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I Ching

by Alfred Huang

During twenty-two years of confinement, even though I could not remember the sixty-four guards (hexagrams), I fully comprehended the Tao of I, the essence of the the I Ching which holds that when events proceed to their extremes they give birth to their opposites. Every day I read the official six-page newspaper as carefully as I could, not missing a single word. As I saw the situation of my country deteriorating, my heart became lighter. I knew after the long darkness there would be a dawn. When the darkness grew darker and darker, the dawn drew closer and closer.

Four sages: Fu Xi, King Wen, the Duke of Zhou, and Confucius. Confucius’s commentaries the Ten Wings

Ching is the Tao, the Truth, the holiest of the ancient books, and because they revere and respect the sacred writings of the Jews and the Christian church, they honor the Bible by calling it Ching.

Translations: Richard Wilhelm (1950), James Legge (1882)

It is a book that not only tells one who consults it about the present situation and future potential about what to do and what not to do to obtain good fortune and to avoid misfortune. But one still retains free choice. The guidance is based upon comprehensive observation of natural laws by ancient sages and their profound experiences of the principle of cause and effect.

This tiny book reveals an ancient Chinese cosmology of Heaven and human being s integrated into one union. And it further reveals the Tao of Change or in Chinese terminology, the Tao of I.

Ten Contributions of This Translation

The main theme of the I Ching is that everything is in a process of continuous change, rising and falling in a progressive evolutionary advancement.

The Tao of I also discloses that when situations proceed beyond their extremes, they alternate to their opposites. It is a reminder to accept necessary change and be ready to transform, warning that one should adjust one’s efforts according to changes in time and situation. The Tao of I also says: In a favorable time and situation, never neglect the unfavorable potential. In an unfavorable time and situation, never act abruptly and blindly. And in adverse circumstances, never become depressed and despair.

After Heaven and earth came into existence, myriad things were produced. These myriad things fill up the space between Heaven and earth.

Ancient Chinese Ideographs as explanations of the names of the gua



  1. yarrow stalks
  2. eight-coin magic
  3. eight-gemstone augur

Understanding the situation

In divination, one’s present situation is revealed by the name and the structure of the guy, together with King Wen’s Decisions, Confucius’s Commentary on the Decision, and Confucius’s Commentary on the Symbols. The six lines indicate the six stages of change. therefore, for gaming good fortune or avoiding misfortune, understanding one’s place within the situation is crucial. Confucius said, “The wise person, just by contemplating the decision of the gua, is capable of realizing most of the content.” Overall is crucial and so is the moving yao.

Present Information about Future Potential

If we accept that every action we take is a cause that has an effect and every effect has a cause, we can more clearly see the results of our actions. The intention behind each action determines its effect. Our intentions and our actions affect not only ourselves but also others. If we believe that every intention and action evolves as we progress on our spiritual journey, then if we act consciously we evolve consciously, but if we act unconsciously we evolve unconsciously.


The purpose of divination is to resolve doubt and confusion. When one already knows what one should do according to common sense and moral principles, then one should not consult the I Ching. Divine only for important questions and events, never for mean purposes or with selfish motivations.

Yao meant “crisscross”, represented the intersecting of the yin and the yang. Yang Yao 9, yin Yao 6. yang refers to that which advances, and yin refers to that which retreats. It is considered a yang quality to be in the forefront. Thus, when we count the odd numbers from one to nine (advancing), the topmost number is nine. It is considered best for yin to maintain the central ground. When we count the even numbers from 10 to 2 (retreating), the central number is six.

  • Lower gua = inner gua;
  • upper gua = outer gua

The name is crucial because it represents the whole situation .

Generally speaking the Upper Canon represents the yang aspect and lays emphasis on the Tao of Heaven or natural phenomena. The Lower Cannon represents the yin aspect and focuses on social phenomena and human affairs.

Flying With the I Ching: Methods of Divination

  • To understand the gua, one has to know its specific place in the sequence and its significance as well as its structure, its image, and the things it represents.
  • make friends with these 64 gua.
  • 28 gua each have an inverted form. These two forms have a close relationship, representing the two views of a thing — one from the front and the other form the back, or one from below, the other from above. 8 gua have no inverted form; when their original form is inverted, it is exactly the same.

  • If one’s intention is to divine, the I Ching should be used exclusively for divination.
  • Frame the Inquiry: In every divination, ask only one question. It is better for a beginner not to ask for a prediction; the best inquiry is for advice.
  • Yarrow sticks: The length of an emperor’s stalk was 9 chi (one chi = 1 foot); of a duke’s or prince’s 7 chi; of a high official’s 5 chi; of a literate’s 3 chi. Common people should be shorter than 3 chi. using 50 eight-in bamboo skewers as a substitute.

