Thursday, December 27, 2007

Divination is not Fortune Telling

Fortune-telling is to predict what exactly will happen at a certain time in a certain space. Divination is to communicate with the Universe of which we are all a part. As a part we can communicate with the whole. Our finger is a part of our body. When it touches a hot surface, a message is sent to the brain and a message is sent back telling certain muscles to contract and withdraw the hand from the hot surface. Of course, this involves a reflex action that does not even go through the brain. This is an example of a part communicating with the whole.

A fortune-teller may tell you that you will have an inappropriate affair with someone and it is very costly. A diviner may tell you that you will face a fatal attraction and only if you can resist the temptation, it is likely you will suffer a lot because of the affair.

Fortune-telling is based on "everything is written on the rocks and cannot be changed".

Divination is to decode the message from the Universe to explain to us the cause and effect, the likelihood of something at present and in the near future. We can change the outcome by appropriate actions although we may not be able to turn everything around.

Thirty-five years ago I did a divination and the Yijing told me to consult a doctor in the SW. It happened that my classmate had a clinic in this direction from my home. He advised me to quit smoking right away or I would be paralyzed in 5 years.

Well, it was like two divinations one following the other. The first divination gave me a direction to consult the doctor. The second diviner was actually the doctor. He explained my problem and the probable outcome. I took the advice and the problem was removed in 15 years after quitting smoking and I am having great health today, 35 years after.


9 comments: said...

Hi Joseph,

Do you remember what prompted you to do the divination?

What did you interpret as an advice to go to a doctor?
And why in the Southwest?


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny

I had chronic breathing problem at that time. I just consulted the doctor in the neighborhood but it did not help much. So I did a divination with Wen Wang Gua.

I can't remember the details of the dinvination. It could be that the Offspring Yao was Shen.

JY said...


I think people who are skeptical about divination would have a fair point if they say that it is just a common sense thing to go visit another doctor if one suffers chronic symptoms and the doctor on the corner of the street doesn't help.
Don't need any I Ching for that.

Of course, we can say that the divination guided you to the right clinic by pointing to Southwest.
But how significant is that?
Probably any clinic with a bit more specialisation in lungs would have advised you to quit smoking, don't you think?

It's nice to be cured of a problem, but we can hardly present this as a striking example of guidance given by I Ching.
It doesn't deviate from the most plain common sense in any way..


Many people have that kind of healing stories, without having used any divination.
My father had frequent pains in his right side some 30 years ago.
He went to a specialist and that man said it was gallstones and an operation would be needed.
My father was not in a situation he could afford to take a break from his business.
A friend in the pub gave him the address of a natural healer in Holland.
That man told my father to eat a herring as breakfast first thing every morning for at least a year.
The pains disappeared after a month, and my father never had the operation...

If he had done I Ching divination before he went to the pub, we would now say it is a great example of guidance by I Ching.
In fact , this story has lot more *un*-common sense in it.
But no divination was used..


Before we can talk about any *significant* results by I Ching divination, I think one of these will be needed:
1) received guidance was rather different from plain common sense, but proved most correct in the end.
2) divination provided useful information or insight, that could not have been easily available otherwise.
3) divination pointed to small (but important) factor, that would have probably been overlooked otherwise.
4) ...

If my car breaks down on the highway and smoke is seen appearing from the bonnet, then I don't need I Ching to get the guidance that the car needs to be taken to a repair shop.

A healthy new year to all,


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny

I was just showing that I did not use the I Ching to predict whether my sickness will be cured (which is then fortune-telling).

I used the I Ching as divination to obtain guidance. Whether it was coincidence does not matter. It is enough that I benefitted from the suggestion.

Another doctor might have given me the same advice (because my Bazi indicates many good days coming?). It did give me a clear-cut suggestion for my next movement.

It doesn't prove anything. With metaphysics, there is nothing we can prove.

JY said...

> With metaphysics, there is nothing we can prove.

There are many other domains in which direct proof cannot be given.
For example economics, sociology, etc..

But in all these domains one tries to collect "evidence" for the working of its theories and methods.

If one has practiced metaphysics for years, and still not found any "evidence" that it works, then why one would continue?
And then why anybody else would spend money to learn the art?


