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The I Ching , historical transcription , today: Yijing ( Chinese  易經  /  易经 , Pinyin Yìjīng , W.-G. I-Ching  - "Book of Changes or Classics of Changes") is a collection of line characters and associated sayings. It is the oldest of the classical Chinese texts . Its legendary history is traditionally traced back to the 3rd millennium BC. Chr. Returned. The work is also generally known in Chinese as Zhouyi ( 周易 , Zhōuyì  - "Changes of the Zhou").

Name and structure of the collection

character No. Meaning n. Wilhelm 中文 Pīnyīn
Iching-hexagram-01.svg 01 The creative qián
Iching-hexagram-02.svg 02 The receiving kūn
Iching-hexagram-03.svg 03 The initial difficulty chún
Iching-hexagram-04.svg 04th The youthful folly méng
Iching-hexagram-05.svg 05 The wait
Iching-hexagram-06.svg 06th The dispute song
Iching-hexagram-07.svg 07th The army shī
Iching-hexagram-08.svg 08th Sticking together
Iching-hexagram-09.svg 09 The taming power of the little one 小畜 xiǎo chù
Iching-hexagram-10.svg 10 The appearance
Iching-hexagram-11.svg 11 The peace taì
Iching-hexagram-12.svg 12 The stagnation
Iching-hexagram-13.svg 13 Fellowship with people 同人 tóng rén
Iching-hexagram-14.svg 14th Owning something great 大有 dà yǒu
Iching-hexagram-15.svg 15th The humility qiān
Iching-hexagram-16.svg 16 The Rapture
Iching-hexagram-17.svg 17th The succession suí
Iching-hexagram-18.svg 18th The work on the corrupt
Iching-hexagram-19.svg 19th The approach lín
Iching-hexagram-20.svg 20th The viewing guān
Iching-hexagram-21.svg 21st The bite through 噬嗑 shì kè
Iching-hexagram-22.svg 22nd The grace bi
Iching-hexagram-23.svg 23 The fragmentation
Iching-hexagram-24.svg 24 The turning point
Iching-hexagram-25.svg 25th innocence 無 妄 wú wàng
Iching-hexagram-26.svg 26th The taming power of the great 大 畜 dà chù
Iching-hexagram-27.svg 27 Food
Iching-hexagram-28.svg 28 The great excess weight 大 過 dà guò
Iching-hexagram-29.svg 29 The Abyssal can
Iching-hexagram-30.svg 30th The fire
Iching-hexagram-31.svg 31 The impact xián
Iching-hexagram-32.svg 32 The duration héng
Iching-hexagram-33.svg 33 The withdrawal thin
Iching-hexagram-34.svg 34 The great power 大 壯 dà zhuàng
Iching-hexagram-35.svg 35 The progress jìn
Iching-hexagram-36.svg 36 The eclipse of the light 明夷 míng yí
Iching-hexagram-37.svg 37 The clan 家人 jiā rén
Iching-hexagram-38.svg 38 The opposite kúi
Iching-hexagram-39.svg 39 The obstruction jiǎn
Iching-hexagram-40.svg 40 The Liberation xìe
Iching-hexagram-41.svg 41 The reduction sǔn
Iching-hexagram-42.svg 42 The increase
Iching-hexagram-43.svg 43 The breakthrough guài
Iching-hexagram-44.svg 44 The courtesy gòu
Iching-hexagram-45.svg 45 The collection cùi
Iching-hexagram-46.svg 46 The climb up shēng
Iching-hexagram-47.svg 47 The distress kùn
Iching-hexagram-48.svg 48 The fountain young
Iching-hexagram-49.svg 49 The upheaval
Iching-hexagram-50.svg 50 The crucible dǐng
Iching-hexagram-51.svg 51 The exciting thing zhèn
Iching-hexagram-52.svg 52 Keeping still gene
Iching-hexagram-53.svg 53 The development jiàn
Iching-hexagram-54.svg 54 The getting married girl 歸 妹 gūi mèi
Iching-hexagram-55.svg 55 The abundance fēng
Iching-hexagram-56.svg 56 The hiker
Iching-hexagram-57.svg 57 The gentle one xùn
Iching-hexagram-58.svg 58 The cheerful dùi
Iching-hexagram-59.svg 59 The resolution huàn
Iching-hexagram-60.svg 60 The restriction jíe
Iching-hexagram-61.svg 61 Inner truth 中孚 zhōng fú
Iching-hexagram-62.svg 62 The little one overweight 小 過 xiǎo gùo
Iching-hexagram-63.svg 63 After completion 既 濟 jì jì
Iching-hexagram-64.svg 64 Before completion 未 濟 wèi jì

