Yi Jing I Ching WG Book of Changes

yin yang,I ching,baguo
Feng Shui

Feng Shui

Culture

The ancient tradition of Feng Shui has been far reaching for thousands of years. It is still practiced today, particularly for choosing the site for buildings and graves. With the goal of harmony and balance with nature, it has excellent environmental credentials.

The Yi Jing ‘Book of Changes’ was foremost among the five ancient classics of China. Kongfuzi (Confucius) is reputed to have said “If years were added to my life, I would dedicate fifty to study the ‘Yi Jing’, then I might approach perfection” (Analects 7.16) . “The Yi Jing thinks of nothing, does nothing; in tranquility, unmoving, it fathoms what is at the back of everything in the world” (Great Appendix to the Yi Jing). Many great scholars have studied the ‘Yi Jing’, which is still widely known as ‘I Ching’ following the Wade Giles system, as a source of contemplation and reflection. Marcel Granet has described it “as the Cosmos in capsule form”. It served as a broad method for characterizing all things, people, events and situations systematically. As many objects and actions are associated with a particular hexagram it was used as a proto-science - putting everything in its appropriate logical context. In Imperial China its influence was all pervasive; the Qing dynasty Emperor Kangxi's edition of the I Ching had by 1715 accumulated no less than 218 commentaries written by esteemed scholars. The Emperor 'never tired' of studying it, spending over six months studying it - twice - and consulted the book to determine such things as the just punishment of rebels. He considered it of great depth touching on both fortune-telling and morality.

IChing/Yi Jing

In our Yi Jing (I Ching) section we have a full reference of the history of the most influential classic of ancient China.

We fully describe both the ancient yarrow stick method of divination as well as the quicker and more modern coin method.

We offer a free, online consultation of the Yi Jing using the ancient method and there is a page explaining the meaning of all the 64 hexagrams.

It is called ‘Book of Changes’ because it is rooted in transformation. In the classic divination method two hexagrams are cast at the same time, the one changing to the other. Joseph Needham used the term ‘Resonance’ to describe its relationship to the world.

Feng Shui, Confucianism and Yin/Yang all contribute to the ‘(Book of Changes ’). Nowadays it is best known as a popular fortune telling system, but its foundations go far deeper. It builds ‘hexagrams’ made up of six lines that are each either yang (solid) or yin (broken). A hexagram is termed a gua guà in Chinese. It is a combination of two trigrams made up of three lines to form one of eight trigrams (bagua ); that are shown surrounding the traditional taiji (yin-yang) figure in the illustration. Two trigrams combine together to give the six lines that represent one of 64 possible hexagrams. For more on the numerical properties and associations see our Luo Shu (magic square) section.

Teacup media audio podcast by Laszlo Montgomery.
The I Ching
Laszlo podcast

The Yi Jing was consulted for scientific inquiry, for example in alchemy; and astronomy as hexagrams are associated with both the lunar and daily (solar) cycles; as each particular day of the month or time of day had its own associations. From this evolved the practice of doing certain actions on particular days and at particular times. The yin-yang division is a binary system and this stimulated Leibniz to think that the Chinese had developed a binary counting system centuries before the West, however this is not true, the Yi Jing had never been used for counting. Because it attempted to provide an explanatory system for all things it became an obstacle to further scientific development and was incompatible with Western science when it reached China in the 20th century. Needham considers that scientists ‘would have been better to tie a millstone round the neck of the Yi Jing and cast it into the sea.’

To consult the I Ching, a person makes six choices between yin/yang; short/long; broken/straight; or heads/tails arranged in two sets of three. Each line is called a yáo and is represented by the number 9 for yang yángyáo or 6 for yin yīnyáo. The meaning and interpretation are strongly influenced by the two trigrams that make up the gua, for example the trigrams for ‘water’ ( kǎn) and ‘fire’ ( ) combine to give hexagram 63 (jì jì ) which has the meaning of ‘transformation’ as water puts out fire and also fire dries out dampness.

