Book of Changes In Sound
The I Ching
by Dan Senn
known as the Book
of Changes, the
I Ching (pronounced yee jing),
is the first and most important book of the ancient Chinese
texts called the Five Classics. It has had a significant philosophical
influence outside of China, particularly in Japan and Korea, but
also on Western art since the end of the Second World War. The book
contains a divination system comparable to Western geomancy or the West
African Ifá system. In Western cultures and modern East Asia, it is
still widely used for this purpose.
Originating early in the Chou dynasty (1122-256 B.C.), in its most primitive, the I Ching was used to predict the future. Containing figures made up of broken and unbroken lines, these were later combined to form symbolic figures called trigrams. Eventually, the trigrams were combined to form 64 six-line figures called hexagrams, or lycons in this sound notation system.
Interpretations, or judgments, explained the general significance of every hexagram according to an associated text. Each line of a hexagram, beginning from the bottom, is given a meaning to guide one's actions after a specific query. Someone wishing to consult the I Ching would follow a specific process using yarrow sticks or coins to select a hexagram.
By the 500's B.C., the I Ching developed into a book of philosophy with Confucius teaching it as a book of moral wisdom. The Ten Wings were written by his followers to comment on The Book of Changes.