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Yi Jing [I Ching]

An Introduction to the Book of Changes

The Yi Jing is quite possibly the oldest book in the world. It happens to be a book of divination but one that has earned a central place in Asian culture. Confucius himself wrote commentaries about it and later Confucianists included it as one of the 13 works of the Confucian canon. Modern day researchers still puzzle over its mysteries and first-time users are often struck by the poignancy of the answers it gives.

Index to the Hexagrams

Nr Name Pinyin Wilhelm's Monicker
1 qián The Creative
2 kūn The Receptive
3 chún Difficulty at the Beginning
4 méng Youthful Folly
5 Waiting (Nourishment)
6 sòng Conflict
7 shī The Army
8 Holding Together (Union)
9 小畜 xiǎo chù The Taming Power of the Small
10 Treading (Conduct)
11 tài Peace
12 Standstill (Stagnation)
13 同人 tóng rén Fellowship with Men
14 大有 dà yǒu Possession in Great Measure
15 qiān Modesty
16 Enthusiasm
17 suí Following
18 Work on What Has Been Spoled (Decay)
19 lín Approach
20 guān Contemplation (View)
21 噬嗑 shì kè Biting Through
22 Grace
23 Splitting Apart
24 Return (The Turning Point)
25 無妄 wú wàng Innocence (The Unexpected)
26 大畜 dà chù The Taming Power of the Great
27 The Corners of the Mouth (Providing Nourishment)
28 大過 dà guò Preponderance of the Great
29 kǎn The Abysmal (Water)
30 The Clinging (Fire)
31 xián Influence (Wooing)
32 héng Duration
33 dùn Retreat
34 大壯 dà zhuàng The Power of the Great
35 jìn Progress
36 明夷 míng yí Darkening of the Light
37 家人 jiā rén The Family (The Clan)
38 kuí Opposition
39 jiǎn Obstruction
40 xiè Deliverance
41 sǔn Decrease
42 Increase
43 guài Breakthrough (Resoluteness)
44 gòu Coming to Meet
45 cuì Gathering Together (Massing)
46 shēng Pushing Upward
47 kùn Oppression (Exhaustion)
48 jǐng The Well
49 Revolution (Molting)
50 dǐng The Caldron
51 zhèn Arousing (Shock, Thunder
52 gèn Keeping Still (Mountain)
53 jiàn Development (Gradual Progress)
54 歸妹 guī mèi The Marrying Maiden
55 fēng Abundance (Fullness)
56 The Wanderer
57 xùn The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind)
58 duì The Joyous (Lake)
59 huàn Dispersion (Dissolution)
60 jié Limitation
61 中孚 zhōng fú Inner Truth
62 小過 xiǎo guò Preponderance of the Small
63 既濟 jì jì After Completion
64 未濟 wèi jì Before Completion

Consulting the Yi Jing

The Yi Jing contains description and commentaries about 64 hexagrams, each of which is uniquely identified by a number and name. The basic process consists of formulating a question and then following a prescribed process to identify the hexagram (sometimes two) that provides the answer to the question. The two principal methods for determing the hexagram are by means of yarrow stalks or coin tosses.

Notes on the Translation

The complete text of the Yi Jing is presented here with side-by-side translation. The English text of the translation is derived from "Sacred Books of the East, Volume 16, The I Ching" by James Legge, 1899 (Source: Internet Sacred Text Archive). However, the organization of the text has been changed to match the Chinese version and the transliterated Chinese names have been from their original form to their pinyin form. In addition, we have adapted the hexagram names used in the Richard Wilhelm/Cary Baynes translation because they are so widely accepted.

See also