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Complete I Ching, Alfred Huang


This translation is evidently a labour of love, written out of a deep reverence for the I Ching and an understanding of the importance of divination. It brings the oracle to life, and is much more optimistic, and less moralistic, in tone than some English versions.

It’s called the ‘Complete I Ching’ – Huang is emphatic about the value of the Wings – and it is almost complete: it contains all the most important divinatory texts, though for some reason he omits the 8th and 10th Wings. His translation of the Tuanzhuan, the commentary on the judgements, is particularly good: clear, straightforward and very human.

Huang’s also very good at ‘humanising’ the tradition of line theory: describing correspondence, support, hierarchy and so on as human relationships in a very approachable way – which at times has turned out to be uncannily accurate.

He pays attention to the original ideograms of the hexagram names, which is good… but unfortunately his sources aren’t so reliable. If what he writes catches your interest, visit LiSe’s site for a more accurate account.

Huang also supplies a handy reference with each hexagram to its opposite, mutual gua (aka nuclear hexagram) and inverse, as well as the steps of change for the lines.

Overall, this is a refreshing, reliable book, infused with a sense of the movement through the hexagrams.

I like

  • the respect for the oracle in evidence throughout
  • the translation of the commentary and the use of line theory

I wish

  • he’d researched the origins of the characters

Recommended for

Beginners especially – this is a good option for a first translation.

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