This book is an insightful reading of the I CHING ("Book of Change") by Buddhist Chih-hsu Ou-i (1599-1655). "Arousing the people is like wind, nurturing virtue is like mountains" (p. 88), he writes, and Thomas Cleary's new translation of this classic is just like that, "wind in the mountains." In his Introduction to the book, Cleary comments that Ou-i intended to "elucidate issues in social, psychological, and spiritual development" (p. vii) through the I CHING, as well as to lead to a better understanding of the interplay between society and spiritual practice.
I don't profess to understand the I CHING, and I'm not qualified to comment on Cleary's abilities as a translator. While the text of his translation is easy to read, the concepts are often quite challenging. Like Cleary's previous translation, however, THE TAOIST I CHING (1986), this new reading is quite useful in finding meaning in the I CHING. It sets forth "the path of developed people" to "cultivate their inner qualities" seriously, and "to regard the faults of others as their own" (pp. 96; 154). It also offers us wisdom for navigating that path's unexpected twists and turns with "centeredness, balance, and correctness" (p. xiv). I recommend this book for anyone interested in travelling that path with "adorned feet."
The *I Ching* is the world's oldest divination text. Based on the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang, it provides timeless wisdom about how to negotiate the changing nature of events. In seventeenth century China, the Buddhist commentator Chih-hsu Ou-i (1599-1655) wrote a Buddhist version of the *I Ching*; this book is a translation of Chih-hsu's version of the *I Ching*. This version resonates with several streams of thought in China: on the whole, it is deeply ethical in its outlook; at times, it sounds a bit Taoist, and in other places, there are echoes of Zen. Overall, there is a tremendous amount of wisdom in this book, for Chih-shu was well-versed in the esoteric traditions of China. The entire text is a compassionate attempt to guide souls, through the ups and downs of a changing world, to the ultimate goal of enlightenment. The book may be consulted for divination as an ordinary translation of the *I Ching* would be, or it can be read from cover to cover.