The Dazhuan – The Meaning of the I Ching

Understanding change, as told in the Dazhuan, The Great Treatise is the process of identifying and encompassing the I Ching within oneself, how to combine the Tao and change as self cultivation, identify within yourself a sense of spiritual cultivation and the transformation that follows. Connecting with the Way of the Tao ultimately, it is our own words connecting with the lines and oracle and how they move us that matters. The Dazhuan tells us that the Book of Change, the I Ching creates the following as it serves to double all the processes that create the reality that we experience.

Approaching and writing about the Dazhuan cannot be a haphazard affair. Commentaries by the greatest thinkers and philosophers in Chinese history, of which, Chuang Tzu, Confucius and Wang Pi, were only three of the most famous who created the framework for all who have weighed in on the Great Commentaries. These Ten Wings, of which The Dazhuan was numbers five and six have formed the basis of all serious thought in China that would follow. Interpreting the meaning of the I Ching was to take from the shaman and sage what it all means. Taoists felt one way and the Confucians quite another. This created in essence a parallel universe when “what it all meant” would shape Chinese history and philosophy for all time. A second manuscript entitled Cultivating Stillness interpreted by Eva Wong, that is cited numerous times here by me, served as the basis along with these two Wings for all learning by Taoist precepts in monasteries in China for over two thousand years. They are still in use today. The third “book” along with Lao Tzu’s  Tao Te Ching, that was a requirement was the “Book of Lieh Tzu”. My own version of the “Book of Lieh Tzu” also appears here at this website as well. I wrote my own version of the “Book of Lieh Tzu” more than twenty years ago in 1994-95 in what is still an unpublished manuscript.

What appears here in this tab are my efforts to bring together a collaboration between my own commentary on the Dazhuan from the Ten Wings and Cultivating Stillness (the book by Eva Wong). Only my efforts appear at this point. Also included are the twenty five to thirty historic sites and descriptions of people who have most influenced Buddhist and Taoist thought over the centuries.  It is a work in progress. Both books are needed to properly tell the story that needs telling and the context of history to the forefront. What has not been included yet in the more than one hundred fifty entries is in blue. What you will find below, or next, is what has been completed so far and appears in red in the Table of Contents.

                               Coming Forward

To move beyond my earthly self as I learn the way to becoming who I once was, so that I can return to become him again. To become so in-tune with what my teachers have taught me that it all becomes second nature again. Or was it that some lessons cannot be taught, they must be lived to be understood. Once gained… or attained, I can return to the clouds to take my place with the dragons once again.   As I reach out for my highest endeavor and ultimate destiny I look for only the stillness and tranquility within myself that makes my eternal journey the only plans worth keeping.

Oh to be found riding the clouds with them once again – moving from cloud to cloud even to the stars stopping to visit with old friends. Knowing my peers have all assembled happy to see me once again and listen to learn for themselves what I have learned in my sacred journey along the Way.

Who can or should be the ultimate judge as to what, if any, our role is to be in the here and now. Perhaps it is to be a singular journey of our own making or awareness not intended to impart anything for anyone except for our own enlightenment. Perhaps this never fitting in with the status quo is precisely within my own fate and destiny. With this said – what can there be to change, except myself, connecting threads of eternity through the river of time. As I have become as the river itself as I pass through history. Not being content to stay with beginnings or endings, only the flow of time spent in between. As I pass by knowing what is left behind has been shaped by me.

Understanding change, as told in the Dazhuan, The Great Treatise is the process of identifying and encompassing the I Ching within oneself, how to combine the Tao and change as self cultivation, identify within yourself a sense of spiritual cultivation, and the transformation that follows. Connecting with the Way of the Tao ultimately, it is our own words connecting with the lines and oracle and how they move us that matters.

                                     Beginnings

It is said that each of us is granted two lives, the life we learn with and the life we live after that. To perchance awaken midstream in our lives, as if we have been  re‑born; given an opportunity to find and follow our true destiny and endeavor. That our ultimate task is not only to discover who we are but where we belong in history. Is not this the ultimate challenge?  To simply rise up, traveling as one with the prevailing winds. Becoming one with the angels, or dragons, as they manifest before us.Letting our spirit soar. Freeing our mind, heart, and soul to go where few dare to wonder.

