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Gareth is an Australian who has lived in JiangSu, SuZhou (Heaven on Earth) for a few years - he is a keen observer of the Chinese people, Chinese culture and the changes that are occurring in China at break-neck speed. He can often be found on his a nightly 'perch' in front of his bar in the famous Bar Street in Suzhou, talking to the locals in his bad Mandarin, teaching the 'flower-selling girls' English, eating street food and smiling at the local chengguan (neighbourhood police). Gareth also has several other businesses in China around Business and English training. His experiences have been varied and interesting and his years in China have taught him to be wary of promises but excited about prospects, not a bad situation to be in!
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I-Ching, Fate's Role in Life    

By Garreth Humphris
3322 Views | 6 Comments | 10/21/2012 3:31:54 PM

I was reading a translated copy of the I-Ching last week. What is the i-Ching (YiJing)? Well it is a famous book of ’thinking states’ of Tao scholars sometimes known as the 'Book of Changes’ - it's modern translations into English date from the 1700’s but it's history in China is much longer than that! (Warring Period. 400 BC, or Oracle Turtle Shell from 1000 BC). Together with FengShui (and a few other disciplines), it makes up some of the ’ancient wisdom’ still entrenched in Chinese culture and tradition. 

While many Chinese might say they “don't believe” this any more, the characteristics, attitudes and ’thought patterns’ are readily identifiable in most Chinese people (since Confucus studied and 're-interpreted bits of if...probably Asian). In fact, many people over 30 have had their lives ’modified’ by these laws in some ways such as when the most auspicious wedding date might be! Some may utilize the wisdom when buying or decorating a home and many farmers use the diurnal patterns of FengShui to plant crops and hold celebrations.

I sometimes dive into this book for inspiration! A sort of 'daily reality check' in China! Sometimes when I am in my ’western misunderstanding’ mindset, I like to just open to a page and read the ’advice’ that it might give me! Since most of the quotes are about ’modifying self’ rather than ’fighting the situation’, this usually has a calming effect!

Of course, this is also what they have been ’traditionally’ used as by many people - fortune telling devices. Using coins, bones or yarrow sticks, in the days of old, the diviner would create a hexagraph of your ’current life’, and tell you of your current dilemma, and then offer an ’alternative change’ to bring about the balance - in effect offering another path to overcome your current dilemma!

What is a hexagraph? It's an 6 line symbol, made up of two trigrams (3 lines), the ying-yang of the person! If you want to see some trigraphs in action, look at the symbols on the flag of South Korea.

Placing the ying trigraph with the yang trigraph gives you a hexagraph, that looks like a small tower! Each line represents an aspect of your life and the combination of each line makes a complex ’named’ symbol. There are 64 hexagraphs in total and so each one has an ’alternative’, and if the situation is considered unfavorable, the change hexagraph can be considered.

Each hexagraph is actually a combination of 4 trigraphs - the heavenly one (on top), the earthly one (on bottom) and a 2 new trigraph created in the middle for man reacting with heaven and man reacting with earth.

So if we look at the hexagraph representing self determination, the heavenly part is Li, meaning fire and clarity, the earthly part is Qian, meaning creativity and the new ’centre’ pair of trigrams is Dui, meaning Joy and Qian meaning creativity! Our resultant hexagraph represents clarity, joy and 2 creativity! But this could be considered ’dangerous’ because the man-heaven/man earth combination could be considered being too self-centred and egotistical! The opposite to this hexagram, would be Bi, or unity - the profound above the earth (and resultant stillness and receptiveness!) The combination of these two hexagraphs brings ’happiness, Yu’ in the future!

So now you see my problem on this particular day, too egotistical and not enough understanding - my reading comes out something like “Our ego creates resistances, inhibiting the influence we would like to have on others, including the cosmic helpers we call "good luck." These ego elements, sometimes hard to identify, are evident when we contrive solutions, strive to influence, or press ourself on others. Because these means fail, we begin contending. Fueling these elements is fear and doubt. We are afraid that if we do not take matters in hand, nothing will be accomplished. When defeat comes, we are further attacked by embarrassment.”

So, in context, i was upset this day about a particular business transaction that was taking some time to resolve - i opened the iChing to find Chilling out = Happiness!

While the iChing may not be able to “solve” your love and daily dilemmas in China, it is a thought provoking whack in the side of the head when you are being belligerent! Because, as we all know, a different perspective or attitude can change the acceptability of the situation!

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2012-10-22 14:08:46 by ivy2012 @ivy2012

I feel so happy that you can read this Chinese book, this is one of the most complex books in fact. Even less local people pay attention to this 'old' book now while our foreign friends can read it.

As some people studied, this book was written in the same period when Jersus gave his influnce to the world. So even some people believe Tao is Jersus. Believe or not, it can prove how it important to our history.

While sometime this book is misused by some people to forecast uncertain things, which made it looks like a tool for some specific task. But of course it is not.

Anyway, it's a good book and wish you good reading and understanding.