Yì Jīng is the spelling in Pinyin transcription, which has been recognized as an international standard since 1982. The spelling I Ching is the - now outdated - transcription that Richard Wilhelm used in his translation. Other possible historical spellings are e.g. B. to: Wade-Giles : I-Ching , EFEO : Yi-King , Stange : Yi-King . Richard Wilhelm's translation, which is decisive for worldwide reception, was translated into English in 1950 by Cary F. Baynes under the title I Ching and published. Because of the quality of the translation, which is recognized in China research, and because of its great success even among laypeople, this translation was published in other European languages.

The oldest layer of the book is called Zhōu Yì ( 周易 , Chou I ), "the Yì (change) of the Zhōu (dynasty) ". The Zhōu Yì consists of 64 groups of six continuous or broken lines ( , yáo ). The groups are also called hexagrams . In the conventional arrangement, the Zhōu Yì is divided into two books, the first of which contains the first thirty hexagrams and the second the characters 31 to 64. Each hexagram is represented according to a uniform scheme: a figure ( 卦象 , guà xiàng ), the name ( 卦名 , guà míng ), a saying with a short explanation ( 卦 辭 , guà cí ) as well as an explanation of every single stroke ( 爻 辭 , yáo cí ).

In addition, since the 2nd century BC, the book contains A series of attached texts called the Ten Wings ( 十 翼 , Shí Yì ) or "Commentary on Yì" ( 易 傳 , Yì Zhùan ) and consisting of ten documents in seven sections. They have traditionally been attributed to Confucius . Today it is assumed that these are comments from his successors. In some later editions, the first two comments have been split up and assigned directly to the individual characters.

Originally the signs of the oracle part come from the Chinese oracle practice, closer to the yarrow oracle, the sayings, on the other hand, from the tradition of saying and ritual practice. In the scholarly reception since the 4th century BC There were two interpretive traditions in the 4th century BC: The first regarded the work as a manual of divination (e.g. Liu Mu and Shao Yong). The other sought a philosophical interpretation (e.g. Zheng Xuan, Wang Bi, Han Kangbo) and made the book as a source of cosmological, philosophical and political insights the subject of intense philosophical commentary. The popular use of the Zhōu Yì as an oracle book never went out of use and the understanding of the text as a philosophical “wisdom book” also shaped the European reception.

History and lore

History of origin

The tradition assumes that the principles of the I Ching are based on the "called" (sheng ren, 圣人), i.e. the ancestral deity, from the clan Fu Xi or the legendary first emperor Fu Xi ( 伏羲 , Fú Xī , approx. Millennium BC), attributed; he discovered the eight basic signs. King Wen (Zhōu Wén wáng, 周文王, 11th century BC) and his son Zhou (Zhōu Gōngdàn; 周公 旦) are said to have provided the number of characters, which has since grown to 64, with instructions.

Before the Zhou dynasty , besides the Zhou Yi, there are said to have been other written traditions of the hexagrams, the Lian Shan Yi ( 連山 易 , Lián Shān Yì ) and the Gui Cang Yi ( 歸 藏 易 , Gūi Cáng Yì ), but these have been lost are.

Since the discovery of the oracle bones of the Shang period (2nd millennium BC), research has assumed that the I Ching emerged from this oracle practice. This revaluation took place in China in the last years of the Qing period (end of the 19th century), but has only been noticed in Europe since around 1980.

The current text editing of the I Ching was created in the seventh century AD and published under the title Zhouyi zhengyi (周易 正義, Zhōuyì zhèngyì); this edition was the authoritative text for centuries.

Textus receptus and older traditions

For about 10 percent of the standard text, references have been made since the 2nd century BC. Received, including the epigraphic tradition on stone steles (see list of stone classics ).

In 1973 a silk text (approx. 2nd century BC) with a version of the I Ching that deviates from the standard text was discovered in a grave in the Mawangdui archaeological site near Changsha in the Hunan Province and has been under the name since it was first published in 1993 Name Mawangdui silk texts ( 馬王堆 帛書 , Mǎ wáng duī Bó shū ) known. According to Edward Shaughnessy, approximately 12 percent (560 characters) of the entire text of the Mawangdui I Ching differ from the traditional form of the text.

