Thursday, February 23, 2017

Morning Reading or 23-FEB-2017

Reading for today: hexagram 14, judgment text:


Hexagram 14

大有 元亨。

Old text:

Great Holdings. Great sacrifice.

New text:

Great Holdings. Primordial success.
The judgment text of this hexagram is lost, leaving only the divining tag.

As the preceding hexagram concerned those gathered around a Yin line in the lower trigram, that is, in the world of activity, here it is in the same central position in the court ruling from above. In the ancient reading of the text this is a simple affirmation that the great sacrifice can be carried out. In other words, the sacrifice using oxen as well as the lesser animal sacrifices can be carried out. Indeed the oracle bone language shows what appears to a hand holding a piece of meat. In the modern text success fills in for sacrifice. Since sacrifices were offered at regular occasions in the ancestral cult and also on impromptu occasions such as when there was an eclipse, a military attack, etc., to undertake the great sacrifice translates to a great undertaking in modern terms.

Iulian Shchutskii’s Russian translation of the Yi: 

Hexagram 14 Possessing the Great (Rule by the Many)

After the elimination of collapse and the joint actions of like thinking people of the last two hexagrams they are in possession of everything. Together they possess the great. Thus there are no obstacles in their path and they carry on with their initial plan. This is shown in the symbolism of the hexagram where one weak line in the fifth place draws all the other lines to it. It effectively owns them all, and this is ‘Possessing the Great’, because the great here are the light lines. Unity of action is stressed here because here, as in the preceding hexagram, the action is mutual. But all that is shown here is an isolated moment of great possession, not showing the forces and qualities that arise which are needed in this situation. One of these, deference, will be discussed separately in the next hexagram. It should be remembered that as favorable as the current situation is, intense activity is still needed. This action is needed form both the possessor and the ones possessed. Only in such conditions described in the lines can the main text of the hexagram be occur:

Possessing the great.
Primordial development. 

Oracle of the Singularity version from Second Life:


Great holdings.
Make a large donation somewhere.

Forest of Changes verse:

14 - 14

The White Tiger bares its teeth,
A punitive expedition to the east.
The Vermillion Bird races ahead, *
Proclaiming the way and declaiming the words.
The enemy surrenders,
Handing over their jade Bi disk of authority.

*The Four Images, creatures representing the directions: Vermillion Bird in the South, Dark Warrior in the North, White Tiger in the West and Azure Dragon in the East.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Morning Reading for 21 and 22 FEB-2017

I am traveling. Here are the readings for the two days, but can't provide commentaries, translations, etc. from this machine.

21-FEB-2017 Hexagram 21

Brief note: In this hexagram, and in 55, we have the two elements of thunder and lightening interacting. It is interesting to contrast the two hexagram pairs, 21/22 and 55/56. 

22-FEB-2017 Hexagram 51

Monday, February 20, 2017

Morning Reading for 20-FEB-2017

Reading for today: hexagram 36, judgment text:


Hexagram 36

Injuring the Light

明夷 利艱貞。

Like hexagram 52, Resting, the present hexagram may well be associated with the process of making a sacrifice. The old text is full of images of body parts. Since it shows the sun beneath the earth one could conjecture that the sacrifice involves the solar cycle, for instance a rite marking the shortest day of the year and the renewal of the light. Kunst, and those of the new school follow Gao Heng’s lead in associating the hexagram name with a pheasant, specifically a kind of pheasant with feathers that were suitable for fletching arrows (Field, 2015).  So we have two of the common themes of divination texts from the Yi and its preceding oracles: Sacrifice and hunting. Timing is key in both activities. 

Historically this hexagram is associated with good people suffering through bad government. There are, unfortunately, many examples of dissident voices silenced or imprisoned by self-serving and tyrannical rulers to call upon in history, in China and everywhere else. In times when darkness lords it over the light it is best to follow Confucius’ advice (in A. Charles Miller’s translation):

[14-3] 子曰。邦有道、危言、危行。邦無道、危行、言孫。

[14:3] The Master said: “When the government is just, you may speak boldly and act boldly; when you have an unjust government, you may act boldly, but be careful of what you say.”

So the follower of Yi Dao does not ‘stand down’ from their duty to what is right, but they don’t endanger themselves and others for the self-righteous pleasure of making speeches to repressive regimes that don’t actually cause change. This is reminiscent of the old George Bernard Shaw adage: “I learned long ago not to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

Iulian Shchutskii’s Russian translation of the Yi: 

Hexagram 36 Light Defeated

It is easy to see when reading the Book of Changes that the hexagrams are succeeded by their opposites. Thus the first hexagram is all strong lines and shows pure Creativity, the second all weak lines and pure Completion. The previous hexagram showed the sun rising over the earth and the present one shows the sun sinking into the earth. This shows us that a person must not only be able to go forth, but also to withdraw. Because if a person does nothing but move outward it would violate the rhythm of activity and ultimately become a threat to their radiance. This hexagram is called Light Defeated. It shows the light descending into the darkness, into the depths of the earth. There is a second interpretation of the names since the second character can also be read as ‘barbarian’. Read this way the title becomes ‘Educating Barbarians”, i.e. descending from a high cultural level to people of low culture. Both versions appear in the commentaries, but Ou Yi insists on the first. When a person descends this way it is natural for them to encounter difficulties. But it is in difficulties when all is dulled and extinguished that we should remain firm in doing what is right. So the brief text says this:

Light Defeated.
Perseverance in difficulties benefits.

