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Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Fortune of My Blog According to I Ching

In recent months I took three introductory classes on I Ching 易經, sponsored by the Hong's Foundation for Education and Culture 洪建全基金會. The classes were taught by Professor Pei-Rong Fu 傅佩榮. Prior to his retirement from National Taiwan University, Fu was the Chair of the Department of Philosophy and had written numerous books on Chinese classics. I Ching is the oldest of the Chinese classics with ideas that underpin many aspects of Chinese thinking for millenia. As with most Chinese, I know bits and pieces of I Ching and read parts of the book when I was younger.

Since the three classes on I Ching were only one and half hour long each, Fu could only provide an overview of I Ching. Fu said learning the entire text of I Ching would require around 40 classes. Obviously, I only scratched the surface of I Ching, but I have developed a greater appreciation of the text.

In the last class, Fu demonstrated the traditional way of using 50 sticks to derive a Guà 卦 (hexagram). Afterwards we were asked to try the method ourselves to seek our fortune. First we wrote down the questions and then used the sticks to derive six numbers, writing them down from the bottom to the top. The six numbers I drew were, 8 6 6 9 7 7. Each number forms a line (Yáo 爻): odd number means an unbroken line (Yang 陽 ) and even number is a broken line (Yin 陰). The Guà 卦 I got was the 12th one named Pǐ 否. Since the numbers 6 and 9 denote change, I also received a corresponding Guà 卦 (之卦): 57th Guà 卦 named Xùn 巽.

Deriving the Guà 卦 and looking up the related texts in I Ching are not difficult. The interpretation of the texts in relation to the question posed requires deep knowledge. After writing out the Guà 卦, Fu said because 3 of the 6 numbers I drew denote change, my fortune would be based on the texts of both Guà 卦. Furthermore, the focus should be on the main texts of the Guà 卦 rather than the specific Yáo 爻 (line).

Fu asked what was my question. I said, Will my blog make any money?

Fu said with Pǐ Guà 否卦, you probably haven't made any money from your blog. I replied, I never made a single dollar. Even without knowledge of I Ching, one knows the character Pǐ 否 is not good. Fu explained, 否 Pǐ means stagnation. The lower trigram is earth, Kūn 坤, and the upper trigram is heaven, Qián 乾. Heaven and earth are at their usual place but the two are separate and not connected.

But all is not lost as we need to examine the corresponding Guà 卦. Xùn 巽 consists of two trigrams of wind 風. The texts for the Guà 卦 reads: 小亨,利有攸往,利見大人. Richard Wilhelm and Cary F. Baynes translated the Chinese text as: Success through what is small. It furthers one to have somewhere to go. It furthers one to see the great man. Fu explains, my blog may be able to have a small fortune since the wind is starting to blow. However, I will need help from an eminent person.

While Xùn Guà 巽卦 offers a glimmer of hope, it is still the corresponding hexagram rather than the main one I drew. In terms of the overall fortune Pǐ Guà 否卦 is weighted a bit more. In other words, my blog is unlikely to make any money.

Actually ever since I started blogging, I have never imagined the blog would make any money. I didn’t even think the blog would last this long. I am just happy that my blog has a cult following; “cult” sounds so much better than “small”. I’m grateful to know that somewhere in the world someone is interested in reading my thoughts. And that’s plenty rich for me.

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