In 1977 an excavation in Shuanggudui (雙 古 堆) near Fuyang (富陽 市) in the province of Anhui discovered bamboo strips containing fragments of the Zhōu Yì (2nd century BC). Since then, further archaeological finds have revealed other older or parallel versions of the Zhōu Yì (the bamboo texts by Chu and the Guodian bamboo texts ).

The 64 hexagrams

Components and their meaning

The I Ching contains 64 different figures (hexagrams). A hexagram consists of six lines, each of which can appear in two different ways: as a solid horizontal line (hard) and as a horizontal line broken in the middle (soft). All 64 hexagrams are formed from these two types of lines.

The characters are derived from 2 × 3 lines, i.e. from two "trigrams". The continuous lines are considered the solid and light ones, the broken lines are considered the soft and dark ones. The lines have different rank and meaning according to their place within the hexagram (viewed from bottom to top). The emphasized lines of the lower half-character enter the character, are "coming", the emphasized lines in the upper half-character are "going". The bottom and top lines of a character are always related to other characters and do not belong to the core characters.

The 64 images or basic symbols (identical to the expression hexagram) describe powers (1 + 2), situations or tasks (3 + 5 + 6 + 10 ...), family (31 + 37 + 54), personal characteristics or skills (4 + 8 + 9 + 14…), concrete activities (hikers, 56), political phases (11 + 12 + 18 + 21…) - they usually contain abstract terms with several possible interpretations.

All 64 images can each have 6 additional notes, depending on whether a line was identified as moving (“dynamic”) or not (“stable”) when the character was identified (depending on the shape of the oracle ) . So the 64 pictures already describe 384 situations or give appropriate advice on how to behave. Since each of the 64 characters can merge into all the others by changing one or more lines, there are 64 × 64 = 4,096 different implicit transitions or possibilities of turning a situation over. This large number of different possible combinations led the authors of the I Ching to believe that the possible combinations of symbols could represent all possibilities of changes and changes in the world. The extensive arithmetic operations required when collecting the numerical values ​​therefore became the basis of a number symbolism based on the I Ching .

The two lines

Historically, the I Ching is much older than the Yin-Yang teaching ( 陰陽  /  阴阳 , Yīn Yáng ), but the following assignments for the two "lines" ( 兩儀 , Liǎng Yí ) have become common over time:

  • TXJ 1.svgThe solid line stands for the yáng ( ): expansion, masculine aspect, light, life, odd numbers , penetration, mountains; in India the lingam . The symbol is the dragon .
  • TXJ 2.svgThe broken line stands for the yīn ( ): contraction, feminine aspect, darkness, night, death, even numbers , resistance, watercourses; in India the yoni . The symbol is the tiger .

Different perspectives (I):

0 1 00 01 10 11 000 001 010 011 100 101 110 111
TXJ 2.svg TXJ 1.svg TXJ 22.svg TXJ 21.svg TXJ 12.svg TXJ 11.svg Trigrams2637 ☷.svg Trigrams2636 ☶.svg Trigrams2635 ☵.svg Trigrams2634 ☴.svg Trigrams2633 ☳.svg Trigrams2632 ☲.svg Trigrams2631 ☱.svg Trigrams2630 ☰.svg
TXJ 1.svg TXJ 2.svg TXJ 11.svg TXJ 12.svg TXJ 21.svg TXJ 22.svg Trigrams2630 ☰.svg Trigrams2631 ☱.svg Trigrams2632 ☲.svg Trigrams2633 ☳.svg Trigrams2634 ☴.svg Trigrams2635 ☵.svg Trigrams2636 ☶.svg Trigrams2637 ☷.svg

The two lines can be seen as elements of a dual system . In the representation of the symbols in Unicode (shown in the bottom line) , however, the solid line corresponds to the binary number 0 and the broken line corresponds to the binary number 1, complementary to the parity assignment just mentioned .

