I Ching's influence
As an important component of Chinese traditional culture, the I Ching's influence throughout history has been profound. The I Ching (Yì Jīng), or Classic of Changes, which dates from over 3,000 years ago, is believed to be one of the world's oldest books. The two major branches of Chinese philosophy, Confucianism and Taoism have common roots in the I Ching.
Significance for Chinese culture
From its mythological origins in prehistory (see Fu Xi) and the earliest dates of recorded history in China, the I Ching has been added to by a succession of philosophers, scholars and rulers. Thus, it reflects a thread of thinking and a common cosmology that have been passed through successive generations. In addition to the I Ching's broadly recognized influence on Confucianism and Taoism, it has been shown to have influenced Chinese Buddhism. Fazang, patriarch of the Huayan school, is believed to have drawn on a mode of thought derived from the I Ching.
One of the earliest versions of the I Ching (called, Zhou I, or Changes of Zhou) was the oracle of the Zhou. It played a role in their overthrow of the Shang dynasty by Zhou King Wu in 1070 BCE. An account of Wu's conquest tells of a solar eclipse believed by the King to be an omen from Heaven to march against the Shang. This account has been matched with a solar eclipse that occurred on June 20, 1070 BCE. Thus, the earliest layer of the I Ching has been shown to preserve a hidden history that went undetected for three millennia. The Zhou Yi has been called one of the most important sources of Chinese culture. It has influenced fields as varied as mathematics, science, medicine, martial arts, philosophy, history, literature, art, ethics, military affairs and religion.
According to Joseph Needham, a historian of Chinese science and culture, Confucius, was fascinated by the I Ching and kept a copy in the form of "a set of bamboo tablets fastened by a leather thong, [which] was consulted so often that the binding had to be replaced three times. [Confucius] said that if he had fifty years to spare, he would devote them to the I Ching." The ten commentaries of Confucius, (or Ten Wings), transformed the I Ching from a divination text into a "philosophical masterpiece". It was this form of the I Ching that inspired the Taoists, Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu. It has influenced Confucians and other philosophers and scientists ever since.
Influence on Japan
Prior to the Tokugawa period (1603–1868 CE) in Japan, the Book of Changes was little known and used mostly for divination until Buddhist monks popularized the Chinese classic for its philosophical, cultural and political merits in other literate groups such as the samurai. The Hagakure, a collection of commentaries on the Way of the Warrior, cautions against mistaking it for a work of divination.
Influence on Western culture
Michael Nylan notes the considerable influence of the I Ching on intellectuals in Europe and America. It is the most familiar of the five Chinese classics, and without doubt, the best-known Chinese book.
- When Danish Physicist Niels Bohr was awarded Denmark's highest honor and the opportunity to create a family coat of arms, he chose the yin-yang symbol, and Latin motto contraria sunt complementa, "opposites are complementary", a nod to his Principle of Complementarity.
- German Mathematician and Philosopher Gottfried Leibniz was keenly interested in the I Ching.
- Psychologist Carl Jung wrote a forward to the Wilhelm–Baynes translation of the I Ching.
- The TV series Lost featured the ba gua as in the logo for The Dharma Initiative.
- Musician and composer John Cage used the I Ching to decide the arrangements of many of his compositions.
- Composer Andrew Culver and choreographer Merce Cunningham use the I Ching.
- Author Philip K. Dick used the I Ching when writing The Man in the High Castle and including it in the story as a theme.
- The hip-hop music group Dead Prez refer to the I Ching in several of their songs and in their logo.
- Author Douglas Adams's The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul features an I Ching pocket calculator that represents anything greater than four as "A Suffusion of Yellow".
- The ABC soap opera Dark Shadows featured yarrow sticks and a copy of the I Ching that allowed characters meditating on the hexagrams to astral travel.
- Musician George Harrison, who composed the Beatles song While My Guitar Gently Weeps, recalls he "picked up a book at random, [the I Ching] opened it, saw "gently weeps", then laid the book down again and started the song".
