Life at SMC

SMC 2013 I Ching Reading

watersnakeBy Steven Whitacre, Image by Sarah Lipton

I Ching (aka the Book of Changes): An ancient Chinese book of divination and a source of Confucian and Taoist philosophy. Answers to questions and advice may be obtained by referring to the text accompanying one of 64 hexagrams, selected at random.

At the evening feast on Shambhala Day, the beginning of the Year of the (always female) Water Snake, February 11, 2013, we cast the I Ching for Shambhala Mountain Center for the Year.  The result obtained was hexagram #3 Difficulty, with three changing lines, resulting in the second hexagram #7 the Army.  The first hexagram may represent either the recent past or the first part of the year, whereas the second may represent the future or the second part of the year.  Overall, this result suggests that the Shambhala Mountain Center is either experiencing difficult new growth as we return to normal following the High Park fire last summer, or perhaps it’s experiencing difficult growth in new directions with the new director and other changes to the staff, governance, and programs.

#3 Difficulty:Text: Difficulty followed by sublime success!  Persistence in a righteous course brings reward, but do not seek some (new) goal (or destination); it is highly advantageous to consolidate the present position.

Symbol: This hexagram symbolizes lightning spewed forth by the clouds- difficulty prevails!  The Superior Man busies himself setting things in order.

The commentary on the first changing line is fairly clear:

But, despite prevailing uncertainty, the way of righteousness must be pursued with firm determination. Men in high places, by cooperating with those under their care, will thereby win the support of their people.

The second changing line suggests that if we wait patiently for a gradual return to normal conditions, we will be able to make progress. Alternatively, perhaps there are persons or groups whose help or investment could help us move forward with our goals, but they are reluctant to commit, and we must be patient with them.

The third of the changing lines presents more concern:

Persistence in small things will bring good fortune; in greater matters it will bring disaster. This passage indicates that we have wrought insufficiently for the public good.

Some combination of seeking more modest goals and doing more work for the public good, seem likely to avert the misfortune this line warns against.

Via the three changing lines, the second hexagram is obtained:

#7 The Army: Text: The Army.  Persistence in a righteous course brings to those in authority good fortune and freedom from error.

Symbol: The hexagram symbolizes water surrounded by land.  The Superior Man nourishes the people and treats them with leniency.

Depending on the interpretations, it might seem that we are heading towards a situation either where the proper employment and governance of the Shambhala version of the Army, the Dorje Kasung, will be important, or where very large numbers of people will be on the land and need to be nourished and governed well. The latter would seem to dovetail with the very large numbers expected for the Three Pillar Leadership Training and the Scorpion Seal Assembly Years 3-4-5 Garchen, as well as the multitude of other large major dharma programs to be held here in the summer. Then again, being that the I Ching is in some sense an oracle, it is possible that both interpretations have some relevance.  However, it is important to keep in mind that the changing lines are often the most specific response and guide to action for the particular inquiry.