Sunday, December 30, 2012

Wisdom

When you know something and tell people you know it, when you do not know something and admit that you do not know it, it is a display of wisdom.
When there is something you should know but you do not, when you mistakenly think you know something that you do not know, it is an anouncement of lack of wisdom.

In addition, I always remember:
To admit that there is something we do not know is a virtue. To pretend to know something that we do not know is a vice.


 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ode to Winter Solstice


Ode to Winter Solstice
Shao Yong
 
Winter solstice divides Zi month into two halves.

Heaven’s heart has not changed at this point.

First yang yao starts right here.

The ten thousands of living things are not born yet.

Good wine is a little dilute.

High notes are just rare.

If anyone does not believe this,

Please put your inquiries to Pao Xi.


This poem is quite easy to understand but the level of appreciation varies with the cultural level of the reader. It is worthwhile reciting it frequently to observe how you progress.


 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Research is Important

New invention should always be welcome in the world of Chinese Metaphysics. However, the invention or discovery of a new theory must sit on solid grounds from the metaphysical point of view.

When Li Xu Zhong 李虚中 in the Tang Dynasty 唐朝 started the study of Four Pillars of Destiny 四柱推命學, he employed the 24 jie and qi 節氣 to define the beginning and the midpoint of the 12 months. Thus he was able to establish a method of assessing the timeliness of the five elements. His work was not complete as he used the year branch to represent the person and his analysis was based on special combinations of stem and branches known as Shen Sha 神煞. Xu Zi Ping 徐子平 in the Song Dynasty 宋朝 modified and expanded the work to have the day stem to represent the person and defined the 10 spirits based on the elemental relationship with the day stem. It then became a complete system.

Later, Zi Wei Dou Shu 紫微斗數 was invented and the charting method employed the Lunar Calend
ar. This new system does not depend on the timeliness of the five elements to define the brightness of the stars. It has its own foundation and is more romantic in a sense. I spent a lot of time to try to reinvent the charting method to use the Solar Calendar in order to avoid the leap month. However, the many case studies I accumulated proved that it simply did not work.

Likewise, I spent a lot of time to try to use the Lunar Calendar to do Four Pillars charting. It was just out of curiosity to see whether the calendar that everyone was familiar with in ancient China could be used instead of Solar Calendar. First I must admit that I was unable to establish a method to deal with the leap month to convince myself. Anyway, I examined all the cases I accumulated with different solar and lunar charts and found that the results were less than acceptable. Even though it affects only a little bit about the timeliness, it affects clashes and combinations a lot. The luck pillars also change with different points of entry.

Well, I do not consider it was a waste of time. It was in fact time well spent.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lunar Calendar for BaZi charts?

First we have to know what is the Chinese Lunar Calendar. In this calendar, a year consists of 12 months with the first day of the month at New Moon. For some months, a month consists of 29 days while for the rest, a month consists of 30 days. 1 year consists therefore 354 days. There is a 11.24 days difference between a lunar year and a solar year. This will be compensated by adding a month to a leap year (閏年). The leap month (閏月) is the month without Zhong Qi. The natural outcome makes the lunar calendar very irregular. 

If the year, month and day are all described by a stem-branch binomial, then each month will have to change on the New Moon day. How do we assign the stem-branch binomial to the Run Yue (閏月)? No matter what you do, it will be extremely artificial. The year stem-branch binomial is to change on the New Year day which is the first New Moon day of the year. Since the day stem-branch is another sequence, it does not create any problem. Now you can see that such a calendar does not describe the natural flow of qi

Ever since the Four Pillars of Destiny 四柱推命學was invented by Xu Zi Ping 徐子平, the solar calendar was used. Zi Ping himself did not leave behind any document about his findings. The first collection of his work was found in Yuan Hai Zi Ping 淵海子平 written by Xu Sheng 徐升in the Song Dynasty 宋朝, not too much later than Xu Zi Ping. 

However, there is still a difficult and unsolved problem even when we use the solar calendar. It is the placement of the International Date Line.  It is unimaginable that we allow the day to change passing this line. However, since this line was chosen to avoid affecting populated areas, it has avoided the singular points (sorry to include a mathematical term here as I cannot think of anything better).  





