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The Daily Enlightenment



I Ching - The Legend                                           

As legend has it, the wise Fu-Hsi taught Chinese soothsayers the art of I Ching interpretation around 3000 BC; however, there is no way to prove that claim. What we know, though, is that sometime before 1000 BC, King Wen and his son, Duke Tcheou, codified and wrote comments in a corpus known as the I Ching (translated as The Book of Changes), whose origin even in the past. Confucius himself, a few centuries later, wrote about an I Ching, not so dissimilar from the one we know today, commentaries which have survived to this day.

Although we cannot prove that the I Ching is the oldest book in the history of humanity, there is reasonable evidence that it antedates at least Homer and the Pentateuch (we are not introducing here last year's best-seller!) Respect for the I Ching has endured throughout its history: it was a pillar of Taoism; an inspiration for Chinese Ch'eng and Mahayana Buddhism; the I Ching is the ONLY book known to have been saved from the notorious "burning of the books" ordered by Emperor Shih Huang Ti some 2000 years ago; only the Bible, Koran, and Vedas can claim an influence on par with that of the I Ching.

In 1697, a French Jesuit missionary in China, Joachim Bouvet, introduced the I Ching to German mathematician and philosopher, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibnitz, who was amazed by the Book of Changes and its use of binary arithmetic, then unknown in Europe. Leibnitz spread the good word, and thus our civilization was first introduced to binary arithmetic, which is not only the cornerstone of the Book of Changes but also the language of all modern computers. Leibnitz was not the only great mind fascinated with the I Ching. Foremost among those who extolled its merit was no doubt psychologist Carl C. Jung, who saw in the Book of Changes the most perfect illustration of his own Theory of Archetypes and referred to the I Ching as "the most profound book ever to come from the East."

Related Links

Universal Fractal Code & I Ching


FRACTALS, EVOLUTION AND THE I CHING:   A Fractal Introduction to Chinese Philosophy. Excerpted from the Electronic Book of the School of Wisdom, Laws of Wisdom.

TRIGRAMS:The Eight Trigrams of the I Ching.  An excerpt from the free Electronic Book Laws of Wisdom.

HEXAGRAMS:   The Sixty Four Hexagrams of the I Ching;  Another excerpt from Laws of Wisdom.

THE FIVE AGENTS OF CHANGE:   The Five "Hsing" or Elements in Chinese philosophy.  An excerpt from another School of Wisdom publication co-written by Professor Arnold Keyserling of the Academy of Art, Vienna Austria, Chance and ChoiceA Compendium of Ancient and Modern Wisdom Revealing the Meaning and Significance of the Myth of Science.

CYCLICAL TIME IN CHINESE THINKING:   The Twelve Year Cycle following the Zodiac and its relationship to the I Ching hexagrams and the genetic code.    Another excerpt from Chance and Choice.

RICHARD WILHELM:   Learn about the Marco Polo of the Inner World of China.  Richard Wilhelm is the translator of the Princeton University, Bollingen Press version of the I Ching, generally regarded as the best in the West.  Another excerpt from Laws of Wisdom.

RICHARD WILHELM'S HOME PAGE:   Go to the Home Page of Richard Wilhelm.  In addition to the I Ching, there are many other excellent books of Chinese philosophy translated by Richard Wilhelm, including:  The Secret of the Golden Flower; A Short History of Chinese Civilization; Lectures on the I Ching: Constancy and Change.




The Material presented on this Website is for information purposes only and is not designed to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. It is not recommended that laypersons practice Chinese Medicine without the guidance of a licensed professional.

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