Oracle of the Singularity version from Second Life:


In bad times, persevere.

Forest of Changes verse:

36 - 36

The stone of that mountain,
Can grind down jade.*
They come to attack my city.
My skin is injured,
The nation suffers and grieves.

*Reminiscent of the Book of Songs, Mao 184:
The stones of those hills,
May be made into grind-stones.
…The stones of those hills,
May be used to polish gems.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Morning Reading for 19-FEB-2017



Hexagram 46
Old text:

Ascending. Great sacrifice. Use to see the great man. No remorse. An expedition to the south is fortunate.

New text:

Ascending. Great success. Useful to see the great man. No remorse. An expedition to the south is fortunate.

There are two hexagrams that represent gradual progress, this one and 53. The difference is that the progress here is like the slow and gradual growth of a tree, where the progress of 53 comes in stages. Thus we may say that Sheng1 represents an analog development where that of 53 is binary, dividing reality into distinct bands that are differentiated from one another.

The Yi Jing on Silk of the Han Dynasty has profitable instead of useful, so ‘Seeing the great man benefits’.

Field (2015) points out that the etymology of the character had to do with the ascent of heavenly bodies.

Many attempts are made in commentaries over the years to assign some symbolic or cosmological value to the word ‘south’ here. Of course in the way the book was originally used I’m pretty sure it simply meant ‘go south’. But since the text is at once like a textual hologram and a textual maze it also contains the various aspects it has accrued over the millennia of commentary.

Iulian Shchutskii’s Russian translation of the Yi:

Hexagram 46 Rising

All the forces were successfully unified in the previous hexagram. In the present one we have the result of that unification. The structure of the hexagram itself shows us the growth resulting from gathering forces, with Xun, the trigram of wood below and Kun, the trigram of earth above it. This gives us an image of the trees that gather their strength to push up through the soil in the spring. So we have the idea of growth and also its direction…upward. Also entailed in this concept is attaining the stature to be able to see a person of superior development and higher standing. There is no cause to worry about being abandoned. The text has no warnings against danger and just informs us that an expedition to the south benefits. The south is where the sun reaches its fullest brightness, so it is a place where everything is displayed at its maximum. So we read the following in the text:

Primordial perfection.
A meeting with the great man benefits.
Do not grieve.
An expedition to the south is fortunate.

Oracle of the Singularity version from Second Life:


Find a tree growing on a mountain and meditate on its meaning.
Seek the Great Avatar.
Travel South.

Move to the next skill level.

Forest of Changes verse:

46 - 46

Yu carved out the Dragon Gate,
Letting the waters flow out to the eastern sea,
And the people have peace.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Morning Reading for 18-FEB-2017

Reading for today: hexagram 29, line 2:

九二  坎有險。求小得。

Old text:

Nine in the Second. The pit has a defile. Seeking small gains.

New text:

Nine in the Second. The pit is deep. Seeking small gains.

Variously described as a smooth sided pit, a pit with a shelf around it (similar to ancient tombs), and a pit within a pit, the situation described is difficult in all cases. There is no hope of getting out on your own. Only outside help can pull you back into the world. Still, there is the optimistic last statement of seeking small gains. There is no mention of attaining, just seeking. Not giving up in a desperate situation, instead trying to make progress.

In business and government there is the concept of ‘crisis management’. Sometimes this is brought about by circumstances, but often it is an accustomed style of management. By setting unrealistic goals across many realms the manager/ruler is laying out the traps for crisis. Once crisis comes along that is grounds for setting aside everything to ‘deal with the crisis’. Once that is done all involved are exhausted and…again…other matters are delayed. In such a cycle very little can actually be accomplished.
 When our efforts are scattered across a wide spectrum our success is fractured and diluted. It is better in this situation to concentrate on one thing at a time and get it done right.

Iulian Shchutskii’s Book of Changes version:

As said before, old habits and accumulated experience may take the place of a new act of cognition here. Although the second line is often a favorable position in hexagrams (specifically for its tendency to balance), here, even though the line has a rather beneficial position of inner truth that truth has still not been achieved. Danger still threatens at every turn. Only actively pursuing inner veracity can lead to results. Thus the text reads:

Strong line in the second place.
Danger in the abyss.
You will attain something if you seek it.

Oracle of the Singularity version from Second Life:


Look for a water cave.
You will find something valuable.

Forest of Changes verse:

29 - 29

A bird with yellow legs,
It flies with a report of Ji Yu,*
Going together with us to Sui Yang, 
Thereby avoiding military disaster.
Meeting with good fortune,
Fate bestows longevity.

*Unknown person.