CHAPTER 4
The Changes in East Asia

Although the specific circumstances under which the Yijing found its way to various East Asian countries naturally differed, there seem to be certain similarities in the way that it traveled. In the first place, from the early centuries of the common era into the late nineteenth century, the classical Chinese written language was the lingua franca of virtually all literate elites in Korea, Japan, and Vietnam, employed in a fashion roughly analogous to the scholarly use of Latin in the West; thus there was no need to translate it—except, on occasion, to render it in a more vernacular form to make it somewhat more accessible to commoners. Second, during this same period, intellectual life in all three areas came to be shaped in significant ways by the broad, albeit constantly evolving, patterns of Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist thought in China. Third, since the Yijing continued to occupy an exalted position in China for some two thousand years, into the twentieth century, there was never a time when it lacked prestige in these peripheral areas. A fourth feature of the process by which various East Asian peo

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The I Ching: A Biography
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