In his commentary 'Die Lehren des Laotse', published for the first time in 1925, Richard Wilhelm describes the philosophical background as follows, whereby the term 'Urzeichen' refers to the trigrams (Richard Wilhelm, 'Laotse. Tao te king. Das Buch vom Weg des Lebens' , Bastei Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach, 2nd edition: January 2003; Orig. Eugen Diederichs Verlag, 1910):

“The world is constantly changing and changing. Everything that is has therefore succumbed to death: for birth and death are indeed opposites, but they are necessarily linked to one another. But since everything that has been perishes, there is still no reason to say: "It is all very vain"; for the same book of changes also shows that all changes take place according to fixed laws. The Book of Changes contains the view that the whole world of phenomena is based on a polar opposition of forces; the creative and the receiving, the one and the two, the light and the shadow, the positive and the negative, the masculine and the feminine, all are manifestations of the polar forces that bring about all change and change. Because these forces should not be imagined as dormant original principles. The Book of Changes view is far removed from any cosmic dualism . Rather, these forces themselves are constantly changing. The one separates and becomes two, the two unites and becomes one. The creative and the receiving unite and create the world. Lao Tzu also says that the one creates the two, the two creates the three, and the three creates all things. In the Book of Changes this is represented by the fact that the undivided line of the creative and the divided line of the receiving come together to form the eight three-level primordial signs, from the combinations of which the whole world of possible time constellations is built. "

- Richard Wilhelm : Laotse Tao te king

The four pictures

Four different “images” (“The four Xiàng”, 四 像 , Sì Xiàng ) can be put together from the two lines . Air (or sky) and earth are above (old yang) and below (old yin). Fire and water are in between. Fire tends to blaze upwards, which is why it is called "young yang". Water, on the other hand, flows downwards and is called "young yin". The change takes place in an eternal cycle: from old yang (above) to young yin (down), to old yin (down), to young yang (up), back to old yang (up) and so on: TXJ 11.svgTXJ 21.svgTXJ 22.svgTXJ 12.svgTXJ 11.svg→: /:

TXJ 11.svg ( U + 268C ) air old yang ( 太陽 , tài yáng )
TXJ 12.svg (U + 268D) Fire young yang ( 少陽 , shào yáng )   see "Different perspectives"
TXJ 21.svg (U + 268E) water  young yin ( 少陰 , shào yīn ) - "-
TXJ 22.svg (U + 268F) earth old yin ( 太陰 , tài yīn )

Different perspectives (II):

image R. Wilhelm M. Granet Unicode Zhu Xi
TXJ 12.svg young yang little yin lesser yin 少陰
TXJ 21.svg young yin little yang lesser yang 少陽

While the digrams from twice the same line, which are called old, mature, big, hard, strong, stable, are clearly assigned to the Yang or Yin, the sources do not offer any uniform designations for the two digrams from two different lines. In contrast to the views cited here from the book I Ching (page 295) by Richard Wilhelm , both Unicode and the books The Chinese Thinking (page 141) by Marcel Granet and Zhouyi zhengyi ( 周易 正義 , Zhōuyì zhèngyì ) by Zhu Xi ( 朱熹 , Zhū ​​Xī ) assigned the terms contrary. The symbol assignments for fire and water have also been swapped.

The eight trigrams

The eight trigrams

By adding one Yáng or Yīn to each of the four Xiàng eight trigrams or "oracle signs " ( 八卦 , Bā Guà ) arise . However, these only give a static picture. Only the extension to the 64 hexagrams allows dynamic events to be displayed, since the trigrams interact with one another. The hexagrams are therefore each understood to be composed of two trigrams. The eight trigrams are:

Trigrams2630 ☰.svg Force ( , qián ) = Heaven ( , tiān ) father
Trigrams2631 ☱.svg Open ( , duì ) = Swamp ( , ) Youngest daughter
Trigrams2632 ☲.svg Radiation ( , ) = Fire ( , huǒ ) Middle daughter
Trigrams2633 ☳.svg Quake ( , zhèn ) = Thunder ( , léi ) Oldest son
Trigrams2634 ☴.svg Floor ( , xùn ) = Wind ( , fēng ) Oldest daughter
Trigrams2635 ☵.svg Gorge ( , kǎn ) = Water ( , shuǐ ) Middle son
Trigrams2636 ☶.svg Bund ( , gèn ) = Mountain ( , shān ) Youngest son
Trigrams2637 ☷.svg Field ( , kūn ) = Earth ( , ) mother

The first or lower trigram of a hexagram is considered to be the inner aspect of the change in progress; the second or upper trigram is called the external aspect .

The described change connects the inner aspect (person) with the outer situation.

Each trigram is assigned a position in the family according to the male (solid) or female (broken) lines. The line, which is contained only once in the trigram, is decisive for the gender assignment, the assignment to age is from bottom to top. Heaven (father) and earth (mother) have a special position.

