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Thread: Depends on the version that you use

  1. #1


    When I read other people's interpretations of the IC lines, I get lost in trying to figure out what translation is being used. I have about 15 different translation/commentaries, many of which are very similar to one another, and some that seem to be a universe unto itself, like Karcher and also Anthony. I love using Karcher because he sees some good in just about every single changing line, with some exceptions like 23 line 4 and 50 line 4. But even 25 line 3 sounds okay in Karchers book and so does 58 line 6. Anthony always throws it back in your own lap and I think it is the most productive use of the IC cause it makes you discipline yourself and your mind.

    One time I asked the Sage if it mattered what translation I was using as to how he answered my questions and I got hex 1 line 4, which I interpreted to say, "don't change horses in the middle of the stream". It seems that the Sage isn't limited to being able to answer you no matter what version you are using or even if you are using the dictionary.

    If we are going to use the ICHING for communication with the Sage or our higher self, it would seem to me that the Sage's answers would be clear and to the point. Not that we wouldn't need to study and refine our perception, that IS the point of it, but rather, I don't think the Sage is going to play "guess which IC has the right answer" games with us. But that is a game that we play with one another.

    So it stands to reason that the Sage is going to base his answers to us on the translation and commentary that we are studying/using at the time.

    This is not to say that the Sage doesn't have a sense of humor either. I asked "should I fly or drive?" and I got 62, no changing lines, which I interpreted as "stay close to the ground" in other words, "drive".

    Also, people tell me that you can't ask the IC yes/no questions. But I do so all of the time. "Is it going to rain on my wedding day?" Answer hex 62 line 5 "dense clouds no rain". That seems to say, no it won't. But if I were to ask, "will I get the job?" and I get the same 62 line 5, I would think that if it isn't with someone who is in retreat (in the cave) then it means, "even if it looks like you are going to, it will never come to pass". And this IS what happened when I asked the Sage that question and got back that answer.

    Several months back I posted something about hexagram 27--I think as it pertained to addictions. Two responders replied that hex 27 line 6 was negative. But I can't see where they get that notion, because I can't find an IC that gives a negative interpretation of 27.6 "a source of nourishment exists"

    In a current thread, someone posted that hex 30 line 6 is about 'change'. I can't find that version of the IC either. Most of mine say "just because you have the right to punish wrong-doers, you don't need to make it a slaughter". That doesn't directly pertain to change so much as it pertains to correction of a messy situation.

    I hope people have patience with me if I ask you over and over again just where you get your answers from. Because I think I have collected as many variations as there are and I am totally befuddled as to how some people come up with their responses to other peoples' questions.

    I really related to Val's comment that she likes the cryptic answers that come from the Zyoui (sp?)more than any particular commentary. I agree that it speaks more to the archetypal mind and is a more creative way to use the IC than looking for absolutes in a relative world.

    And speaking of other people's questions, it seems to me that where relationships are concerned: if you have to ask, then the answer is "no", at least for now. 99% of all the questions about relationships I read seem to really be saying "is this person going to act out my fantasy world about him/her or not?" To me the answer to 99% of the relationship questions are either hex 32 line 1, or 24 line 6.

  2. #2
    candid Guest


    Pagan, you seem to answer most of your own questions. Perhaps that is what the IC does best?

    I believe it does matter what translation/version a person uses, and I don?t believe the Yi conforms our answer to the one we happen to be using at a given time. I don?t see the wide scope of variations you speak of from interpretation to interpretation. What I see is varying levels of insight, both into the IC and into how life and things operate and interrelate.

    About relationships inquiries, I don?t read the majority as a no, but I do agree that most relationship questions are seeking easy answers, to which there are few. I did a relationship reading for a client yesterday which was extremely well thought out and phrased. The situation was complex, warranting an inquiry, in my opinion. What made it a great question as opposed to being frivolous is that the ?sitter? asked ?What can I do to ensure the best possible outcome regarding...?? The IC is written entirely about relationships of one thing or person to another, and the best we can do is to ensure the best possible outcome through our own thoughts and actions.

