Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Another Divination Story IV

Interpretation of the original hexagram:

Li fire drains Xun wood. This indicates that the war exhausts the Lu State. The country has to spend a lot of money on the war. There will also be loss of lives.

The time of the war was probably spring or early summer. In autumn, there is the danger of the war dragging into winter making the offense difficult. In spring, wood is strong and fire is also ready. Metal and earth are quite weak.

Interpretation of the core hexagram:

In the Hu Gua, both trigrams are metal. Metal goes against wood. It indicates that there was resistance from the Yue State. However, since metal is weak and wood is strong, and metal is also controlled by fire, the resistance was quite weak. It fails to defeat the offensive Lu army. The two trigrams Dui and Qian represent young women and old man. These also indicates that the quality of the Yue army was quite poor.

Interpretation of the future hexagram:
In the future hexagram Gu, the Yong Gua is Gen earth. This is controlled by the strong Xun. The outcome is that the Lu army won the war quickly. Since Xun wood is soft, there was not serious damages to the defeated Yue State.

Confucius could have been developing Xiang Shu Yi Xue but he did not disclose his findings prematurely. Although he might have got the result, he still tried to use the line text to interpret his conclusion. Of course his twisted interpretation is not convincing.

In the next posting I am going to use Wen Wang Gua to interpret this divination. Stay tuned.



CaitanyaRupa said...

This story shows many things. One of them is:

That divinations are not automatic. They are done through experience and wisdom.

In Vedic astrology, it is said that all the learning of calculations and formulas are simply to prepare the mind (program) to be ready for the Jyotir Veda (Astrology Wisdom) to come and live in that mind.

One must do the austerity of learning the processes first and do what is required to develop the wisdom.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. One may do A, B, C, D, etc. and still not have the wisdom to reach the answers.

One Vedic astrologer commented that he had seen many very talented astologers in the villages of India who couldn't calculate properly, but their readings were spot on.

How is this possible?

There have been times that my astrology computer program has hiccuped and given the wrong birth data even when I carefully typed it in correctly. (should I dump the program....? Or was it simply a Higher Force?)

Funny though, the readings I made before I discovered the errors were 100% accurate and gave possibilities that when taken gave very good outcomes. The persons I was doing the readings for were very deeply touched by the readings. They went straight to the heart and opened many locked doors that were keeping them stuck in destructive patterns.

How is this possible?

Upon consideration, when one is open to the "Conscious" Universe and willing to listen, then the answer will always be what is needed at the moment.

The calculations are tools to bring us to the answer. We must be able to hear and understand the answer.

That is why some do not even use tools. They are given many psychic titles, but it simply means that they listen better.

So it would seem that LISTENING well is a good habit to cultivate.

Just some thoughts.

Caitanya Rupa said...

Hi Joseph,

It is still very unconvincing.
If we knew that Lu State had lost, we would easily use the very same reading to explain why.

As you explain in part III, the divination was done from the perspective of the home country, whether it would be fortunate or not.
Then why you suddenly consider the core hexagram as representing the Yue State?
Because the trigrams are weak and we know already that Yue has lost?

Here is what we could say if Lu State had lost:
1) The original hexagram is not favorable for Lu, because we see the country is drained and there is losses.
2) The core hexagram shows what is going on.
It has two weak Metal trigrams.
Why not say that this is the Lu armies who are putting in a weak performance, and that's why they lose?
We are looking from the perspective of the home country, or not?
So it shows what is going on with the home country armies, and it looks very weak...
The two trigrams young woman and old man are illustrative of the poor performance of Lu armies.
We also see that the trigrams in the original hexagram cannot provide any support to Metal, so the war will be lost.
3) Future hexagram shows the result.
Xun (which already represented Lu State in the first hexagram) is now burried under Gen, which is hard rocks.
It is not a favorable picture as it indicates that war was lost.
And after summer the Wood (Lu) becomes more weak , while Earth is very strong.
Lu State is encaged and will not be able to regain its freedom before the next year when Wood is strong enough again.

None of the 3 hexagrams look favorable if we consider from the home country pov.


I Ching is so versatile and flexible, that in after the facts analysis we will always find an easy way to explain the reading as correct.
The more difficult job is to do it in before the facts analysis.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny,

The core hexagram has two metal trigrams and metal attacks/resists wood. Therefore these two trigrams must represent the resistance from Yue. It is logical, isn't it?

It cannot represent the weak performance of the Lu army as Lu is already represented by the body trigram Xun wood.

The imgage of Gen on Xun is vegetation breaking out from the soil on the mountain. This is particularly so in Spring. It controls the earth and also protects the earth from erosion.

When the body controls the application, in warfares it means quick conquest and everything is in order. It is unlike the mess we have in Iraq today.

The whole picture is quite vidvidly displayed by the three hexagrams. Of course the season of the event is most important. The strengths of the trigrams will change the picture entirely.

How can you say it is not convincing?

JY said...

Original hexagram shows us the situation of the home country that goes to war.
Core hexagram shows us what happens, so it tells something about the battle or war.
Future hexagram shows the result of the war.

Original hexagram tells us that Lu is at Wood and goes to war.
So far so good.