Some idea of the power of the Yi Jing can be seen from the belief that the invention of wooden boats first came from the book. The hexagram 59 is associated with the wood element and is composed of 'wind' over 'water'. The commentary states that it is advantageous for crossing a great stream and so it is interpreting as stating that wood is the suitable material to use for making boats.

History of I Ching

The Yi Jing dates back about 3,000 years when it was probably used purely for divination. Although it is claimed to date from the start of the Zhou dynasty there is no direct evidence to support this. The oldest text is called Zhōuyì after the name of the dynasty and attributed to legendary Emperor Fuxi (c.2800 BCE) and King Wen of Zhou . It was certainly used in China during the Zhou dynasty long before the birth of Confucius (551BCE). To the ancient text were added ten commentaries attributed to Confucius that are called the ‘ten wings’; but these were probably written long after Confucius during the Han dynasty. can be translated as 'easy' as well as 'changes' and it could be considered that this method of divination was quicker and easier than analyzing the original divination method of studying the pattern of cracks on oracle bones. It is the Yi Jing commentaries that have as great a value as the hexagrams themselves, they reveal much about Chinese thought, history and philosophy. Daoists just as much as followers of Confucius hold the book in great esteem. All this has made it a much more sophisticated system than other mere ‘fortune telling’ systems such as Tarot cards .

The original method used in ancient times cast a hexagram by using a bundle of 50 yarrow sticks shīcǎo (split six times to give each line - see below for a guide). In the Tang dynasty a faster method using three coins was introduced. However the probabilities are not the same in the two methods. The more complex system uses four choices rather than two, instead of just yin and yang this method produces both ‘continuous’ and ‘changing’ versions of yin and yang. Two readings are produced, one for the present and one for the ‘change’ representing either the past or future. The two readings in combination give 64x64 (4096) possibilities which make it a very large and complex system.

Each trigram ( Bàguà has its own name and meaning. They are traditional thought of as pairs heaven & earth; mountain & lake; water & fire; thunder & wind. See our yin-yang section for more on derivation and background.

TrigramChinese NameNameElementSeasonDirectionAssociations
dui yijing duìLake Lesser MetalAutumnWestmarsh; monkey; youngest daughter; joy; serenity; enjoying; sheep; children
qian yijing qiánHeaven tiānMetalAutumnNorth-westsky; lion; father; creative (all yang); energy; vitality; virility; dragon; horse; helpers
kan yijing kǎnWater shuǐWatermid-WinterNorthsnake; curves; flowing water; sinking; pig; career
gen yijing gènMountain shānLesser Earthlate WinterNorth-eastbear; youngest son; stillness; stopping; fruits; dog; rat; knowledge
zhen yijing zhènThunder léiWoodearly SpringEastflying dragon; eldest son; excitement; arousal; galloping horse; family
xun yijing xùnWind fēngLesser Woodlate SpringSouth-eastwind; phoenix; eldest daughter; gentle; flexible; growth; wealth
li yijing Fire huǒFireSummerSouthmiddle daughter; dependent; attaching; weapons; drought; rooster; fame
kun yijing kūnEarth Earthlate SummerSouth-westqilin (unicorn); mother; receptive; yielding (all yin); docility; mare; ox; marriage

Two trigrams together give a hexagram or gua for the Yi Jing.

Order of I Ching Hexagrams

There are actually three Yi Jings, the best known is the most recent the zhōu yì or ‘Change of Heaven’ from the Zhou dynasty which begins with the Heaven gua . The Liánshān ‘Link to Mountain’ on the other hand begins with Mountain and is attributed to the Red Emperor or Shennong a thousand years earlier. The Guīcáng ‘Save in Earth’ starts with ‘Earth’ and is attributed to the Yellow Emperor. However only the Zhouyi has survived intact and has the all important commentaries.

