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About zafrogzen

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  1. Probability of Change

    That makes sense. Truthfully I never spend more than 15 minutes on a reading but I do write them down because that makes them easier to remember. In retrospect a few of those turn out to be especially significant and meaningful, and they stay with me. I can remember specific readings from many decades ago that I'm still mulling over.
  2. Probability of Change

    In reference to the OP. I started out using three common American pennies. I liked the symbolism of heads (yang) and tails or yin (a temple). After several years I decided to use the Yarrow stalks instead, since I thought it might be a more authentic method. Yarrow is easy to start from seeds but it also grows wild here on the Northern California coast so it was nice to be able to go out to gather and dry my own. I like the ritualistic flavor of handling the stalks but was disappointed in the results compared to the coins. I could see that the probabilities were skewed differently but didn't see any logic in it. Still don't. The coins work way better for me. The longer I've been consulting it (over 50 years) the more right-on the results have gotten. That's not to deny that the yarrow stalks don't also work well, but that's no reason to look down your nose at us common coin throwers. No one here has come up with a good explanation for the skewing of the probabilities in the yarrow method to favor yang changing to yin, or why that is any better. It might have been started by some grumpy old recluse who didn't have any coins but plenty of yarrow, and it just caught on. If older means better then we should all go back to using turtle shells which were supposedly the first method to be used. One method I read about was using a live turtle on a special layout and noting where it walked. Whatever works! BTW I threw it for this discussion and got one of my least favorites -- #54 the Marrying Maiden. I usually take that to mean my way is not the favorite, first choice, and anything I do or say isn't going to go over well.
  3. Probability of Change

    Yes, I thought of that aspect of yin when I was writing that response. General Daoism is much more into the "Valley Spirit" and that aspect is also seen in the Yijing -- but only where Yang has put itself below Yin, as in Modesty and Peace. Otherwise the Yin power is usually quite negative as in Splitting Apart and Darkening of the Light. Even The Receptive is only positive when it is subservient to The Creative and becomes very negative when it tries to compete. I've always been surprised by how negative Yin is in the Yijing, given that it is almost exalted in regular Daoism. Skewing the results towards yin, as in the yarrow stalk method, looks like overkill to me. Maybe I'm wrong, but I suspect that most folks who use the yarrow method do so because they think it is older and more authentic and not because the results are any better. I thought I was quite clear -- the percentages should be balanced, as in the three coins method.
  4. Probability of Change

    Thanks. I'm of the school that believes that Daoist notions of of immortality weren't really about making this individual body/mind immortal but were pointing to something beyond that. As Suzuki Roshi liked to say, "If we didn't die, we'd really have a problem."
  5. Probability of Change

    I'm an ignoramus when it comes to math, but what I gather from the above and prior discussions is that the Yijing is skewed towards yin when the yarrow stalk method is used. It's been suggested this was the original method (are you sure about that?) and that this was intentional and there's some meaning to it. What comes to mind is the first noble truth of Buddhism, that this world or life is characterized by dissatisfaction and suffering -- darkness, rather than light. The Christian notion of original sin is in the same vein. Both those views have always bothered me. They look like one-sided sour grapes over the fact that things aren't always perfect or the way we think they should be and that we need to look to another life somewhere else for satisfaction -- ( I find the thought that the Yijing is also negative about this life to be pretty disappointing. I thought that daoism was more down to earth (not in the dark sense of Yin). Maybe I'm wrong and this life really does suck but I've always seen this world as basically balanced between those opposites, like dark and light, which are just two sides of the same stick and therefore basically one quality. We're bound to prefer one side over the other, but when such discrimination is abandoned, or at least accepted, then this life is really quite wonderful, albeit not always perfect or exactly as we would prefer. But without suffering and darkness, the opposite would not be possible, just as you can't have up without a down.
  6. Probability of Change

    I like wandelaar's response and I'd go with that, although I'm open to "somewhere/something" -- but for me it's not "objective information" or anything that's fixed and definite enough to rely on or even discuss intelligently.
  7. Probability of Change

    I don't mean to imply the the Yijing itself is akin to an inkblot, but the process by which personal meanings are gleaned from it is. Despite it's often uncanny relevance to the situation being explored, the main value I see in the Yijing is the more universal wisdom it conveys. Almost anything can become a vehicle for divination and intuition, but the Yijing is unique. Its relevance and the advice it imparts go way beyond personal issues like gain or loss, good or bad fortune.
  8. Probability of Change

    That's what I said -- You seem to imply that there's some meaning apart from what I find there, yet different folks find different meanings in the same thing, because the meaning is in their minds, no where else. "Meaning" by it's very nature is referential and subjective.
  9. Probability of Change

