What is “I Ching”?
By Dr. Alex Lo Kit Hung
Senior Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The average person thinks that I Ching is only a book of divination, and it is a superstition to predict the good and the bad. However, this is really a glimpse of speculation.
Strictly speaking, “I Ching” is a set of books, synthesized by I Ching (易經) and Yizhuan (易傳). The source of the I Ching is very ancient, and the formation process is long, probably from the late Yin Dynasty (殷未) to the late Western Zhou Dynasty (西周後期). The Yizhuan (易傳) is the ten articles (Shiyi十翼) explaining Zhou Yi (周易), including Structure-Part A (Tuen-Part A 彖上), Structure-Part A (Tuen-Part B 彖下), The Greater Appearance (Daxiang大象), The Lesser Appearance (Xiaoxiang 小象), About the relationship of the Hexagrams-Part A (Xici-Part A 繫辭上), About the relationship of the Hexagrams-Part B (Xici-Part B 繫辭下), About the characters (Wenyan 文言), Explaining the Hexagrams (Shuogua 說卦), The order of the Hexagrams e (Xugua 序卦) and Miscellaneous sayings on the Hexagrams (Zagua 雜卦), these articles may be literature from the end of the Spring and Autumn Period to the late Warring States Period. works.
Most people think that “I Ching” is just a book of divination and questioning, but it is a superstition used to predict the good fortune of the evil. The essence of “I Ching” is the essence of “I Ching” (the truth of living in the world from the hexagrams and lines) and the “movement” (the change of the hexagrams and lines to help decision-making). The external form of the “I Ching” . Confucius has already pointed out the relationship between this “I Ching” and divination. Confucius studied the “I Ching” not caring about seeking good fortune and avoiding evil, but for another purpose: “I watch its virtues and ears…. I only ask for its virtues, …. The gentleman‘s virtue and deeds are blessed, … Benevolence and righteousness seek good fortune. Therefore, the divination is rare.” “Mawangdui Silk Book‧ Yao“ (馬王堆帛書‧要) scrutinized the sixty-four hexagrams, and it is not difficult to find that it contains many ways to cultivate morality and enter the profession. Modesty. A gentleman has an end.”, instructs people to be diligent and humble; in the hexagram of No, the nine lines of remarks: ”No. First no, then happy.“, to make people completely reformed; the sixth line of Enthusiasm (Yu豫) hexagram: “Ming Yu , Fierce.” It means that with reputation, indulge in pleasure, there will be fierce danger. “The Analects of Confucius-Shuer” records that Confucius played the principle of “don‘t persevere one’s virtue, or inherit one‘s shame” in the nine-three lines of the Duration (Heng 恒) hexagram.
In general, the content of hexagram interpretations (Gauyao Ci 卦爻辭) has two major characteristics: First, it is necessary to teach people to adhere to the principles of moderation, loyalty, fear, and prudence. Zuo Zhuan (左傳) also contains six examples that directly quote hexagram interpretations (Gauyao Ci 卦爻辭) as actions. The standard; 2. The Zhen Zhao Ci (貞兆辭) or “Acquisition and Judgment” (占斷辭) in the hexagram and line remarks about good and bad, there are at least nine types of “good luck, prosperous, profit, no blame, regret, stingy, severe, blame, fierce", among them Warnings and admonitions have strong meanings, such as “repentance", “meanness", “blame", and “no guilt". They all require people to reflect on their own mistakes and to correct their good. No wonder Confucius said in his later years: There is nothing wrong with learning Yi (易).
This book is actually the “first of the group scriptures" in the eyes of countless insightful people in the past, and it is also the essence of Chinese culture.
Firstly, I Ching (易經) is the oldest philosophical book.
A set of symbolic systems in the “I Ching” describes the changing laws of “simply”, “changing” and “not easy” in nature with yin and yang. This philosophy of emphasizing change makes one realize that the world is full of vitality and creative power. The “I Ching” advocates the philosophies of “yin and yang balance” and “things must be reversed”, which is also the principle of living in the world. Therefore, the “I Ching” is the oldest philosophical book.
Secondly, I Ching (易經) is the wisdom that provide guidance.
The philosophy of the “I Ching” is the wisdom that provide guidance. “I Ching” composed of hexagrams, always teaches the principles of moderation, faithfulness, fear and prudence. More importantly, people should follow the example of the world and be aggressive, and there should be no slack. If you can always reflect on your past and change your kindness, your life will be smooth and happy.
Furthermore, I Ching (易經) is the root of Chinese culture.
The Natural Philosophy and Life Philosophy of “I Ching” affect every field of Chinese culture. Since ancient times, no matter it is philosophy, religion, politics, economy, military, literature, art, medicine, astronomy, arithmetic, music, and martial arts, it has not been influenced by the philosophy of “I Ching”, and even served as the basis of the whole theory. The philosophy of “I Ching” is the root of Chinese culture.
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