ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM (ANOTHER INTENTIONALLY INCOMPLETE PRIVATE NOTE): Yìjīng 易經 Book of Changes

yijingwooden
As far as I can see the authors of entries in the Routledge volume don’t believe in the code, or a special rhythm of hexagrams, and I am ok with that. Maybe this is a part of Yìjīng which doesn’t deserve to be presented in the academic publication but the truth is so sweet I should stop myself and leave this note totally incomplete because I am not truly handy explaining myself to myself.

Some useful quotes on time and place of Yìjīng from Isabelle Robinet’s article are following. I have put tones for easy reading as usual.

“Traditionally regarded as having been compiled at different times by the mythical emperor Fú Xī 伏羲, King Wen of the Zhou (Wénwáng 文王, r. 1099-1050 BCE), the Duke of Zhou (Zhōugōng 周公, ?-1032 BCE), and Confucius (traditional dates 551-479 BCE), the Yìjīng 易經 was first used as a manual of divination but has been considered, at least from Confucius’s time, as a source of wisdom and cosmological lore, and has also been submitted to a moralistic interpolation.”

“Each hexagram is given a name followed by a “hexagram statements” (guàcí 卦辭) and by individual “line statements” (yáocí 爻辭), both of which usually contain oracular formulas. This part of the text, often referred to as the Zhōuyì 周易 (Changes of the Zhou), was augmented by a group of seven commentaries, which are commonly called the Ten Wings (shíyì 十翼).”

“According to modern scholarship, the hexagrams and “statements” date from the late Western Zhou period, while the whole text took its present form in the early second century BCE, except for the Xugua, which seems to date from the late Han period. In the Mawandui manuscripts, which probably dates from about 190 BCE and is the earliest known version of the text, the arrangements and names of the hexagrams are different and follow a more logical sequence than they do in the received text.”

“In pre-Han and Han times, there was often no clear-cut division between the study of the Yijing, the Daode jing, and the Zhuangzi.”

One modern strike, or stress, or accent, or twist I can’t help myself to miss here. The I Ching & The Genetic Code by Dr. Martin Schonberger was a book copyrighted in 1973, my copy was printed in 1992 and in 2009 I was delighted to read this book with solid proves on genetic code inside hexagrams, or better to say the code of hexagrams inside the human genes, or (much else better to rephrase) the code of ancient Chinese combinatorics in my own selfish genes! That is one of the many amazing features of the Yìjīng 易經 Book of Changes, and my guess is there are plenty more of them for some future generations of scientists too.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TAOISM: Guān 觀 OBSERVATION

Livia Kohn has done a great job telling us, readers of encyclopedia, about different  kinds of ‘observation’ in different times, beginning from the fifth century with the rise of Louguan (‘Tower of Observation”) for a Taoist monastery and leading the list of terms throughout the Buddhist influence in the seventh century and later.

Zhiguan, neiguan, qiguan vs. shenguan, jiafa guan vs. shifa guan and piankong, youguan vs. wuguan and zhongdao guan, and also waiguan and yuanguan to contrast neiguan, and the ultimate technique — kongguan, or observation of emptiness. The meaning of the word ‘guan’ is ‘to look at carefully’, ‘to scrutinize’. And now we have the volumes of teachings! Why people put so much passion to make simple things so complicated!

Let’s make this picture easier to understand. My favorite list of careful observations would be printed out like this: observation any cup of coffee, green or black tea, or Japanese matcha I have made during past decades; observation sky and earth, and any tree, leaf, flower, or snow every time I leave the home; observation my dreams and daoyin exercises every night and my work every day; observation every child and adult person I can meet and talk; observation my favorite ideas, books, and authors during the whole life, and observation of the hexagrams of the Book of Changes (which is probably the best item in the whole list).

L. Kohn didn’t mention it, but the character Guān (observation) is the hexagram No 20 in the Book of Changes (I Ching).

Guan-Kuan

Well, my list doesn’t look neither shorter nor easier after mentioning 64 hexagrams especially (actually it is much longer), sorry for that 🙂

Guan-I Ching-Tung Tso-pin

Spring: earth, sky, new grass and young leaves observation time)