hi Remo, Just noticed that your page is last updated around twelve years ago which means that a lot of link's doen't work anymore....
A nice page though.
 

remod

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Hi svenrus.
Yes, time flies and links die :)

I must confess I've negleted that site, I should refresh it and update the links.

Maybe I should better convert the site to a newer tecnology (nobody uses frames anymore and that contributed to the page being ignored by Google!).

Maybe a a blog with a post for each method? I'll think about it.

Remo
 

hilary

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Frames... yes, I remember frames... and the days when it was OK to create your layout in tables... où sont les neiges d'antan?
 

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