#2012-10-22 23:06:47 by anonymous4552 @anonymous4552

In China, we say "Good timing(tian shi), geographical convenience (di li) and good human relations (ren he)", then the things could be go successed, a perfect circle. Hexagraph is a circle, in this circle, means a lots of things, male and female, sky and ground, water and fire... althought seems they are opposite but actually can goes one direction. It will depend on what you thinking and what you do. But aim is "harmonious" (in chinese we say "he xie"), then problems could be resolved and a circle you made. It also applies to love, whatever I-Ching or Confucus, actually they told us the simple truth.

Thank you for sharing.

#2012-10-24 10:23:10 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

Yes, one of my all time favorite books. Reading your column led me to consult that oracle once again, and since I do not have it with me, I went on line and found a site that allows your to throw the iching electronically. "" if anyone is interested. I got some sound advice which I hope to put into practice. Thanks!

#2012-11-01 12:28:31 by xin73 @xin73

"Book of changes" is our country ancient times a guiding people know and use of natural law and social law of development of the philosophy old scriptures .
It is the Chinese five thousand years of wisdom and the crystallization of a culture, known as the " head of classics, Avenue of the source ". Is in the ancient emperors, politician, militarist, businessman's compulsory subject.

" The Eight Diagrams " is by human ancestors Fu Xi deduced out, then to Zhou dynasty era by King Wen deduce sixty-four hexagrams.

I was like " book of changes ".While I'm out of town or to do important things, I will use the "book of changes" of divination for himself.

Thank you for your here to share .

#2012-11-02 22:57:19 by teletubbies @teletubbies

Everything's changing,i ching is one method that some people use for decision making and predicting the future,its function is far more than these,
Every day we have to deal with it,but we did not know that.

#2012-11-14 00:54:59 by carber911 @carber911

Please do not let me come across as abrasive or insincere, but allow your thoughts to perceive that I am a gentleman with passionate viar.

What is Viar you ask? Well let me explain... it is a cross between what is viable and what is common air so infact I add passion to the common air viable solution to get an hybrid answer which holds strength under typhoon calamity forcing winds......

You can not change the meaning of a words... let me be rather precise. YES OR NO! when we start saying things like maybe or might, or possibly we are infact saying no but yes... Thats no way to live people! Induce fire to your steak and cook it well. do not add ice to your fire concoction thats asinine. You are either hot or cold, not both...

So lets go back to your book of thought provoking response..."too egotistical and not enough understanding" - my reading comes out something like “Our ego creates resistances"..... Some would say pride cometh before the fall but ultimatlely this is vague thought. Not precise at all. Whats wrong with integrity which in the eyes of a jealous beholder looks as though an egotistical binnacle rambunctious individual meets their demise of obstacle... Again, with all that said, it is rather vague and undeserving as to who did what, how, why and where.... If you could point out with more precision and apt of how the spark ignites the dry straw then a flash of light may come to mind of whats going on... So let me re-loop this conversation again... What the heck does "too egotistical" mean? you either are an ego eccentric or not! Vice Versa- There is no such thing as not enough understanding! Dont confuse knowlegde with understanding.. You either know what happend or you do not! You either understand that X plus ten equals 11 thus you know x is one. or you dont! You can not have less understanding or more understanding about a thing.. You either know your topic or not! It does not matter if there is more than one way to do the thing or not, what matters is if you can do the job or not... understanding how to do it differently is merely another skill to add to the ball and chain. As my one chinese physics classmate idiot friend (who called himself dumb) taught me, You know the knowledge, but if you dont understand what it all means then its pointless- you still wont be able to apply the knowledge to the situation if you dont understand. From that point on, I sought not just the knowledge but also understanding.

So I encourage you to read thought provoking ideas and be careful not to read bullshit that is incorrect on propper terms... Who knows right?

Now back to Chinese drawn out conclusion... I was watching this woman talk about the TAO period and how this great man got married, lost his first wife, then wrote many "love stories with sadness" then he remarried and died himself a few years later.. Now you know i just said the gist of what happend in a matter of a few seconds.. but Im not kidding you this woman speaking about it took at least 15 minutes to say all that! I could not believe how boring and vague she was speaking... Very little reality and precision was being portrayed.. Mostly conclusion, conclusion, conclusion... it was so boring I had to keep watching, I could not fathom(another word for understanding) why someone would talk in such vague terms and how much pause she gave after each thought... lol it was like watching a pop tart cook in the toaster, waiting for what was going to happen next knowing dam well that the tart is going to pop soon, but it doesn't... Now with Chinese thought, i understand it is slower and longer than other western notional quick thoughts.. it must be because chinese people live longer and who knows what else... there are many keen ideas that may be addressed from why Tao is spoken so slowly and without precise factual data... One reason is Qing dynasty from what little I know did infact outlaw Taoism and reportedly made sexual love connotation a quite taboo subject resulting in sudden death...

So I can understand how oppression and resistance to sexual egos can be...... continued....

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