Sunday, November 18, 2012

Solar or lunar calendar? True local solar time.






This is a picture taken from the book Yuan Hai Zi Ping 淵海子平 written by Xu Sheng 徐升 during the Song Dynasty 宋朝. The diagram shows the instruments used by an astrologer using the Zi Ping method. The water containers were designed to allow water to drip so that the water level showed the time at night. During the day, the length of the shadow of the pole cast by the sun showed the time.

Zi Ping method is the study of qi indicated by the year, month, day and hour each represented by the 60 stem-branch cycle. The 24 Jie-Qi 節氣 are used to define the months. The year begins at Li Chun 立春 and each subsequent month begins at a Jie. The entire set of four pillars are calculated using the solar calendar. The local solar time is used for the hour.

A picture is worth a thousand words.




Reversing Black and White 颠倒黑白

This is an example of using one's own mistakes as the standard to claim that the correct ideas of others are wrong 以己之非,非人之是:













This shows that the author does not understand Shuo Gua Zhuan. His understanding of Wu Xing is also limited to the material part. And saying that the calabash is a tall tree is simply ignorance.

 

Using a calabash to reduce the effect of the sickness star is more or less like saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." No one claims that the calabash can cure all illness. The clown is really amusing. We are truly thankful.


 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Deceitful Lineage Gimmick

You never hear people claim he holds the lineage of Issac Newton or Albert Einstein. In fact, all scientists learn from these great predecessors. They learn the basics but add new discoveries and this is the way knowledge grows. You are never fooled and cheated by scientists who claim to have the secrets that they would not disclose. With no disrespect to predecessors, they say, "We see more because we are standing on the shoulders of giants." 

On the other hand, the Chinese tradition is to respect their teachers to the extent that they are infallible and whatever they teach is the truth and nothing but the unchanging truth. If we generously assume that we can master 90% of what we learn from our teacher, then the tenth generation lineage holder knows practically nothing. Well, it does not mean that after learning from our teacher we should not teach as we know only 90% of what our teacher knows. As a matter of fact, if a teacher encourages his students to discover new things all the time, he can easily surpass his teacher. This is what I expect of my students.

The lineage game is only a cheap commercial gimmick. If you hear someone claim that he holds the secret from a certain lineage and that no one else except he and perhaps other indoor disciples of his lineage know the secret, then you can conclude that he is a con-artist and an imposter. To lure people to learn from him, he would say that your teacher is leading you to walk the wrong path. When you ask what is the right path, he would say it is a secret which he discloses to those who deserve - meaning who pays a hefty fee to become his selected indoor disciple. This is really disgusting. 


     

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Real Feng Shui Story

About 10 years ago, I went to fengshui a house. Opening the door was a pale-looking middle aged man. When I went into the house, I found that the windows were all closed and covered with thick curtains. It was very dark inside despite the fine weather on that day. I sensed unhealthy qi in the house. He confirmed that health issue was the main purpose of the consultation.

After taking the facing direction of the house (which was quite new) and did some calculation on my palm, I told the client three things to do:

1) Open some of the windows everyday and pull up the curtains most of the time.
2)  His bedroom occupied the north and northwest of the house and the bed was against the NW wall. I told him to move the bed to the north against the N wall.
3) I told the man to get up early every morning and walk in a clockwise direction around the block in the south and come back from the southwest. It would take about half an hour.

3 months later, the client called me to say that everything improved and he was not sick anymore. He then took my correspondence course.

Another 3 months passed and he emailed me to say he understood why I made the three recommendations. I told him, "Not yet!"

4 months later he emailed me again to say that I was right about his understanding of the recommendations. Now he said he knew why I made such recommendations. I replied, "Not yet!"

6 months later, he emailed me to say that he should also give credit to the half-hour exercise every morning on top of what was related to Feng Shui. I told him, "Now your understanding is complete."


        

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Future is Not Written on the Rocks

In the old days, when a Feng Shui master took on a new disciple, the first lesson he gave was to teach the little guy with yellow hair 黄毛小子 the height of the sky and the thickness of the earth. Hence, to describe someone who is arrogant a fair comment we use the phrase "Unaware of the height of Heaven and the thickness of Earth 不知天高地厚."