The Zhouyi ordering is also known as the ‘King Wen system of hexagrams’; it does not follow a mathematical progression. One might expect the binary nature of yin-yang to be reflected in a binary sequence so mathematically 111111 ( qián all yang) might be followed by 111110 ( gòu) gua 44 or by 011111 ( guài) gua 43. The 'Ahead of Heaven' ordering of the Song dynasty follows this strict binary order; but the King Wen arrangement is in pairs of inverses or opposites so qián is followed by 000000 ( kūn all yin). As qián is symmetric (it is its own inverse) its opposite gua ‘kun’ is chosen as its pair.

As a ‘Book of Changes’ it is appropriate that guas are ordered in transformed pairs. The next pair begins with 010001 ( zhūn) and its inverse is 100010 ( mēng) in this case the pair reverses the order. The arrangement of hexagrams has puzzled scholars for centuries as there are strong patterns of related concepts within the ordering. As the original text was written so long ago the original symbolism and meaning has been lost and reconstruction is a matter of scholarly conjecture.

The most ideal structure for a hexagram is for yin lines to occur at 2 and 4 but yang lines at 3 and 5 (counting lines from the bottom), these give most benefit. The alternating nature of the 'ideal' figure highlights the Chinese desire for balance and counter-balance rather than a desire for pure yin or pure yang.

The sequence is split into two unequal groups: the Upper Canon shàngjīng 1-30 (where yang is broadly dominate; the ‘Dao of Heaven’) and the Lower Canon xiàjīng 31-64 (where yin is broadly dominate; the ‘Dao of Humanity’).