Core hexagram.
It is not very logical to conclude that the two Metal trigrams must be Yue (Metal attacks Wood (Lu)).
Because it is not Yue that attacks Lu.
It is Lu that marches to Yue to attack and conquer it.
Yue is the defending army.
Since Lu is Wood, that means that logically Yue will be represented by Earth in the reading ( Wood attacks Earth).
What we see in the core hexagram is what happens in the battle.
Well, we see two Metal trigrams facing off.
Since a battle needs two opponents, it means we can see the performance of both armies here.
So the more logical conclusion based on the reading would be that this will be a very even battle.
( Interestingly the trigrams are related to #6 and #7 stars, which depict conflict and battle when they appear together. )
If a defending army is equally strong as the attacking army, then it will hold out and the attacking army will have to retreat.
That's what Art of War tells us.
So Lu cannot win this war because it has no advantage, and it will have to go back.

That's what we see in the future hexagram result.
Wood is still under Earth, which means that Lu (Wood) has not conquered Yue (Earth) yet.
Yes, it may do so later, when Wood becomes strong enough to rise above Earth.


I am not saying this is what has happened.
But it is no less a vivid and logical picture based on the given reading.
We can always make several different vivid pictures from a same reading.
In fact, that's what both these divination anecdotes tells us: a same hexagram can be interpreted very differently by different diviners (and only one them will come true).
That's why it is not very convincing.
If we hadn't known the result of the battle, then we could have interpreted the hexagrams in various different vivid pictures that all appear to make some sense.
It's also not convincing because you have made the assumption that the battle took place in spring or summer.
If the battle happened in autumn, then the whole analysis will fall in the water..
The story doesn't mention when the battle took place.


Making a vivid picture is not so convincing if several different vivid pictures are possible.
Convincing it will be, if we can point out the correct vivid picture with some above average consistency, and *before* we know the outcome.
In cases with only two possible outcomes, even a monkey will guess right half of the time.
So we will need to do better than that, before we can say it is convincing..

And those two anecdotes are surprisingly honest on that point.
They show that even famous diviners got it wrong half of the time...

People are not naive anymore, and our audience will be critical.
And the younger generation people is even more critical than I am.
To them it looks more convincing if we also bring examples of how our divinations have failed, not just examples of how the divination *could* have worked.
We live in interesting times.

Danny said...

I wonder if the time of this war can be determined.
Did some search.
Wikipedia mentions Yue State, but not this war.

Since Confucius and one commentary suggest an attack by boat, it was probably in a wet season.
Here is the climate statistics for Yue State area:

We can see the wet time is from May till September. Rivers probably still swollen well into October.
That would mean the battle was probably in summer or autumn.

Perhaps the "Annals of Spring and Autumn" mention the exact time.

Danny said...

Did some more research on the internet, and nothing suggests that Lu state ever succeeded to conquer Yue.
Yue state continued to exist as an independant state for several hundred years after Confucius' death.
Lu may have won a few small battles, but Yue was not conquered.
This suggests that Confucius' student had done the better reading, and going to war with Yue would not bring favors to Lu state.
It was wasted effort (the food was spilled from the cauldron..).

An interesting study about Yue history is found here (pdf):

It mentions that poor Yue farmers lived in stilt houses near the river, but important Yue cities were built on the top of mountains and almost impossible to conquer.

This is what we can see in the future hexagram of the reading.
Lu did not succeed to conquer the Yue which are on Gen/Mountain.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny

The battle between Lu and Yue was not a large scale war. It could have been a battle over small matters and peace was made quickly with Yue paying Lu some money for compensation.

In using the technique of Plum Blossom, the Ti Gua that represent the subject (Lu, in this divination)apppears in the original and future hexagrams. All the other four trigrams are Yong Gua and should be read with reference to the Ti Gua. In other words, it is what affects the Ti Gua.

Sometimes we use the Xian Tian Ba Gua and sometimes the Hou Tian Ba Gua depending on the relevancy. In this divination, the two metal trigrams in the core hexagram are against Lu (Xun) but suppressed by the war/battle (Li). Well, Yue was to the south and SE of Lu but actually there was another country called Wu in between. Dui could represent Wu to verbally go against Lu's action (using the Xian Tian Ba Gua, Dui is in the SE). Qian represents the feeble resistance from Yue. This is to assume that the divination was done in spring, which is likely as summer would be too hot and winter too cold and dangerous.

If the diviner was consulted by the Duke of Lu, then the advice would be to use diplomatic persuation in Wu to ask for allowance to cross the border to attack Yue and to end the battle as soon as possible. Press for a quick settlement.

This was a very minor battle that was probably not recorded in history. It was found in a famous documentary Lun Heng on various topics including divination. This article described Confucius as twisting the facts to give an interpretation but it turned out to be right.

The future hexagram with Ti controlling Yong is quick win provided that wood is strong. This is one of the fundamental rules used in Plum Blossom divination.

JY said...

That seems plausible to me.
Yue state conquered and annexed Wu state a few years after Confucius' death, so it doesn't look like Yue was hindered much by these Lu state attacks.
We don't even know if the money that Lu received was sufficient to cover its military expenses.
In those days it was not rare for kings to get into money troubles.

Here is an informative site on the topic:
The interactive map shows the location and capitals of the states.
Lu was over 500 km away from Yue.
So by the time Lu armies reached back home with the cabbages they had looted in Yue, they were probably eaten already..

While these anecdotes can be interesting, it is always problematic to study them deeper, because we have to guess too many of the details.
And authors may have changed some facts to make the old emperor or sage look better..

So, it's probably more fruitful to practice and study present day examples.