I CHING, The Illustrated Primer. Copyright 1986 - 2017; Barry R. Trosper; California, USA.
WELCOME TO A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE I CHING.
from I Ching, the Illustrated Primer ISBN 0-939231-01-8 and ISBN 0-939231-02-6. (IChing81)
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  Fu Hsi       The origin of the I CHING is accredited to a legendary Emperor of China, Fu Hsi, circa 3000 BC. Fu Hsi is also credited with forming the first civilized society within China. The I CHING is believed to be the set of principles for behavior presented by Fu Hsi in forming this early civilized society. This is how Fu Hsi is commonly represented. (Click on the image for the full size artist's rendering by Ken C. Yang).
      The eminent value in Fu Hsi's set of principles was its recognition that all things undergo change. Consequently the title of this work, I CHING, is translated as "The Book of Changes." Of course the original work was not in book form as we know it today and tortoise shells, bones, and other paraphernalia were originally used for record keeping. These earliest primitive methods were replaced by bamboo slats, joined by leather thongs, and the I CHING was inked onto these slats.
      Fu Hsi originated the I CHING with a set of eight "Trigrams," or a stack of three lines, each of which have specific attributes relative to the Earth, Mankind, and Heaven. These lines are always read and referred to from the bottom to the top and are either Yang (Solid) indicating a strong nature or Yin (Broken) indicating a yielding nature.
      These Eight Trigrams are known as the BA KUA and are featured in conventional arrangement in the lower part of the Fu Hsi illustration. They are related by the following example:
 
LINE
The Trigram

3rd, YANG
2nd, YIN
1st, YANG
YAO (BAR)
LI - Fire, Sun





INFLUENCE
The Middle Daughter

Heavenly
Humankind
Earthly
Note: I Ching Lines (Kua) are read from the bottom to the top.
        Changes in Earthly and Heavenly affairs follow a predictable natural order, with permutation caused by fate, The Earthly and Heavenly behavior is regarded as beyond the ability of mankind to control and represents the Universal or Cosmic Order. The single word "Tao," which translates as "Way," represents this Universal or Cosmic Way and is used throughout the following text.
      Mankind, on the other hand, exercises free will and possesses the ability to change behavior by choice. I CHING captures Mankind's travels though the Universal Order (Tao) and provides advice with which one can make meaningful change for improvement in one's own life. As the I CHING identifies Mankind's position within the Tao, it is also able to portray and predict circumstances as easily as one can predict snow falling in the winter or hot days in the summer.
      This leads to one of the important precepts of the I CHING:

      "To Superior Persons the I CHING gives advice,
      Regarding Inferior Persons it makes predictions."

      The "Superior Person" is considered to be the one who is striving for improvement in lifestyle, behavior, and the accumulation of wisdom. The "Inferior Person" is regarded as being cast about by the whims of fate.
 
  yinyangs       The I CHING is based upon the Two Principles of "YANG" and "YIN" which, when relating to their extreme polarities, represent Heaven and Earth, male and female, high and low, or positive and negative. As with a magnet, these two polarities exist in varying degrees between the respective extremes - the two opposite poles - and neither principle is complete without the complementary portion of the other. Thus Heaven does not exist without Earth, nor Earth without Heaven.
yinyangr       The "Tai Chi" is a pictorial representation of the changing of the Two Principles, Yang and Yin. The growing seed of the opposite Principle is always contained within the other. Thus Yang changes and Yin grows within Yang; Yin changes and Yang grows within Yin.
      Two misconceptions are associated with the representation of duality. The first is in associating "Yin" with the destructive negative. In reality Yin is only the opposing principle of Yang, positive. This also applies to the second misconception, where Yang is related to "Man" and "Yin" to "Woman." In expressing the natural order of Mankind, man and woman - certainly different - are both required in equal measure to continue and perpetuate human life as we know it.
      Men and Women form relationships, have conflicts, produce children, engage in careers, and share happiness together. The Yang and Yin principles emulate these natural relationships without true regard to sex.
      In I CHING, The Illustrated Primer, Step 2, Table 1, a chart is provided showing the organization of the duality, Yang and Yin. It begins at the "Wu Chi," continues to the "Tai Chi," through the Two Principles of Yang and Yin, the Four Symbols of Greater and Lesser Influences, the Eight Trigrams, and finishing at the 64 Individual Hexagrams. Or click HERE (WU CHI) for an on-line view of this chart.
      The "Hexagrams" are stacks of 6 Lines (Yang-Solid or Yin-Broken) which are composites of a Lower Trigram (BELOW) and an Upper Trigram (ABOVE).
 
Hexagram # 63
Trigram Influence
Upper Trigram

3rd, YIN, Heavenly
2nd, YANG, Humanity
1st, YIN, Earthly
3rd, YANG, Heavenly
2nd, YIN, Humanity
1st, YANG, Earthly

Lower Trigram
CHI CHI
YAO (BAR)
Kan - Water












LI - Fire, Sun
Successful Completion
Hexagram Influence
The Middle Son, Danger

6th, WISDOM, Constraint
5th, AUTHORITY, Significant
4th, SOCIETY, Variant
3rd, INDIVIDUAL, Variant
2nd, ASPIRATIONS, Significant
1st, INTUITION, Constraint

The Middle Daughter
        Also, in the Hexagrams, Lines 5 and 6 represent a Heavenly Influence, Lines 3 and 4 represent a Human Influence, and Lines 1 and 2 represent an Earthly Influence.
      The appropriateness of a Yang (Strong) or Yin (Yielding) influence in any one of the six positions is the primary factor in determining the degree of favorableness of any prophesy. Strength where yielding is required, and vice-versa, are examples of inappropriate positioning.
      Returning to the HISTORICAL aspect of the I CHING, it is significant to note that it, and it alone, has survived centuries of changes and purges, due primarily to the fact that it is not a political work. Nor is it a religious work, although many religions have embraced its lessons either totally or in large measure.
      The true aspect of I CHING is philosophical, and its cultural value is truly exhilarating.