1
Gua 1Qián Initiating; Donator (Heaven); element: Metal; month: 4; opp. 2 inv. 1 mutual 1; associations: heaven, king, father, order, control
2
Gua 2Kūn Responding; Receptor (Earth); element: Earth; month: 10; opp. 1 inv. 2 mutual 2; associations: earth, people, mother, support, docility
3
Gua 3Zhūn Beginning; Inhibition (Water over Thunder); element: Water; month: 12; opp. 50 inv. 4 mutual 23; associations: initial difficulty
4
Gua 4Méng Immaturity; Initiation (Mountain over Water); element: Earth; month: 1; opp. 49 inv. 3 mutual 24; associations: inexperience
5
Gua 5 Needing; Halting (Water over Heaven); element: Water; month: 2; opp. 35 inv. 6 mutual 38; associations: procrastination, delay
6
Gua 6Sòng Contention; Strife (Heaven over Water); element: Metal; month: 3; opp. 36 inv. 5 mutual 37; associations: litigation
7
Gua 7Shī Multitude; Mass action (Earth over Water); element: Earth; month: 4; opp. 13 inv. 8 mutual 24; associations: army, teacher
8
Gua 8 Union; Coherence (Water over Earth); element: Water; month: 4; opp. 14 inv. 7 mutual 23; associations: concord, assembly
9
小畜Gua 9Xiǎo Xù Small accumulation; Taming (Wind over Heaven); element: Wood; month: 4; opp. 16 inv. 10 mutual 38; associations: moderation
10
Gua 10 Fulfillment; Slow advance (Heaven over Lake); element: Metal; month: 6; opp. 15 inv. 9 mutual 37; associations: tread, circumspection
11
Gua 11Tài Advance; Elevation (Earth over Heaven); element: Earth; month: 1; opp. 12 inv. 12 mutual 54; associations: prosperity, geniality
12
Gua 12 Hindrance; Stagnation (Heaven over Earth); element: Metal; month: 7; opp. 11 inv. 11 mutual 53; associations: bad, autumn, retrogression
13
同人Gua 13Tóng Rén Fellowship; Aggregation (Heaven over Fire); element: Metal; month: 7; opp. 7 inv. 14 mutual 44; associations: community, all together
14
大有Gua 14Dà Yǒu Great harvest; Profusion (Fire over Heaven); element: Fire; month: 5; opp. 8 inv. 13 mutual 43; associations: opulence
15
Gua 15Qiān Humility; Modesty (Earth over Mountain); element: Earth; month: 12; opp. 10 inv. 16 mutual 40; associations: hidden wealth
16
Gua 16 Delight; Inspiration (Thunder over Earth); element: Wood; month: 3; opp. 9 inv. 15 mutual 39; associations: enthusiasm, satisfaction
17
Gua 17Suí Pursuit; Sucession (Lake over Thunder); element: Metal; month: 2; opp. 18 inv. 18 mutual 53; associations: follower
18
Gua 18 Decay; Corruption (Mountain over Wind); element: Earth; month: 3; opp. 17 inv. 17 mutual 54; associations: poison, illness
19
Gua 19Lín Approach; Convergence (Earth over Lake); element: Earth; month: 12; opp. 33 inv. 20 mutual 24; associations: acost
20
Gua 20Guān Contemplation; Vision (Wind over Earth); element: Wood; month: 8; opp. 34 inv. 19 mutual 23; associations: view, radiation
21
噬嗑Gua 21Shì Kè Eradicating; Gnawing (Fire over Thunder); element: Fire; month: 10; opp. 48 inv. 22 mutual 39; associations: crowds, courts
22
Gua 22 Elegance; Pattern (Mountain over Fire); element: Earth; month: 8; opp. 47 inv. 21 mutual 40; associations: ornamental
23
Gua 23 Peeling off; Dispersion (Mountain over Earth); element: Earth; month: 9; opp. 43 inv. 24 mutual 2; associations: flay, collapse
24
Gua 24 Turning back; Return (Earth over Thunder); element: Earth; month: 11; opp. 44 inv. 23 mutual 2; associations: end of year
25
无妄Gua 25Wú Wàng Honesty; Unforeseen (Heaven over Thunder); element: Metal; month: 9; opp. 46 inv. 26 mutual 53; associations: not false, not reckless
26
大畜Gua 26Dà Xù Great nourishment; Impeded (Mountain over Heaven); element: Earth; month: 8; opp. 45 inv. 25 mutual 54; associations: obstruction
27
Gua 27 Nourishment; Nutrition (Mountain over Thunder); element: Earth; month: 11; opp. 28 inv. 27 mutual 2; associations: mouth, jaws
28
大过Gua 28Dà Guò Excess; Surpassing (Lake over Wind); element: Metal; month: 10; opp. 27 inv. 28 mutual 1; associations: strangeness, top-heavy
29
Gua 29Kǎn Darkness; Flow (Water); element: Water; month: Winter Solstice; opp. 30 inv. 29 mutual 27; associations: torrent of water
30
Gua 30 Brightness; Adherence (Fire); element: Fire; month: Summer Solstice; opp. 29 inv. 30 mutual 28; associations: mesh of a net
31
Gua 31Xián Influence; Reaction (Lake over Mountain); element: Metal; month: 5; opp. 41 inv. 32 mutual 44; associations: all, interweaving, wooing
32
Gua 32Héng Endurance; Perseverance (Thunder over Wind); element: Wood; month: 7; opp. 42 inv. 31 mutual 43; associations: constant
33
Gua 33Dùn Retreat; Regression (Heaven over Mountain); element: Metal; month: 6; opp. 19 inv. 34 mutual 44; associations: hiding, conceal, withdrawal
