Going back to the source: the manuscripts of Richard Wilhelm (2)

20160908_125855Munich is a beautiful city, especially with the sunny weather that it has today. My mobile informs me that it is 25°C outside but it feels much warmer. When I arrived in Munich, last Monday, it was much cooler. The archive of the Akademie can only be visited on Wednesday and Thursday so I spent Tuesday by playing the tourist, walking through the center of Munich and finding out how I should walk to the Bayern Akademie der Wissenschaften. In theory this should be a 15 min. walk but because of my complete lack of any sense for direction -which even brought Google Maps to the verge of despair- the 15 minutes became half an hour. At least I knew how long it would take me to get there. I was prepared. Continue reading

Going back to the source: the manuscripts of Richard Wilhelm (1)

fb_img_1473149206866-768x1024A few months ago publisher AnkhHermes, who publish the Dutch translation of Richard Wilhelm’s Yijing, asked me if I wanted to be the chief editor of the new edition. This new edition will have a new layout but also some corrections, a change from Duyvendak transcription to pinyin, years added to persons & dynasties and other minor adjustments to the text.

As editor I had to read Wilhelm’s translation from the first page to the last. Literally. Even though I had the book for more than thirty years on my shelves this was the first time I had to read it completely, as if it was a novel.

I wish I had done this earlier. Not only do Wilhelm’s comments to the text tell a lot about his view of the Yi and its usage, they also contain references to names and sources that I never heard of before: Xiang Anshi 項安世 and his book Zhouyi Wan Ci 周易玩辭, Liu Yuan 刘沅 and his book Zhouyi Heng Jie 周易恒解, to name but a few. Wilhelm didn’t stick to the mainstream books like the Zhouyi Zhezhong 周易折中 that he used as the main source for his translation and commentary. His library of books on the Yi was extensive and he used it to the fullest.

But reading his translation also raised some questions. How did he write his translation? Where did his commentary to the text come from? And most importantly, were certain deviations from the Chinese view made intentionally or were they mistakes?
The last question mainly concerns one topic: why on earth did Wilhelm switch the names of the two symbols ‘young yin’ and ‘young yang’? Continue reading

Message from the London Yijing Society

The Yijing / I Ching (易經 / 周易) has been studied over at-least two millennia and remains today a cryptic text of un-certain origins. Despite being an enigmatic text, it has attracted countless people throughout time across the world to investigate it for a variety of reasons. People are encouraged to study the Yijing / I Ching as a form of Divination for:-

  • Self-Cultivation – to develop positive attitudes when confronted with difficult situations. Constancy and calm in the face of adversity
  • Self-Knowledge – to learn to notice and be confident with our inherent wisdom

The London Yijing (I Ching) Society has been set-up following a discussion amongst a few friends who have studied the text over decades. It is to be a place for anyone interested in the subject and want to share their ideas and experience. The society aims to inspire people to use the text wisely and effectively or at the very least encourage a serious approach.

Historically the Yijing / I Ching has been studied and used by people from a wide-range of backgrounds and in the same way the Society will receive diverse members from all walks-of-life. We will hold meetings in Central London over tea and biscuits and if enough people are inclined we may even partake in one of London’s cosy public-houses.
Continue reading

The month hexagrams of Hu Yigui 胡一桂

pdfI originally wrote this paper (in Dutch) for a friend, but I thought I might as well share it with the community. The article discusses the origin of the month hexagrams as found in Jou Tsung Hwa’s The Tao of I Ching and reiterates the error in this book as mentioned earlier in my article on the Eight Houses.

The month hexagrams of Hu Yigui

The oldest source for the coin method

20140928_100256During the last meeting of the Dutch Yijing group there was confusion about the assignment of the numbers 2 (yin) and 3 (yang) to the sides of Chinese coins. Old Chinese coins have four Chinese characters on one side and the other side is blank or has two Mongolian characters. When I looked for Chinese sources on this I found that there isn’t much agreement on the designation of the numbers, one of my books says that the side with Chinese characters is yang (see picture), and in this lecture Moxiang Liao 廖墨香 seems to follow the same designation, but there are websites that say otherwise. Curious about the origin of the coin method and wanting to know how the Chinese people in the early times did it I did some digging. Continue reading