kChing - An I Ching Applet

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This version is kown as the "Coin Oracle". The coin faces have values of 2 and 3, and the three coins are added together to make each line, so it takes 6 rounds of flipping coins to build a hexagram. A solid line is considered 'light' and a broken line is 'dark'. A sum of 6 yields a dark line changing to a light line. A 7 is a static light line. An 8 is a static dark line, and a 9 is a light line changing to dark. One is supposed to have a concern held clearly in one's mind while casting. A hexagram with at least one changing line is considered more meaningful than one with no changing lines. The meaning is revealed in contemplating the change from the initial hexagram to the one formed after the lines have changed. This is why the work is called "The Book of Changes".

The trigrams have concrete images associated with them, such as 'Earth' for 3 dark lines, or concepts such as 'The Gentle' for two light lines above a dark one, as this is seen as a mother bird's claw protecting its young. The hexagrams derive their meanings from either the relation of the concepts signified by the upper and lower trigrams or from an image evoked by the hexagram as a whole. T'ai (Peace), has three dark lines (The Earth) above three light lines (Heaven) - the dark lines move downward, the light lines up, and so they meet with harmony. I (The cormers of the Mouth) has light lines top and bottom, with dark lines in between; this is thought to represent an open mouth, representing nourishment of body or soul.

The coins here are meant to flip rather slowly and at different rates (rates are randomized). It is difficult, most of the time, to force a given combination (and thus a line) by watching the coins and timing one's click on the stop button. It should be well within the realm of the ability of the subconscious to 'pick' the lines though. I look at the I Ching as a way for the subconscious, or perhaps the superego, or whatever, to communicate with the conscious mind, rather than as 'fortune telling'. For this to be valid, one would have to be familiar, at some level, with all of the hexagrams and their interpretations. The traditional casting method of putting bundles of straw between the fingers and then counting them out would lend itself to subconscious 'forcing'. Flipping actual coins is convenient, a 'modern' development in Chinese terms, but is perhaps a bit more random than the mind can control. Confucius' interpretation of the individual changing lines is either a typical over-extension of a meaningful process or a true refinement. Similarly the 'nuclear trigrams' (lines 2,3,4 and 3,4,5) have been given meaning by some. I've chosen not to include those interpretations here, though there is a lot of wisdom in them.

Simply reading the I Ching is enlightening in many ways. I recommend the Wilhelm/Baynes translations, available from Princeton University Press, in the Bollingen Series.

Don't even mess with the preferences pane, or things will stop working properly. Also, at this point you sometimes need to click from the interpretation pane to another pane and back to get it to layout the text and images properly after casting a hexagram by flipping coins.

There will eventually be links to other text discussing what the I Ching (or Zhou Yi) is all about. I really ought to redo this in Flash, as I wrote the java years ago.

Requires Java (free download)