Book of Change
-SFLEP Bilingual Chinese Culture Series
Rendered into English by Wang Rongpei and Ren Xiuhua
Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2007
Paperback, 9.375 x 6.625 inches 131 pages
The I Ching (Wade-Giles), or “Y?Jīng” (Pinyin); also called “Book of Changes” or “Classic of Changes” is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. The book consists of two parts. The "basic text" of the Changes, which took form sometime in the early Zhou dynasty (traditional dates: 1122-256 B.C.E.), consists of sixty-four six-line divinatory symbols known as hexagrams (gua 卦), each of which has a name that refers to a physical object, an activity, a state, a situation, a quality, an emotion, or a relationship. In addition, each hexagram possesses a short, cryptic description of several words, called a "judgment" (tuan 彖), and a brief written interpretation for each line of each hexagram, known as a line statement (yaoci 爻辭). The line statements, which are read from the bottom of the hexagram upward, describe the development of the situation epitomized by the hexagram name and the judgment. In the process of divination, the person consulting the text evaluates not only the judgment and line statements but also the relationship of the constituent trigrams (three-line symbols, also called gua) for insights into the issue under consideration, and what to do about it. Over time, a great many different systems developed for analyzing the relationship of hexagrams, trigrams and individual lines. During the late Zhou period, a set of appendices known as the Ten Wings (shiyi 十翼)--attributed to Confucius--became permanently attached to the "basic text," and so the work received imperial sanction in 136 B.C.E. as one of the five major "Confucian" classics (wujing 五經). This second part of the book articulated the Yijing's implicit cosmology and invested the classic with a new and powerfully attractive literary flavor and style.
This English Translation of Book of Chang by Wang Rongpei and Ren Xiuhua contains the first part, that is, the basic text of the Changes: sixty-four hexagrams, each hexagram's judgment, and an interpretation for each line of each hexagram.
Wang Rongpei (1942- ), professor of Soochow University, is a well-renowned translator of Chinese classics into English. His translations include Laozi, Book of Change, Book of Poetry, Zhuangzi, an Anthology of Early Chinese Poems, the Complete works of Tao Yuanming, the Peony Pavilion, the Handan Dram, Mozi, Gems of Pingtan Ballads, Gems of Kunqu Opera, etc.