The Changes

The Changes or also known as Classic of Changes or Book of Changes, I Ching is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. Possessing a history of more than two and a half millennia of commentary and interpretation, the I Chingis an influential text read throughout the world, providing inspiration to the worlds of religion, psychoanalysis, business, literature, and art. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou period (1000–750 BC), over the course of the Warring States period and early imperial period (500–200 BC) it was transformed into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the “Ten Wings”. After becoming part of the Five Classics in the 2nd century BC, the I Ching was the subject of scholarly commentary and the basis for divination practice for centuries across the Far East, and eventually took on an influential role in Western understanding of Eastern thought.

The I Ching uses a type of divination called cleromancy, which produces apparently random numbers. Six numbers between 6 and 9 are turned into a hexagram, which can then be looked up in the I Ching book, arranged in an order known as the King Wen sequence. The interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching is a matter of centuries of debate, and many commentators have used the book symbolically, often to provide guidance for moral decision making as informed by Taoism and Confucianism. The hexagrams themselves have often acquired cosmological significance and paralleled with many other traditional names for the processes of change such as yin and yang and Wu Xing.

The I Ching is pretty often regarded as the best-known Chinese book in the world. In East Asia, it is a foundational text for the Confucian and Daoist philosophical traditions, while in the West, it attracted the attention of Enlightenment intellectuals and prominent literary and cultural figures.

Hexagrams


In the canonical I Ching, the hexagrams are arranged in an order dubbed the King Wen sequence after King Wen of Zhou, who founded the Zhou dynasty and supposedly reformed the method of interpretation. The sequence generally pairs hexagrams with their upside-down equivalents, although in eight cases hexagrams are paired with their inversion. Another order, found at Mawangdui in 1973, arranges the hexagrams into eight groups sharing the same upper trigram. But the oldest known manuscript, found in 1987 and now held by the Shanghai Library, was almost certainly arranged in the King Wen sequence, and it has even been proposed that a pottery paddle from the Western Zhou period contains four hexagrams in the King Wen sequence. Whichever of these arrangements is older, it is not evident that the order of the hexagrams was of interest to the original authors of the Zhou yi. The assignment of numbers, binary or decimal, to specific hexagrams is a modern invention.

The following table numbers the hexagrams in King Wen order.

 

1
Iching-hexagram-01.svg
乾 (qián)
2
Iching-hexagram-02.svg
坤 (kūn)
3
Iching-hexagram-03.svg
屯 (zhūn)
4
Iching-hexagram-04.svg
蒙 (méng)
5
Iching-hexagram-05.svg
需 (xū)
6
Iching-hexagram-06.svg
訟 (sòng)
7
Iching-hexagram-07.svg
師 (shī)
8
Iching-hexagram-08.svg
比 (bǐ)
9
Iching-hexagram-09.svg
小畜 (xiǎo chù)
10
Iching-hexagram-10.svg
履 (lǚ)
11
Iching-hexagram-11.svg
泰 (tài)
12
Iching-hexagram-12.svg
否 (pǐ)
13
Iching-hexagram-13.svg
同人 (tóng rén)
14
Iching-hexagram-14.svg
大有 (dà yǒu)
15
Iching-hexagram-15.svg
謙 (qiān)
16
Iching-hexagram-16.svg
豫 (yù)
17
Iching-hexagram-17.svg
隨 (suí)
18
Iching-hexagram-18.svg
蠱 (gŭ)
19
Iching-hexagram-19.svg
臨 (lín)
20
Iching-hexagram-20.svg
觀 (guān)
21
Iching-hexagram-21.svg
噬嗑 (shì kè)
22
Iching-hexagram-22.svg
賁 (bì)
23
Iching-hexagram-23.svg
剝 (bō)
24
Iching-hexagram-24.svg
復 (fù)
25
Iching-hexagram-25.svg
無妄 (wú wàng)
26
Iching-hexagram-26.svg
大畜 (dà chù)
27
Iching-hexagram-27.svg
頤 (yí)
28
Iching-hexagram-28.svg
大過 (dà guò)
29
Iching-hexagram-29.svg
坎 (kǎn)
30
Iching-hexagram-30.svg
離 (lí)
31
Iching-hexagram-31.svg
咸 (xián)
32
Iching-hexagram-32.svg
恆 (héng)
33
Iching-hexagram-33.svg
遯 (dùn)
34
Iching-hexagram-34.svg
大壯 (dà zhuàng)
35
Iching-hexagram-35.svg
晉 (jìn)
36
Iching-hexagram-36.svg
明夷 (míng yí)
37
Iching-hexagram-37.svg
家人 (jiā rén)
38
Iching-hexagram-38.svg
睽 (kuí)
39
Iching-hexagram-39.svg
蹇 (jiǎn)
40
Iching-hexagram-40.svg
解 (xiè)
41
Iching-hexagram-41.svg
損 (sǔn)
42
Iching-hexagram-42.svg
益 (yì)
43
Iching-hexagram-43.svg
夬 (guài)
44
Iching-hexagram-44.svg
姤 (gòu)
45
Iching-hexagram-45.svg
萃 (cuì)
46
Iching-hexagram-46.svg
升 (shēng)
47
Iching-hexagram-47.svg
困 (kùn)
48
Iching-hexagram-48.svg
井 (jǐng)
49
Iching-hexagram-49.svg
革 (gé)
50
Iching-hexagram-50.svg
鼎 (dǐng)
51
Iching-hexagram-51.svg
震 (zhèn)
52
Iching-hexagram-52.svg
艮 (gèn)
53
Iching-hexagram-53.svg
漸 (jiàn)
54
Iching-hexagram-54.svg
歸妹 (guī mèi)
55
Iching-hexagram-55.svg
豐 (fēng)
56
Iching-hexagram-56.svg
旅 (lǚ)
57
Iching-hexagram-57.svg
巽 (xùn)
58
Iching-hexagram-58.svg
兌 (duì)
59
Iching-hexagram-59.svg
渙 (huàn)
60
Iching-hexagram-60.svg
節 (jié)
61
Iching-hexagram-61.svg
中孚 (zhōng fú)
62
Iching-hexagram-62.svg
小過 (xiǎo guò)
63
Iching-hexagram-63.svg
既濟 (jì jì)
64
Iching-hexagram-64.svg
未濟 (wèi jì)
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