  3. #3


    Hi Candid,
    But you can sum up a few things about what the IC tends to favor in relationships: it likes those relationships that are dictated by custom and tradition and protected by contract and legal rights. The IC seems to be very cautious about any relationship which is based solely upon personal inclination, lust or what goes against the grain of social norms. Especially the IC doesn't like any kind of relationship that will tarnish your honor or personal self esteem and seems to counsel seekers to be modest and moderate from the get go so that you won't create situations where you may be embarassed.

    But when the seeker asks about a relationship of personal inclination or lust, grounded on the desire to have another codependent fix in the form of another person, I don't think that you are going to get good answers from the IC because "you ask a stupid question and you get a stupid answer" and as in hex 4, the sage seems to expect the seeker to use what is already laid out in the IC, and if you don't and rather indulge in unenlightened questioning, then the sage has no alternative than to give you a chance answer.

    Back to versions of the IC: I gave you two examples where Karcher diverges greatly from most other commentaries: 58 line 6 is one. Another I didn't mention is 22 line 2. But if you think that it does matter which commentary you use, then, which one do you use?

  4. #4



    I don't really agree with your take on relationship questions. You are really assuming that most of them are motivated by lust or personal gain or neediness and you also assume that the I Ching 'condemns' this type of motivation. For starters, a relationship can be like you describe:
    "relationships that are dictated by custom and tradition and protected by contract and legal rights"
    and still be a relationship of convenience, or motivated by personal gain or totally destructive for one or both parties. How many people do you know that actually love their partner in the perfect way they should love them, anyway?

    In any case, the truth is you don't know what motivates these people any more than you know what motivates other people asking other types of questions. If they seem codependent or needy or out of touch with reality to you, that might or might not be true. Who is to judge? In fact those qualities pretty much describe anybody who is in love. And the Yi will give them advice, and it does not 'disapprove' of them anymore than it disapproves of the rest of humanity! They are not any less perfect than the rest of us.

    Personally, I am at a point in my life where I don't foresee that I will ever again be in a 'love situation' and I consider myself pretty cynical about love relationships. I see where you're coming from when you say that if you need to ask the answer is no. But I understand how people feel when they are in love and I remember how confusing, exciting and scary it can be. I think I read somewhere else in this forum that love relationships challenge the way you perceive the world. And I think it's true. Most other issues in life are pretty straightforward. In love matters there is always desire to believe that everything is possible, the nagging doubt that if somehow we do things the right way we can succeed.

    I know a lot of people here like to disapprove of love questions but I'm pretty sure that if anyone of them was to fall in love again (because we all have been in love before) they would find themselves anxiously tossing the coins and wondering, "how do they feel????"

  5. #5
    candid Guest


    Pagan, I agree generally with what you've said, but I think my view of IC and relationship guidelines may not be as tightly wound as yours. Natural affection is encouraged by the IC, even when it's extremely sexual. Nature is entirely relational and sexual. It's only when the innermost nature of each are not well matched or aligned that Yi discourages passion or intimacy, just as would any wise councilor.

    I use a modified Wilhelm. I still see Wilhelm as being the richest over all of what I?ve seen or read, but also with blind spots and a strong cultural bias, and probably no small amount of misinformation. I use LiSe?s as a balance; a work always in progress which gives it a living vibe. I use Bradford?s when I need or want to get closer to bare roots and essentials. Being of the less-is-more persuasion, I don?t look for answers through more and more translations or interpretations. First and last, I use my own experience with the changes as a reference guide. I?m not suggesting these are the ?right? IC references for everyone to use. They just work well for me.

  6. #6


    Hi Lightangel and Candid,
    I don't think the IChing condemns sexual lust, in fact, it would seem to me that the IChing takes a very practical and no nonsense approach to lust, very different that Protestant Christian Puritan Ethic guilt trips.

    But there is some question as to whether the IChing actually supports the notion of being 'in love' at all. It is thought that humans evolved the 'in love' experience later in their evolution (see author Julian Jaynes for one) and it may be entirely possible that there was no such thing as the 'in love' experience at the time that the IChing came into being. There are many Chinese history scholars on this list who may be able to find supporting or opposing facts to that question, but I myself am much better versed in Anglo-Saxon history, where you don't see much 'in love' stuff until the Biblical King Solomon. He seems to have made up for lost time in that department, but even so, most people who go under the spell of being in love today find it an incredibly monogomous experience, where you are sick in love with ONE object of your affections, and unless you have a sensory experience of that person (sight, smell, taste, touch, hear) you will go mad. This has been studied in depth now, especially by Helen Fisher out of Rutgers University, USA. King Solomon's lust/love blabber in the Bible was not at all monogomous.

