Thursday, May 12, 2016

Translation of the Forest of Changes now available

I have published my translation of the Han Dynasty expansion of the Yi Jing called the Forest of Changes (Jiao Shi Yi Lin) on CreateSpace:
The Forest of Changes
It's a large format book, 8.5 by 11 inches and 518 pages, so if you don't find it useful for divination you can use it to hold open doors, fight off attackers, etc.
The price is 38.88. I wanted to make it affordable. We all have enough overpriced books on our shelves.
It will be available on Amazon, including the European sites, within the next few days.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Partisans -- A verse from the Forest of Changes

I pose a question daily in Morning Reading, creating a daily hexagram or line text for the day as well as a verse from the Jiao Shi Yi Lin (The Forest of Changes). Today's question was about political partisans. The answer was unusually well aligned. Here it is:

52 - 14

Intentions are difficult to distinguish, true or false,
This produces stubborn bias.
Inferior people take office,

How can wisdom avoid disaster?


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Virtuous Power of Yi Dao Meditation

The term 'de' () is often translated as virtue. I prefer the term virtuous power. Here is a passage that reflects what I feel about the ineffable essence that we seek when meditating on the 64 gua of the Yi Jing from the Han Shi Wai Zhuan, a commentary on the Book of Songs (Hightower, 1952, p. 186):
"Now as to virtue (te), it encompasses the magnitude of Heaven and Earth; it matches the brilliance of sun and moon. It establishes the harmony of the four seasons. It is more shrinking than the extreme of yin, yet it is not damp; it is more expansive than the extreme of yang, yet it is not desiccated. Fresh, clean, pure, and bright in its perfection; stern, majestic resolute, and prompt in its spirituality; most refined and subtle essence between Heaven and Earth--[such] is virtue. Who but the sage can partake of it? 

The Ode says,

Virtue is light as a hair,

But few are able to lift it.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Change in Yi Dao Daily Reading Method

Today marks a move from randomly generated subjects for daily reading to subjects I have picked. Also I have started using Plum Blossom methodology to generate the Forest of Changes base (time) hexagram. So today's question was the Chinese stock market and the answer was...not good. We'll see. It certainly represents the current situation, but hopefully not the outcome.

Yi Dao morning reading: 978966 54:6, Yi Lin 63 - 54.

The Forest of Changes verse for that is:

An impoverished ghost sits at the gate
Each day it breaks my pots.
The bottles and jars all are smashed,

Till finally the family has nothing left.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Wang Fu Zhi and Yi Dao

One of the principles of Yi Dao is that there is no pure Yin or Yang in the observable universe. The metaphor used is that of a barrel of pure alcohol. 

When a barrel of pure alcohol is opened it absorbs water from the air and dilutes itself, instantly lowering its purity. This principle is why I maintain that there is no such thing as a pure trigram manifestation in the observable world. As soon as a pure principle is present in the world it is mixed with other elements in the environment. 

I was reading a fascinating article by Jeeloo Liu the other day, Is Human History Predetermined in Wang Fuzhi's Cosmology? (Journal of Chinese Philosophy 28:3 (Septermber 2001) 321-337).

On page 324 I found this passage that is strongly reminiscent of my own view:

" theory, yin and yang are different kinds of qi and cannot be confused as one, even though in reality, yin and yang coexist in all cases. In Wang Fuzhi's cosmology, these two forms of qi mingle in every material object and nothing can be said to be pure yin or pure yang. Wang even argues that what the Book of Changes (Yijing) calls the pure yang and pure yin, the hexagram of Qian and the hexagram of Kun, are actually the mixture of six prominent yang with six hidden yin, and the mixture of six prominent yin with the six hidden yang, respectively. If even the purest yin and yang are mixtures of the two forms of qi, then nothing can be said to be solely yin or solely yang."

Thus Wang Fu Zhi posits that there are entities in the world that are nominally pure Yang and pure Yin, but in fact have the hidden seeds of their opposite. Yi Dao pulls things back a little further, with the position of Qian and Kun as entities that precede and produce reality, but are not present in it. As soon as the pure essence of Qian and Kun touch reality they break up and mix, becoming the parents of the six child trigrams.

First Draft of the Forest of Changes Completed Last Month

I finished the first draft of the Jiao Shi Yi Lin (The Forest of Changes) last month and now I am working on editing and proofing the work. It should be coming out in print within the next year. You can find a sample chapter on as well as here at the Amazon where I will be publishing it using the print on demand technology of CreateSpace:
The Forest is an unusual work, full of odd corners and popular legends, threads of Confucian orthodoxy cheek by jowl with the gayly dyed fabric of Chinese merchant superstitions.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Long time no see, but the Garden of Changes project is underway

All my life I have loved Chinese culture, and particularly the Yi Jing (I Ching).

After many years of not reading Chinese and bewailing the decisions that ended up with me fluent in Russian and ignorant of Chinese I finally decided to undertake the study of Chinese. That was in 2000. Now my knowledge of Chinese is still weak as a kitten, but I don't have the sense to refrain, and I'm translating the Jiao Shi Yi Lin into English (typically translated as the Forest of Changes, my translation is known as the Garden of Changes).

The 4096 verses of the Garden expand from the 64 base texts of the Yi Jing. The work was written in the Han Dynasty, and is rich in historic and literary allusions.

I started work in earnest on the project in January of 2014.

As part of Yi Dao Morning Reading I receive a text from the Yi Lin every day. This I translate, on some days doing some additional verses.

The project will take years. I haven't  determined how many years it will be. I plan to publish it as a Kindle eBook when it is completed.