The second lesson is "Beyond one sky, there is another sky 天外有天, beyond one person, there is another person 人外有人." This tells us the height of the sky is like the depth of the sea - unfathomable. The second sentence says that no matter how good you are, there is another person whose capability is above yours.

The third lesson is "The sea of learning has no bounds 學海無涯. The only way to reach the shore is being diligent 唯勤是岸."

Confucius said, "To learn without thinking brings confusion, to think without learning leads to danger."
子曰,“學而不思則罔,思而不學則殆."

To learn without thinking is the most common sickness. In the ancient days, people were taught that all stars and planets revolve around the earth and hence Heaven was considered round while Earth square 天圓地方. Today, we all know that our earth together with other planets revolve around the sun and our solar system together with other heavenly systems revolve around a common axis. However, do not learn without thinking to draw the conclusion that "Heaven round Earth square" is wrong. Mathematically, it all depends on the choice of the frame of reference. If we choose the frame of reference with our earth as center, then "Heaven round Earth square" is a good description of what we perceive. The basis of Feng Shui is the Ba Gua and the way Fu Xi drew the Ba Gua was to take what he saw at a distance 取諸物 together with what are close to his body 近取諸身. It is quite clear what he chose as the frame of reference. 
 
To understand Zhou Yi and the Appendices, it is important to master the way ancient Chinese was written but it is more important to think to explore what the sages had in mind. For example, the innocent looking paragraph quoted below has been misunderstood by a lot of people who claim to understand the Yijing. The cause is the fact that each Chinese character can take several different meanings. You have to make the right choice using your brain, not your eyes or ears.
 
數往者順,知來者逆,是故《》逆數也。

The two words 順 and 逆 here have the images of going with the flow and going against the flow. Obviously going with the flow is easy while going against the flow is difficult. 
 
The word 數 appears twice here. The word in 數往者順 has to be compared with the word in 知來者逆. Both words are used as transitive verbs. We cannot literally translate the sentences as "To count what is in the past is following the flow. To know what is in the future is going against the current." This will need further annotation. If we translate the underlying meaning, then it will be like "To tell the past is easy, to know the future is difficult" without sacrificing the original flavour. The word appears twice also. In "是故《》逆數也" the word means against. The word here is a noun which is the short form of the compound noun 命數。It is believed that there is a number associated with each life. This number dictates the entire life of a person. The number is called the destiny number 命數 . However, the Yijing says no. "是故《》逆數也" means "Therefore, Yi is against the concept of a destiny number that determines the happenings during the life of a person."
 
Some people believe that Yijing is used to tell the future as written on the rocks but it is simply an utterly wrong idea. Yijing is to tell us what we will encounter in the future but the outcome is not fixed. Yijing does not tell us how we will react to what we encounter in the future. We have our free will to do whatever and this will determine the outcome. 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Broken Fan Divination 斷扇占

One day, a woman whose husband had left home for a long time went to seek advice from the famous diviner Li Chun Feng 李淳風602AD670AD. Li was not home and his son opened the door. The woman said, “My husband left home 6 months ago and I want to ask your father for a divination.” While she was talking, her fan dropped to the floor and the face of the fan severed from the bones. Li’s son said, “The flesh separates from the bones - you will never see him again 骨肉分離,不得相見矣.” The woman was very sad and went home weeping.



 

On the way she met Li who was going home. She told him what his son said. It was still the Chen hour 辰時.

Li got the hexagram Dui on Kun with line 3 moving to Dui on Gen.
He told the woman, “You are dressed properly when you see your father but you are undressed when you see your husband 穿衣見父,脱衣見夫. Go home and prepare good dinner to welcome your husband tonight.”
 
Li’s son was too hasty to draw conclusion with only the external inference from the fan dropping to the floor. His father got the hexagram, the core of the divination. Even in the original book “Mei Hua Xin Yi 梅花心易” the use of the hexagrams was not disclosed in this example. This makes the story incomplete and the explanation not convincing. To learn the full version of Plum Blossom Divination, go there: http://www.astro-fengshui.com/courses/plum%20blossom.html .

