The Original I Ching Oracle: The Pure and Complete Texts with Concordance Paperback – 1 Apr 2005
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One reviewer said it "diminishes the mystical and spiritual meanings that many feel are inherent within the I Ching and sticks to psychological implications." I disagree, it all depends on how the individual reads it. There are several layers of meaning in each hexagram, including many references to the 'dao' or spiritual path, and the 'small' which can be interpreted as trivial material things, but can also be interpreted as maintaining spiritual presence and harmony - thus adding an entirely different quality to any reading. When the 'small' is understood in a spiritual sense, a new dimension is brought to interpretation of the word 'great', also frequently used in the text. I could go on...
I like very much the 'counter hexagram' explanations which can be a great guide to the main area of focus.
The only slight criticism is that the example reading given in the introduction did not resonate with me at all. To be fair, the important thing in any reading is that it resonates with the questioner, it is not for me to judge that, but perhaps a selection of example interpretations would be more helpful. That said, this is the only version of the I Ching that I have felt motivated to buy, others I looked at but did not feel any inclination to get them for myself. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone seriously wanting to understand the I Ching.
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Whilst other books I have seen simplify the I Ching, this one retains all the original depth of meaning. It takes a little time to adjust to interpreting it, but is well worth the effort, the result offering a far broader picture than is available in the simplified versions.
There are several layers of meaning in each hexagram, including many references to the 'dao' or spiritual path, and the 'small' which can be interpreted as trivial material things, but can also be interpreted as maintaining spiritual presence and harmony - for me it is the spiritual aspect that carries the essential value of the I Ching. The reader can choose whether to interpret his or her own readings in a spiritual sense according to what feels personally appropriate.
The 'counter hexagram' explanations can be a great guide to the main area of focus.
The only slight criticism is that I would have found it helpful to have a selection of example interpretations in the introduction. That said, this is the only version of the I Ching that I have felt motivated to buy, others I looked at but did not feel any inclination to get them for myself. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone seriously wanting to understand the I Ching.
`The Original I Ching Oracle' was inspired by Carl Gustav Jung's insights into the psyche and has been researched for more than 60 years through the Eranos Foundation of Switzerland. This stunning new work presents the oracular core of the `I Ching' as a psychological tool. The Eranos Foundation began in 1933 in Switzerland and is an East/West research centre.
The book itself is as comprehensive as I thought it would be and actually covered a lot more about the I Ching than I thought it would. For example, I found out how to use coins to use this oracle which is handy in that most cultures have access to coins. The book also covers the use of the traditional yarrow-stalk method of using the I Ching oracle.
Part One includes an introduction to the oracle, consultation procedure and language used in the oracle, as well as myth and history and correlative thinking. An extensive note listing and index to Part One is included. It is important to read about the proper consultation procedure if you want to get full benefit from using this ancient oracle.
Part Two gives a listing of each of the 64 hexagrams followed by extensive exploration of each of them. I like the way the original text is in red with additional interpretative material printed in black, leaving you to explore the symbolic meaning for yourself, if you choose to.
Part Three, Concordance, lists all the occurrences of each term appearing in the texts of the Yi Jing (I Ching). What a mammoth task! I certainly don't envy the authors this mammoth task, particularly since they have done a spectacular job in putting it all together in a coherent way. When you stop to think about the complexity of the information found in these texts, you will know what I mean.
In summary, I would highly recommend `The Original I Ching Oracle' for the reader who has an interest in the occult, synchronicity, eastern mysticism or the person looking for THE book on the I Ching. It is comprehensive, educational and practical, allowing the everyday person the opportunity to consult an oracle that was originally brought to the West through Jesuit missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the overall scheme of things, a few hundred years isn't a long time to wait for a book of this quality!
The "easiest" part of translation is going from a word in one language to a word in another. The great problem with translation is, not only that there may not be an exact word in another language, but that a word may carry connotations and allusions which frequently differ from one language to the other. Further, those connotations or allusions can vary depending on the context. So the great challenge of translation is to choose the word which best describes not only the primary meaning but the "cloud" of secondary connotations and allusions that accompany it in that particular context. Words can also change their meaning with time: for example, several hundred years ago the word awful meant to fill someone with awe, whereas nowadays it means something terrible.
Then, after choosing the best words, the next great problem is stringing them together in a way that maintains the sense of the original while reading well in the second language. This may require rearranging the order to maintain the sense. Thus, one can easily imagine that translating an ancient text such as the I Ching, with the continuous succeeding millennia of Chinese literature and commentary adding so much accretion of meaning to the original texts, from the archaic Chinese to modern English, would be a formidable problem.
The Eranos "solution" to this problem is to provide a translation of the primary meaning of each character in the I Ching, along with "fields of meaning" which contain the possible secondary connotations of the primary word, without choosing among them or explaining the context. They also provide the minimal amount of connecting words between the characters. This is similar to taking a Chinese to English dictionary, translating character by character and printing the result. Often the consequence is incomprehensible pidgin English - for example, "to obstruction belongs in-no-way people." Or this, "Beings not permitted to use completing exceeding." Huh? Yes, every single word is English. If you whack at it hard enough you might be able to bludgeon some sense out of it - but does it mean what the original Chinese meant? No idea.
They also choose obscure English words such as "feudatories." Anybody who knows what that means raise their hands. I thought so. Hint: it means vassals - can anyone think of a good reason not to use the more common word?. Would any native English speaker choose that word? It seems to be the result of the translators going from a second language - Chinese - to their third language, English.
The introduction claims this is the result of a lifetime of study, but to what end? To put it bluntly, the hard work of actually translating has largely not been done. This is not so much a translation as a do-it-yourself translation kit. This is an English translation that needs an English translation. It is probably best used as a secondary source to compare with whatever your primary reading version of the I Ching is - but not to try to read, unless your mind works differently from most.
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