34
大壮Gua 34Dà Zhuàng Great strength; Powerful (Thunder over Heaven); element: Wood; month: 2; opp. 20 inv. 33 mutual 43; associations: power
35
Gua 35Jìn Gain ground; Rapid advance (Fire over Earth); element: Fire; month: 2; opp. 5 inv. 36 mutual 39; associations: rise
36
明夷Gua 36Míng Yí Darkening; Overshadow (Earth over Fire); element: Earth; month: 9; opp. 6 inv. 35 mutual 40; associations: lack of appreciation
37
家人Gua 37Jiā Rén Domesticity; Relationship (Wind over Fire); element: Wood; month: 5; opp. 40 inv. 38 mutual 64; associations: family members
38
Gua 38Kuí Diversity; Opposition (Fire over Lake); element: Fire; month: 12; opp. 39 inv. 37 mutual 63; associations: separation
39
Gua 39Jiǎn Hardship; Obstruction (Water over Mountain); element: Water; month: 11; opp. 38 inv. 40 mutual 64; associations: lameness, retardation
40
Gua 40Xiè Relief; Disentangle (Thunder over Water); element: Wood; month: 2; opp. 37 inv. 39 mutual 63; associations: liberation, dissection, analysis
41
Gua 41Sǔn Reduction; Diminution (Mountain over Lake); element: Earth; month: 7; opp. 31 inv. 42 mutual 24; associations: spoil, hurt, taxation, subtraction
42
Gua 42 Gain; Increase (Wind over Thunder); element: Wood; month: 1; opp. 32 inv. 41 mutual 23; associations: benefit, addition
43
Gua 43Guài Breakthrough; Eruption (Lake over Heaven); element: Metal; month: 3; opp. 23 inv. 44 mutual 1; associations: decision, settlement, release of strain
44
Gua 44Gòu Encountering; Reaction (Heaven over Wind); element: Metal; month: 5; opp. 24 inv. 43 mutual 1; associations: copulation, fusion, meeting
45
Gua 45Cuì Gathering; Condensation (Lake over Earth); element: Metal; month: 8; opp. 26 inv. 46 mutual 53; associations: thicket, conglomeration, consolidation
46
Gua 46Shēng Growing up; Ascent (Earth over Wind); element: Earth; month: 12; opp. 25 inv. 45 mutual 54; associations: promotion, career progression
47
Gua 47Kùn Exhaustion; Confinement (Lake over Water); element: Metal; month: 9; opp. 22 inv. 48 mutual 37; associations: straightened, distress
48
Gua 48Jǐng Replenish; Source (Water over Wind); element: Water; month: 5; opp. 21 inv. 47 mutual 38; associations: dependable
49
Gua 49 Renewal; Revolution (Lake over Fire); element: Metal; month: 3; opp. 4 inv. 50 mutual 44; associations: moulting of skin, change skins
50
Gua 50Dǐng Creation; Containment (Fire over Wind); element: Fire; month: 6; opp. 3 inv. 49 mutual 43; associations: cooking vessel, cauldron
51
Gua 51Zhèn Enactment; Excitation (Thunder); element: Wood; month: Spring Equinox; opp. 57 inv. 52 mutual 39; associations: thunder, earthquake
52
Gua 52Gèn Stillness; Immobility (Mountain); element: Earth; month: 10; opp. 58 inv. 51 mutual 40; associations: limitation, stability
53
Gua 53Jiàn Gradual development; Progression (Wind over Mountain); element: Wood; month: 1; opp. 54 inv. 54 mutual 64; associations: steady advance
54
归妹Gua 54Guī Mèi Marrying Maiden; Union (Thunder over Lake); element: Wood; month: 9; opp. 53 inv. 53 mutual 63; associations: marriage
55
Gua 55Fēng Plentitude; Abundance (Thunder over Fire); element: Wood; month: 6; opp. 59 inv. 56 mutual 28; associations: prosperity
56
Gua 56 Journeying; Wandering (Fire over Mountain); element: Fire; month: 4; opp. 60 inv. 55 mutual 28; associations: strangers, merchants
57
Gua 57Xùn Submission; Acquiescence (Wind); element: Wood; month: 8; opp. 51 inv. 58 mutual 38; associations: wind penetration
58
Gua 58Duì Joy; Serenity (Lake); element: Metal; month: Autumn Equinox; opp. 52 inv. 57 mutual 37; associations: sea, pleasure
59
Gua 59Huàn Dispersion; Dissolution (Wind over Water); element: Wood; month: 6; opp. 55 inv. 60 mutual 27; associations: swelling, irregular
60
Gua 60Jié Restriction; Regulation (Water over Lake); element: Water; month: 7; opp. 56 inv. 59 mutual 27; associations: mediation, section, regular division
61
中孚Gua 61Zhōng Fú Sincerity; Truth (Wind over Lake); element: Wood; month: 11; opp. 62 inv. 61 mutual 27; associations: confidence, inner strength
62
小过Gua 62Xiǎo Guò Small preponderance; Overstep (Thunder over Mountain); element: Wood; month: 1; opp. 61 inv. 62 mutual 28; associations: surfeit
63
既济Gua 63Jì Jì Sated; Consumation (Water over Fire); element: Water; month: 10; opp. 64 inv. 64 mutual 64; associations: completion, perfect order
64
未济Gua 64Wèi Jì Almost complete; Unfinished (Fire over Water); element: Fire; month: 11; opp. 63 inv. 63 mutual 63; associations: disorder, just short of accomplishment

