Comparing Wilhelm/Baynes's and Eclectic Energies I Ching

Written by © Ewald Berkers

See how clear and concise the Eclectic Energies text is, as compared to the so often used Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching.

The examples contain some hexagram texts and the commentaries that are supposed to explain them.

HexagramEclectic Energies I ChingWilhelm/Baynes I Ching
9 Minor restraint.
Dense clouds, but no rain
from our western outlands.
The Taming Power of the Small
Has success.
Dense clouds, no rain from our western region.
Comments - 9 One is held back, but things are progressing nevertheless. There is a potential for new resources, but they are not yet coming.
This image refers to the state of affairs in China at the time when King Wen, who came originally from the west, was in the east at the court of the reigning tyrant Chou Hsin. The moment for action on a large scale had not yet arrived. King Wen could only keep the tyrant somewhat in check by friendly persuasion. Hence the image of many clouds, promising moisture and blessing to the land, although as yet no rain falls. The situation is not unfavorable; there is a prospect of ultimate success, but there are still obstacles in the way, and we can merely take preparatory measures. Only through the small means of friendly persuasion can we exert any influence. The time has not yet come for sweeping measures. However, we may be able, to a limited extent, to act as a restraining and subduing influence. To carry out our purpose we need firm determination within and gentleness and adaptability in external relations.
24 Return.
Going out and in without distress.
A friend arrives.
Without fault to,
instead of returning to one's path in seven days,
come back again.
It is beneficial to have a goal to move to.
Going out and coming in without error.
Friends come without blame.
To and fro goes the way.
On the seventh day comes return.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
Comments - 24 Returning early from what one was doing, for something better. There is nothing wrong with this, and it shouldn't give any stress. There is still progress. It is a good idea to not lose sight of one's aims.
After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. there is movement, but it is not brought about by force. The upper trigram Kun is characterised by devotion; thus the movement is natural, arising spontaneously. For this reason the transformation of the old becomes easy. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results. Societies of people sharing the same views are formed. But since these groups come together in full public knowledge and are in harmony with the time, all selfish separatist tendencies are excluded, and no mistake is made. The idea of Return is based on the course of nature. The movement is cyclic, and the course completes itself. Therefore it is not necessary to hasten anything artificially. Everything comes of itself at the appointed time. This is the meaning of heaven and earth.

All movements are accomplished in six stages, and the seventh brings return. Thus the winter solstice, with which the decline of the year begins, comes in the seventh month after the summer solstice; so too sunrise comes in the seventh double hour after sunset. Therefore seven is the number of the young light, and it arises when six, the number of the great darkness, is increased by one. In this way the state of rest gives place to movement.
28 Too much.
The roof-beam is sagging.
It is beneficial to have a goal to move to.
Preponderance of the Great.
The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
Comments - 28 Something is too much for this situation. One better make a plan to do something about it, and make it more robust. There is progress.
The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy for the strength of the supports. The ridge-pole on which the whole roof rests, sags to the breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the load they bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore extraordinary measures are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible, and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the centre of gravity, so that a revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures. The problem must be solved by gentle penetration to the meaning of the situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous time.
29 Getting accustomed to the abyss.
Have confidence and hold on to your heart.
For progress, taking action has value.
The Abysmal repeated.
If you are sincere, you have success in your heart,
And whatever you do succeeds.
Comments - 29 A situation that is unfamiliar and dangerous, that one needs to get into and get accustomed to. Have confidence, and keep in touch with your feelings. Feeling fear is natural in this situation. Taking action is needed in order to have progress.
Through repetition of danger we grow accustomed to it. Water sets the example for the right conduct under such circumstances. It flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions. Thus likewise, if one is sincere when confronted with difficulties, the heart can penetrate the meaning of the situation. And once we have gained inner mastery of a problem, it will come about naturally that the action we take will succeed. In danger all that counts is really carrying out all that has to be done - thoroughness - and going forward, in order not to perish through tarrying in the danger.

Properly used, danger can have an important meaning as a protective measure. Thus heaven has its perilous height protecting it against every attempt at invasion, and earth has its mountains and bodies of water, separating countries by their dangers. Thus also rulers make use of danger to protect themselves against attacks from without and against turmoil within.
34 Much force.
It is beneficial to persist.
The Power of the Great.
Perseverance furthers.
Comments - 34 Using force. Persistence helps this to be effective.
The hexagram points to a time when inner worth mounts with great force and comes to power. But its strength has already passed beyond the median line, hence there is danger that one may rely entirely on one's own power and forget to ask what is right. There is danger too that, being intent on movement, we may not wait for the right time. Therefore the added statement that perseverance furthers. For that is truly great power which does not degenerate into mere force but remains inwardly united with the fundamental principles of right and of justice. When we understand this point - namely, that greatness and justice must be indissolubly united - we understand the true meaning of all that happens in heaven and on earth.

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The Eclectic Energies I Ching was translated from the original ancient Chinese by the author of this website, Ewald Berkers.