The pattern of hexagram 29

I was browsing through a book, which had been recommended to me. "In search of excellence", by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman. Just opening it at random, a page here, a page there, to figure out if it would make sense to start reading. It seemed such a huge amount of words, and there is so much else to do...

On one of the pages, I got intrigued. Someone, who was in search of artificial intelligence, studied the problem of programming computers to play chess. He started out assuming that it could be played on a rational basis, but had to abandon that idea. The computer would need something like a century to calculate all possible moves.

So instead, he investigated what good chess players do. He asked them to look at a half-way chess game, just for a very short period, like 10 seconds. They could recall the locations of virtually all the pieces. Players of one rank below the best players scored a lot lower. But the masters could not remember where the pieces were, if they were placed on the board at random. So something else than short-time memory had to be at work.

He believed that the 'something else' was, that the masters had highly developed long-term memories, in the form of subconsciously remembered patterns. He called it chess "vocabularies". The class A players had a memory of around 2,000 patterns, but the masters of around 50,000 patterns.

The mark of the true professional in any field is the rich vocabulary of patterns, developed through years of education and especially through years of experience.

I had to think of hexagram 29, water repeated. The character translated as 'repeat' also means skill, routine, learning something by training or exercise.

 The great image says:
君子 noble one
以 use
常德 constant virtue 
行 move, perform
習 repeat, exercise, habit, expertise in a certain field
教事 teach events

 repeat, is the character at the top. A pair of wings (= to fly) and sun (or day). 

Years ago I read another book, "Das sensible Chaos" by Schwenk. It seems that water has a memory for patterns. That goes for the streams in the oceans, but just as well for the water in our bodies. 

The pit, a place of danger, but maybe also the huge reservoir of everything we learned through 'repeating', seeing or doing it again and again, experience.

"The noble man moves according to principles and virtue", both might have a lot to do with patterns which proved effective, and which make up that reservoir. 

And finally it might be the answer to 'how' people read the Yijing for others. Some know the rules, what comes first, what then. Others have developed patterns. And for working with patterns, the thinking mind has to be silent, and let the memory do the talking. 


Tuan: the gua poem or judgment or "to expel evil spirits"

Old character (sealscript)

Tuan, the judgment of the hexagrams, is a picture of a pig. Or that is what we are told. It is also part of the name of hex.33, withdrawing. In 33 the pig has to do with sacrificing. When one withdraws, one sacrifices all those nice things of the world 'out there'. But one also gets rid of everything which keeps one from being oneself.

The traditional character, still used in Taiwan.

The old oracle bone character does look like a pig - with some imagination. But for those who have experience with pigs, it does show one. Screaming, wriggling, big ears, and the one at right with a big belly or maybe many nipples.

The judgment is not just a description of the workings of a hexagram, it is the incantation which belongs to the moment of a hexagram. When you want to solve a situation like hex.47, you need a different invocation than in a situation like hex.11. A different 'hex'...

Judgment of 11: Mount Tai: small proceeds, great comes up. Auspicious. Expansion. 
And judgment of 47: Confined, expansion - determination. Great people auspicious. No fault. Words are not believed.

In hex.11 an expectation of better times coming along. No further specific advice.
In hex.47 advice to divine and to act on what the spirits tell you, and to look for great people, and also a warning that words will not be believed.

See Harmen's text about tuan.

Hex.28 and hex.4 Ridgepoles and rocks

Hexagram 28 has this character: the ridgepole:

 In the fanyao of line 3 one finds the masonry-lined well and in the one of line 4 stone. 
The fanyao of line 3 is 47.3. There you find a rock or stone: the character is a picture of a rock falling from a ledge.
And in the fanyao of line 4, in 48.4, this character: “brick wall of a well”. Top left in the character the picture of fire. Top right probably straw, bottom unknown to me.

Hexagram 47 is the upside-down (Pang tong gua) of hexagram 48, and 47.4 corresponds to 48.3.

Hexagram 28 does not visibly change when you turn it upside-down. Or does it???
Maybe the sagging ridgepole of line 3 corresponds upside-down with the eminent ridgepole of line 4.

The Mirrors 28.3, 28.4, 47.3 and 48.4 are all four together one 'unit'. Mirrors and reflections of each other. Every mirror has a 'theme', something which connects all four. In this Mirror the theme has to do with the strength of stone and poles/ treetrunks. Organic and inorganic strength.


The structure of the question and its answer

When you cast the lines, you build up a hexagram, consisting of two trigrams. When one or more lines are 'old', there is also a relating hexagram with its trigrams.

Every trigram represents part of your question/answer. Every part of it can be found in them: the base or core, the advice, the situation, the need, the energy.

Imagine you cast hexagram 17 with lines 1 and 2 changing. The relating hexagram will be 47.
In 17 the lower trigram is Thunder, this is how you feel. Full of energy in this case, you want to make something happen.
But it is not easy, the situation is confining, 47. You probably asked the Yi because energy when you are confined is a real problem.