    Nonetheless, the IC is conspicuously devoid of any comments or verses of the 'giddy in love' experience and that cannot be ignored.

    If sexual orgasm is the most pleasing experience possible on the physical level of being, and Samadhi is the most pleasing of all experiences on a heart level of being, there is no question that being 'gonners in love' is the most euphroric experience on the level of mind and emotion. This covers love on a physical level, a mental level and a spiritual level. Why is it that the IC rarely mentions any of those three? You have to admit they are prime motivators!

    I would venture to guess that the latter two; the 'in love' experience and the experience of 'Samadhi' are latter phenomena of the human experience.

  7. #7
    candid Guest


    Pagan, interesting points. Perhaps "in love" can be a metaphor for "I need": something the IC doesn't seem to even recognize or acknowledge.

  8. #8


    What a eye opener it would be if Hilary went back to the archives for 2002 and 2003 and contacted everyone who wrote in with a love relationship question asking them to provide us with a synopsis of what came of the relationship they were inquiring about. I would be willing to bet that 90% would tell us that the relationship went bump bump bump and never quite got off the ground. From my experience, when it really is the real thing, there is no convincing the person otherwise, they just know in their hearts it is right. I think Hilary could make some money publishing that research without using names.

    In Dr. Helen Fisher's brain imaging research of people who are in love, there is no way to discern the difference between the in love experience and obsessive compulsive disorder. But unlike OCD, the in love experience corresponds to a certain brain chemistry that can only last 6 months to 2 years in duration. Then, if long term commitment (which is related to the hormone oxytocin in both females and males) doesn't kick in, the relationship will go down hill and at best the two will stay 'friends'. The fact that we now know that being in love is a finite experience should wake us up to finding other reasons besides lust to get involved with another person. It is also thought that unrequited love is the most painful experience a human can endure. (they never tried natural childbirth). It also should be noted that the 'in love' condition in the brain has to be set up, and drugs, alcohol and even nicotene can make it difficult to experience being in love. Fisher found that the number one thing that causes people to fall in love was an element of surprise. This would explain why you find the most unlikely duos sometimes.

    As far as the experience of satori or nirvana or samadhi there seems to be reference to it in the Hindu Vedas that are hard to date because they were an oral tradition for thousands of years (or so it is said by some) but if you look at the history of the Chinese, it isn't really until Buddha came along that you start seeing references to Nirvana. Prior to that you have philosophers like Confucius who didn't think one should try to evolve too far beyond the crowd he lives with, otherwise he becomes a freak of nature. I am not sure about Lao Tzu's pov but I know that the IChing is supposedly dated way before Buddha showed up in China.

    Regardless of how you look at it; sexual orgasm, the 'in love' experience and nirvana are all kind of anti-social activities and sort of a method of forming factions which, if you like Wilhelm's pov, is not a good thing for the group or the individual.

  9. #9
    candid Guest


    Pagan, so I guess this means you won?t be writing any romance novels anytime soon? ?The Burning Compulsion?? Seriously, I?m enjoying reading your thoughts on this.

  10. #10


    Hi Pagan...

    I have what I consider to be a rather funny story to add to this thread that I hope you will enjoy.

    Last night I worked really late getting things ready in advance for an Open House/Grand Opening that we're throwing at this very moment here at my place of business. I'm hiding away in my office while food and drink is being served, music is pulsing and a throng of people mill around and/or tour our facility.

    When I woke this morning after not sleeping much at all because I was too tired to, I did NOT want to work this party tonight. I wanted to try to beg off. So I consulted the Yi. They answered with 47.2 to 45. LMAO... I had about five different versions at my fingertips and I I picked up Freeman's version... the last sentence of his interpretation of 47.2 basically says "As much as it pains you, go and play host to your guests." So... I am... but I'm hiding out long enough to write this to you. And then I'm back to workin' the party.

    Love ya,


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