Hexagram 4, Judgement

Name

Meng 蒙: ignorant, confused, dark, hidden.

Tuan 彖

亨.匪我求童蒙.童蒙求我.初筮告.再三瀆.瀆則不告.利貞.

Fei 匪 = fei 非: ‘not, not be’.

Qiu 求: ask, inquire (請求; 詢問)

Tong meng 童蒙: same as tong meng 瞳矇 or tong meng 僮矇 – a person without knowledge or education:

純德行而民瞳矇, 曉惠之心未形生也.
Virtuous actions were out of the question, and the people were dull and beclouded. Knowledge and wisdom did not yet make their appearance.
Lun Heng 論衡, tr. Alfred Forke

But the context given by the line texts shows that tong is a verb, or an adverb: something is done to, or with, meng. With the proper meanings that tong has this is not possible. However, tong is often used as a loan for other characters, and one of these characters is zhong 重 (古代漢語通假字大字典, p. 646; 古文字通假字典, p. 468; 簡牘帛書通假字字典, p. 250). This character, among many other things, means ‘to repeat, do it again’ (表示動作行爲的重複,相當於“再”、“又”、“重新”). This meaning fits the Judgement text as well.

Meng 蒙: ignorant, confused, dark, hidden. Tong meng: repeatedly confused, ignorant.

Shi 筮: oracle consultation by means of yarrow stalks.

Gao 告: inform, report, notify.

Du 瀆: excessive, beyond the limits.

Accepted offering.
I do not ask the repeatedly ignorant,
The repeatedly ignorant asks me.
The first yarrow stalk oracle I report,
Two, three times is excessive.
When excessive I do not inform.
Favourable to divine.

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3 Responses to Hexagram 4, Judgement

  1. What does it mean to be ‘repeatedly ignorant’? Not sure I get this.

    Also – minor English thing: ‘inquire of’ or (less awkward) ‘ask’ or ‘consult’, but not ‘inquire’ on its own. English verbs are random that way.

    • Thanks for the correction! Changed it.

      To me ‘repeatedly ignorant’ means that you don’t have your ignorance removed by the first answer of the oracle, and that you desire another consultation. And another one. And another one.

      • Ah, yes. I know the phenomenon well. And it’s an interesting thought, that the actual name of the hexagram could be that ‘tell me, tell me, tell me!’ that it does seem to be describing in most readings. (Not just with the oracle, of course. I once had it to describe how a tech support department felt about me.)

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