I Ching History
I Ching History Links
The relative maturing of the Internet has now made it possible for the general population of the world to independently research, review, compare, and contrast an absolutely huge amount of uncensored information. That information naturally includes a tremendous number of historical documents and other pieces of interesting archaeological information. It is recommended here for everyone to research the general topic of ancient cultures. They were able to understand and do things that we are, as of yet, unable to do today. There is so much more to know than can been presented here. Accuracy will always be a problem, but truly “Knowledge is Power." One can only naively hope, that humanities’ new-found power will actually be used wisely.
Some I Ching History:
Fu Hsi (circa 7,500 B.C.?), was the legendary first Emperor of China (or second, depending on the historical resource). He is thought to have been born in Shaanxi Provence. The Neolithic period began in China around 12,000 B.C., at the beginning of this warmer interglacial period of the present Pliocene-Quaternary glaciation. In 1989, thirty 9,000-year-old flutes, with five, six, seven, and eight holes, were found in some of the 300 excavated graves discovered in central China. The flutes were well made, with carefully selected tone scales, and able to play the “modern day” octave. Domesticated millet, wheat and rice appeared around 8,000 B.C. Major regional cultures, like the Yangshao and Lungshan, developed around 5,000 B.C.; they relied on farming and domesticated animals. Hunting, fishing, and gathering were all still very important. Clothes were woven from silk and from hemp. They had pottery skills and kilns. The milled, not carved, Hongshan Jade from the period (4,000-2250 B.C.) is inexplicably well developed and still very attractive. Fu Hsi is believed to have been the first to domesticate animals in China, notably the dog, ox, pig, and sheep. If he did, he had to predate the Yangshao and Lungshan. Perhaps he helped make those 9,000-year-old flutes. Perhaps the I Ching is that old too!
He is believed to have invented (discovered), the Eight Trigrams, a binary method of counting from 1 to 8. In other words, he is the father of written mathematics and written music. Some Neolithic people were really quite accomplished. In reality though, Chinese prehistory (like all prehistory) is very hard to factually document because there are no documents, only the discovered archeological evidence has survived. No one will ever really know with certainty if Fu Hsi ever actually existed as one individual person, despite any historical or archeological evidence that has been or may be found. The true origins of the Eight Trigrams will always remain unknown. Fu Hsi can be more accurately perceived as being “a brilliant person or persons, who lived an exceedingly long time ago”.
King Wen of Zhou (circa 1152-1056 B.C.) is credited with the Traditional Pairings and Order of the 64 Hexagrams. The reasons for pairing the Hexagrams as they are, and then the placing of those pairs in that particular order, have puzzled people for a very long time. When King Wen's Sequence is translated into music, it is actually quite nice! When the Hexagram Pairs are translated into geometry, it is also quite appealing. The best guess is that King Wen's Sequence is a jumbled form of a Magic Square, because the Hexagram Pairs produce balanced geometrical designs.
Shao Yung, an 11th century Chinese scholar, is historically credited with the Sequential Binary Order of 64 Hexagrams. Shao Yung organized the 64 Hexagrams two different ways; in a circle, and in an 8x8 square and he then properly attributed this arrangement to Fu Hsi. It is common knowledge that King Wen's arrangement considerably predates Shao Yung's work. It is highly probable that Shao Yung independently “reverse engineered” King Wen’s work because, King Wen’s creation had to be based upon a thorough knowledge of the sequential binary order. In other words, King Wen’s masterpiece is predicated upon an intimate prior knowledge of what had to be an already existing binary system of mathematics.
Writing thousands of complex characters with a brush on bamboo takes a lot of bamboo, ink, and a long time. Reading them takes time too. Taking class notes had to be extremely challenging. Memorizing oral traditions must have been an incredibly daunting task. In ancient times, to be well educated was very time consuming, much more so than it is today. Just being able to find decent books, to say nothing of good teachers, was quite exceptional. Obviously, King Wen had to have built upon a rare and extensive foundation of prior knowledge. It must have taken him quite a while regardless of how intelligent he was, or how much help he must have had. He also had other things to attend to, like defending and governing his kingdom. Surviving seven years as a prisoner had to rank right up there. One can only wonder what his family life was like.
Interestingly, in contrast, to create the 64 Hexagrams is relatively simple. All that is needed is two circles of the Eight Trigrams that can be independently rotated. There is an example of that on this site, and it looks like a figure “8”. Is the figure eight only a coincidence? It could not have taken thousands of years just to figure this all out, and Shao Yung probably knew that. Too many book burnings and executions had taken place by his time; a tremendous amount of knowledge had sadly been lost or been hidden much too well. Being highly educated can be very difficult and dangerous, it was all the more so in ancient times. As any good tyrant knows, ignorant, intimidated and uninformed people are much easier to rule. King Wen’s work appears to have been far too widespread, and therefore very hard to totally destroy. Shao Yung humbly and courageously picked up the pieces and put them back together again for us. He gave credit where credit was due. As Shao Yung felt, Fu Hsi (whoever he or they were), probably did discover the 2 Monograms, 4 Bigrams, 8 Trigrams and 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching as well as the 3 Monograms 9 Bigrams, and the 81 Tetragrams of the Tao Te Ching, as well as more than one Magic Square. That does makes sense because, after 1 of course, 2 and 3 are the basis for all the Magic Squares.
