# man(1) Manual page archive

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CHING(6)                                                 CHING(6)

NAME
ching - the book of changes

SYNOPSIS
/usr/games/ching [ hexagram ]

DESCRIPTION
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

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 fur-
thers 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 sec-
ond hexagram (and thus an additional judgement) is formed.

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 combina-
tion 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 gen-
erator which drives a simulated coin-toss divination.  The
answer is then piped through nroff for formatting and will
appear on the standard output.

For those who wish to remain steadfast in the old tradi-
tions, 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 argu-
ment.

CHING(6)                                                 CHING(6)

The impatient modern may prefer to settle for Chinese cook-
ies; try fortune(1).

It furthers one to see the great man.

DIAGNOSTICS
The great prince issues commands,
Founds states, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.

BUGS
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.
Misfortune.

```