    Yes, there's only as much meaning as one can draw from it. Sometimes a throwing doesn't have much meaning for the situation I'm consulting about. This is especially true when I'm feeling insecure and keep pestering the I Ching on the same issue. It's amazing how often I throw hexagram #4 Folly at such times. How it is consulted is only important insofar as it influences the resulting readings, which is why I like a "balanced" method like the three coins. Some people just randomly open the book to any page. Whatever works. Intuition is not an exact science, so it's important to retain some skepticism and look at the entire picture before acting on it. My intuitive faculty has developed over the years, particularly from meditation, but it is still not 100% reliable. What's so great about the I Ching is the wisdom to be gleaned from it along the way. That stays with me.
  10. Probability of Change

    If Yang/Odd/ is imbalanced and Yin/even is balanced then both are contained not only within the probabilities of three coins but also in the arrangement of the I Ching itself. "Old Yin" and "Old Yang" which change into their opposites express that back and forth between imbalance and balance. I can"t see how it is "stagnation" when every "casting" and every situation is different. If in the case of the yarrow stalks, it's skewed (imbalanced) towards Yin then that, according to earlier comments in this thread, is what would result in stagnation eventually or only Yin--although personally I can't see that happening in practice, so either method is probably fine.
  11. Probability of Change

    Synchronicity makes more sense when it is viewed from the standpoint of dependent origination -- where everything is seen spontaneously arising in the present moment and each of us is dependent on everything else for our existence. In that case, cause and effect is not so simple and straightforward as our linear models presume. The I Ching can be a vehicle for developing intuition and insight into this Great Mystery but it is not for everyone. As for the original thread. I sensed the probabilities with the yarrow method were skewed. I didn't know exactly how, but it didn't feel right. If I understand this thread correctly the probabilities in the coin method are evenly balanced while the yarrow (and marble) method are skewed towards yin. Why that is better or more realistic is not so clear. It seems to me that if yin and yang are equal and in balance, as in the yin/yang symbol, then they can revolve and change from one to the other. Otherwise, if one was more likely than the other, we'd eventually end up, as suggested here, with one side only (Yin). Be that as it may, the three coin method has worked really well for me over the years. Almost any method could produce good results if persisted in long enough but using three pennies is very simple, direct and aptly symbolic.
  12. Why should I study the I Ching

    I wrote something about my own experience with the I Ching awhile back which I think pertains to the OP. Anyone wishing to read the entire piece can find it here -- Here's some of it -- "Although it is first and foremost a book of wisdom, using it for divination is the easiest way to access that wisdom. Reading it straight through doesn’t grab you the way getting personally involved does." "I’ve come to view the I Ching as a teacher and trusted counselor that I can turn to, not just for guidance, but for insights into human nature and the path of meditation." I also wrote -- "I prefer using plain old American pennies for throwing the I Ching. The Chinese coins with the square hole in the center, which are often recommended, strike me as contrived. Pennies are aptly symbolic, with heads (yang) on one side and in older coins an open temple for tails (yin) on the other side. Plus copper is a good conductor of energy. I’ve used the alternative yarrow stalk method but I don’t feel it works as well and it’s more labor intensive. I get the best results when I reference the question I ask the I Ching to a specific situation or course of action -- like “What will happen if…?” I also throw it about people. When a new person enters my life the first throwing about them usually proves to be significant. However, I try to keep in mind that the I Ching is a book of “Changes,” so nothing is cast in stone — quite the contrary. What appears negative at first can turn out to be positive later on. Change is the only thing we can really count on."
  13. Zen

    So, does this entail sitting meditation (zazen)?
  14. Zen

    Perhaps. In zen, and most Mahayana, three bodies are spoken of, which could be translated as -- the physical body, the dream (rainbow?) body, and the body of reality (many names for this as Gunther could likely recount). In my not-so-humble experience, such mental fabrications and phenomenal appearances are only a distraction to zazen samadhi and finding our true body.
  15. Zen

    I jumped in here after I noticed Gunther's "famous" zen saying that "If by sitting meditation you could become enlightened all the frogs near the pond would be Buddha's?” I'd say that if you could become enlightened by reading and thinking then all us here would be enlightened. Also, if you could be enlightened by someone else than most of the people in the world would have been enlightened by now. In "Bendowa" one of his earliest and most cogent works, Dogen wrote, "Sitting upright in zazen is the authentic gate to freeing yourself in the unconfined realm of samadhi. Although this inconceivable dharma is abundant in each person, it is not manifested without practice, and it is not attained without realization." "All ancestors and all Buddhas who uphold Buddha Dharma have made upright sitting the true path of awakening, practicing Zazen Samadhi. Those who attained awakening in India and China followed this way." "You should not doubt this. If you do not fully understand it in this lifetime, when will you have a chance to clarify the great matter? If you wish to clarify the great matter, there is nothing better than Zazen Samadhi. Samadhi is nothing but zazen." In zen centers and monasteries they sit zazen the first thing every morning and the last thing at night, enfolding the activities of the day in zazen samadhi. Anyone can do that on their own, although it's best to have some basic instruction in the beginning. Pain is unavoidable in this life, but within the equanimity of zazen samadhi, pain and pleasure are equal. Zazen also gives one the ability to understand what is written and to receive what teachers have to give.