Returning to the discussion concerning Fu Hsi, here is one interesting personal account from Shri Rama, a good friend of the Sufi Nasrudin:
Hebei Police Report:
"Hear ye! Hear ye! To all - Let it be known" that one Mr. Fu Hsi is accused of poaching, animal cruelty and falsely reporting to see a 3x3 “Magic Square” containing Nine Numbers supposedly in the bumps on some turtle’s back (possibly a three striped Cuora Trifasciata, Golden Coin box turtle). We are warning the public, because he is still at large. According to the Defendant’s unbelievable report, some weird, deformed turtle climbed out of some clear mountain stream (rumored to be the Loh or the Luo River in Henan Provence) to find food. Apparently, the Defendant just happened to be loitering near that part of the river, on that particular nice sunny day. Possibly, he was trying to get a sneak peek of the fabled Nymph of Luo skinny-dipping. Maybe he wanted to show her his old eight-holed bone flute that he had in his pants and teach her how to play with it. He might have found the flute while exploring the nearby Jiahu caves. Although it’s doubtful, perhaps he even made it from the ulnae of a Red-Crowned Crane (Grus Japonensis Millen). It is also rumored that he had even brought beautifully carved jade gifts with him, in order to impress the Nymph. By his own admission however, to a kindly old traveler named Nasrudin, the Defendant was there, quietly spying on that one particular peculiar turtle. The cute little guy was probably just enjoying the warm moist Neolithic breeze of 7,450 B.C. on the Summer Solstice, around noon. That’s a time when innocent, happy turtles generally come out of the river for a lazy lunch of tasty grubs and juicy worms. Then they usually return to the water for a delicious dessert of slimy leaves, and proceed to sun themselves safely on the warm river rocks.
To really study its’ bizarre bumpy shell, Mr. Fu Hsi - the Defendant - must have sneaked up on it and roughly grabbed the helpless creature. What befell that poor unfortunate little turtle next, is sadly still unknown. Mysteriously, there is no credible independent verification of the Defendant’s incredible claim, there is no known physical evidence, except his silly “river map” drawing. As of yet, there are no identifiable witnesses, nor have any really valid reasons been given as to why he was lurking around there at all that day. If he really was looking for “groups of large stones” or Chinese Pyramids, he should have been about 1 km north of Sijiazi; in the Aohan County of our old northern Hebei friends, the Hongshan's (which is certainly way off course). It all really does seem to be very suspicious, and clearly calls into question the Defendant’s “state of mind”, stability, integrity and his real motivations. In view of the previously reported and exceedingly strange claims of “revolutionary and earth-shaking” binary and/or trinary mathematical ideas, there is ample cause for caution and concern when dealing with him. The Defendant might be mentally unbalanced and unpredictable. There are just too many unanswered questions! Was he playing with eight numbers or nine? Did he have his wine gourd? Was he smoking his hemp shirt leftovers? Was his new pet dog there sniffing out shamanic mushrooms? Was he really “listening to the birds”? Where did he get that valuable jade? Where was his ox?
Additionally, the Defendant’s questionable assertion that he is some kind of very important “Government Official” has yet to be conclusively determined. It is understandably highly suspect. His family, if we can find them, is thought to have more information than they are willing to tell, and they may have to be held accountable for his strange behavior as well. Interviews are in progress. We would very much like to question a certain Mr. Ling Lun, his family and friends.
Although this is still an open, ongoing, and serious investigation, the Statute of Limitations has unfortunately run out on Poaching, Animal Cruelty and Absurdly False Reports in our general geographical area (Shaanxi, Hebei, Henan, and Hubei provinces). Presently, there is no definite legal recourse; therefore, no definite legal action can be taken at this time. Cold cases are notoriously very difficult to solve after a few years. Nevertheless, this is still not over. A confidential public Tip Hot Line has been set up and updates will be posted. The General Public is asked to please respond (everyone else is invited too). Please call 1-004-438-5653 (1-00I-Get-Joke). Operators are standing by. Donations are welcome! Thank you.
Sincerely Yours - Hebei Police Dept.
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT REPORT UPDATE:
From: Hebei Police Dept.
