What is I-ching
(Book of Changes)?
I-ching is one of the classical Chinese books (ching), dating back to the time of Fu Hsi and the Yin Dynasty, about 2900 BC. It was used as oracle, at the disposal of the sovereigns and princes.
The Book escaped the arson of
books ordered by the first Chinese emperor, in 213 AD, because it was consulted by him. This proves its great popularity and recognition.
Known also as the Chou-I (the Changes of Chou
), the name "I-ching" may be also translated as Book of Changes, that is, dealing with the permanent changes which affect nature and human society as well.
I-ching is a collection of short essays assigned to 64 lineal figures consisting of six continuous (____) and/or
broken (__ __) lines. These figures are called These lines may be assigned the well-known symbols of yin and yang.
Hexagram 31, Hsien, Influence (Wooing)
Each Hexagram has a title and offers a prognostication
and/or advice in order to avoid difficult life events or human interaction. Read more...
Whenever you need to know if a project will succeed or fail you may consult the I-ching oracle. There are two
different methods of consultation. The answer of the oracle must be interpreted by a professional diviner, well trained in the art of deciphering its meaning. Read more...
One of the first translations of the I-ching in English was made by James Legge.
Richard Wilhelm, the well-known German translator and commentator of the I-ching
Richard Wilhelm, a Protestant
missionary in China, translated the book into German under the direct guidance of a Confucian master, Lao Nai Hsuan.
" I am indebted to him - Wilhelm wrote - not only for a
deeper understanding. . . but also because he first opened my mind to the wonders of the Book of Changes. Under his experienced guidance I wandered entranced through this
strange and yet familiar world. The translation of the text was made after detailed discussion." (R. Wilhelm, Introduction to the I-ching, Wilhelm/Baynes version, Princeton University Press, 1977.)
This is the most known and referred version.
The Wilhelm/Baynes English version is made upon the request of
Carl Jung, the
famous Swiss psychiatrist. Jung himself used the oracle and wrote a valuable introduction to the English version explaining how it
works and the method of interpreting the answers.
We have a lot of English versions of I-ching. Most of them follow the Wilhelm's translation style - others are
free adaptations. There are also a few versions which don't follow Wilhelm's or Legge's directions, but draw from the scientific interest in the book history, language and meaning.
I-ching applications may be found online. Thus we can consult the book without having to handle one of the consulting methods, with coins or yarrow stalk. Read more...