The hexagrams are read from bottom to top, whereby the so-called ranks 1–4, 2–5, 3–6 of the two trigrams must be seen in connection.

Historical sequences

1st group: Iching-hexagram-01.svg Iching-hexagram-12.svg Iching-hexagram-33.svg Iching-hexagram-10.svg Iching-hexagram-06.svg Iching-hexagram-13.svg Iching-hexagram-25.svg Iching-hexagram-44.svg
2nd group: Iching-hexagram-52.svg Iching-hexagram-41.svg Iching-hexagram-04.svg Iching-hexagram-22.svg Iching-hexagram-27.svg Iching-hexagram-18.svg Iching-hexagram-26.svg Iching-hexagram-23.svg
3rd group: Iching-hexagram-29.svg Iching-hexagram-63.svg Iching-hexagram-03.svg Iching-hexagram-48.svg Iching-hexagram-05.svg Iching-hexagram-08.svg Iching-hexagram-39.svg Iching-hexagram-60.svg
4th group: Iching-hexagram-51.svg Iching-hexagram-32.svg Iching-hexagram-34.svg Iching-hexagram-16.svg Iching-hexagram-62.svg Iching-hexagram-54.svg Iching-hexagram-40.svg Iching-hexagram-55.svg
5th group: Iching-hexagram-02.svg Iching-hexagram-15.svg Iching-hexagram-19.svg Iching-hexagram-07.svg Iching-hexagram-36.svg Iching-hexagram-24.svg Iching-hexagram-46.svg Iching-hexagram-11.svg
6th group: Iching-hexagram-58.svg Iching-hexagram-47.svg Iching-hexagram-49.svg Iching-hexagram-17.svg Iching-hexagram-28.svg Iching-hexagram-43.svg Iching-hexagram-45.svg Iching-hexagram-31.svg
7th group: Iching-hexagram-30.svg Iching-hexagram-21.svg Iching-hexagram-50.svg Iching-hexagram-14.svg Iching-hexagram-35.svg Iching-hexagram-56.svg Iching-hexagram-38.svg Iching-hexagram-64.svg
8th group: Iching-hexagram-57.svg Iching-hexagram-09.svg Iching-hexagram-20.svg Iching-hexagram-53.svg Iching-hexagram-61.svg Iching-hexagram-59.svg Iching-hexagram-37.svg Iching-hexagram-42.svg

Several sequences of characters have occurred historically. The oldest order is the “King Wen” or the “conventional” order, which is traced back to King Wen. Another order is named after the mythical hero Fu Xi (伏羲, Fú Xī), but goes back to Shao Yong (from the time of the Song Dynasty ); it is ordered in such a way that the characters can be viewed as a sequence of binary numbers.

A third arrangement is that of the Mawangdui text: there is no pair formation between two consecutive hexagrams, and the order of the hexagrams is completely different. They are systematically arranged in Mawangdui I-Ching:

All eight trigrams are represented in the hexagrams of each group. In each case a hexagram consisting of two identical trigrams - a so-called double sign - leads to a group of eight hexagrams, whereby the upper trigram remains the same within a group and the lower trigram changes according to a certain sequence. The sequence of the lower trigrams remains the same in all eight groups, but is different from that of the upper trigrams:

  • Order of the upper trigrams (the leaders of the 8 hexagram groups):
    Sky, mountain, water, thunder, earth, lake, fire, wind
  • Order of the lower trigrams (cyclically offset start):
    Heaven, earth, mountain, lake, water, fire, thunder, wind

This results in the following sequence:

  • Group: 1. Heaven / Heaven, 2. Earth / Heaven, 3. Mountain / Heaven, etc .;
  • Group: 9. Mountain / Mountain; 10. Lake / mountain, and so on.

Representation of the hexagrams on the computer

The 64 hexagrams are already included in the Unicode character set, so they do not have to be drawn on Unicode-compatible operating systems (these are practically all operating systems released after 2000), but can be entered like normal text. The hexagrams have the character numbers 4DC0 to 4DFF.

Comments on the I Ching

In the 2nd century BC The I Ching was included in the literary canon by the Han emperors and thus part of the examination system for civil service. The text thus became the subject of a branched commentary tradition that splits into different branches.

