It is unfortunate that he died in that chaos. It made Carl Gustav Jung very much afraid of the East, and he started teaching a certain hypothesis – which is simply stupid – that Eastern methods are suitable only to Eastern people, and Western methods are suitable to Western people, and they should not be mixed.
This seems to be a very superficial analysis of the whole case.
This means that your intellect should remain unbridged with your intuition. This means that your head should never come in contact with your heart. This means that the West will remain half, and the East will remain half.
Richard Wilhelm’s case is very symbolic. It shows that things should be done under proper guidance.
He was learning language from the linguists – they were not masters of intuition. He was translating a book which has nothing to do with intellect, which needed a master to help him, so that the translation is not only literal but essential, that it carries the very fragrance of the original – not just the verbal change of language.
He was never a disciple of a Tao master; otherwise, this catastrophe would have been avoided, and things would have been totally different. Because since his death, nobody has tried that hard to understand the East’s basic contribution.
Intuition cannot be translated into intellect. A certain bridge can certainly be made, but the more intuition takes possession of you, the more intellect has to function as a servant.
And that was the problem. Although for thirty years he worked with an intuitive book, his intellect remained the master.
And intuition can never be a servant. It is your innermost core. It opens up only in deep meditation.
And Richard Wilhelm never bothered about meditation. His whole concern was the translation of the book, without thinking that books can be different. The books written by the mind – of which the West is full – and the books arisen out of intuition are a totally different category.
The I Ching is perhaps five or seven thousand years old. Nobody knows who wrote it – because in the East it is not important that the name of the person should be on the book, particularly the intuitive ones whose egos have been lost, in fact they have become nameless. Some nameless master, a visionary, wrote the book not because he wanted to write it, but because existence wanted it to be written. He was simply a vehicle, a hollow bamboo.
Although Richard Wilhelm remained thirty years in China, he remained with wrong people. He had to. First he had to learn the language, and for that he had to be in contact with linguistic experts. And once he had learned the language, he started translating the book, thinking that every book belongs to the same category – and there is the fallacy.
The Upanishads in India do not belong to the ordinary category of books. The Dhammapada of Gautam Buddha does not belong to the ordinary category of books.