Learning from "The Book of Change – 易经 Yi Jing or I-Ching" Part 03

64 Hexagrams are too many to start for beginners. One can go according to the serial number of the hexagram and do it one at a time.

There are 2 things to learn

  1. The description of the hexagram and its six-lines or 6-stages description and then deriving the principle.
  2. The interaction and progression of one hexagram to another.

I will present my translated version of the hexagram this way,

serial-no, Chinese Character, literal translation, synonyms, principle teaching

Let’s take an example,

41損 Decrease – Give, Invest, harm oneself to benefit others (損己利人)

The serial-no or sequence is 41.  (so that you can easily look up other translations for its meaning)
The Chinese Character is 損
The Literal Translation is “Decrease”, which also means “harm”
The Dynamic, real meaning translation, is Give or Invest.
The Principle of Teaching is harming oneself to benefit others.

We will discuss 41 損 Decrease hexagram in detail in the future. But I intentionally use this hexagram to illustrate an interesting point. The literal translation of the Chinese word is not a very good interpretation of the meaning. (There are many other literal translations that are OK, but I want you to note that quite frequently, the literal translation is not good enough). Just reading the literal translation without going into the details will result in a misinterpretation of Yi Ying. This is a common mistake of beginners. If we just read 41 as decrease or harm, we may be quick to jump to the conclusion that Yi Jing is teaching us to harm others to benefit ourselves. But the real teaching is the very opposite! It is teaching us to sow first into others and reap the benefits later. This sowing and reaping principle should be quite familiar to Christians. Hence, I prefer to use the word “Give or Invest” in place of “Decrease or Harm” or at least I will quality decrease with giving or invest. So you will find my translation a bit different from other books but it is more meaningful ( I hope. If not, let me know).

Start with the First 2
OK, back to where do we start from? It is usually recommended that one starts with the first 2 hexagrams – 1乾 Heaven and 2坤 Earth. These two are the foundational hexagrams that interact to give rise to the rest. This is the yang (1 Heaven, Father-Creative Force, Energy, invisible) and the yin (2 Earth, Mother-receptive, materials, visible).

There are those who group them. For example,

  1. to know how to have great blessings, learn these 4 hexagrams:
    • 10履 Walk – Right conduct
    • 41損 Decrease – Give
    • 48井 The Well – Sharing
    • 50鼎 Cauldron – Authority & Human Resource Management.
  2. to know how to do a great project, learn these:
    • 61中孚  Integrity
    • 5需 Wanting – wait
    • 14大有 Great Possession
    • 13同人 Same Hearts
    • 18蠱 Worm – In-fighting, Decay
    • 59渙 Dispersion
    • 42益 Overflowing Increase

The Growth Life-Cycle Classification or Taxonomy on Ji Jing

For me, I suggest the following grouping based on the growth life-cycle. It has 7 stages of growth from 1-starting, 2-Growth, 3-Impedance (or Blockage), 4-Breaking Free, 5-Peak Success, 6-Decline, and 7 Renewal. These 7 stages are to build on the 0-Foundational Personal Character and 8-Partnership for group success. Hopefully, this classification allows one to easily recognize the current situation and look for the corresponding hexagram to understand the needed principle for application.

Here is the mind-map of the Life-Cycle Yi Jing Taxonomy:

I-Ching Life-Cycle Chart

We shall cover the first two hexagrams in future postings and then do an S-Curve or Bell-Curve with the first set of hexagrams that covers the curves. You may find following the S-Curve or Bell-Curve as a more fruitful way of applying the hexagram principles.