The Great Yu       In approximately 2200 BC another emperor, the Great YU, is believed to have further promoted the I CHING as a book of wisdom for society.
      The Great YU is credited with flood and water control projects, and engaged in one of these projects a magic tortoise is said to have come from the waters with FU HSI's original markings on its back. The Great YU is also the subject of Hexagram 16, and by clicking on the image Ken C. Yang's artist rendering of the Great YU will be displayed.
      Regardless of the authenticity of the magic tortoise, it is noteworthy that the I CHING had not only survived for 800 years, but was in active use when writing and record keeping implements were in there most primitive form.
      As noted above, the 64 Hexagrams of the I CHING are made up by duplicating combinations of the 8 Trigrams of FU HSI (Upper and Lower) or 8 x 8 = 64. The upper Trigram is the Heavenly influence and the lower Trigram is the Earthly Influence. Sixty-Four sets of circumstances are represented by the 64 Hexagrams, and all lines have the ability to change, forming the future --- also represented by any one of the 64 Hexagrams. In this manner 4,096 (64 x 64) situations are defined. Some scholars have expanded this even further, but, in a general sense, they have not added further to meaningful definition, and the I CHING is still most commonly represented by the original 64 Hexagrams.
King Wen       The current arrangement and commentaries for each of the Hexagrams are attributed to King Wen, circa 1200 B.C., at a time when he was cast into prison by a conquering tyrant, King Chou-Hsin. Because of King Wen's incarceration, the Hexagrams convey warnings as well as descriptions of circumstances and prophesies. Or the prophesy itself is often associated with a warning.
      This brings up another important precept of the I CHING:

"One who is conscious of danger creates one's own peace.
One who treats things lightly brings one's own downfall.
In the Middle and Without Blame is the Tao (Way) of the
     I CHING from Beginning to End."


      King Wen was a ruler of great virtue, but ruled only a small province. When attempting to overthrow the despot King Chou-Hsin his efforts were discovered and he was condemned into prison. King Wen (and King Chou-Hsin) are the subjects of Hexagram 36, MING I, The Darkening of the Light. Clicking image will link to Ken C. Yang's on-line rendering. King Chou-Hsin is shown wearing the imperial headdress, containing 288 jewels, which could be brought down over the face to obscure view in either direction. King Wen is shown shackled in chains.

Duke of Chou       King Wen had five sons, and one, King Wu, was able to overthrow the tyrant, forcing him to death.
      A second son of King Wen, the Duke of Chou, became an able administrator in the new reign of King Wu; as well as the reign of King Wu’s son, King Chen. The Duke of Chou’s substantial contribution to the I CHING was his continuance of his father’s work by providing definitions of the individual lines.
      The Duke of Chou, the administrator and scholar, is imaged to the right and the on-line rendering of King C. Yang can be linked by clicking on the image.
      It should be noted that the I CHING is not a submissive philosophical concept, but one which expects the "Player" to recognize times when yielding to circumstances is required to prevent disaster from being visited upon oneself.
      In approximately 500 B.C. Confucius added the "Symbols" and limited commentaries to the I CHING, but probably never completed his work, or a substantial portion was lost. Late in his life he was quoted as saying; "If I had fifty more years to live I would devote them all to the I CHING." Mr. Yang's rendering of Confucius can be linked by clicking on the image.
Confucius       Five Persons --- Fu Hsi, King Wen, the Duke of Chou, Confucius, and the Great Yu (all mentioned above) --- are reputed to have organized and passed down the I CHING as it exists and is used today.
      In the Occidental world interest in the I CHING began with the "Legge" translation into English in the late 19th century. Interest spread throughout Europe and this work, as well as the "Wilhelm" German translation of 1923, are common to all European languages. These translations eventually appeared in America.
      In the United States the popularity of the I CHING began in the 1930s as more literal and interpretive translations began to appear. But its original popularity was chiefly as a "parlor game." In the 1940's the I CHING began to take on significant prominence as a book of wisdom when the eminent Swiss psychologist, C. G. Jung, embraced its philosophical concepts.
      Today, interest in the I CHING is experiencing rapid growth and rediscovery as society becomes more attuned to and conscious of orders and powers available to them although largely ignored up to now. Even the entertainment or "parlor game" aspect of the I CHING is experiencing expanding popularity.
      The accuracy associated with correct use and application of the I CHING stands far in advance of Tarot Cards, Palmistry, or Runes. And the I CHING, since it is based on natural order, requires no psychic power. The I CHING also employs horoscopes and numerology in prophesies, producing results that are fascinating and realistic.
      In closing this Brief History another precept of the I CHING it should be related:

      "The words of persons of Good Fortune are few."
      This statement in itself explains the difficulty of arriving at correct and meaningful interpretations of the I CHING. The ancient text exists in an abbreviated form of very few characters, often cryptic, and written as parables or examples. Even our translation, at times, had to be laboriously picked apart character by character, and sometimes stroke by stroke of each character.
 

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