I know my task as a writer will be complete when my writing is as indefinable as my subject. Just as I know my task as an individual, as I exist in the here and now, will be to simply tell the stories that I have learned along the way. That we each have a story to tell. As we free ourselves of attachments and ego and baggage we have clung to as we try to find our way. That the ultimate travel is the travel of our spirit. That the ultimate giving is to share our gift with others.

To become one with the ages. To bring forth the stories, myths and legends that tell the way. To stay interested in life, as I am in reality here only for an instant before moving on.

My task only to look for  constant renewal. Finally, true expression of self is  in losing myself through expressing the voices of the past. That I am here to relay that the fears and hopes of humanity rest not in where we find ourselves in the here and now, but in reality to find and reflect our inner nature waiting to be re‑discovered and built upon again and again.

That all true learning is self-learning of who we ultimately are to become. That once we have awakened so that we can see beyond ourselves, then have not we found our spirits traveling the winds through eternity. This being so, could there be a more ultimate way of travel than to be found traveling with Lieh Tzu?     1/21/96

The above is the beginning of a book I wrote almost twenty years ago (as yet unpublished) that was to be entitled My Travels with Lieh Tzu. Based on the Book of Lieh Tzu that became a primer for nearly 2,000 years for those entering the Taoist Temple, or used by someone who wanted to gain the essence or wisdom of what it meant to fully appreciate the wisdom expressed by the sage of ancient China and the Tao.) It expresses the reasoning behind this

           Earlier Heaven Introduction – Background

To begin to understand both religious and philosophical Taoism and the I Ching it is easiest to begin with what is most commonly understood today in everyday culture. But what were the beginning elements, how did they manifest, and who were the central characters that moved this invisible force from myths and legends from antiquity through history that could predict the future by understanding effects from nature in the past that could foretell future events? Not only events outside one’s body, but inside as well. Weren’t there two universes to gain an understanding of both internally that governs one’s well-being, and externally that which dictates man’s connection with nature, the stars, what is known and what cannot be seen  or known? It was into this void the shaman entered.

The earliest shaman knew that it was in stillness and observation that the natural course of events could be observed and that change is/was inevitable as nothing stays the same. That through cause and affect you can have predictable outcomes and results. It was by observing nature future events could be foretold and that with the addition of symbols representing those things that could be defined and known a story could be told. Their relationship with the cosmos was mystical and it is said that some could communicate directly with plants, minerals, and animals. They were said to be able to travel deep into the earth or visit the stars and distant galaxies. They were able to invoke, through dance, music, and ritual elemental and supernatural powers. These shamans became known as wu. It was this forerunner of rituals that were precursors of connecting one’s mind and body from the inside out that cemented the inner world of the human body with the outer world of nature and the universe that permeated early Chinese culture that still flourishes to this day.

Over hundreds of years during what we call prehistory, for practical purposes the period between 4,000 and 2,800 BC in northern China along the banks of the Yellow River, the time before Fu Shi, it was also discovered that man could have a deep abiding relationship with what could not be known or explained. Just as important it was thought that through stillness, silence and clearing one’s mind that the universe came rushing in to fill the void in what was later defined by the sage and Tao as that which is unknowable. It was the shaman that was the connection that fused these two together and could tell what it all meant. It was their need to define why things were indefinable and constantly in flux that led to anxiety and uncertainty. It was here that understanding the need for cultivating stillness first became obvious. It would be the great shaman Fu Shi, who at a large clan gathering near present day Jinan in Shandong near the upper Yellow River in 2852 BC, who first proposed the trigrams that would one day come to be known as the I Ching, the pa’kua, the current day bagua. It was here that Fu Shi relayed what had been known from the earliest time, i.e., that their fate rested on conveying the true meaning of cause and effect in nature, the universe, and the stars above. That patterns that could be traced from their beginning could foretell the future.  The Tao was always ever present, although thousands of years would pass before it had a name. It was the shaman Fu Shi, the Great Yu, Yellow Emperor, the Duke of Zhou, and much later the philosopher/sage Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, and many others who would put their own stamp on history that would define what we have come to know as Taoism.  Most important here is context and what this book is meant to convey. It is not meant to simply be a history book of China, although it is that and so much more. It is just as with the I Ching; an individual must look to his/her beginning to understand their personal reading and future. It is this connection to the universe that I want to explore first. It was the movement of the sun, the moon and the stars, especially what was known as the Northern Bushel (in the west we call in the Big Dipper) that led to certain rituals that would dictate spring planting, growing seasons, and the harvest, and so much more. It was the shaman who understood the inner self that would later consume so much of what would be known as religious Taoism as we will see later in Cultivating Stillness, and the outer self how we relate to the world beyond ourselves.

