Dao De Jing
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THE YI JING (BOOK OF CHANGES)
The Yi Jing (I Ching) has been dated to about 1034 BCE, and is the oldest known book to have been written in China. There is no way to really know when the Yi Jing was written,but the contents of the book and the rulers it refers to gives the scholars the ability to give it an approximate date.
It is believed that the Yi Jing was originally created as a sort of oracle, providing the rulers with a divination tool with which to determine what future actions they should take. However, the first means of divination in ancient China was through the use of tortoise shells. A tortoise shell was inscribed with various graphs denoting possible actions, then a Shaman would heat the shell until a crack formed. The Shaman would then “read” the shell and give the results to the ruler who posed a question.
When most modern people think of the Yi Jing, they think of its potential to foretell the future. Whether or not the Yi Jing can foretell the future, it has been a revered text for centuries in China, and it is probably one of the most well-known of ancient Chinese texts to the Western world.
The Yi Jing can be consulted by the use of the ancient method of casting yarrow stalks, or by the more modern method of throwing three coins. Six lines are written down as the result of one of the methods stated above, and those six lines represent one of the 64 hexagrams in the Yi Jing. By reading the message in the resultant hexagram and contemplating its implications in one’s life, many insights arise.
The oldest texts of the Yi Jing (as with the one discovered at Guodian) are very short, being comprised of simple single sentences. Confucius was intrigued by the Yi Jing and was determined to make sense out of those simple sentences, so he wrote extensive commentaries on each of the 64 hexagrams. Most of the English translations of the Yi Jing on the bookshelves today are based on Confucius’ commentaries.
The following is only a list of books in my library on the Yi Jing. There are links below each book to pages where you can find more information on the book and purchase it if desired.
> The I Ching or Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm and Gary F. Baynes
Translation and commentary are divided into three Books within the volume. The first Book contains a simple translation of each hexagram and Confucius’ commentaries. Book two contains many explanations on the commentaries with additional information about the development of the Yi Jing. Book three is a more elaborate and technical explanation of each hexagram.
The I Ching or Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm and Gary F. Baynes at Barnes and Noble
The I Ching or Book of Changes by Richard Wilhelm and Gary F. Baynes at Amazon
> The Complete I Ching (the Definitive Translation) by Taoist Master Alfred Huang
Master Huang gives a translation and commentary based on the commentaries of Confucius, but he also adds more of a Daoist flavor to the readings. Each hexagram is accompanied by the Seal Script Chinese character that represents it.
The Complete I Ching (the Definitive Translation) by Taoist Master Alfred Huang at Barnes and Noble
The Complete I Ching (the Definitive Translation) by Taoist Master Alfred Huang at Amazon
> I Ching (The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth), Hua-Ching Ni
Master Ni gives an extensive explanation of the cosmology which led to the creation of the “Guas”, which are the sets of three lines that make up each hexagram when they are combined with another “Gua” (three lines). His translation includes the commentaries by Confucius, but he adds his own interpretation to them with his philosophy of “The Integral Way”.
I Ching (The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth), Hua-Ching Ni at Barnes and Noble
I Ching (The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth), Hua-Ching Ni at Amazon
> I Ching (The Book of Changes) by John Blofeld
Blofeld gives a short and concise translation of each of the hexagrams with many personal notes included.
I Ching (The Book of Changes) by John Blofeld at Barnes and Noble
I Ching (The Book of Changes) by John Blofeld at Amazon
> I Ching: Text and Annotated Translation by Liu Dajun and Lin Zhongjun
Translation of the Chinese characters found in the Guodian text, including the graph of each character along with an English translation of each sentence. None of the commentaries by Confucius are included, but there are notes explaining the use of many of the characters in the original text.
I Ching: Text and Annotated Translation by Liu Dajun and Lin Zhongjun at Amazon
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