I Ching: The Book of Change

Posted By: Mr B

I Ching: The Book of Change

I Ching: The Book of Change
John Blofeld

Penguin | ENG | 1991 | ISBN-10: 9780140193350 | DJVU Raw scan | 240 pages | 5 MB


It is good to see this book back in print. Though less bulky (228 pages) than the Wilhelm Yi-Ching translation, Blofeld's text has merits of its own, not least the fact that it is primarily intended as a guide to divination. To say the least, this is something the Wilhelm edition never was that clear about, the chaotic presentation of the number symbolism/tables etc. There was the strange division of the text (in fact a 'doubled' text), and much that appears in the middle section (the 'Tso Chuan' etc.) would have placed the whole text in better context, if it had been discussed at the beginning. Of course, everyone is indebted to Wilhelm. Nobody who likes the Yi Ching is going to ignore his valued contribution. However, for reasons outlined above, Blofeld expressed certain misgivings about the Wilhelm text, feeling that it did not make certain things clear - when it comes to the divination process, also questioning the readings of certain line texts.

Some of the (site) files list Blofeld as a mere editor, but he has presented us with a fresh translation of the main text. His translation was vetted by a number of Chinese scholars, well versed in the peculiar idioms, imagery and line symbolism of the Yi Ching. Moreover, Blofeld's translation is supported by a bril-liant introduction - outlining the background philosophy behind the Yi-Ching, and the way in which a wise Chinese scholar-sage would go about using it. Blofeld lived in pre-Communist China for many years, having 'run away' from England after graduating from Cambridge - effectively 'going native' - something few 'white men' of good social standing did, in his day and age. He knew his Chinese language from living in the country (he married into a Chinese family), and made frequent visits to Taoist (and Buddhist) temples in remote parts of China. His travels even took him to Tibet. For all his merits, Wilhelm was as Christian missionary, and late in life, his impressions of China seemed to sour. However sympathetic to the spirit of China, Wilhelm's 'feeling tone' remained very much that of a European. Blofeld, by contrast, took to China like a fish in water. He assimilated the spirit of Chinese philosophy and lived it - without reservation.

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