The shaman became adept at following patterns that should be followed. He soon learned that there were patterns in the human body that correspond with these movements that would one day lead to knowledge of pressure points and acupuncture. The shaman became consumed and later adept with following patterns and foretold future events. It would be like connecting the dots, the stars in the sky that the clues to the universe would begin to unravel. I have thought about this connection for many years as I have traveled in China, especially my own innate connection to and with them. As if the stars represented a large part of the story, even my own that was to be told. Then in June 2014, I traveled to Chengdu and visited several historic sites that helped to convey the story of the Taoist cosmology. First and foremost was the Qingcheng Taoist Temple, built first during the Song dynasty, where this connection to the stars was made crystal clear. There along an outer wall were stone tablets depicting different constellations and people associated with them, on Qingcheng Mountain an hour north that was the known for numerous Taoist Temples with a history of over two thousand years was numerous examples of depictions of Taoist connections with the universe, this was repeated again at the Dujiangyan waterworks nearby famous for depicting controlling the spring floods, and the Sichuan Museum and Wuhou Memorial Temple dedicated to the Three Kingdoms Period following the Han dynasty. After my visit to Chengdu I went to Xian where I researched the Xian Shaanxi History Museum, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the Home of the Great Immortals with many more depictions of the cosmos and connections with the stars and the universe, and other historic sites. All these, plus numerous sites around Qufu and Shandong where I have spent seven of the last fourteen years, plus many more are used in detailing the influence of Cultivating Stillness over the centuries.

For now the story returns and follows the role of the shaman following Fu Shi and the trigrams. Fu Shi was known as one of the Three Sovereigns. Fu Shi discovered the eight trigrams – the bagua – that became the foundation of the I Ching and Chinese divination. The human sovereign, known as Shennong who is credited for inventing farming and herbs for medicinal purposes, and the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi, who is considered the father of Chinese medicine. The fourth shaman to mention here is Yu the Great. He designed a system of dikes and canals that proved a lasting benefit through a combination of what was considered both magic and technological prowess. This led to the “Pace of Yu” – dance steps which transported him mystically to the stars, where he received guidance from the deities – that is still practiced in some Taoist traditions. I mention this here because of the importance of ritual in connecting one with their spiritual past that reflects the subsequent emergence of Taoism.

It was not only rituals, but myths and legends as well, that would combine the natural elements of the universe with people’s spiritual development and well-bring. The shaman and what then was the beginning of the trigrams and I Ching provided direction, continuity, and a way for people to develop a connection with their highest self and to ask if their endeavors were tied to their destiny. And if they were what responsibility did they have to nurture themselves. How to entertain man for eternity was beginning to take root. What would later be referred to as both the microcosm of the body and the macrocosm of the universe became a part of everyday life. Key to this was most of the time the shaman who had always been the spiritual center of the community was also seen as the best political leader as well. This phenomenon led to a term call the “shaman king”.  It was the stories of the day exemplified by the Taoist that was preeminent and told of the way, the way later referred to as virtue. Below is something I wrote from my as yet unpublished book from The Book of Lieh Tzu, titled My Travels with Lieh Tzu that outlines how the universe was perceived in ancient China.

                               Extolling Myths

If it is known that the shapes and energies of things differ and are still equal by nature, that none can take the place of another, that all are born perfect in themselves and each are allotted all that it needs, then how can one know whether they are large, small or short, similar or different. Who can know? Who can say? Are not stories and myths extolling feats of great strength and travels of thousands of miles in a day the same whether they are real or imagined?

