domingo, agosto 27, 2006


Implications of the title

  • 易 (), when used as an adjective, means "easy" or "simple", while as a verb it implies "to change".
  • 經 (jīng) here means "classic (text)", which derived from its original meaning of "regularity" or "persistency", implying that the text describes the Ultimate Way which will not change throughout the flow of time.

The conception behind this title, thus, is profound. It has three implications:

  1. Simplicity - the root of the substance. The fundamental law underlying everything in the universe is utterly plain and simple, no matter how abstruse or complex some things may appear to be.
  2. Variability - the use of the substance. Everything in the universe is continually changing. By comprehending this one may realize the importance of flexibility in life and may thus cultivate the proper attitude for dealing with a multiplicity of diverse situations.
  3. Persistency - the essence of the substance. While everything in the universe seems to be changing, among the changing tides there is a persistent principle, a central rule, which does not vary with space and time.

(易一名而含三義:易簡一也;變易二也;不易三也。 commented on by Zheng Xuan (鄭玄 zhèng xúan) in his writings Critique of I Ching (易贊 yì zàn) and Commentary on I Ching (易論 yì lùn) of Eastern Han Dynasty).

Due to the profound ideas conveyed by the title itself, it is practically impossible to arrive at an unbiased translation which could preserve the original concepts intact. The translation of the title into English used to be Book of Changes, though a slightly more accurate name, Classic of Changes, appears more frequently in recent use.

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