 
 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little Story of Chen Tuan

I wrote a little story of Chen Tuan and posted it on my Four Pillars group of my correspondence students. I have compiled their responses into a little ebook:

http://www.astro-fengshui.com/astrology/story.exe

You are welcome to download this ebook and voice your opinion here in this blog.

Joseph

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Calabash and Dui Gua

From the Song of Flying Stars (飛星賦): 

Seven with a strange calabash form,
Medical and divining professions will bring prosperity.

七有葫蘆之異,
醫卜興家

The flying star 7 originates from the Dui trigram of the Ba Gua. Dui in the Xian Tian Ba Gua and Xun in the Hou Tian Ba Gua occupy the same position. Dui is something attached to a vine until severed eventually. This comes from Shuo Gua Zhuan 説卦傳: ...爲附决.

What the Song of Flying Stars says is that if the mountain star 7 is supported by a calabash shaped mountain, then the people have the potential of becoming a famous medical doctor or a diviner. On the other hand, if the water star 7 is supported by calabash shaped water, then the people can practice medicine or metaphysics to have success. 

Understanding the Yijing is fundamental to the practice of Feng Shui. Do not be misled by big mouths claiming to have learned from a recognized lineage without the basic understanding of Yi.




  

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Story of Fate

Once there was a famous master who could tell people's future with great accuracy. He was then known as the living fairy 生神仙. One day, a man came for a reading. The living fairy said, "Tomorrow you will be crashed by a car and die."

The man went home and thought, "I will stay home tomorrow the whole day and remove his teeth day after tomorrow." Removing a person's teeth means to disprove a person's words and destroy his credibility.

The person lived in a house with a loft overlooking the living room. In the afternoon the next day, he felt drowsy and slept on the sofa. His young son was playing on the loft with his new toy car made of steel. Well, the car dropped from the loft, hit the man on his head and he died of the "car-crash".

Determined fate? What is your opinion? I will tell mine after reading yours.

JY

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Plum Blossom Divination


You may have heard that when a person goes to a really skillful diviner, he does not even have to ask any questions. The diviner simply tells him what problem he is facing and suggests a solution. “The enquirer does not need to ask questions 來人不用問.”

Divination depends a lot on inspiration. Inspiration comes from the three essentials 三要: use the eyes, use the ears and use the heart (mind). Plum Blossom Divination is not rote learning of formulas or steps. The ultimate goal of learning Plum Blossom Divination is to reach the level of observing the surroundings and get the answer from hexagrams coming from inspiration.

In my Plum Blossom Divination Course, I have included a lot of case studies to teach how to develop this technique. For example, while attending a wedding banquet, I met a lady friend whom I have not seen for years. She looked unhappy despite the cheerful occasion. I asked her what was troubling her but she denied that she had any worries. Well, I did the divination anyway. She noticed that I did some calculation on my palm and asked, "What did you find?"

"What is revealed by Heaven is not to be leaked out 天機不可洩." I replied with a bitter smile, "Just take everything easy and let go."

A few days later she called me and admitted that she was having some problems. I explained what I found without her telling me anything about her problems. The hexagram I used was Zhong Fu 中孚 (Xun on Dui) with Line three moving to Xiao Chu 小畜(Xun on Qian).

You can download the course book from www.astro-fengshui.com . The table of contents and Chapter 1 are open and if you want to continue reading and join the course, you are welcome. The course fee is $200 payable by Paypal.
JY

Friday, October 5, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (11)


說卦傳   第十一章

 
Shuo Gua Zhuan Chapter 11


  乾為天、為圜、為君、為父、為玉、為金、為寒、為冰、為大赤、為良馬、為老馬、為瘠馬、為駁馬、為木果。
Qian is Heaven, circle, emperor, father, jade, gold, cold, ice, deep red, good horse, old horse, bony horse, piebald horse, fruit with a woody crust.


  坤為地、為母、為布、為釜、為吝嗇、為均、為子母牛、為大輿、為文、為眾、為柄、其於地也為黑。

Kun is Earth, mother, cloth, caldron, frugality, level plain, mother cow, big wagon, mixed colours and shapes, multitude, handle to keep stable. Referring to earth, it is black soil.


