Hexagram 9, line 1 & 2

Line 1

復自道. 何其咎. 吉.

I have struggled for many months with the segmentation of the first sentence, 復自道. I was not sure if I should read it as (1) 復自 – 道, (2) 復 – 自道 or (3) 復 – 自- 道.

(1) Fuzi 復自 can mean ‘to return of one’s own accord’, like in the Lun Heng:

猶物生以青為氣,或予之也;物死青者去,或奪之也。予之物青,奪之青去,去後不能復予之青,物亦不能復自青。聲色俱通,並稟於天。青青之色,猶梟梟之聲也,死物之色不能復青,獨為死人之聲能復自言,惑也。
When a plant comes forth, its fluid is green, which is, as it were, given it. When the same plant dies, the green colour disappears, or is taken away. Endowed with the fluid, the plant is green, deprived of it, it loses the green color. After the latter is gone, it cannot be added again, nor can the plant grow green again of its own accord. Sound and colour correspond to one another, and are both derived from Heaven. The brilliant green colour is like a lugubrious cry. The color of a faded plant cannot become green again, it would, therefore, be a mistake to assume that a dead man’s cry could still be produced of itself.
– Lun Heng, 論死 (tr. A. Forke, p. 197-198)

(2) Zidao 自道 can mean ‘one’s own way/method’, like in the Liji:

誠者自成也,而道自道也。
Sincerity is the completion of oneself. Its way is your own way.

(3) Zi 自 can be read as ‘from’, just as in the Judgment of hexagram 9 and line 4 of hexagram 5.

It is therefore possible to translate 復自道 in three different ways:

(1) Returning to the way on his own accord.
(2) Return to one’s own way.
(3) Returning from the way.

The character fu 復, ‘to return’ also occurs in the 2nd line (see below) but in a different context and that made me decide to go for option (1). Fu carries a sense of ‘to regain, to recover’.

Heqi 何其: ‘how, why’.

Returning to the way on one’s own accord.
How could there be blame?
Auspicious.

Line 2

牽復. 吉.

Qian 牽: to lead, or to be led (like a cow or horse on a rope). The Mawangdui text uses qian 堅, a character related to qian 掔 and qian 摼, both known variants of 牽 (Ma Rusen, 殷墟甲骨学, p. 461; 古文字通假字典, p. 861; 漢語大字典 (2nd ed.), p. 2058). I have wondered if the MWD form might be a reference to ci/qian 㹂, a character which means almost the opposite of qian 牽 – ‘untamed cattle that refuses to be guided by a rope’ (漢語大字典, p. 2126). This idea crossed my mind because ‘untamed cattle returning (by itself)’ reads like a reinstatement of the 1st line. But there is no factual data to back this up.

At the 1st line the return is on its own accord. At the 2nd line the return is a return by being led. Maybe these lines talk about cattle used for the rain sacrifice at the Western altar (see Judgment). At the 1st line the cattle does not need guidance, at the 2nd line it does. Both lines are auspicious because either way the cattle will reach its destination.

Return by being led.
Auspicious.

Going back to the source: the manuscripts of Richard Wilhelm (4) – The End

2016-09-10-19-26-59The prospect of spending more than three hours on a train & bus was not very tempting but the journey that I was about to make had been on my wish list for many years and so it became a matter of  ‘its-now-or-never’. I took an early train to Ulm, changed trains to  Göppingen and took the bus to Bad Boll. It is the place where Richard Wilhelm worked and lived. And it is the place where he is buried. Continue reading

Going back to the source: the manuscripts of Richard Wilhelm (3)

Wenn die Begriffe nicht richting sind, so stimmen die Worte nicht;
Stimmen die Worte nicht, so kommen die Werke nicht zustande…
Lunyu, Ch. 13.3, tr. Richard Wilhelm
If the terms are not correct the words do not agree;
If the words do not agree the works are not realised…
Lunyu, Ch. 13.3, tr. Richard Wilhelm

You might wonder why I am making such a fuzz out of something that seems to be a minor detail in Wilhelm’s translation of the Yijing. Is it really important whether ⚍ and ⚎ are either called shao yin 少陰 or shao yang 少陽? Are the names really that important? Continue reading

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