Yi Jing - what is it, really?

Many people say: Oh, it is so difficult to understand Yi Jing! it is so terse, it is so archaic, impossible to grasp...

My answers to such comments would be: strictly speaking Yi Jing is not supposed to be understood (on a very deep level) - Yi Jing is supposed to be used for prognostication.
How can I use it if I don't understand it first? you may reply.
Simple - you use your photo camera without understanding what is going on inside the camera, aren't you?

With a minimal training you will be able to take beautiful pictures and by taking such amazing pictures you will enrich your life and possibly the lives of some other people around you (who equally enjoy your photo art).

I ensure you if you dig deep and investigate the nature of light (and that is what you will be doing as a photographer- capturing light) and truly understand what the light is and how, for example, light can penetrate your window pane unobstructed, that understanding (of light) will bring you understanding of your own life and of everything else in the universe.

But I am sure you will agree you don't have to be a quantum physicist investigating the nature of light in order to skillfully use a photo camera.

Similarly you may spend all your life studying linguistics, philosophy, history, commentaries etc. behind Yi Jing and you may very well penetrate the deepest mysteries of life by doing that, however none of that is necessary to make a good use of Yi Jing.

To make it a life enriching experience available to everyone - young and old, rich and poor, educated and uneducated, what you need is a basic knowledge of the book and some discipline to use it properly. You also need the right attitude towards the book. That is all.

Practical value of Yi Jing

This book can immensely enrich your life just by using it for gaining insights into some of the tricky situations you may come across from time to time. If you use Yi Jing for entertainment, that is exactly what you will get back: entertainment (Yi Jing will treat you with equal amounts of respect and seriousness simply because you and the book are two parts of the same whole - a book means nothing without the person who is using it).

Yi Jing as a metaphor

If I had to explain what Yi Jing is I would say Yi Jing is much like a wardrobe full of costumes in a theatre: they just hang there, you look at them and you admire the craft of the tailors who made them but you have a horribly hard time making sense of them. Only when the actors come, when they put those costumes on, when you see what the play is about then all those costumes make perfect sense and all of them fulfill their purpose.

You are the actor and the drama played is your life. Yi Jing will help you choose a costume so that you can see if you play the role of a king or the role of a fool. At that point you will understand what Yi Jing truly is, not before. Of course your questions do not have to be limited to your own life situations, you can ask any question you please however the same principle applies in all cases.