Indeed, as you point out, you didn't ask for any prediction in your example.
But then you didn't get much of a detailed answer either.

You said that questions are not needed because we will see all the details from the reading, but this is a perfect example of how that's not the case.
The reading was so vague you still had to go to a doctor to find out that smoking was the problem.
Somebody who had done a divination with more specific question(s) about the breathing problem or even direct about the smoking, he could have seen from the reading that smoking is the cause of the problem.


That's why the example is very unimpressive.
Visiting another doctor is what 95% of the people would have done anyway.
And even the most obvious cause of breathing problems was not found in the reading.

Just suppose you had gone with your same symptoms to somebody who reads the tea leaves.
And all he can tell you after looking into his leaves is to go visit another doctor.
Well, you just wouldn't be very impressed with his art of divination, nobody would..
Even though we can't say the advise is bad..
But the advise is so obvious that it is not a great example for the divination art.

That's how it looks from here.


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Danny

I said "nothing can be proved in metaphysics" but I did not say "I cannot find any evidence that metaphysics works". In fact, the example I gave provides evidence that it works.

Before consulting the Yijing, I also visited another doctor who was an expert in the respiratory system. He prescribed some medicine that worked when there was an attack but it came back regularly. That's why I consulted the Yijing.

Of course, I also knew that smoking was bad for the lungs and should have quit smoking without even being told to. Well, the fact is that the divination pointed me to find the doctor who told me firmly the consequence if I continued to smoke. It was then that I quit smoking (with ease).

Every year I took x-ray and it took 15 years to clear the accumulated tar in the lungs.

The fact is that I benefitted from the divination and it does not matter whether this example is impressive. The fact is that an ordinary family doctor helped me to get rid of the source of sickness while the expert was only able to help me temporarily. The divination pointed me to the direction of the doctor who cured me with his advice.

Although I do not remember the details of the divination, since Shen is the Offspring Yao, the yao that represented sickness must have been either Yin or Mao. If the Officer/Ghost Yao was Yin, then it was quite clear that the source of illness came from wood with fire (image of smoking being relevant).

Sometimes advice can be given by just anyone. It takes the right person with the right wording and authority to be useful. It was not because the ordinary doctor was more knowledgeable and skilful, it was because he used the right way to communicate with me. And this person was pointed out by the divination.

I seldom use divination unless I am really worried. It has never been impressive but it has always worked. That is why I am teaching this.

JY said...

> I said "nothing can be proved in metaphysics" but I did not say "I cannot find any evidence that metaphysics works".

I didn't say that you said that you can't find evidence for metaphysics..

You brought up the topic of "proof", and I picked up on it because I think an important distinction is to be made there.

There is basically 3 domains in life.
In some areas we can deliver "proof". (e.g. in some sciences)
In other domains we can only provide "evidence" (e.g. in economics and many other "human" sciences..)
And in still other fields we can't even produce "evidence", it's completely personal.
For example nobody can give any proof or evidence that a certain painting is beautiful.
Nobody can give proof or evidence that he loves somebody...


Metaphysics is somewhere between domains 2 and 3.
Some weak evidence can be provided in some cases, but often also not..

Some people ask for "proof" in metaphysics.
The question is stupid.
It will be like asking for meat in a vegetarian restaurant.
Or like asking an art dealer for "proof" that a certain painting is beautiful.

But asking for "evidence" in metaphysics is not stupid.

The least that can be said is that you sound honest when you say that your results with divination have never been impressive.
Maybe some readers will wonder why they should study it, if even your results have not been impressive.?

Well, it is like buying a painting.
You may buy it if you like it, and you don't buy it if you don't like it.
What others think about the painting is not a consideration, because it will hang in your home, not in theirs..


Pawel said...

Hi Master Yu!

Thank You for this beautiful and thoughtful blog!

I'm willing to learn Wen Wang Gua divination and I'm curious if it's possible to obtain advice for choosing both auspicious place and time for some action in one question, one Hexagram? Like for example a business negotiation place and time?

Thank You,


Joseph Yu said...

Hi Pawel

Yes, Wen Wang Gua will tell you more than that with 1 hexagram. It will tell you the probability of your success in the negotiation. It will also tell you any relevant matter related to the subject you are interested in.