Confucius’s description in The Great Treatise, the fifth wing:

  • The number of the Great Expansion is fifty, [hold 50 yarrow stalks in your left hand]
  • Of which forty-nine are used. [put one aside on the table in front of you. This stalk symbolizes the commencement of Tai. Chi (“ultimate beginning”) from the void; it represents the state before Heaven and Earth were differentiated. ]
  • Divide them into two, symbolizing the two primary forces. [the left: Heaven and the right: Earth]
  • Suspend one, symbolizing the three supreme powers. [Take one stalk from the right-hand bundle and put it between the ring finger and little finger of your left hand. This stalk symbolizes humanity. Heaven, earth, and humanity are considered the three supreme powers in the universe. ]
  • Manipulate by four, symbolizing the four seasons. [Take 4 stalks at a time from your left-hand bundle and put them aside until there are 4 or fewer stalks remaining in your hand. These 4-stalk bundles symbolize the four seasons.]
  • Return the remainder, symbolizing the intercalary month. [Place the remaining stalks between the ring finger and the middle finger of your left hand. This act symbolizes the intercalary month. ]
  • In five years there is another interrelation. [Take 4 stalks at a time form your right-hand bundle and put them aside until there are 4 or fewer stalks remaining gin your hand. Place the remaining stalks between the middle finger and the index finger of your left hand. Collect all the stalks between the fingers of your left hand. The sum should be either 5 or 9. Set these stalks aside. ] — the first process o change is completed. It takes three processes of change to get a Yao, or line, therefore, the process will be repeated two more times, as below.
  • Afterward the process is repeated. [Leaving the result of the first process aside 9either 5 or 9 stalks) repeat the four operations above with 40 or 44 stalks. This time the sum of the stalks remaining between the left fingers will be either 4 or 8. Set these aside. Now the second process of change is completed. Repeat the four operations a third time, using the remaining 32, 36, or 40. After the final four operations, the same of the remainder will again be either 4 or 8. Set these stalks aside. — Third Yao Either 24, 28, 32, or 36 stalks will remain. hold these in your hand and take away 4 at a time, counting how many groups of four there are – either six, seven, eight, or nine.
  • Therefore four operations produce a change, and eighteen changes yield a gua.
  • six is greater yin; 8 lesser yin; 9 greater yang, 7 lesser yang. Greater Yin and Greater Yang are pure, extreme; they tend to alternate to their opposite – yin to yang and yang to yin. These Yao are called “moving lines”.
  • The process induces a deeper level of awareness, where the divine and the diviner become closely connected.

The three coins oracles: Shao Yun

throwing three coins six times; each throw obtains a Yao. meditation is required before and during the whole procedure.

  • Two faces and one back equals Lesser Yang
  • Two backs and one face equals Lesser Yin
  • Three backs equals Greater Yang.
  • Three faces equals Greater Yin

A Simple Version of Yarrow Stalk Oracle

  1. Hold 50 bamboo sticks in your left hand.
  2. Place one aside on the table in front of you, parallel to your body.
  3. Randomly divide the remaining 49 sticks into two groups, one in your left and and the other in your right.
  4. Place these two groups on the table, one at your left side and the other at your right, with the ends of the sticks pointing in front of you.
  5. Take one stick out from the right pile on the table. put it between the ring fisher and little finger of your left hand.
  6. Pick up the right pile in your left hand, Using your right hand, take 4 sticks out of your left hand and put them on the table.
  7. Using your right hand, take another 4 sticks out of your left hand. put them on the table with the first 4, mixed together as a unit of 8.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 several times, taking 4 sticks plus 4 sticks each time to crate a group of 8. Set each group aside.
  9. At last there will be 7 or fewer sticks remaining in your left hand. Add the sticks remaining in your left hand to the one between your ring fisher and little finger. The sum of these sticks is the number of your lower gua, as listed in Fig. 1.
  10. Repeat 1 to 9 to obtain the number of your upper gua.
  11. To get moving line: 1) repeat 1 to 5; 2) After picking up the left group in your left hand, with your right hand take 6 sticks out of your left hand and put them on the table; 3) repeat 2) several times, until there are 5 or fewer sticks remaining in your left hand. Then add the sticks remaining in your left hand to the one between your ring finger and little finger. The sum of these sticks is the the number of your moving line, counted up from the bottom of the gua.

Eight Coin Magic

Eight Gemstone Augur

Meditation: think about nothing to empty my mind to align it with the will of the Divine. “Doing nothing” according to Lao Tze.

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