Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching

Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching

Kidder Smith
Peter K. Bol
Joseph A. Adler
Don J. Wyatt
Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 286
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  • Book Info
    Sung Dynasty Uses of the I Ching
    Book Description:

    TheI Ching, or Book of Changes, has been one of the two or three most influential books in the Chinese canon. It has been used by people on all levels of society, both as a method of divination and as a source of essential ideas about the nature of heaven, earth, and humankind. During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Sung dynasty literati turned to it for guidance in their fundamental reworking of the classical traditions. This book explores how four leading thinkers--Su Shih, Shao Yung, Ch'eng I, and Chu Hsi--applied theI Chingto these projects. These four men used the Book of Changes in strikingly different ways. Yet each claimed to find in it a sure foundation for human values. Their work established not only new meanings for the text but also new models for governance and moral philosophy that would be debated throughout the next thousand years of Chinese intellectual history. By focusing on their uses of theI Ching, this study casts a unique light on the complex continuity-within-change and rich diversity of Sung culture.

    Originally published in 1990.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6096-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    In the course of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, China experienced one of the greatest transformations in its history. Sung dynasty thinkers laid the basis for later practices of moral philosophy, social organization, political theory and aesthetics. This book studies four men who had particular influence on Sung intellectual culture—Su Shih, Shao Yung, Ch’eng I and Chu Hsi. These men sought to define the relationship between the natural world of heaven-and-earth (t’ien-ti) and the world of human values. Each, in varying ways, saw heaven, earth, and humanity as an integrated field, in which values existed naturally. Knowing this natural...

  5. CHAPTER ONE The I Ching Prior to Sung
    (pp. 7-25)

    Literati in Sung China made claims about theBook of Changethat should give us pause. Ch’eng I remarks:

    There is not a single thing that those who made theIdid not conjoin, from the obscure and bright of heaven-and-earth to the minute subtleties of the various insects, grasses and trees.¹

    His slightly older contemporary Chou Tun-i (1017–1073) asks rhetorically:

    How is theIthe source of only the Five Classics? It is the mysterious abode of heaven, earth and the spiritual forces.²

    Shao Yung built his philosophical framework from elements he found in and around theI...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Sung Context: From Ou-yang Hsiu to Chu Hsi
    (pp. 26-55)

    Our account begins with Ou-yang Hsiu (1007–1072), who, while neither the most sophisticated thinker nor the most skillful writer, was nonetheless the most broadly talented and influential figure before Chu Hsi. More than anyone, Ou-yang established the basic issues of Sung literati thought.¹ By the 1030s, when Ou-yang Hsiu was gaining fame for his learning and writing, Sung had already held unified control over north and south China for fifty years. Its institutions were deemed adequate by many. The civil administration had reasserted its authority over the military. The examination system had been dramatically expanded into the primary mechanism...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Su Shih and Culture
    (pp. 56-99)

    Su Shih, the Prefect of Hu, was arrested in the fall of 1079 for “slandering the court.” Back in the capital a month later, he was jailed, tried, and found guilty. It is said that he was saved from execution only because the emperor himself interceded. In any event, at the end of the winter Su left for a five-year term of exile in Huang-chou, midway up the Yangtze toward Szechuan.

    Su Shih left Huang-chou in 1084, his political views unchanged. He had, however, come to a deeper understanding of what he meant and why he was right. His commentary...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Shao Yung and Number
    (pp. 100-135)

    Shao Yung is best known for his use of number, inspired by theBook of Change, to build a world-system of enormous scale and complexity. Thus a contemporary noted that Shao “contemplated the growth and decline of heaven-and-earth, inferred the waxing and waning of sun and moon, examined the measure-numbers of yin and yang, and scrutinized the form and structure of firm and soft.”¹ Somewhat less remarked on is the way this knowledge of heaven-and-earth was the means for Shao to address the issues of human nature and destiny (hsing-ming) that came to occupy literati thinkers from the 1030s on....

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Ch’eng I and the Pattern of Heaven-and-Earth
    (pp. 136-168)

    In 1050, when Ch’eng I was seventeen, he sent a long memorial to the Emperor Jen-tsung, criticizing contemporary society. Part of this memorial reads as follows:

    Your ignorant and worthless subject Ch’eng I, sincerely risking death and repeatedly saluting, offers this memorial to Your Majesty the Emperor….

    What your subject has studied (hsüeh) is thetaoof the world’s Great Mean.¹ Sages take it as their nature and are sages. Worthies follow it and are worthies.² [The sage-emperors] Yao and Shun used it and were Yao and Shun. Confucius transmitted it and was Confucius. Astaoit is utterly vast,...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Chu Hsi and Divination
    (pp. 169-205)

    In 1175 Chu Hsi wrote a letter to Chang Shih (1133–1180) describing what was to become the basis of his entire approach to theI Ching:

    I recently had an idea about how to read theI. When the sages created theIit originally was to cause people to engage in divination, in order to decide what was permissible or not in their behavior, and thereby to teach people to be good…. Thus the hexagram and line statements are based simply on the images [the hexagram configurations and their symbolic correlations].¹

    The two major aspects of Chu’sI...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Sung Literati Thought and the I Ching
    (pp. 206-236)

    Our previous chapters have discussed various ways in which four Sung literati sought to ground values in the natural world. Each man set out to demonstrate the coherence of heaven, earth, and humanity, that is, to show that there was one common and universal foundation to all things. If we are careful in our use of the terms, we could say that each offered a particular solution to the longstanding question of integrating culture with nature. As well, each prescribed a transformative method ofhsüehwhereby literati might learn to apprehend these values for themselves, thereby establishing a basis for...

  12. APPENDIX The Fu Hexagram
    (pp. 237-254)
  13. Glossary
    (pp. 255-258)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 259-266)
  15. About the Authors
    (pp. 267-268)
  16. Index
    (pp. 269-275)