To Everyone in the world:
All of us here at the Hebei Police Dept. are extremely embarrassed, and we all deeply regret our foolish false allegations involving our Esteemed Emperor Fu Hsi and the Illustrious Imperial Family! We honestly and deeply apologize to our Esteemed Emperor and the Illustrious Imperial Family. We also want to deeply apologize to all the fine citizens of Henan. We do realize however, that it’s far to late for apologies. We were sadly misled by a false report made by some attention-seeking tramp drifter named Nasrudin. The glib lying old beggar has since disappeared, after we had arrested him for vagrancy, fined him and turned him loose. Upon interviewing Mr. Ling Lun, the Imperial Court Musician, it was determined that the lovely young Lady of the River Luo is actually Princess Fu Mi, the Emperor’s daughter. She often likes to fish or swim in the wonderfully clear river while her father silently studies math nearby. Apparently, they like to quietly go bird watching in the woods with their very protective dog Fido and their very faithful ox Emoron. They also like to look for medicinal herbs, edible mushrooms, and interesting groups of large stones. Occasionally they hunt for tasty turtles. Sporadically, they bring along their whole family and their closest friends. Mr. Ling happened to be there at the time. He said that they did not carry any wine, they do not smoke, their clothes were all made of silk, they both had beautiful jade rings, and that they really are nice people. Apparently, the Emperor is a very talented flautist. The turtle in question proved to be delicious and the shell is now safely stored in the Imperial Vault. By the way, we don’t understand the math, and we really didn’t know anything about the very interesting groups of large stones in that area. Mr. Ling Lun also reported that he had once been charitable to this Nasrudin character, and had discovered that Nasrudin was a real storyteller. We are mortified beyond belief to have been fooled by the dastardly charlatan and we would like to find him! We are all very well aware that the Empress Fu is exceedingly upset, as is Prince Fu, of course. As a result of our absolutely disastrous mistake, we have all resigned - effective immediately - and we sincerely hope to escape the country alive!
REALLY SINCERELY!!! - The Former Hebei Police Dept.
Some Tao Te Ching History:
Lao Tzu (circa. 384-362 B.C.) is considered to be the author of the Tao Te Ching. As with Fu Hsi, no one will ever really know with certainty if Lao Tzu ever actually lived as an individual person. He also might be more accurately perceived as being “a brilliant person or persons, who lived a long time ago”. Of the many differing accounts of his life, one of the more credible is that Lao Tzu was the Grand Historian and Court Astrologer for Duke Xian of Qin. It was said, he did not get along well with the strict dogmatic followers of Confucius, and decided to go to the wild west, leaving the miserable "civilized" country of the east to solve its own foolish problems. At the last sentry point, the Guardian of the Pass Yin Hsi respectfully and persistently tried to persuade Lao Tzu to allow the rest of the world to benefit from his great knowledge and wisdom. Reluctantly, Lao Tzu finally agreed and quickly wrote short poems for each of the 81 Tetragrams. He then left, and was never seen or heard from again.
Other interesting History:
Ling Lun (circa 7500 B.C.?) is believed to be the founder of music in China. Like Fu Hsi, he is thought to have been born in Shaanxi Provence. If he was, then he might have lived before those beautiful 9000-year-old bone flutes were made, or he made them. He is another one of those “brilliant person or persons who lived an exceedingly long time ago”. He is usually associated with the Yellow Emperor Huang Ti (circa. 2700 B.C.) as being the Court Master Musician. Authoritarian rulers around the world have often sought to take credit for the great accomplishments of other people, past or present. Regardless, as the story goes, some emperor wanted to have his empire correctly tuned to a central standard pitch and therefore be in proper harmony with Heaven and Earth. Ling Lun got volunteered. He traveled far away, perhaps to Tibet, India, Persia, or Egypt, no one knows. Conceivably he met with some other master musicians. Perhaps he quietly took a local vacation and collaborated with Fu Hsi. Regardless, on the way, he found some excellent bamboo that was very uniform in thickness. From that stock, he made a set of 12 flutes of differing lengths, dividing the octave into 12 parts. It is said he tuned them to bird calls, and that strangely makes good sense, or he may have tuned them to the Nadam, which should be closely related. When he returned he cast bronze bells to preserve the pitches as a “national tuning standard”.
Amazingly, in 1978 a set of beautifully well tuned bronze bells was found in Hubei Provence. The set is an incredible feat of metal casting. It was buried in the tomb of the previously unknown King Yi of Zeng (433 B.C.). There are 64 bells hung from wooden frames and another separate bell as well. The whole instrument weighs around 4 or 5 tons and is in excellent playable condition. It’s tuned close to modern middle C. It can play five octaves and the three middle octaves can each play all 12 semitones. There is evidence that the Circle of Fifths was well known. Although accompanying writings say that the instrument was made around 433 B.C., cast bronze can be difficult to properly date. It’s possible these bells had been past down for generations, and just had their wooden frames replaced periodically. Some Chinese bells, from the Shang Dynasty, are thought to be over 3000 years old. A set of 32 marble stone chimes was also found at the same site. It has a three chromatic octave range. Stone is also very hard to properly date.
The provinces of Henan, Hubei and Shaanxi all border each other.
(Click here to see map.)
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