  震為雷、為龍、為玄黃、為敷、 為大涂、為長子、為決躁、為蒼莨竹、為萑葦。 其於馬也,為善鳴、為馵足,為作足
, 為的顙。 其於稼也,為反生。 其究為健,為蕃鮮。

Zhen is Thunder, dragon, greenish yellow, progress, a highway, elder son, vigorous decision, bright green bamboo, grasses, sedges and rushes. Among horses, it represents one that neighs well, one with white hind hoof, one that runs with two feet in synchronized action simultaneously, one with a white-starred forehead. With agriculture, it represents what disappears from the surface waiting to be reborn with vigor. It is most luxuriant and beautiful.


  巽為木、為風、為長女、為繩直、 為工、為白、為長、為高、為進退、為不果、為臭。 其於人也,為寡髮、為廣顙、為多白眼、為近利市三倍。 其究為躁卦。

Xun is wood, wind, elder daughter, a rope hanging down, a carpenter’s set square, being white in colour, being long in shape, being tall in build, being progressing and receding, being indecisive, being unpleasant odor. In terms of human, it represents hair deficiency, broad forehead, non-proportionally large white part of eyes. It indicates outrageous 300% profit. It is because of its being a trigram of impatience.


  坎為水、為溝瀆、為隱伏、為矯輮、為弓輪。 其於人也,為加憂、為心病、為耳痛、為血卦、為赤。 其於馬也,為美脊、為亟心、為下首、為薄蹄、為曳。其於輿也,為丁躦。 為通、為月、為盜。其於木也,為堅多心。

Kan is water, is a trench (for irrigation), is to hide and ambush, is interchanging between straight and crooked, is a bow or a wheel. In terms of human, it represents increasing worries, distrust due to suspicion, pain in the ears. It is the trigram of blood and whatever red. In terms of a horse, it is one with an elegant spine, is one with high spirit, is one frequently drooping its head, is one with thin hoof, is one dragging its feet. In terms of wagons, it is one encountering risky situations.  It represents smoothness with no obstruction; it represents the moon, a thief (active in the dark). In terms of wood, it is hard and firm at heart.


  離為火、為日、為電、為中女、為甲冑、為戈兵。 其於人也,為大腹,為乾卦。 為鱉、為蟹、為蠃、為蚌、為龜。其於木也,為科上槁。

Li is fire, the sun, lightning, middle daughter, armour, spear and sword. In terms of human, it represents one with a big belly. It is the trigram of dryness. It represents a turtle, a crab, a conch, a clam, a tortoise. In terms of plants, it is hollow inside and rotten at the top.


  艮為山、為徑路、為小石、為門闕、為果蓏、為閽寺、為指、為狗、為鼠、為黔喙之屬。 其於木也,為堅多節。


Gen is mountain, a trail, small rocks, door or gateway, fruits on trees or creepers, watchman at the door or gateway. It represents a finger, a dog, a rat, a bird of prey. In terms of plants, it is stiff with a lot of joints.

  兌為澤、為少女、為巫、為口舌、為毀折、為附決。
其於地也,剛鹵。 為妾、為羊。

 
Dui is a marsh, a young girl, a witch, mouth and tongue. It is the image of cutting down (harvest), fruits ripen on vines and fallen off. In terms of land, it is hard and alkaline. It represents a concubine, a sheep.



 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (10)

說卦傳   第十章

  乾天也,故稱父,坤地也,故稱母﹔ 震一索而得男,故謂之長男﹔巽一索而得女,故謂之長女﹔ 坎再索而男,故謂之中男﹔ 離再索而得女,故謂之中女﹔艮三索而得男,故謂之少男﹔兌三索而得女,故謂之少女。

Shuo Gua Zhuan   Chapter 10


Qian is Heaven and therefore, father.
Kun is Earth and therefore, mother.
Zhen is formed by changing the first (line of Kun): we get a male and therefore, the eldest son.
Xun is formed by changing the first (line of Qian): we get a female and therefore, the eldest daughter.
Kan is formed by changing the second (line of Kun): a male and therefore, the middle son.
Li is formed by changing the second (line of Qian): a female and therefore, the middle daughter.
Gen is formed by changing the third (line of Kun): a male and therefore, the youngest son.
Dui is formed by changing the third (line of Qian): a female and therefore, the youngest daughter.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (9)

說卦傳   第九章

  乾為首,坤為腹,震為足,巽為股,坎為耳,離為目,艮為手,兌為口。
Shuo Gua Zhuan   Chapter 9


Qian refers to the head; Kun, the belly; Zhen, the feet; Xun, the buttocks; Kan, the ears; Li, the eyes; Gen, the hands; Dui, the mouth.