Yi's advice is Lake, the upper trigram of 17: reckon with other people.
The best way to do this, in THIS situation, can be found in the moving lines.

Initial line: The standards are changing. Determination auspicious. To come out of the gate and interact brings achievement.
This line turns Thunder into Lake, so the quality of 'open' is extra strong. Open like a child.

Line 2: Related to the small child, losing the big man.
This line turns Thunder into Lake, so the quality of 'open' is extra strong. Open like a child.

I chose hex.47 as relating hex, because it is not very hard to describe. Most hexagrams have a much wider range of meanings. it doesn't mean that 47 is narrower, it just needs less description.

I have a 'real' example, also with 47

Our phone company fused with another one. They had to move the data of all customers. The next day 4 of our 6 phones didn't work anymore. We couldn't reach them, because it seemed a large part of all clients were complaining. After several weeks we could finally reach the helpdesk and they gave us the advice you need when a phone stops working. They maintained that it was a problem of the phones, not caused by the migration. Mailing didn't help either, they gave just more of the same advice.

So I asked Yi how to solve the trouble with the phones: 12/2,6 - 47. Duh... Hex.47 was exactly how we felt. Confined, no working phones, no help, no solution.

12/2: To work under contract. Small men: auspicious. Great men: obstruction for expansion.
Mirror: about making a good use of misfortune.
We decided to switch company and we asked the guy who helps with our computers, and who knows all about phones as well. It is his job - his contract.
We used the problem to improve things: see below.
Here small men is the one guy: just one person versus a gigantic company, the big guy.

12/6: The obstruction is temporary. First obstruction, later rejoicing.
Mirror: how one thing makes other(s) come along.
The new company is better with phones, but also more expensive. Except for this guy, who could offer a cheaper contract through his job. And he will be a much better helpdesk as well!

Lower trigram 12, Earth: our question was how to make our 'living-space' right again, and since it changes to Water, it has to do with moving.
Yi's advice was to follow the existing laws (trigram Heaven): first asking the helpdesk, but when that road doesn't work, to follow the next law: find another one who can do the job. Heaven changes to Lake: when the rule of the responsible party doesn't work, look around in society, and there the rule is to find someone who knows, an expert.


What happens when you consult an oracle?

I am not talking about the simple way how so many people ask an oracle. 
"Does he love me?" (yes or no??)
"Is this house a good investment?"
"Tell me if today will be a good day?"

Many just want the yes or no, but hopefully they will glean some advice from the answer.

Shenshu poem 40
In a clear water region like bluegreen jade
The boat sails upstream
with the moon right overhead
Steadily and in the center
I cannot understand the mysteries
But who runs counter makes mistakes
The seeds of losing his life

This poem of the Shenshu 'feels' very much like an answer of the Yi feels to me. I do my best, I stay in the center, I know about the mysteries, I feel them in my bones. But what to do? "I" has no access to the mysteries.

the seeds
This Chinese character of a previous blog-post (Nov.25, 2018) is part of this. The seeds, the tiny beginnings of what will happen. It is like the story about the butterfly flapping its wings causing a tornado somewhere else on our planet.

The seeds germinate in the 'mysteries'. We all feel their existence but nobody can describe the mysteries. They are like the invisible roots deep below the forest, but without their tangible reality. They cannot be touched, and yet they 'are'. Maybe they are pure energy.

An oracle has access to this realm, but it cannot do it on its own. It needs the cooperation of your soul. Or the other way around. Your soul has to turn the key and then the oracle is a means to actually open the door. An oracle is not the only way to open your soul.

Old pond
frog jumps in
sound of water
(Matsuo Bashô)

When you read a Haiku, you can only 'see' the image if you unlock your soul. 

It is very similar to 'understanding' an oracle. 
The words are only the key to the door. 
Your soul has to turn the key and open the door.


Hex.57 Wind - when your number comes up

Xun, Wind, the name of hexagram 57

   Shuogua: For putting all things in motion there is nothing more vehement than thunder; for scattering them there is nothing more effective than wind.

   In many cultures there are images of gods or other forces which make life begin and make it end. Thunder makes seeds germinate, Wind is the 'chooser' which decides about the life-span.

The character Xùn is a picture of a table with two seals on it. Later two hands were added. Wieger: “To elect, to choose. Two 卩 seals of officials, placed upon a 兀 table, to be committed to those who were elected, chosen."

   Meanings of Xun: choose, elect or being elected, humble, modest, gentle, subtle, practice, penetrate, resign (like -throne), dispose, calculate; regulate, equip.
In the Mawangdui Yijing: 筭 Suàn: counting sticks (271 pieces, before abacus), exch. with Suàn: count, calculate, number, figure, elaborate (a plan), sum, combine, project, strategy, foresee, to divine, life-span, food-basket. 

   Your seal has to do with what you are made of, and also what you do with your talents and opportunities. Nobody can see the wind, only its effects. Treebranches swaying, dust-devils dancing, waves, bending grass. The wind penetrates, but where it cannot enter, things stagnate and decay. You are supposed to develop yourself, to move and to enter adventures, and never ever come to a standstill. Because 'you' don't matter, what matters is what you do with it, how you move.
In many cultures wind and fate are strongly connected.

