Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Questions in Divination

In almost all books published in the West about divination, emphasis is made on how to ask a question. The question must be clear and there must be a time frame.

Well, this is not so in traditional practice.

Divination is not to answer your question. Divination is to present to you the picture about what is bothering you. Therefore, you do not even need to ask a question.

When you go to a traditional diviner, he will ask you, "What do you want to know?"
You only have to say something like:

My wealth luck 求財
My marriage 姻緣
My health 健康
My father's sickness 問父疾
The well-being of my family 家宅
My general well-being 自身

The divination will show you the whole picture including when something will happen.

No wonder someone said, "To write a book is to copy the mistakes in another book and present them in a different way."



Naseeb said...

Dear Master Joseph,

When you say "The divination will show you the whole picture including when something will happen", do you mean the whole picture regarding one's life or the whole picture regarding the issue that is in interest?


Joseph Yu said...

Dear Naseeb

Of course it is about the issue that bothers the person.

JY said...

Hi Joseph,

While it is of course possible to divine without a question or a timeframe, this will not always work.
We will get a general picture, and some details about the topic will be seen, the big lines..
But this may not even touch upon the specific question that I have in mind.

And sometimes a timeframe will be absolutely needed.
For example, if I come to you and ask: "The weather (in Bulgaria)."
Then what you are going to tell me if you don't even know if I want to know about the weather for this afternoon or for next summer?

Or: "the German stock market."
Yes, you can do a divination and see some overall details about the German stock market, but will it address the actual question I have in mind?

Or what you will tell me if I just say : "Citibank..."

Divination without a question is valid if we are interested in the larger picture.
But if my question is about a specific detail, then divination without question will not do.

And that's also what we saw in the first divination story you brought.
A very specific question was asked: which horse will enter the water first?
If the emperor had only asked : "the horses?".. then what the diviners would have come up with?
Probably something very different than predicting that red horse will enter the water first.
And that's why the emperor asked his specific question.

This suggests that both types of divination have been used.
Divination without question, but also divination on very specific question like in this story.


I think this is like going to a doctor.
If I don't have specific question then he can just perform a little overall checkup, and he may say that my health is fairly good, or I better try to slim down a bit, .. things like that.
Do you think he will come across my migraine, which are the real problem I came for?
Only if I tell him before he starts examining me.
And that will be a more effective use of the doctor's time (and my money), because then he can examine the migraine specifically.

How it could be any different when we go to a diviner?

Danny VdB

Harmen Mesker said...

Hi Joseph,

I very much agree with what you say. In fact, two years ago I wrote a piece in my diary with the same line of thought: Putting (too much) imphasis on the question is a typical Western approach, I think. I haven't seen one Chinese book which approaches it like this.

Best wishes,

I Tjing Centrum Nederland
Harmen's dagboek:

Joseph Yu said...

Hi Marmen

Thank you for writing on my blog. I went to your website and was very pleased to find someone who shares the same feeling towards the issue of asking questions in Yijing Divination.

The contents in your website shows your love for Yi studies and I am amazed at the depth and width of your work.

Congratulations and please keep it up.