Key

No.The hexagram number in the King Wen ordering of the Hexagrams.
GuaThe Chinese character, pinyin and old seal script form of the hexagram (gua).
NameTwo attempts at translating the gua into English. This is tricky as different translators use different words. Here we provide a link to a web page that provides a full description of each gua.
CompositionThe names of the two trigrams that make up the hexagram, these often give a strong hint on interpretation.
ElementThe Chinese element associated with the gua.
MonthChinese lunar month number associated with the gua, or else event in solar year.
Opp.The number of the Opposite gua, that is the one where each yao is changed yin to yang or yang to yin.
Inv.The number of the Inverse gua, where the hexagram is turned on its head.
Mut.A re-arrangement of the lines and selective inversion give a related or Mutual gua.
AssociationsSome of the known associations of the hexagram.

Find a hexagram

Because the hexagrams in the King Wen ordering are not placed in numerical order it can take time to look-up a hexagram. This table lists all the hexagrams ordered by the two trigrams that make them up. The top trigram is along the top and the bottom trigram is on the left side. Simply follow the row and column to where they intersect and follow the link for more information.

trigram7
Qián
trigram1
Zhèn
trigram2
Kǎn
trigram4
Gèn
trigram0
Kūn
trigram6
Xùn
trigram5
trigram3
Duì
trigram7
Qián
trigram7trigram7