As the ancient ones of every civilization have passed on the origins of heaven and earth, are not these simply an attempt to give meaning and purpose to life and explain that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Are not heaven and earth things just as the things within them, and do not things have imperfections.  Rather it be Nu Kua smelting stones of all the five colors to patch up the earth’s flaws and cutting off the feet of the turtle who supports its four corners. Or stories telling of a place east of the Gulf of Chihli, thousands  perhaps millions of miles away with its bottomless valley where all the waters pour into the Milky Way.

Or the fifteen giant turtles who carry the five mountains on their lifted heads.  Taking turns in three watches, each sixty thousand years long; and the immortal sages who live there. Many of the sages later to be lost when two of the mountains are roped by a giant and taken back to the Kingdom of the Dragon Earl. In God’s anger, he reduces the size of the Earl’s kingdom and the size of its people.

Or the pumalo tree that grows in the countries of Wu and Chu. An evergreen with red fruit that remains sour and causes fits when eaten. However, when planted north of the Hui River it changes into a dwarf orange tree.

All things remaining perfect in their nature, each allotted its needs. What difference be they large, small or short, similar or different? What  difference can there possibly be?Remaining perfect in an  imperfect world. The paradox that all must encounter, all must endure. Is this not what is meant by true striving to find and know perfection only within ourselves? Is this not what the Tao teaches?      4/19/95

The advantage of thousands of years of trial and error and having the trigrams as your guide is that mistakes and right action are both cataloged to memory and a certain pragmatism is fused with human endeavor. When this is melded with a certainty that nature brings to any given situation achievable outcomes become apparent. The problem occurs when personal ego and power becomes the dominating theme of human activity. This was most evident towards the end of the Shang dynasty, as it was overstepping its moral authority with a series of shaman kings when they imprisoned King Wen of the neighboring Zhou clan. It was while King Wen was imprisoned that he attached words and phrases adding specific meaning to the now sixty four hexagrams we know today as the I Ching in about 1100 BC. This was monumental in Chinese history as writing symbols and the Bronze Age were just coming into their own, after centuries of writing on strips of tortoise shell that were used to predict future events by the shaman.

It is here that three characters who played such an important role in Chinese history receive more of my attention, the Yellow Emperor in 2500 BC, the Duke of Zhou in 1000BC, and Confucius, shortly after 500 BC. They are to be highlighted in the chapters that follow in the book. All three called Qufu their home just as I do. As I have studied Chinese history and philosophy for over forty years, and lived and taught in Qufu, this has always been the unanswerable question. What albeit small, and insignificant role could have been mine to play, in the past, now, or in the future? Sometimes in Qufu I will look up into the sky at night see my old friends, the stars and Great Bushel and wonder as if through the night sky.  Am I here to not only update my own story, but the story of others as well? I am always taken aback by the writing and books I have written when I read them years later and their significance and meaning has much greater relevance now than then as my understanding and innate wisdom becomes clear.

In May 2000, three years after my first trip to China, I wrote my own interpretation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. Little did I know at the time the book would be published six years later in China – nine years before my first trip to Qufu to visit both old friends from eternity and new friends as well. Like Confucius, I felt a special attachment to the Duke of Zhou.

        Staying behind to Impart Immortality’s Wisdom 

Coming home to visit with old friends, I am made whole again.  Everything there is to see I have seen and everything there is to do I have done.  I am home again to rest among old friends.  Revisiting the thread that reveals my true identity, I rejoice in the oneness of the universe.  I am at peace as one who has found the grace to see what I must do next in His name.  Shedding my worn baggage, my friends are reminded of the light cast by my eternal coat as I sit beside them to honor our being together once again.

