CHING(6) Games Manual CHING(6)
ching -- the book of changes and other cookies
The I Ching or Book of Changes is an ancient Chinese oracle that has been
in use for centuries as a source of wisdom and advice.
The text of the oracle (as it is sometimes known) consists of sixty-four
hexagrams, each symbolized by a particular arrangement of six straight
(---) and broken (- -) lines. These lines have values ranging from six
through nine, with the even values indicating the broken lines.
Each hexagram consists of two major sections. The Judgement relates
specifically to the matter at hand (e.g., ``It furthers one to have
somewhere to go.'') while the Image describes the general attributes of
the hexagram and how they apply to one's own life (``Thus the superior
man makes himself strong and untiring.'')
When any of the lines have the values six or nine, they are moving lines;
for each there is an appended judgement which becomes significant.
Furthermore, the moving lines are inherently unstable and change into
their opposites; a second hexagram (and thus an additional judgement) is
Normally, one consults the oracle by fixing the desired question firmly
in mind and then casting a set of changes (lines) using yarrow-stalks or
tossed coins. The resulting hexagram will be the answer to the question.
Using an algorithm suggested by S. C. Johnson, the UNIX oracle simply
reads a question from the standard input (up to an EOF) and hashes the
individual characters in combination with the time of day, process id and
any other magic numbers which happen to be lying around the system. The
resulting value is used as the seed of a random number generator which
drives a simulated coin-toss divination. The answer is then piped
through nroff(1) for formatting and will appear on the standard output.
For those who wish to remain steadfast in the old traditions, the oracle
will also accept the results of a personal divination using, for example,
coins. To do this, cast the change and then type the resulting line
values as an argument.
The impatient modern may prefer to settle for Chinese cookies; try
The great prince issues commands,
Founds states, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.
It furthers one to see the great man.
Waiting in the mud
Brings about the arrival of the enemy.
If one is not extremely careful,
Somebody may come up from behind and strike him.
NetBSD 6.1.5 May 31, 1993 NetBSD 6.1.5