More than sixty commentaries on the I Ching are known, although not all of them have survived. The authors of such comments were a. Zheng Xuan (鄭玄, 127–200), Wang Bi (王弼, 226–249), Han Kangbo (韓康伯, 322–380), Kong Yingda (孔穎達, 574–648), Li Dingzuo (李鼎祚, Zhouyi jijie周易 集解), Chén Tuán (陈 抟,? -989), Shi Jie (石 介, 1005-1045), Liu Mu (劉 牧, 1011-1064), Shao Yong (邵雍, 1011-1077), Hu Yuan (胡瑗, 993-1059), Ouyang Xiu (歐陽修, 1007-1072), Zhang Zai (張 載, 1020-1077), Wang Anshi (王安石, 1021-1086), Sima Guang (司馬 光, 1019-1086), Su Shi (蘇 軾, 1037–1101), Cheng Yi (程頤, 1033–1107), Lü Dalin (呂 大 臨, 1044–1091) and Zhu Xi (朱熹, 1130–1200, authoritative commentary up to 1905).

The number of comments had grown to nearly 1,500 by the end of the 18th century. The most famous is called the "Great Treatise" ( Dazhuan ). It is a text probably from the Han period , which describes the prehistory of China and the development of the cultural tradition.

The I Ching had an important position in both the (neo) Confucian and the Daoist tradition. In today's China, on the other hand, the text is seldom read in broader circles and is largely incomprehensible. As a result of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), the preoccupation with this book - with the exception of state-commissioned scientists - was and is suspected of spreading anti-communist views. Several generations of Chinese therefore had no contact with this literature in the second half of the 20th century, in contrast to thousands of generations in earlier times.

Reception in the west

Joachim Bouvet transmitted the sixty-four hexagrams from China to Leibniz , 1701
Frontispiece of the first edition of the I Ching, translated and explained by Richard Wilhelm, Verlag E. Diederichs, 1924

The I Ching had been known in Europe since the 17th century through the partial translation by Richard Couplet SJ ( Confucius Sinarum philosophus , 1687), among others Leibniz valued it very much: he believed he saw his invention of the binary number system anticipated in the text and concluded from it (incorrectly) on a highly developed ancient Chinese mathematics. The first complete Latin translation by the Jesuit Jean-Baptiste Régis appeared in 1834–1839. However, the credit for having brought the I Ching to a wider reception goes to the German sinologist Richard Wilhelm , whose influential translation he claims to have with the help and guidance of his “honored teacher Lau Nai Süan”, one of “the most important Chinese scholars of the old school ”completed in 1923 (published in 1924 by E. Diederichs; cf. preface to the first edition by Richard Wilhelm, Beijing, 1923). Not least because of Wilhelm's translation, which in turn was translated into other languages, including English, the I Ching became the most famous of all Chinese books, with millions of copies being distributed. To prepare his translation, he sifted through extensive material from Western and Chinese sources, including a. the ten wings . In his introduction to the I Ching (Richard Wilhelm: I Ging. The Book of Changes. Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena 1924) he remarks:

“After the Book of Changes had confirmed its fame as a fortune-telling and magic book under Tsin Shi Huang , the whole school of magicians ( Fang Shi ) during the Tsin and Handy dynasty , and the one that probably arose from Dsou Yen later, took on it Yin-Yang teaching cultivated by Dung Dschung Schu and Liu Hin and Liu Hiang celebrated their orgies while explaining the Book of Changes. It was reserved for the great and wise scholar Wang Bi to clear up this mess. He wrote about the purpose of the Book of Changes as a book of wisdom, not an oracle book. He soon found imitation, and instead of the magical teachings of the Yin-Yang teachers, the emerging philosophy of the state was attached to the book. In the Sung period the book was used as a basis for the - probably not Chinese - Tai-Gi-Tu speculation, until the older Tschong Dsï wrote a very good commentary on the book, the old comments contained in the "wings" are listed under the had got used to dividing individual characters. So the book had gradually become a textbook of state and life wisdom. Since sought him Chu Hi yet again his character to preserve as an oracle book published except for a brief and precise comment also an introduction to his study of divination. The critical, historical direction during the last dynasty also took up the Book of Changes, but was less fortunate in its opposition to the Sung scholars and in its search for commentators closer to the writing of the Book of Changes than in their treatment of the other classics. After all, the Hank commentators were, after all, magicians or influenced by ideas about magic. A very good edition was organized under Kanghi under the title: Dschou I Dsche Dschung, which brings text and wings separately and also the best comments of all time. The present translation is based on this edition. "

- Richard Wilhelm : I Ching

For the western reception outside of modern Sinology, which in many points follows the view of modern China about Daoism , it is characteristic up to the most recent times that it not only takes up the centuries-old Chinese commentary tradition, but also seeks direct access to the text often refer to peculiarities of ancient Chinese thought assumed by modern authors.