- In the late 1960s, the comic book Wonder Woman temporarily changed the title character from a superhero to a secret agent, and placed her under the guidance of an elderly mentor known as "I Ching".
- British author Philip Pullman's book The Amber Spyglass features the I Ching amongst the divination methods used by Dr. Mary Malone to communicate with Dust.
- The song Chapter 24 from Pink Floyd's first album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, written by Syd Barrett, features lyrics adapted from the I Ching.
- Author Hermann Hesse's 1943 novel "The Glass Bead Game" is mainly concerned with the principles of the I Ching.
- Author Terence McKenna's Novelty Theory and Timewave Zero, were inspired by analysis of the King Wen sequence.
- British poet Alan Baker based his prose-poem sequence "The Book of Random Access" (pub. 2011) on the 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching.
- The film G.I. Joe uses a red hexagram tattoo on the right forearm for the Storm Shadow ninja clan.
- In director Michael Mann's film Collateral, Vincent (Tom Cruise) refers to I Ching as he tries to teach Max (Jamie Foxx) the importance of improvisation.
- Author Neal Stephenson's novel Quicksilver, uses hexagrams for encryption keys that allow Eliza to send messages to "Leibniz" from the court of King Louis XIV.
- Francophone author Ezechiel Saad and his book Yi King, mythe et histoire delves into the shamanic roots of oracular chinese thought, and examines the real or legendary bestiary, searching for meaning from psychoanalysis and Western culture.
- Wilhelm, Richard; Baynes, Cary F.; Carl Jung; Hellmut Wilhelm (1967). The I Ching or Book of Changes. Bollingen Series XIX (3 ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (1st ed. 1950). ISBN 0-691-09750-X. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- Wilhelm, Richard; Baynes, Cary F. (5 December 2005). Dan Baruth, ed. "Introduction to the I Ching". Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- Lai, Whalen (1980). "The I-ching and the Formation of the Hua-yen Philosophy". Journal of Chinese Philosophy (D. Reidel Publishing) 7 (3): 245–258. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6253.1980.tb00239.x. Retrieved 12 February 2006.
- Marshall, S.J. (August 2002). The Mandate of Heaven: Hidden History in the I Ching. Columbia University Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-231-12299-3. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- Campbell, Joseph (12 April 1962). The masks of God: Oriental mythology. Viking Press. p. 411. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- Needham, J. (1991). Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 2, History of Scientific Thought. Cambridge University Press. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-521-05800-1.
- Abraham, Ralph H. (1999). "Chapter 1. Legendary History of the I Ching". Retrieved 15 February 2008.
- Wai-ming Ng (2000). The I ching in Tokugawa thought and culture. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-8248-2242-2. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- Yamamoto Tsunetomo; William Scott Wilson (trans.) (21 November 2002). Hagakure: the book of the samurai. Kodansha International. p. 144. ISBN 978-4-7700-2916-4. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- Nylan, Michael (2001). The Five "Confucian" Classics. Yale University Press. pp. 204–206. ISBN 978-0-300-08185-5. Retrieved 8 June 2010.
- I.G. Bearden (17 May 2010). "Bohr family crest". Niels Bohr Institute (University of Copenhagen). Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- Douglas Adams (1991). The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul. Simon and Schuster. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-671-74251-5. Retrieved 8 June 2010. "It was much like an ordinary pocket calculator, except that the LCD screen was a little larger than usual in order to accommodate the abridged judgments of King Wen on each of the sixty-four hexagrams, and also the commentaries of his son, the Duke of Chou, on each of the lines of each hexagram. These were unusual text to see marching across the display of a pocket calculator, particularly as they had been translated from the Chinese via the Japanese and seemed to have enjoyed many adventures on the way."
- Saad, Ezechiel (1989). Yi King, mythe et histoire. Paris: Sophora. ISBN 2-907927-00-0.