One way to use the I Ching is to ask it a question and look at the hexagram you produce from your coin throw and the related texts for the answer to it. The trick is to make your question as specific as possible. The more ambiguous it is, the more ambiguous the response. “Should I take the new job I’ve just been offered?” will produce a far clearer answer than “should I look for a new job” – not least because the number of variables involved in considering the latter are infinitely more than in pondering the former.
Garbage in, garbage out! This is the message of Hexagram 27 (頤/yí), which refers to nourishment of both the physical and spiritual kind. Combining the lower trigram for quake or thunder (震/zhèn) with the upper trigram for mountain (山/ shān), it represents nourishment, swallowing, and the corners of the mouth. Indeed, with four broken lines in its center, the hexagram even looks like an open mouth.
Time to go back to the office after a relaxing break over the Chinese New Year Holiday. One of the highlights was a visit to the Mazu Temple in Jinshan, a popular seaside town on the Northeast Coast of Taiwan.
My final consultation of the Chinese New Year Holiday produced the final hexagram in the I Ching. Paradoxically, hexagram 64 doesn’t mark a successful conclusion of a mission or task. Quite the reverse in fact. Featuring the trigram representing fire above the one representing water, it literally means “not yet crossing the ford” (未濟/wèijì) and by extension “incomplete” or “not yet completed”.
How to deal with someone who is acting against principles that underlie the harmony of the group or who is threatening the unity of the nation through their criminal actions?
Wood and wind on a mountain side with nourishing water flowing down its slopes. This is the image conjured up by hexagram 53 (漸/jiàn) from my consultation of the I Ching this morning.
Happy New Year of the Dog! Rather than seek the advice of a fortune teller about what lies in store for me this year, I decided to see what the I Ching (易經) had to say.
Confucius said: “Southerners have a saying: ‘A man who isn’t steadfast isn’t fit to be a shaman.’ This is so true! The Book of Changes says, ‘if you’re not steadfast in virtue, you will suffer disgrace.’” Confucius added: “Not even a divination will be of any use for a person like that.”
This is, shall we say, a rather cryptic passage that is open to multiple interpretations. It also features one of the one of the very few references to the Book of Changes that can be found in the Analects in the form of a quote from Hexagram 32 (constancy or steadfastness). Continue reading Steadfast in virtue