Shuogua: Xun suggests the idea of wood; of wind; of the oldest daughter; of a plumb-line; of a carpenter's square; of being white; of being long; of being lofty; of advancing and receding; of want of decision; and of strong scents. It suggests in the human body, the idea of deficiency of hair; of a wide forehead; of a large development of the white of the eye. (Among tendencies), it suggests the close pursuit of gain, even to making three hundred per cent in the market. In the end it may become the trigram of decision.


Hex.61 Fu, from captives to inspiring confidence

Captive, truth, sincerity, inspire confidence. 

The tag of hexagram 61 is Zhong Fu, inner truth. The character fu appeares 42 times in the Zhou Yi.
Originally it meant captive. It is a picture of a child and a claw: grasping a (small) person.

Bronze character 'fu'.

When the troops returned home, they had to show their conquests. They did it by showing the captives or the number of killed enemies.
Hauling along corpses for a long journey home is not a good idea, so they only brought the ears.
The ears brought home were proof that they told the truth. So the character started to mean truth, sincerity, inspire confidence.
The number of people is still sometimes counted in ears: six ears: three people.

In hexagram 55 line 2 it says: "To proceed brings doubt and anxiety. With confidence Fa gathers." (Fa is the personal name of Wu, king Wen's son).
Wu 'has the power to inspire', he convinces his people and the allies that the eclipse is not a bad sign, on the contrary. It is an omen of the fall of an empire - the Shang of course...


Loan characters (or the poetry of a nation)

This character, jùn, is the first character of the bottom line of hexagram 32. Its meanings are "dredge, dig, excavate, develop, extract, deep, many, unblock the waterway; digging wells and pools".

Jùn héng: unrelenting steadiness, or deep-digging steadiness. 

This same character pronounced as xùn is a place-name: Xùn. A place which is known for its deep waters.
 At left 'water', at right an old character with the meaning 'move slowly'.
夂 允 
Which in turn consists of 'move' and 'permit, consent, fair, just right'

The scientific approach is to choose between those two meanings. Either 'deep', or Xun, but not both at once.
Poets (and Chinese) have a different approach: both. Because the two meanings enhance each other.

If you want to make clear how deep and exhaustingly something is being done, wouldn't it make the picture more complete to compare it to the place Xun? Everyone knows that the waters there are so deep and dangerous!

In Rutt (Zhouyi, 1996): "...the place-name had oracular force because of its danger". It is the same force poets make use of. Oracles and poets both use imagery to convey their message. Both speak to your heart, not that much to your mind.


Hex.38.5 His ancestor bites through skin

Who is the ancestor?

I always wondered what the ancestor meant. I found this:
The ancestor can be a leader, grandfather, a person of authority in a family, husbandanyone who has the position to exercise some control. 
This is China long ago, feel free to change it to the female version if that fits better.

宀 示
The character consists of 'roof' and 'altar'. It refers to a certain type of thing or person that has a leading role or is the first: sovereign, leader, eldest son, respect, fundamental, ancient emperor temple, an ancient ritual, official title, take charge of the ritual of sacrifice. I think it is a picture of the little altar in a house where the family honors their grandfather/mother and so on.

The fanyao (corresponding line of the relating hexagram)

38.5 Regrets go away. The clan leader bites through skin. Proceed, how can it be faulty.
Trigram Fire turns into Heaven. Controlling but not too much (just skin, not through hard bone or so).

10.5 Decisive treading. Determination: danger.
Trigram Heaven turns into Fire. Decisive but not too much.

38.5 changes into 10.5 if it is 'old yin', 10.5 changes into 38.5 if it is 'old yang': they are each other's fanyao.

What does it mean in an answer?

If one of the two is too strong, they will clash. If it is the one in authority (or thinks he/she is) it will be 'faulty'. If it is the one of 10.5: being decisive is good, but it always involves risk; how much depends on its flexibility.

Hex.3.3 "The noble one knows the seeds"

In hexagram 3 line 3 is the character ji, which is intriguing. It can be translated as "seed", the very first beginning of something, when it is not yet really visible. 

幺 戍
It is composed of 幺 (small, doubled) and 戍 (frontier guard). From Wieger: Frontier guards “are attentive to the least movement, to the smallest event".
幺 is actually a picture of silk - very slight, thin, hardly visible.

There are more lines with this character, but all of them about the moon being 'almost' full. On the verge of being full, but just not yet. It is a moment when things can change. A full moon is a time of 'much', but being on the verge of full is a meaningful but still rather undefined moment. See 9 line 6, 54 line 5 and 61 line 6.

There is another character with the meaning 'full', which simply tells us that the moon is 'round', a symbol of success or the kind of mind which can reach success. But the character 'full' in these three lines also means 'hope', prestige and it is also the name of an ancient sacrifice, or to offer a sacrifice to the dead whose remains are buried far away and to mountains and rivers, sun, moon and stars.