While most are happy to remain within the confines of enlightenment, others are a little jealous of my desire to return to the world.  Where attachments hold one down and keep their owner from attaining their true identity. Just as you are reminded that your path leads back to a place where you can help others to perhaps come forth to seek their own ultimate destiny. As you leave, you catch glimpses that convey warmth and gratitude and knowledge of the ultimate paradox…

Upon my return I begin by weaving together the fabric of shreds of a vision that has yet to become reality.  Knowing that neither my light nor my shadow will leave a lasting impression. While what is left behind for immortality’s wisdom will only be known once I have returned home once again.      (May 2000 – Thoughts on becoming a Sage)                                                                                                                       

It would be the Duke of Zhou (Ji Dan) who was to bring clarity and a way forward roughly 500 years before Confucius to both the spiritual and philosophical meanings of what had occurred prior to him in China. The Duke of Zhou was a member of the Zhou Dynasty  who played a major role in consolidating the kingdom established by his elder brother King Wu. He was renowned in Chinese history for acting as a capable and loyal regent for his young nephew King Cheng and successfully suppressed a number of rebellions, placating the Shang nobility with titles and positions. He is credited with writing the I Ching and the Book of Poetry , establishing the Rites of Zhou.  The Temple dedicated to Ji Dan, The Duke of Zhou is in Qufu, formerly the city of Lu. It was his efforts to update the above that Confucius would have access to five hundred years later in Qufu. Confucius brought forward the ancient texts and taught a hierarchical standard that would later become the norm throughout China. Understanding this history and being so close to it has given me a great affinity for Qufu. I feel a deeper attachment to Qufu and it’s history than any other place in China.

                           Introduction – Background 

I am deep in meditation of things I have written in the I Ching and my first book with the dragons, especially Chuang Tzu. I am to be the shaman once again. With the mindset of the sage in recollection of what has been important, and more importantly, what are the things that are worth retelling from what I have learned along the way. Five thousand years of history retold as to how specific events, men and women, certain Taoist and Buddhist mountains and temples have contributed to the Taoist legacy. My contemplation, thoughts, and meditation must serve the purpose of taking me back as the shaman and sage as the eternal essence of the dragon. Capturing and becoming engulfed as the moment in time and reflecting as a mirror history – condensing each story to a few words that interweaves together the true meaning of the I Ching and Taoist philosophy. Not letting outside influences direct my attention from my true task, that being to become the mirror image of the sage, the Taoist priest, the shaman, who can tell the story.

Focusing on those things that will make up the Introduction and Preface of my book – my source book, a reference that serves to guide my way as the sacred text of my life and what I can see as taking a year or to finish… although it will never be completed until my time here is done as well. Beginning with the shaman, Fu Shi, the Yellow Emperor and the Great Yu, as well as many others, who should help to tell the story as my own. The historical perspective appeared earlier in my Earliest Background – Introduction and a further discussion appears in what follows. I spend most of the time researching on internet and deciding who to speak to as I travel around China that furthers the story. Formulating time sequences, influence of people central to Taoist history and how to approach the historical context of Cultivating Stillness is key. Second, is deciding time and space of different elements that tell the story, i.e., earliest civilizations, lasting influences of shaman development, the feng shih, etc., and the lasting imprint of the I Ching. Initially, finding information for the Introduction and Preface… how and who developed the pakua (bagua) and I Ching and shaman. (Refer to pages 32 to 48 of December 2014 journal.

As I begin to assess where and how to continue this journey, I need to attribute my seven greatest sources that have gotten me here with a modicum of understanding of the I Ching Confucius, and Taoism, as follows:

  1.  The I Ching or Book of Changes by Wilhelm/Baynes
  2. Total I Ching by Stephen Karchner
  3. The I Ching by Li Ping
  4. The Dazhuan or Great Treatise Wings 5 and 6 of Commentaries of I Ching attributed to Confucius
  5. An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond  by Dan C DeCarlo (written in 1994) published in China in 2004.
  6. My Travels with Lieh Tzu (unpublished manuscript written by Dan C DeCarlo in 1995-6) 
  7. Thoughts on becoming a Sage – The Guidebook to Leading a Virtuous Life, by Dan C DeCarlo (written in 2000 and published in China in 2006).

In order to begin to get an understanding of philosophical and religious Taoism, one has to return to their beginning and know what is in their heart to even begin approaching the text of Cultivating Stillness, i.e., to return to the Tao. Or as Thoreau would say one must “know thyself”. This I not a superficial journey one takes and then returns unscathed after following the path to true enlightenment. Once you arrive, you are there to stay.

