Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 218
I Ching or Book of Changes
The I Ching is one of the most profound and philosophically important books ever written. It is attributed to Fu Hsi, around 2000 BCE, in what is now China. It is the first book to describe and codify the workings of the Universe, and did so by means of combinations of yin and yang called hexagrams. These hexagrams explain the way yin changes to yang and back again, and how various combinations of yin and yang have meaning if one looks deep enough. Later, Confucius added a commentary to explain some of the most esoteric aspects of the I Ching.
When I was a hippie living in San Francisco, and had just started learning Tai Chi, a new edition of the I Ching was published. It is known as the Wilhelm/Baynes translation. Someone (I don’t remember who) turned me on to this book as a means of fortune telling and wisdom. I don’t want to attempt to tell you very much about this book other than Tai Chi is mostly based on its teachings. Every Tai Chi player who is serious about its history and philosophy should own a copy. There are perhaps hundreds of translations now, but I remain rooted in the Wilhelm. I have the used same book for 48 years!
The reason I’m sharing this now is that I glanced at my book shelf and saw the cloth book cover that contains my copy of the I Ching and three Chinese coins (any coins will do) that are required for having one’s questions of the mind, answered. On occasion I will just pick up the book, open it to a random place and read what is contained there. Always just what I need to hear.
Shortly after I first learned the 54 Form from Master Choy, I headed to the East, making it as far as Afghanistan, where I spent a couple of months, enjoying the many wonders of that great country. The only book I took with me on this trip was my copy of the I Ching. I found it’s wisdom so very helpful at times. When I first got certified to teach from Master Choy and moved to Tucson to start classes, for the first class I put up on a board the following two statements that come from the I Ching. I think you will agree that they shine a light on our Tai Chi learning process. Get your self a copy and enjoy. Amazon offers a large selection.
#30 – Li
It is important to preserve inner composure and not to allow oneself to be swept along with the bustle of life. If one is serious and composed, one can acquire the clarity of mind needed for coming to terms with the innumerable impressions that pour in. It is precisely at the beginning that serious concentration is important, because the beginning holds the seed of all that is to follow.
Gentleness that is adaptable, but at the same time penetrating, is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm. The very gradualness of the development makes it necessary to have perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress from dwindling to nothing.
Summer Schedule Update:
July – Michael and John continue with the regular scheduled classes. Stephanie and Susan’s evening classes are finished till Fall. Saturday in the Park continues.
August – The only scheduled classes are John’s.
September – New classes start. Exact times and subjects will be announced.