Friday, November 23, 2007

Another Divination Story

When Lu State 魯國 was about to invade Yue State 越國, Zi Gong 子貢, a disciple of Confucius who was good at divination, did a Yijing Divination. He got the hexagram Ding 鼎 with Line 4 moving to hexagram Gu 蠱.

Nine at 4: The feet of the caldron are broken. The food prepared for the duke has spilled over. The scene is messy. Evil.

九四 鼎折足 覆公餗 其形渥 凶

Zi Gong said, “Our army marches to the Yue State. Since the feet are broken, the image is evil.”

Confucius said, “The Yue people live by the water. They travel by boat, not by feet. Therefore, it is fortunate.”

Lu conquered Yue. Confucius was right.

What do you think?


Stephen said...

We have to know what Zi Gong's question was. Did the hexagram refer to the the outcome of the Lu offensive, or the Yue defence? Would the attack be a mess, or its repulsion? Either way, a battleground is a messy and evil image.

Ding with nine at 4 hints at good progress, but watch your step. The resulting hexagram Gu indicates decay leading to great changes. But for which side?

Perhaps Confucius based his statement more on military strategy and observation, the waterside Yue people would be more likely to take to thier boats rather than stand and fight?


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Stephen

Both Zi Gong and Confucius were anxious about the outcome of the battle as they were citizens of the Lu State. The question was just about the result of the war, whether it is fortunate or unfortunate for their country.


Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

The question I have about divination is who are we asking the question of and who is giving the answer?

The mere word 'divination' implies a communication with the Divine. Everyone is capable of communicating with the Divine.

The question I have is how do I know 'who listens to the Divine?' Can other entities influence a diviner so as the guidance comes from another source such as one's fear or worst one's pride?


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Mary

Divination is sending messages to and receiving the picture from the Universe. It is to assume that our Universe is living and intelligent.

You do not need to look up to any deity and ask him to bestow on you the answer. It is simply the communication between the part and the whole as we are part of out Universe. A good diviner is not influenced by fear or other emotions.


Mary Catherine Bax said...

Dear Joseph,

I notice you wrote Universe with a capital 'U'.

Back to the story, is it possible Confucius used Wen Wang Gua instead of the text? If the reading was done in the summer months, it is clear that Lu State had an advantage in battle.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Mary

I always use capital U in metaphysics to indicate that it is a living entity by itself.

Ha! Your speculation has a high probability to be correct.

JY said...

> Confucius said, “The Yue people live by the water. They travel by boat, not by feet. Therefore, it is fortunate.”

An interesting twist.
But fortunate for who? For the people who travel by boat?
Then Confucius' was wrong as well, since the Yue people lost.

If you do divination about the outcome of a war, and the hexagram signifies the enemy country, then what do you conclude?
That the enemy will win, or that the enemy will lose?
A divination can only be meaningless if you haven't asked a specific question.