Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Court Ladies

Hexagram twenty three line five says, "A shoal of fishes. Favor comes through the court ladies." I am sure there is far more to this than meets the eye, and someone very familiar with the Chinese would see a lot more into this. One thing I might point out here as a diversion, though I don't know the Chinese language, is that most ancient languages, especially ones in which sacred scriptures were written, are highly metaphorical langauges, and that being the case, many scholars are cast upon the rocks of doubt as to the most proper use of a word. In ancient languages, often the word has multiple meanings, all of which are meant to convey something in the meaning of the line. Therefore, many interpretations are possible. All of them being valid. Therefore, languages used in the art of interpreting oracles have a multidimensionality that allows for interpretation in a huge number of possible situations. But there is an even bigger issue, that of symbolism or allegory. And there we end the digression and get back to the point.

What is the real meaning of the court ladies? I at present am not sure of the symbolic meaning of this text. But the commentary itself does give a hint as to the meaning of the line as a whole. By the law of correspondence, the third and the fifth line both have a relationship with the yang sixth line. Therefore, the interpretation of these two lines is not in general as negative as the interpretation of the other yin lines. (Negative being a relative term.) The commentary on hexagram two gives us a hint as to the meaning of this. The commentary says of yin, "It is the perfect complement of THE CREATIVE - the complement, not its opposite, for the receptive does not combat the Creative, but completes it." It is only when yin is in improper relationship with yang that it becomes evil so to speak. None of the yin lines of hexagram twenty three are in proper relationship with the yang line in the sixth, except the third and the fifth. The fifth line especially, being close to yang, and supported by it, as the commetary says, "Inasmuch as the lower element thus voluntarily places itself under the higher, it attains happiness and the higher also receives its due. Therefore all goes well."

There is a certain relationship here with hexagram sixty four in which all the yin lines and all the yang lines are not in relationship to each other. However, the nuclear hexagram which equals hexagram sixty three, shows all the lines in their proper places, which indicates there is a possibility of perfection. There is an eternal principle here that shows that whatever is not perfect can become so, and whatever is perfect is in danger of degenerating into imperfection. This happens when yin and yang lose their proper relationship with each other. Therefore, hexagram sixty four indicates a time in which things are "unsettled." (See the "Taoist I Ching" book for more explanation) It is incumbent upon mankind to find a way to settle things back down when they have been stirred up, to calm the mind when it is unsettled (hexagram fifty two) and thereby allow the universe, the Tao, to complete its mission through us in which case "fate is favorable." Hexagram fifty one line two's commentary says, "He must accept his loss of property without worrying too much about it. When the time of shock and upheaval that have robbed him of his possessions, he will get them back again without going in pursuit of them. By not worrying, we follow the mind of "Tao," and we find that by doing so, "fate is favorable." In the same way "Favor comes through the court ladies." When yin lines up in proper relationship with yang, when stillness and calmness compliment activity and shock, all goes well. When negative things happen we must not resist, but simply look for the good in the negative occurrence. When we do, we find that the "time of shock and upheaval" comes to an end, and our possessions are returned to us. (Confer the story of Job) the Biblical literature. All "unsettled" conditions hold within them the possibility of returning to settled conditions.

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