Derek Walters describes himself as a writer, orientalist and a composer. This is an interesting book that contains some very worthwhile information, but Walters' approach is problematic. The book title T'ai Hsuan Ching (pinyin: 'Taixuanjing') translates as 'Grand Mystery Classic'. Interestingly, the Chinese word 'xuan' is written as a piece of yarn that is dyed black. This has come to refer to something that is deep and profound, or far away and difficult to reach. A knowledge that is abtruse and subtle, that perhaps can be reached through focusing and directing the mind, as if in meditation. Xuan can refer to a silent mystery. The T'ai Hsuan Ching was written during the Early Han Dynasty (206-9AD), and was compiled by the scholar named Yang Xiong (53BC-18BC). His name is not commonly known, as he took part in the relatively short-lived Xin Dynasty that over-threw the Early Han. As a result, his work was not been generally emphasised by later scholars.
Yang compiled a divination manual that appears to be a development away from the standard Book of Changes (Yijing), the ancient manual that has 64 six lined structures, known as 'hexagrams' in English. The six line structures have at their base, a single striaght line, and a single broken line. From these two lines, 8 trigrams are formed, and thus the 64 hexagrams. Yang however, developed a system of four lined structures known in English as 'tetragrams'. In Yang's system there are 81 tetragrams. This number appears to reflect the amount of chapters found in the received Daodejing, attributed to Laozi. Yang refers to the tetragrams as 'shou', or 'chief'. Each tetragram-shou has a number, a title and a commentary associated with it.Read more ›
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You throw the I Ching to institute the changes. You then throw the T Ching to see the omen. If it is bad you rethrow the I Ching. And continue until the omen is good.You need 6-4 sided rollers for the I Ching and changes. You need a dice for the T Ching. 12=bar,34=2bar,56=3bar. 4Throws gives the Shou,2 more the Tang. Then one more throw to change one line if you wish,starting from the top line as 1. Great entertainment.
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Watch out for errors!30 Oct. 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
This was the first book in English to discuss the Tai Xuan Jing and its 81 tetragrams. So it deserves credit for that.
However, there is a careless error in the chart of tetragrams which I have seen perpetuated by other Internet writers using this book uncritically and reproducing the faulty chart from the book.
The chart in the book shows the unbroken line for "Heaven," the once-broken line for "Man," and the twice-broken line for "Earth."
That is wrong. The correct sequence is Heaven, Earth, and Man. It is "Man" that has the twice-broken line. "Man" is third, after "Heaven" and "Earth", since "Man" is the offspring.
The Chinese text, and the later, scholarly translation of the Tai Xuan Ching (by Michael Nylan), has the correct correlations.
This is important in studying the tetragrams correctly. Otherwise you can write an entire essay and be off-the-mark with your conclusions. So, just to review, Derek Walters (or the publisher) made an error in his chart, and the correct way is:
solid line for "Heaven" once-broken line for "Earth" twice-broken line for "Man"
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Wiggly oracles!18 Nov. 2004
- Published on Amazon.com
This translation of the Tai Hsuan Ching will interest anyone curious about Chinese oracular sources. Regrettably, however, Derek Walters succumbed to the temptation to try and 'up-stage' the Yi-Ching - with it. He alleges that the Yi-Ching is based on a rigid dualism, with no place for the creative role of human agency,and thus presents the symbolism of the Tai Hsuan Ching - as a superior system, alleging that it alone, accords human agency its proper role in the cosmic process.@However, this argument is seriously flawed. Anyone familiar with the Yi-Ching, would know that it is the 'san-tsai' (three primal powers) - heaven, earth and man' - which underpin its system, NOT a mere dualism. This is evident in the 'TRIGRAM' structures of the Yi-Ching, which presuppose that human agency is inter- woven with the cosmic process. The 'Tso Chuan' section of the Yi-Ching states "Heaven, earth and man" - that is what comprises the Tao.
The principles embodied in Yi-Ching have influenced almost everything in Chinese culture. Its sexagenary cycles are reflected in the Chinese calendar, its principles are reflected in Chinese astrology, medicine, Taoist yogic arts,the martial arts,military strategy etc. By contrast, the role of the Tai Hsuan Ching has been marginal, barely shaping Chinese culture at all. For all that, the Tai Hsuan Ching is fascinating in its own way - and, it will surely be of interest to those otherwise engaged with the Yi-Ching. However, Derek Walters 'competitive' stance is likely to prove nugatory, putting people off.