Hexagram 10, line 1


Su 素: in early texts almost exclusively used as a descriptive adjective: ‘unadorned, plain, not processed or modified’. This also means that what follows it is a noun, an object. We already see this usage on bronze inscriptions from around 600BC, where it appears in lists of gifts from the king to the owner of the bronze vessel, who had it cast to commemorate the event (see for instance the Shi Ke xu 師克盨; Yang Xiaoneng, ‘The Shi Ke Xu: Reconsideration of an Inscribed Late Western Zhou Ritual Vessel’, Artibus Asiae, Vol. 52, No. 3/4 (1992), pp. 163-214. See also this article). In the same way it is used in the Liji 禮記:

A Great or other officer, leaving his state, should not take his vessels of sacrifice with him across the boundary. The former will leave his vessels for the time with another Great officer, and the latter his with another officer. A Great or other officer, leaving his state, on crossing the boundary, should prepare a place for an altar, and wail there, looking in the direction of the state. He should wear his white upper garment and white lower, and his white cap, remove his (ornamental) collar, wear shoes of untanned leather, have a covering of white (dog’s-fur) for his cross-board, and leave his horses manes undressed. He should not trim his nails or beard, nor make an offering at his (spare) meals. He should not say to any one that he is not chargeable with guilt, nor have any of his women approach him. After three months he will return to his usual dress.
(tr. James Legge, modified)

Personally I would not have chosen ‘white’ as a translation of su 素. I think it refers to plain, uncoloured, raw material. Continue reading

Workshop San Diego March 2020: Heaven and Humankind Are One: Learn the Magic of the Yijing to Enhance Your Life

Heaven and Humankind Are One: Using the I Ching to Enhance Your Practice and Personal Life

“If you wish to be a great doctor you should be well-versed in I Ching.”
–Sun Simiao (581-682)

Welcome to the I Ching, the 2,500 year-old tome used throughout Chinese history as a diagnostic tool to uncover the roots of and potential treatment approach to a person’s medical or personal concern. In this 4-day course, we will discuss the essentials of the I Ching and its 64 hexagrams so that you can apply the wisdom of this tome to help guide your life.

The first two days of the course will cover the practice of the I Ching as a tool for gaining objective insights in any situation by analyzing the hexagrams. The next two days will focus on the application of the hexagrams for medical diagnosis and treatment. At the end of the course, you will know how to use the hexagrams of the I Ching as objective advisors in your personal life as well as in your medical practice.

The full program for this workshop can be found here: https://theacademyofacupuncture.com/course-descriptions/powerhouse-acupuncture-workshop/

Registration: https://theacademyofacupuncture.com/event/i-ching-2020/

The 900-800BC hexagram 50 dagger-axe

In 2005 Dong Shan 董珊 from the University of Beijing came across a dagger-axe that was held in a private collection.
The axe, dated around 900-800 BC, contains an inscription:
‘一六一一一六’ and 五六一一五八 are ‘numerical hexagrams’ that both convert to hexagram 50 ䷱. The text that follows it contains the name of hexagram 50 as well as phrases that are reminiscent of the line texts of hexagram 50.
Although the provenance of the axe is unknown Dong Shan does not think it is a fake, considering the patina and other features on the axe. This find would be the earliest object that directly links the numerical hexagrams to the Zhouyi, and it also contains the earliest text sample of it.
Dong Shan’s original article about the axe, published in 2011, can be read here http://www.gwz.fudan.edu.cn/Web/Show/2207. Pictures of the axe can be found at the end of the article.
Adam Schwartz writes in detail about the axe in his article ‘Between Numbers and Images: the Many Meanings of Trigram Li 離 in the Early Yijing’, published in the Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-I Academy of Sinology, Vol. 5, p. 47-84 (http://jas.hkbu.edu.hk/site/YCY/upload/mw_data/file/mw_data_2058_5b4411571ef04.pdf)