 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (8)

說卦傳   第八章

  乾為馬,坤為牛,震為龍,巽為雞,坎為豕,離為雉,艮為狗,兌為羊。


Shuo Gua Zhuan    Chapter 8

Qian can refer to a horse; Kun, a cow; Zhen, a dragon; Xun, a chicken; Kan, a pig; Li, a pheasant; Gen, a dog; Dui, a sheep.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Comments welcome but no links

If anyone wants to comment on my postings, as long as they are done in a civilized manner, the comment is welcome and there will be fruitful discussion. Putting links to another website will not be allowed unless it is a third party website and the materials are relevant to the discussion.

Joseph Yu

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (7)


說卦傳  第七章

  乾,健也﹔坤,順也﹔ 震,動也﹔ 巽,入也﹔坎,陷也﹔離,麗也﹔艮,止也﹔兌,說也。


 
Shua Gua Zhuan   Chapter 7
 Qian is the symbol of vibrancy; Kun, submissiveness; Zhen, initiation; Xun, penetration; Kan, entrapment; Li, brilliance; Gen, termination; Dui, joyfulness.
 




 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Not Simplistic" Does Not Mean "Unchanging"

Some scholars in the past advocated the three meanings of the word Yi 易:

(1) Simple 簡易
(2) Not simplistic 不易
(3) Changing 變易

I combined the first two into one as they are talking about almost the same thing. The idea of Yi is simple because it reveals the nature of the Universe, something we can see and understand. However simple, it is by no means simplistic. That is why Shao Yong spent his whole life studying the Yi and his fervent love for Yi made him unaware of the heat in summer and cold in winter. This shows that Yi is not simplistic. One will need an untiring effort to understand the real meaning of Yi. Besides, one has to shake off arrogance and prepare room for other ideas which are simple at first glance but not simplistic as you need to go deeper with no ends.

Some people misunderstand that the second meaning is "Unchanging". Well, things change with time and space. Even truth is not an exception. What is true in one place may not be so in another place. What is true today may not be so tomorrow. There is no "unchanging truth". For example, Newton's laws are considered truth but Einstein's relativity principles show that they are not applicable in certain domains.

If you want to learn Yijing, shake of your ego and distance yourself from arrogance. When you think a bottle is full and that it cannot take anymore, then it is just an empty bottle.

JY

Monday, September 24, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (6)

說卦傳   第六章

  神也者,妙萬物而為言者也。動萬物者,莫疾乎雷﹔橈萬物者,莫疾乎風﹔燥萬物者,莫熯乎火﹔ 說萬物者,莫說乎澤﹔潤萬物者,莫潤乎水﹔終萬物始萬物者,莫盛乎艮。故水火相逮,雷風不相悖,山澤通氣,然后能變化,既成萬物也。



Shuo Gua Zhuan Chapter 6

When we mention spirit, we are referring to what makes everything wonderful. Among all that can set things in motion none is as fast as Thunder. What can spread all things is not as effective as Wind. What can dry all things is not as parching as Fire. What can please all things is not as enjoyable as Marsh. What can moisten all things is not as enriching as Water. What can bring all things to a stop which is another beginning is not as powerful as Mountain (Gen). This is the reason why water and fire complement each other. Thunder and Wind do not bring confrontation. Mountain and Marsh share the same flow of qi. In this way, transformation is ongoing and successfully forming all things.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Core Idea of Yi 易

The core idea of Yi is to change. In my translation of Shuo Gua Zhuan Chapter 3:

數往者順,知來者逆﹔是故,易逆數也。

Recollection of the past is natural. Anticipation of the future is artificial. Therefore, Yi is against pre-determined fate.