5 thoughts on “Learning from "The Book of Change – 易经 Yi Jing or I-Ching" Part 03

  1. i’m a stanadard n system.risk management man……

    i’m eyeing at i-ching from the perspective of say iso 9001 international standard – hopefully i-ching the generic wisdom cud become an international standard one day…..

    reason why i’ve picked on iso 9001 standard – this is probably the first generic (accurate) standard from the west amongst all technical n specific (precise) standards……

    iso 9001 is meant for sellers to self-reglate – to provide total customer satisfaction (tcs) in a capitalist world….. it id a set of generic 14 do’s or what’s by company functions – by ww practitioners in the past to turn into an international standard (- like ur 10 commandments of do’s n don’ts but by one man)….. n leave it to sellers to set up company-specific how-tos by management n work procedures to demonstrate conformity to the tcs what’s…… w clear definition of company who – how-tos procedures…..

    b4 getting into the bolts n nuts of i-ching….. am i right to say that i-ching – unlike iso 9001’s 14 commandments (past) n bible’s 10 commandments – has prescribed more than what’s but also how-tos – that can b most prescriptive if not too big n bulky….. (how about only what’s n no how-tos for i-ching….. by ur simplification efforts – liat)

    point 2 – wud u expect a layman to swing from hexagram to hexagram by changes….. or wud u prefer them to communicate n listen to the heavenly voice by ‘casting lots’….. w an open mind to all hexigrams…… (how about ur new addition per hexagram – applicability to define position-time in precision ….. liat)

    talking hen….

    how i wish 10 commandments require families n ngo to set up operating manuals n procedures to demonstrate commitment n conformity to the 10 do’s n don’ts…… will be good business 4 both of us then…..

    also – only if i-ching require the same for the 64 hexagrams…… (a business opportunity re training-consulting-auditing for company projects?!)

    we shall c – cheers….. :-DDD

  2. >point 2 – wud u expect a layman to swing from hexagram to hexagram by changes….. or wud u prefer them to communicate n listen to the heavenly voice by ‘casting lots’…..

    As presented in the earlier post, those who know Yi don’t cast lots. I-Ching is about the pattern of change. Do this get this and do that get that. For a given situation, i-Ching can tell us broadly what will happen if we don’t change our behavior. It also tells you what you could do to prevent the prediction to come true. I-Ching tell people how to get blessing/fortune and avoid disaster.

  3. thanks liat…..

    i’ll turn to ur hexagram 01 now…… to verify my areas of interests ie risk management (in bracket – my own risk language):

    > the pattern of change – do whats to get whats (process-activity: hazard-risk id – how-tos-whats)
    > consequences of no change (effect – actual risk; w/o human act of probability allocation frequency x severity n impact ranking; behaviour – mind n heart – hand – human action)
    > changes to prevent predicted outcomes (via people’s action from behaviour; what about changes in condition (position-time)n how-tos coordination)…..
    > how to prevent risk (by hazard control? – w defined do-whats ie how-tos?)

    it remains my q – wud u expect a layman or dummie to id which 1/64 generic hexagram is applicable to his specific case – or wud u help to va by an additional para per hexagram on applicable cases – when listening to the heavenly voice is obviously out ie not ur recommended media….. :-dd

  4. I am aware that 64 is too many to start from. Hence, I propose to approach it from the S-Curve. See subsequent postings.
    Hence you can see why people take the easier approach of casting lots to pick a starting point.
    Some hexagram is easy to pick. e.g. if you are starting a business, read Hex#3 屯 Sprouting – Starting is hard. If you are concern with litigation, read 6 訟 Litigation – Conflict Resolution.

  5. but liat – wasn’t it also one of the approaches to communicate w the heaven for advice the chinamen way for 2000 years – w/o being subjective by allocation on our parts?!

    to choose an easy way out – like failures wud follow the path of zero potential energy….. but isn’t it more user-friendly or meant for dummies this way – w/o having to throw smoke?!

    i’ll not want to censor the means of communication for i-ching – i wud leave it to users to judge for applicability – never subjectivity by designation on our parts…..

    consultation is itself another fun way of learning – unlearning – relearning process the uniquely-china way n an integral part of i-ching….. not 2b censored…..


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