Virtue. Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: inner strength, inner voice that reconnects man with his own inner being, helping him to walk the right path (Dao). Further names for te in the classical interpretations: virtue, inner qualities, spirit, character.
Oral transmission of the Dharma in lecture form. Cf. Deshimaru 1991, 144
The “Ten Wings” (also known as the “Commentaries”) are a part of the Textus receptus and were conceived from about 200 B.C. on. They consist of 10 text sections which, among other things, explain the hexagram names and texts, explain the symbolism of the trigrams and order of the hexagrams and include ethical-moral instructions and a philosophical-ethical interpretation. Especially the 9th Wing is attributed to Confucius and shows in which order the hexagrams follow each other.
The model Follow the Path of Dao distinguishes individual trigrams according to their qualitative dynamics. At the test points, Kan, the water, and Li, the fire, the focus abruptly shifts from self-relation to world-relation, or vice versa.
Test points are tipping points, the dynamic may change abruptly and suddenly. Here it becomes apparent to what extent both areas – inner integration and dealing with the outer world – have already developed and matured.
Received text (Latin).
The I Ching is mainly known as a canonical script of China engraved in stone and is one of the so-called “Stone Classics”, stone slabs with doctrinal texts, dated to year 175 AD. Scholars from all over the country were obliged to copy these texts and use them in their teachings.
The I Ching in the form of textus receptus consists of two text parts: the Classical Text (jingwen) and the Commentaries (zuhuan).
The Classical Text forms the basis of interpretation and serves as a manual of divination. It has two parts: The hexagram text – a general description of the situation – and the line texts, which consider different aspects of the situation. In terms of origin, the Classical text is dated to the 8th century BC. The traditional view is that the invention of the eight trigrams goes back to the mythical first Chinese emperor Fu Xi, the hexagrams are attributed to the Zhou king Wen Wang (1231-1135 BC), and the line texts are said to have come from his son, the Duke of Zhou (d. 1105 BC). In fact, however, it is more likely that the Classical Text is a collection of oracle vocabulary (such as the inscriptions on the oracle bones), ancient songs, and traditional folk wisdom that was later compiled by one or possibly more authors.
Remarkable in this context is a peculiarity of the Chinese language: Texts are automatically ambiguous and equivocal when heard – and thus awaken the association of a mystical language of the gods. The authors of the I Ching were certainly aware of this ambiguity of oral language and tried to adopt this phenomenon in writing. In return, when it comes to the interpretation of a (written) text, both, the figurative expressiveness of the character itself as well as the associative ambiguities and variations in meaning that arise during pronunciation, should be taken into consideration.
The Commentaries, also known as the Ten Wings, were written much later (from about 200 B.C. on) and consist of 10 text sections which, among other things, explain the hexagram names and texts, explain the symbolism of the trigrams and order of the hexagrams, include ethical-moral instructions and a philosophical-ethical interpretation according to Confucian moral concepts. (cf. Hertzer, 40-42)
The fact that the earliest parts of the I Ching date from the 8th century BC, but the Stone Classics were elaborated some 1000 years later, raises a number of questions: What changes in content and structure of the textual material occurred during these 1000 years? Has there really always been only one valid version of this text or were there several variants in circulation? And, should there have been variants: What political and socio-cultural influences ultimately led to the selection of the version of the I Ching that became part of the in the Stone Classics?
Against this background, the archaeological discoveries made 1972 in Mawangdui (near Changsha / Hunan; silk books) and 1977 in Shuanggudui (near Fuyang / Anhui; bamboo and wooden strips) are of particular interest: In Mawangdui a tomb library was discovered that also contained a copy of the I Ching, which, however, is much older than the textus receptus known so far. This version of the I Ching deviates to approx. 25% from the textus receptus, among other things in the order, how the hexagrams follow each other; the archaeological finds in Shuanggudui still need to be analyzed. (cf. Hertzer, 51-52)