Qián [1]
trigram1trigram7

Dà zhuàng [34]
trigram2trigram7

Xū [5]
trigram4trigram7

Dà xù [26]
trigram0trigram7

Tài [11]
trigram6trigram7

Xiǎo xù [9]
trigram5trigram7

Dà yǒu [14]
trigram3trigram7

Guài [43]
trigram1
Zhèn
trigram7trigram1

Wú wàng [25]
trigram1trigram1

Zhèn [51]
trigram2trigram1

Zhūn [3]
trigram4trigram1

Yí [27]
trigram0trigram1

Fù [24]
trigram6trigram1

Yì [42]
trigram5trigram1

Shì kè [21]
trigram3trigram1

Suí [17]
trigram2
Kǎn
trigram7trigram2

Sòng [6]
trigram1trigram2

Xiè [40]
trigram2trigram2

Kǎn [29]
trigram4trigram2

Méng [4]
trigram0trigram2

Shī [7]
trigram6trigram2

Huàn [59]
trigram5trigram2

Wèi jì [64]
trigram3trigram2

Kùn [47]
trigram4
Gèn
trigram7trigram4

Dùn [33]
trigram1trigram4

Xiǎo guò [62]
trigram2trigram4

Jiǎn [39]
trigram4trigram4

Gèn [52]
trigram0trigram4

Qiān [15]
trigram6trigram4

Jiàn [53]
trigram5trigram4

Lǚ [56]
trigram3trigram4

Xián [31]
trigram0
Kūn
trigram7trigram0

Pǐ [12]
trigram1trigram0

Yù [16]
trigram2trigram0

Bǐ [8]
trigram4trigram0

Bō [23]
trigram0trigram0

Kūn [2]
trigram6trigram0

Guān [20]
trigram5trigram0

Jìn [35]
trigram3trigram0

Cuì [45]
trigram6
Xùn
trigram7trigram6

Gòu [44]
trigram1trigram6

Héng [32]
trigram2trigram6

Jǐng [48]
trigram4trigram6

Gǔ [18]
trigram0trigram6

Shēng [46]
trigram6trigram6

Xùn [57]
trigram5trigram6

Dǐng [50]
trigram3trigram6

Dà guò [28]
trigram5
trigram7trigram5

Tóng rén [13]
trigram1trigram5

Fēng [55]
trigram2trigram5

Jì jì [63]
trigram4trigram5

Bì [22]
trigram0trigram5

Míng yí [36]
trigram6trigram5

Jiā rén [37]
trigram5trigram5

Lí [30]
trigram3trigram5

Gé [49]
trigram3
Duì
trigram7trigram3

Lǚ [10]
trigram1trigram3

Guī mèi [54]
trigram2trigram3

Jié [60]
trigram4trigram3

Sǔn [41]
trigram0trigram3

Lín [19]
trigram6trigram3

Zhōng fú [61]
trigram5trigram3

Kuí [38]
trigram3trigram3

Duì [58]

I Ching Transformation

Fish for good fortune

Fish for good fortune

Culture

Fish ( ) have been a frequently used symbol for good fortune for centuries. This is because means ?surplus; abundance? and so a picture of a fish is a wish for prosperity. They are often eaten at Chinese New Year partly as a symbol for a wish for abundance in the coming year.

The authentic methods for casting a hexagram give four not two outcomes for each line of the hexagram. These are yin, yang, changing yin and changing yang. If any of the lines are 'changing' this gives two hexagrams, the first using the initial choice and the second where all ‘changing yin’ lines are changed to yang and all ‘changing yang’ lines are changed to yin. The commentaries of the Yi Jing only give a commentary when there is a single changing line. In the less likely case that more than one line is changing great skill is required to interpret the meaning of the change, quite often the hexagram is cast again.

Ten Wings shíyì

The ten original commentaries or 'wings' are split into upper and lower sections:

1,2 : These commentaries are attributed to King Wen of Zhou. They are called the 序卦 Xù guà zhuàn and Tuàn zhuàn
3,4 : The symbolism explained by the Duke of Zhou and an explanation of the lines. Xiàng zhuàn
5,6 : The Great Treatise Dà zhuàn, the main commentary on the guas. Xì cí zhuàn
7 : A meditation on the meaning on the 1st and 2nd guas (Heaven and Earth) and how they evolve into all the remaining hexagrams. Called the Wén yán zhuàn
8: The ‘Discourse on the trigrams’ looks at the seasons of the year and the compass points. Shuō guà zhuàn
9 : Looks at the rationale for the sequence of the guas, and muses as to why each gua naturally follows on from another. 杂卦 Zá guà zhuàn
10 : Summarizes the meanings of the guas in a simple rhyme but does not follow the King Wen sequence.

The text and commentaries are hard to follow because they allude to unknown events and customs in the distant past. Some of them are put into poetic form with rhymes. This allows a modern reader to interpret the meaning in different ways.

The Yi Jing Universe

The all embracing nature of the Yi Jing can be seen from the associations of hexagrams. The lunar cycle follows through the hexagrams 51; 58; 1 (new moon); 57; 52 to 2 (full moon). While the daily cycle passes through 24, 19, 11, 34, 43, 1 (noon), 44, 33, 12, 20, 23, 2 (midnight).

In ancient China the Yi Jing was all pervasive, deciding what should be done and when; even the ministries of the government were associated with particular gua: General administration (1); Ministry of Education (2); Ministry of Rites (51); Executive (52; 57 and 30); Ministry of Justice (58) and Ministry of Public Works (29). In this way a single gua has a great number of important associations and forms a complex network with many other related concepts. The Yi Jing provided the master plan for organizing everything.

back to topBack to top
Share this page Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest

Chinasage is a new web resource, pages will be added, enhanced and re-formatted regularly. We would be most grateful if you can help improve this page. Please visit our (secure) contact page to leave any comment. Thanks.

Citation information for this page : Chinasage, 'Yi Jing (I Ching) Book of Changes', last updated 5 Dec 2016, Web, http://www.chinasage.info/YiJing.htm.

Copyright © Chinasage 2012 to 2018