Philosophy & Structure of I Ching

I-Ching or the "Book of Changes" is an ancient Chinese divination manual and book of wisdom. Know more about it.

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Philosophy & Structure of I Ching

Post by swetha » Mon Jun 27, 2005 7:06 am

Philosophy of the I Ching

The central idea behind the I Ching is that of flux or change. All things, including human affairs, are understood to change through time - they are born, develop, decay, die and are reborn in some new form.

By studying these changes, we can recognise significant patterns of change (e.g., night and day, the phases of the moon, the seasons of the year, the ages of man).

Change also involves relationships between opposites. The two most basic opposites are the principles of Yang and Yin.

Yang corresponds to active, creative, expansive force.

Yin corresponds to receptive, mutable, contracting form.

All change can be understood in terms of the relationship between Yang and Yin.

When Yin and Yang are in balanced relationship, then life is harmonious. When we follow a harmonious and connected path through life, then we are said to live in accordance with the Tao.
There is also a reality beyond Yin and Yang. This is T'ai Chi (The Absolute).

T'ai Chi


Structure of the I Ching

Yang and Yin are represented in the I Ching by unbroken and broken lines.
 -------------    Yang (unbroken line)
 -----  -------     Yin (broken line)

When using the I Ching oracle, these lines are used to create Hexagrams (figures made up of six lines). Hexagrams are always constructed and read from the bottom to the top.
Each line in a hexagram can be either Yang or Yin. The various combinations give rise to 64 different hexagrams.

For the purposes of the divination, each different hexagram (and every line in a hexagram) has its own particular oracular meaning.

  Example of a Hexagram   Lines
 ---------------   6 *
 -------   ------    5  
 -------   ------    4  
 ---------------   3  
 -------   ------   2 *
 ---------------    1  
 22: Adornment      

Each hexagram is also understood as composed of two Trigrams (figures of three lines). The two component trigrams (known as "Above" and "Below") are made up of the top three lines and the bottom three lines of the hexagram. These indicate the outer (above) and inner (below) aspects of the situation described in the hexagram.
There are 8 possible trigrams. Each of these also has a traditional meaning.

Hexagram 22 (shown above) is therefore made up of Mountain (above), and Fire (below)

Additional trigrams, made up of lines 2,3,4 and 3,4,5 of a hexagram, are also understood to form a nuclear hexagram that gives further insight into the meaning of each hexagram. The nuclear hexagram for Hexagram 22 (Adornment) is therefore made up of Thunder (above) and Water (below). The nuclear hexagram is believed to indicate something of the original hexagram's contrary or shadow qualities. The shadow (nuclear hexagram) of 22 (Adornment) is 40 ( Liberation). All this will become much clearer as you begin to use the I Ching.

Each hexagram also has one or two governing or Ruling Lines. These are pivotal in the structure and dynamics of the hexagram and generally represent auspicious qualities. Most commonly, line 5 is a ruler but sometimes other lines take precedence. For Hexagram 22 (Adornment), the ruling lines are 2 and 6 (indicated by asterisks above).

  The Eight Trigrams

Heaven (Force)

------    ---------
------    ---------

Thunder (Arousing)

------     ---------
------     ---------

Water (Difficulty)
------    ----------
------    ----------
Mountain (Stopping)

------    ----------
------    ----------  
------    ----------
Earth (Yielding)  

------    ----------
Wind (Entering)

------    ----------
Fire (Intelligence)

------    ----------
Lake (Openness)


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Joined: Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:05 pm

excellent post

Post by nvg281 » Sat Aug 11, 2007 11:51 pm

WOw, i think i understand this stuff better now. Keep up the good work!

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Location: Portland, Oregon


Post by Azreal93 » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:26 pm

93  Great Post! I think it's high time that we have this kind of simplicity and clarity to aid us in our respective paths! Thank You!
93 93/93 AZRL193 :smt003
Love is the Law, love under will.

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Post by alen9788 » Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:13 pm

I agree it.It is a Must to understand philosophy well before learning profound I Ching.
Accurate prediction by top Chinese astrology and Change future by Feng Shui from I Ching.

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