The <i>Yijing</i>: The Creative Origin of Chinese Philosophy

Chung‐Ying Cheng

in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195328998
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Yijing: The Creative Origin of Chinese Philosophy

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This article provides an introduction to the Yijing. The Yijing (the Book of Changes) dates back to the beginning of the Zhou dynasty (ca. 1200 bce). Although we do not know exactly how it was produced, it appears that the text arose as a result of sustained observations of changes in nature. It is often claimed that the Yijing way of thinking characterizes the basic mode of Chinese philosophical thinking. The Yijing arises from a process of comprehensive observation and empathetic feeling that generates penetrating understanding. The feeling of a person toward a given situation is the reciprocation and interaction between yin and yang, which leads to one's direct experience of the dynamics of unity in duality. There are five steps in realizing the understanding of reality. Apart from comprehensive observation and direct, simple, and penetrating feeling, these steps include understanding and thinking of reality by the way of images. “Images” are actually form-objects or process-events, which may be referred to as overt and ostensible (observable and felt) things in the world. Hence, they are not arbitrary mental fabrications but things in the midst of the thickness of world-reality.

Keywords: Yijing; Book of Changes; Chinese philosophy; yin; yang; reality; duality

Article.  6291 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy

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