Sunday

Sunday Morning I Ching boys-and-girls.


Let's talk about the I Ching today boys and girls, why?  Because we can. 

The I Ching -- not to be confused with the sound 'Ka-Ching' made by the cash-registers taking in money from bad advise on TV --  owes the authority it has always enjoyed in China to a number of causes.  One, undoubtedly, is the fact that it has become the first among the Chinese classics.  After the Confucian school took up the book in the last period of the Chou era, it became one of the texts whose study was authorized by the government;  and when all the non-Confucian schools were excluded from the imperial academy in 140 B.C., the I Ching shared with the other Confucian classics in the monopoly of established doctrine.  Sound familiar?  It should, the Christian religion would soon follow in step in Europe by becoming the texts replacing the old Pagan faith there as well.  Not that it matters... but it does. 

The religion predating the I Ching, the religion of the Shang dynasty, controlled its believers through fear.  This 'fear' was alien to the early Chou rulers.  The Chou rulers believed in a vegetative life, that is, with agriculture by the people for the people.  Life takes its form from what is given by nature; hence its order is one that can be known, and gods and demons, sinister phantasms that could introduce an irrational element into life, are discredited.  

The situations depicted in the Book of Changes are the primary data of life -- what happens to everybody every day, and what is simple and easy to understand.  Again and again the emphasis is on simplicity and lucidity as the only gateway to this system.  "The good that lies in the easy and the simple," we read, "makes it correspond to the highest kind of existence." {I, 325) And in another place it is said:

     The Creative knows through the easy.
     The Receptive can do things through the simple.

     What is easy, is easy to know; what is simple, is easy to follow. 
     He who is easy to know attains fealty.  He who is easy to 
     follow attains works.  He who possesses attachment can 
     endure for long; he who possesses works can become great.
     To endure is the disposition of the sage; greatness is the field
     of action of the sage.  {I, 307f}

Through this gateway we now enter the true meaning of the I Ching.  Reflection on the simple fundamental facts of our experience.  The I Ching has been formed by the observation of natural events: the course of the sun and the stars, the passing of the clouds, the flow of water, the alternation of day and night, the succession of the seasons.  And of Confucius also, it is told that, standing by a river one day, he exclaimed: "Like this river, everything is flowing on ceaselessly, day and night" (Lun Yu, IX, 16).  The concept was formed especially from the procreativeness of life.  Change is "the begetter of all begetting," {I, 522} is is said, the overflowing abundance of the force which perpetually renews itself and for which there is never standstill nor cessation.  It is in constant change and growth alone that life can be grasped at all.  If it is interrupted, the result is not death, which is really only an aspect of change.  

Did I mention that I Ching stands for the Book of Change. 

And all the angels sing. 



Post a Comment