According to the sinologist Hellmut Wilhelm , who held chairs at Peking University and the University of Washington , the world described in the I Ching is a whole that proceeds according to certain laws, the forms of which arise from the permanent change of the two polar elemental forces. The basic principles are the creative (picture no. 1, = heaven, light, solid, yang , ...) and the receiving (picture no. 2, = earth, dark, soft, yin , ...). In the I Ching "an attempt is made to put together the situations of life in all its strata, personal as well as collective, and in all of its expansion."

The Swiss composer Alfons Karl Zwicker composed “Secretum” (2006–2007, eight pieces based on the original I Ching for violoncello and double bass). After John Cage got to know the I Ching, he created "Music of Changes" (1951) and other works based on the random process, similar to the oracle . On the album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn , published in 1967 by the British rock group Pink Floyd , there is a song called Chapter 24 , which contains text modules from the translations by Richard Wilhelm (translated into English by Cary F. Baynes) and James Legge . In addition, the dystopia " The Man in the High Castle " by Philip K. Dick , published in 1962, refers to the I Ching.

Carl Gustav Jung , who was on friendly terms with Richard Wilhelm , one of the pioneers of modern depth psychology and founder of analytical psychology , valued the I Ching very much and saw in it a possibility of access to the unconscious . Jung first publicly used the term synchronistic principle in 1930 in his obituary for the friend (CG Jung, Gesammelte Werke, Volume 15: On the Phenomenon of Spirit in Art and Science, 2001 edition, Walter Verlag, ISBN 978-3-530-40715- 0 ):

"The science of the I Ching is not based on the causal principle, but on a principle that has not yet been named - because it does not occur in our country - that I tentatively referred to as the synchronistic principle."

- Carl Gustav Jung : Obituary for Richard Wilhelm

In his foreword to The I Ching, or Book of Changes in English (Wilhelm-Baynes, Pantheon Books, New York, 1950), CG Jung expresses his deeply felt gratitude towards R. Wilhelm, taking into account the context of the, which is important for his work Unconscious with the oracle of the I Ching highlights:

“I am greatly indebted to Wilhelm for the light he has thrown upon the complicated problem of the I Ching, and for insight as regards its practical application as well. For more than thirty years I have interested myself in this oracle technique, or method of exploring the unconscious, for it has seemed to me of uncommon significance. I was already fairly familiar with the I Ching when I first met Wilhelm in the early nineteen twenties; he confirmed for me then what I already knew, and taught me many things more. "

“I am deeply indebted to Wilhelm for shedding light on the intricate problems of the I Ching and also for insights related to the practical application [of the I Ching]. For more than thirty years I have been interested in this oracle technique - or method for exploring the unconscious - because it seemed to me of the utmost importance. When I first met Richard Wilhelm in the early twenties, I was quite familiar with the I Ching; he then confirmed what I already knew and taught me many more things. "

- Carl Gustav Jung : Foreword to the I Ching


  • John Blofeld (Ed.): I Ching. The Book of Changes. With a foreword by Lama Anagarika Govinda . Translated from English by Matthias Dehne and Stephan Schumacher. Barth, Munich 1983.
  • James Legge: I Ching: Book of Changes. With introduction and study guide by Ch'u Chai and Winberg Chai. Citadel Press, New York 1964. Reprint of 1899 century translation.
  • Dennis R. Schilling: Yijing. The Book of Changes . Publishing House of World Religions, Frankfurt am Main / Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-458-70016-6 .
  • Richard Wilhelm : I Ching. The Book of Changes . Eugen Diederichs Verlag, Jena 1924; newly published by Ulf Diederichs. Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-424-00061-2 .


