Category Archives: Chinese Classic


By Su Tung-po (Song Dynasty 1076 AD) Translated by wonky wizard

Whence the next luminous moon appeared?

Raising my wine-cup, to the blue sky, I cheered.

I knew neither the gate of heavenly abode,

Nor how the evening in celestial years, decode.

I desired to surf on the wind in my blissful return;

The exquisite jade and jasper might damage was my concern.

The high altitude with its cold was my deterrence;

Dancing in its shadows, the transcendence was transience.

The lights revolved around its amber pavilion;

Through its low lattices, it scattered in zillion.

Its reflection flickered on my sleepiness;

The fulfillment and separation were blameless.

Happiness and depression, union and separation, are human restlessness;

The imperfect moon displayed its changing brilliance and infrequent roundness.

Such imperfection was revealed since bygone years;

We only cherished to live longer and what we endeared.

To share the bond such brilliance brought;

Despite living miles apart, perfection forever sought.


我欲乘风归去, 又恐琼楼玉宇,高处不胜寒,





WOOING OSPREYS: Ancient Chinese Poem

NUPTIAL BELLS,(Shi Jing: The book Of Poems)  Translated by wonk Wizard

“Guan, guan”, the Ospreys woo to their mate;

That coos on the river ait.

Fair and gracious maiden;

Well matched for courting gentlemen.

Water cress of varying height;

Adrift on both left and right;

Fair and gracious lass;

Are sought day and night, no less.

In vain they court;

For days and night they hold the ladies in their thought.

Their hearts are saddened with ache,

And they toss around in bed.

Water cress of varying height;

Pick and chose from either left or right.

Fair and gracious lady;

Tuning their harp and lutes in melody.

Water cress of varying height;

Selecting from either left or right.

Fair and gracious lady;

Nuptial bells (and drum) ring with gaiety


A reader might probably asked, “Why an English educated, western trained medical practitioner, be interested in Yi Jing at all?” In fact, decades ago, I came across the title in the shelves of book shops and libraries, flipped and browsed through them occasionally, and could not made sense out of it. It was to me then a Chinese voodoo book, or at best a book on divination, best reserved for commercial fortune tellers, and would be wise to avoid reading it, esp by men of science. The prejudices were strong due to ignorance. In my education, I have lost my cultural roots …..

Fortunately, I have always been an avid reader. In my young MO days, I could not exactly recall how I got into frenzy reading Jin Yong’s Kungfu stories. From there I came to learn about about the Chinese language and the Chinese Classics. The interest gradually developed into a passion, but it was a very difficult process of learning. The Chinese Classic were simply too difficult to read, even for Chinese graduates. Progress was very slowed until more and more English translations, introductory texts and commentaries (bilingual at times) became available in the shops, libraries and in the World Wide Web. I am relating all these in details because, if I can do it, you can do better, for you are much younger.

In my exploration of MOL, I began to search and explore Chinese Belief System. Though I hardly read Classical Philosophy, I read widely in Psychology, Family Ethics and Social-Psychology. And these wide based reading really helped to make sense out of these difficult ancient texts.

Richard J smith, Professor of History at Rice University in Journal of Chinese Philosophy 2006 wrote, “”For those who take the Changes seriously, and approach it with intellectual depth and psychological insight, the text proves to be profoundly stimulating and endlessly provocative.” He proceeded to quote a Chinese proverb, “The shallow man see Yi Jing’s shallowness, while the deep man sees its depth.”

He wrote further, “Not surprisingly, Confucians found Confucian meanings in it; Daoists found Daoist meanings in it, and Buddhists found Buddhists meanings in it. …. People in different periods of Chinese history quite naturally used the Yi Jing for different purposes and in different ways, in accordance with the times.” Yi Jing has touched many realms of Western culture, from the psychology of Carl Jung to the architecture of I. M. Pei, to composers as Joseph Hauer, John Cage …, to the art of Eric Morris et al, and in the writings of many westerns in all disciplines.

Yi in Chinese means Change, or Simple, or Transformation. The character has a composite picture of a day and a moon, which implied about the Yang and the Ying or the unity of Duality (or polar opposites). Jing refereed to the string of sutras or texts linked together. It is a bi semiotic system, consisting of two sections:

1. Jing: the core or basic text. This again is sub divided into two unequal chapters; the upper volume consisted of 30 qua; and the second volume of 34 qua, thus a total of 64 qua.
This basic text, extremely ancient, diverse in origins, appeared unsystematic and complicated, is basically used for divination, and appeared in earlier text and translations. I think it is best to read the second section first, esp. the Philosophical Guide, before one ventures into this section.

2. This section consisted of “Ten Wings” (Zhuan) or Commentaries, consisted of seven sub-sections. In the middle is the Philosophical Guide, or Ci Zi meaning attached verbalization. It was alleged to be written by Confucius himself. The rest, e.g. Shuogua (Explaining the Trigrams) are commentaries or appendixes, explaining each trigram (yao) or hexagram (qua, or double trigram), either in its sequence, origin etc.

Through Chinese history many commentaries were added into Yi Jing, at times enriching it, and at times, complicating it. Early Chinese feudal history and philosophical thoughts could be assessed through Yi Jing. “At the heart of Ji Jing interpretation is correlative thinking.” It has been termed by Professor Cheng, as “onto-hermeneutical” text, with the “purpose of helping us to understand the world both phenomenological and ontologically at the same time.” Its symbolic nature was not designed for mere intellectualisation, but more for apprehending the nature of reality, understanding, practice and action as one.