Confucius clearly pointed out that the past cannot be changed. It is natural to know that history is history that cannot be changed. However, when we look into the future, we can anticipate what is coming but we can change the outcome with our effort. The two words andare antonyms. The images are going with the current and going against the current. Although the words and have the same pronounciation in Cantonese, they are two entirely different words and cannot be mixed. Making such a mistake will end up having your buttocks beaten by your primary school teacher.

To say that "Yi is to know the future" is misleading if not ignorant. To "know" the future implies that the future cannot be changed. It is very pessimistic and non-constructive. It is simply against the concept of Yi - to change the future.

We can anticipate what we will encounter in the future but it is up to us within the limits of our capability whether to change the outcome or not. If what we anticipate to encounter is good, then we can make the best use of what we have to optimize the result. If what we encounter is difficulty, then we can change the path and the strategy to overcome the difficulty and get our desired outcome.

To anticipate the future is not the same as to know the future. This is not just a matter of translation, it is a matter of understanding the Yi.

JY

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (5)


說卦傳   第五章

  帝出乎震,齊乎巽,相見乎離,致役乎坤,說言乎兌,戰乎乾,勞乎坎,成言乎艮。
 
   萬物出乎震,震東方也。 齊乎巽,巽東南也,齊也者,言萬物之潔齊也。離也者,明也,萬物皆相見,南方之卦也,聖人南面而聽天下,向明而治,蓋取諸此也。 坤也者地也,萬物皆致養焉,故曰致役乎坤。兌正秋也,萬物之所說也,故曰說﹔言乎兌。 戰乎乾,乾西北之卦也,言陰陽相薄也。坎者水也,正北方之卦也,勞卦也,萬物之所歸也,故曰勞乎坎。 艮東北之卦也,萬物之所成, 終而所成始也,故曰成言乎艮。

Shuo Gua Zhuan   Chapter 5

The creator emerges from Zhen. He puts everything in order at Xun. The beauty is displayed at Li.  Hard work is done at Kun. Joy is found at Dui. At Qian, fighting for accomplishment goes on. Exhaustion is found at Kan. At Gen, the work is complete and everything comes to rest.

All things emerge from Zhen and Zhen is the east. All things are displayed in an orderly* way and Xun is the southeast. Li means brightness. All things come forth to embrace each other. It is the trigram of the south. The sages face the south to listen to all the happenings under Heaven and rules with brilliance. The idea originates from this. Kun is our earth that breeds and nourishes all living things. This is why Kun is where untiring services are manifested.  Dui is mid-autumn that is the season of joy. Therefore it is said: Dui is hailing in happiness. Fighting goes on at Qian which is the trigram of the northwest. This is because yin and yang compete to govern. Kan, being water, is the trigram of the north. It is the trigram of hard work done with accomplishment. It is where all things come to rest. Hence the saying is to repose in exhaustion at Kan.  Gen is the trigram of the northeast. It is where all things come to completion. What is the end breeds a new beginning. Therefore it is said completion is in Gen.

* Orderly way here means nicely presented in a clean and pure manner.

 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 說卦傳 (4)

說卦傳   第四章

雷以動之,風以散之,雨以潤之,日以烜之,艮以止之,兌以說 之,
乾以君之,坤以藏之。


Shuo Gua Zhuan   Chapter 4
 



Thunder initiates motion, wind disperses the seeds, rain moistens them, the sun warms everything up, what symbolizes Gen stops the movement, Dui displays the joy, Qian puts all things in order, Kun keeps them in storage.
 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shuo Gua Zhuan 説卦傳 (3)


說卦傳  第三章

  天地定位,山澤通氣,雷風相薄,水火不相射,八卦相錯。

數往者順,知來者逆﹔是故,易逆數也。

Shuo Gua Zhuan  Chapter3

Heaven and Earth occupy determinate positions. Mountain and Marsh communicate with their qi. Thunder and Wind excite each other. Water and Fire interact but do not shoot at each other. Among the eight trigrams, there is mutual correlation.

Recollection of the past is natural. Anticipation of the future may be artificial*. Therefore, Yi is against the idea of pre-determined fate.
 
* Note: What we do may be against the current to affect the natural outcome in the future. This is the positive meaning of "Yi 易".