  • Hermann G. Bohn: The Reception of Zhouyi in Chinese Philosophy, from the Beginnings to the Song Dynasty . Munich 1998, ISBN 3-89675-282-0 .
  • Dominique Hertzer: The Mawangdui-Yijing. Text and interpretation . Diederichs, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-424-01307-2 .
  • Tze-Ki Hon: The Yijing and Chinese Politics. Classical Commentary and Literati Activism in the Northern Song Period, 960-1127 . State University of New York Press, Albany, NY., 2005.
  • Richard A. Kunst: The Original Yijing: A Text, Phonetic Transcription, Translation, and Indexes, with Sample Glosses . (Diss.) UCB, Berkeley, CA. 1985.
  • Hellmut Wilhelm: The change. Eight essays on the I Ching . 1st edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-518-37646-2 .
  • Fung Yu-lan : A History of Chinese Philosophy . Volume I. Princeton 1983 (first 1934)
  • Edward L. Shaughnessy: I ching (Chou I) . In: Michael Loewe (Ed.): Early Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide . Society for the Study of Early China, and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley 1993. (= Early China Special Monograph Series; 2.) pp. 216-228.
  • Iulian K. Shchutskii: Researches on the I Ching. Translation by William L. MacDonald Tsuyoshi Hasegawa, and Hellmut Wilhelm. Princeton Univ. Pr., Princeton, NJ, 1979.
  • Christensen, Lars Bo: The Book of Changes - The original Core of the I Ching . Amazon Create Space 2015. (The first translation of the original core texts with a full glossary). ISBN 978-87-997976-1-5 .
  • Edward L. Shaughnessy: Unearthing the Changes . Columbia University Press, 2014.

Web links

Commons : I Ching  - The hexagrams in SVG format
Wikisource: Zhōu yì (trad., Unicode)  - sources and full texts (Chinese)

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Bauer : Foreword to: Hellmut Wilhelm : Die Wandlung. Eight essays on the I Ching . Frankfurt a. M. 1990, 6th edition, pp. 7f.
  2. Lutz Geldsetzer u. Hong Han-ding : Basics of Chinese Philosophy . Stuttgart 1998, p. 178.
  3. Schilling (2009), p. 374.
  4. Schilling (2009), p. 254. See also Bohn (1998); Hon (2005).
  5. Schilling (2009), p. 285.
  6. See Bent Nielsen: A companion to Yijing Numerology and Cosmology: Chinese Studies of Images and Numbers from Han to Song . Routledge, London 2003, p. XVI.
  7. Schilling (2009), p. 365.
  8. Edward L. Shaughnessy: I Ching. The Classic of Changes translated with an introduction and commentary. The first English translation of the newly discovered second century BC Mawangdui texts . Ballantyne Books, New York 1997. See Richard Rutt: Opening a New Field for Dragons. Edward L. Shaughnessy's Mawangdui Yijing - a Review Article . In: The Oracle. Journal of Yijing Studies 2 (1999), pp. 38-47 ( online ).
  9. ^ Edward L. Shaughnessy: The Fuyang Zhou Yi and the Making of a Divination Manual . In: Asia Major , Third Series, vol. 14, part 2 (2001), pp 7-18 ( pdf. Accessed on November 8, 2014 . ).
  10. The Unicode Standard 6.0, Range 4DC0-4DFF: Yijing Hexagram Symbols ( pdf ).
  11. Schilling (2009), p. 255.
  12. Bohn (1998); Hon (2005).
  13. ^ Song shi , juan 202, 5035-5040. See Hon 2005, p. 5.
  14. Helwig Schmidt-Glintzer : History of Chinese literature: from the beginnings to the present . Munich 1999, p. 60.
  15. Bohn (1998), p. 1.
  16. See Robert E. Van Voorst: RELG: World. Stanford 2015, p. 162.
  17. ^ Richard J. Smith: Jesuit Interpretations of the Yijing in Historical and Comparative Perspective ( Memento January 16, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). In: International Journal of the Humanities 1 (2003), pp. 776-801.
  18. David E. Mungello: How Central to Leibniz's Philosophy what China? In: The Latest on China. GW Leibnizen's Novissima Sinica from 1697 . Edited by Wenchao Li and Hans Poser. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1999 (= Studia Leibnitiana Supplementa; 33.) pp. 57-67, here: pp. 59f.
  19. See Bohn (1998), introduction.
  20. ^ Hellmut Wilhelm, Memories and Bibliography ", Oriens Extremus 35 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz & Co: 1992)
  21. Archive link ( Memento from October 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  22. ^ Wilhelm, Hellmut (1955): Sense of the I Ching. Munich. Here p. 7.
  23. German: "The oracle from the mountain".
  24. PDF John Legge (18.5 MB).