Hexagram 7, line 3

師或輿尸.凶.

Huo 或, ‘there is’. See also hexagram 1, line 4. The regular meanings of huo are ‘perhaps’ and ‘someone’. But in old texts it is often used with the meaning of you 又/有, ‘there is, to have’. That this is plausible is seen in the Chujian text of hexagram 58, line 1 and hexagram 17, line 1: the received text has huo while the Chujian text has you 又, a common loan for you 有, ‘there is’. Also, at the first line of hexagram 8 the Mangwangdui text says …冬來池, where the received text says …終來它. These examples show that reading huo 或 as you 有 is plausible and acceptable.

Yu 輿, ‘to carry by cart’. But also ‘many people’ (眾, 多). By extension ‘a cartload’:

『吾力足以舉百鈞』, 而不足以舉一羽; 『明足以察秋毫之末』, 而不見輿薪…
My strength is sufficient to lift three thousand catties, but it is not sufficient to lift one feather; my eyesight is sharp enough to examine the point of an autumn hair, but I do not see a waggon-load of firewood…

金重於羽者, 豈謂一鉤金與一輿羽之謂哉?
Gold is heavier than feathers; but does that saying have reference, on the one hand, to a single clasp of gold, and, on the other, to a waggon-load of feathers?
(Mengzi 孟子, tr. James Legge)

鼓之以道德,征之以仁義,輿尸、血刃,皆所不為也.
They urged people on with the Dao and De, and tamed them with ren and yi. Cartloads of corpses and bloodstained knives—these were not of their doing.
(Yuan and Qian 淵騫, tr. Jeffrey S. Bullock)

Shi 尸, ‘corpses, dead bodies’.

The army has cartloads of corpses. Inauspicious.

 

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3 Responses to Hexagram 7, line 3

  1. An interesting passage from Constance Cook’s introduction to ‘Death in Ancient China’ suggests an alternate reading of 尸:
    “We know from Western Zhou bronze inscriptions that officials, usually masters of military and ritual arts (shi 師), were charged with the dangerous missions of liaison with peoples beyond the capital city walls and its suburbs to aid in the Zhou mission to quell the Four Regions (sifang 四方)-the cosmic area surrounding the center, the locus of the king. Besides the obvious danger of contacting tainted spirits among subdued populations (often referred to as “corpses” shi 尸, an early graph for yi 夷, an eastern people), we know from later texts that exiting a gate required spells of protection against specific demons.”
    In the context of this chapter and particularly given the similar imagery in H38 line 6 (載鬼一車), a reading of 尸 as “tainted spirits (contacted among subdued populations)” seems to me quite plausible. What do you think, Harmen? I would like to look into this more.

    • That’s an interesting suggestion Andrew. There are a few things in this paragraph that need checking:
      -“We know from Western Zhou bronze inscriptions that officials, usually masters of military and ritual arts (shi 師), were charged with the dangerous missions of liaison with peoples beyond the capital city walls and its suburbs to aid in the Zhou mission to quell the Four Regions (sifang 四方)-the cosmic area surrounding the center, the locus of the king”
      – “tainted spirits among subdued populations (often referred to as “corpses” shi 尸, an early graph for yi 夷, an eastern people)”
      – “we know from later texts that exiting a gate required spells of protection against specific demons.”

      What are these later texts, where can we read more about ‘shi 尸, an early graph for yi 夷’, and which bronze inscriptions tell about these military and ritual arts?

      Cook refers to a few works from Donald Harper and other titles. It might be worth to check these out to get a more complete picture about the usage of 尸 in the context that she describes. About 載鬼一車: how do you see this sentence in the larger context of the rest of the line text?

      I think you have found yourself a nice project to explore 🙂

      • “Where can we read more about ‘shi 尸, an early graph for yi 夷’ (in the context she describes) and which bronze inscriptions tell about these military and ritual arts?” is precisely what I was wondering. It’s a tantalizing enough suggestion that I’d like to follow up, but who knows. The other thing I’m inclined to check is the ubiquitous reading of 鬼 as “ghosts” in 38.6, as I do not think this word occurs in the same context in any other texts. We’ll see 🙂

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