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The Original I Ching, Margaret Pearson

A gentle, reflective and very usable I Ching, blending true scholarship with personal understanding.

The book includes:

  • An intriguing, thoughtful introduction.
  • A translation that blends the received version of the Zhouyi with emendations taken from the Mawangdui (MWD)manuscript. (With just one exception, she doesn’t tell you which is which – but she does give you page references to Wilhelm/Baynes, Lynn and Shaughnessy’s Mawangdui translation for each hexagram, and the Chinese text she’s using in an appendix.)
  • A translation of the Image. (Oh, except for hexagram 36, where it’s replaced by an excerpt from the Tuanzhuan. Odd.)
  • Commentary on just eight of the line texts – but there are occasional interpolated glosses throughout offering a starting point for interpretation, like ‘matters affecting many people’ for ‘king’s business’ or ‘eliminating all your defences’ for the walls collapsing into the moat.
  • An original, helpful commentary on each hexagram as a whole, based largely on the trigram imagery, blended with natural imagery from the Zhouyi and insights into Chinese thought and history.

My full review of the book is here; see the comments for a response from the author.

I like

  • the clear, authoritative way she gets past anachronistic notions of yin and yang
  • her clear and vivid commentary on Image and trigrams
  • her awareness of the I Ching as oracle and wise advice on its usage

I wish

  • for much, much more interpretation
  • for a translation of the whole received version, not ‘hybridised’ with the Mawangdui.

Recommended for

Non-beginners who have a store of their own ideas and could do with coming back to basics.

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