Friday, November 27, 2009

The Laws of Change (Second Edition)


My translation of and commentary on the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, or I Ching, has been published in paperback by Sybil Creek Press and is now available at Barnes and Noble and You can learn more about the book here.

My interest in Chinese philosophy began about twenty years ago, and eventually led me back to the study of the Book of Changes. After reading most of the commentaries in English it occurred to me that there was no really thorough discussion of the I Ching's ethical teachings in English. Although there were important exceptions (for example, the great Wilhelm/Baynes translation of 1924 and 1950) most popular versions of the I Ching were more mystical than informative. So I set out to write an accessible, easy to understand set of commentaries that focused on the book's ethical teachings, and I also produced a basic translation of the core text to go along with it.

This version of the I Ching treats it as a secular book of wisdom rather than as a mystical object. It is designed for study, reflection and self-cultivation rather than for fortune telling. One would think it obvious-- although many people still seem to believe otherwise-- that you cannot predict the future by flipping coins or counting yarrow stalks. On the other hand, by asking questions of the book and coming to understand its philosophy over many years, you can get to know yourself better and gain some wisdom in the process. The book began as a Bronze Age diviner's manual, but generations of commentary eventually turned it into what it is today, a book of wisdom.

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