Do you believe in the I-Ching?
32% of readers do (March 2013)
Poll Below !
After graduating from Oriental Medical School in Osaka, Japan, I took up an apprenticeship with one of the most famous Oriental Medical Doctors in my home town of Kyoto. My teacher was very successful, highly respected and well-loved by his patients. Though he was 40 years my elder, we became good friends and shared hours in conversation like college friends.
His favorite conversation was on the philosophy surrounding the I-Ching. The I-Ching is an ancient classic Chinese text of divination — an oracle, a guidebook. To access the divination, one throws coins or sticks to decide which of its 64 chapters to read and how to read them. Each chapter was based on one of 64 hexagrams derived from Ying Yang philosophy and is meant to help one answer questions he or she has in their life. People spend lifetimes studying the text and it has been used for millennium to answer difficult questions.
My teacher lived and breathed the I-Ching. His enthusiasm was contagious. We would talk about it on our long strolls in Japanese gardens or even at Geisha parties to which he’d invite me.
He explained to me that to benefit from the I-Ching, one reads the vague passages with an open heart. Another friend likened it to Tofu — it has no flavor of its own but picks up the flavor of those who read it.
I read the I Ching for about 2 years, and often threw coins and contemplated the text. But it was difficult for me. I was a Westerner and had not been immersed since a child in this culture. Thus the philosophy behind it was more intellectually inspiring and less emotionally stirring. I can’t say I made any amazingly good decisions using the I Ching, but the time spent was fun.
I’ve seen many Christians read their Bible in a similar way: When troubled, the open it up and read — looking for guidance, strength, insight or inspiration. People do this other literature too. My experience has told me that no god speaks through text, there is not magic. Well, unless one understands that our minds are complex, we are not who we think we are and a text can act as tofu, drawing in a hidden flavor of many ourselves, helping us to see life more fully. Heck — that is magic, eh?