A central theme to Wilhelm’s book is that every, i.e., each situation demands the action proper to it. There is a right and wrong course of action. Which then is the right course in any given case? This is the decisive question. With this it rose above the realm of fortunetelling. Fortunetelling lacks moral significance. With the I Ching, the question becomes what am I to do? Or better yet, what is it that each of us are to do? It is at this moment seized on over development of thousands of years by the sage and shaman that over time divination became a book of wisdom. The culmination of this was how the followers of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and others were able to tie this even then ancient wisdom together with the practical application of Confucius and the tempering influence of the Buddhist sutras that the original text of Cultivating Stillness was devised and written during the Warring States Period and then later put into literary context during the Six Dynasties Era, four to five hundred years later. From this point it would be the prevailing wisdom of the Taoist sage, who mirrored the image of the earliest shaman that kept the text that is the central theme and core of this book alive.  What could be my goal now two thousand years later, but to refine the compilation of my peers advanced over the centuries in order to refine their origins and convey the historical context of how and why Cultivating Stillness is essential to both comprehend and integrate into one’s daily life today in the 21st century. Just as important though has been how the Tao has been integrated into daily life in China and influenced by events that defined and modified its application over space and time. As if a person does not simply know the right thing to do is, but lives in such a way the how we live and acknowledging who we can be, or are to become, becomes paramount. It is here that a person’s heart and mind need to be tempered to fit into the inner workings of mirroring the Tao.

It is in seeing the I Ching as Confucius, Li Ping, Lao and Chuang Tzu and as many others saw it, that serves as our inspiration. Bringing the story of Cultivation Stillness up through the ages, seeing how the Tao is invested in history as eternity beckons us today is the intent of this sacred journal, and ultimate role of this book. It is not just me telling the story, but also assuming the role as the sage or shaman to tell the story as needed to convey the real purpose and meaning of the Tao. Not only as the Tao passes through my own heart, mind, eyes, and ears… but more importantly through that of others whose experience as history’s students and teachers matches and mirrors my own. To create a testament to living history and seeing the world as Tao has been experienced by others as well.

It is not my intention to write another version of the book Cultivating Stillness. Eva Wong’s book is the definitive text and is the ridgepole around which this book is written as a supplemental version of living history through the ages. Just as the original version of Cultivating Stillness is attributed wrongly the Lao Tzu, the author of the Tao Te Ching, this book is not another version of the Tao Te Ching either. I wrote another book that was published in 2006 in China entitled, Thoughts on Becoming a Sage – The Guidebook to Leading a Virtuous Life, that was my own version of the sacred text, so I have already “been there, done that”. It was common practice back in the early days of China for an unknown author to give credit to a famous person, or author, so that his or her work would be recognized, read, and appreciated. An example might even be seen as Lieh Tzu. Scholars have always contested rather he really existed, or was simply a depository for Taoist thinking at the time when no author took credit for the work. I say Lieh tzu did certainly exist and his book, The Book of Lieh Tzu, which I spent a year over twenty years ago with as all good Taoist precepts, or monks, are obliged to do, so that we may better appreciate our role, our own take on history, and ultimately to believe in him. My unpublished manuscript My Travels with Lieh Tzu, Interpolations along the Way, written in 1995, is a testament to my own journey.  Lieh Tzu is an immortal in Taoist cosmology, a dragon, and someone I consider a close friend. Excerpts from all three can be found as supplements to this book.

The intent of this book is to tell many stories across China of people who have chosen to live a Taoist lifestyle. Who have a sense of the true meaning of wu wei, of following a way of life that fits their highest aspiration. Telling the story in such a way that others may come forward to seek and find their source – by continually seeking and fine tuning my own. To tell the story as re-living or living history, to see, feel, and act as if I was there. The twenty-four chapters, plus, but an opportunity to tell the history looking back to key events and time spent. In preparing this manuscript I have spent many days, even weeks at each location so that I may recapture the essence of important events and in the process becoming a Taoist precept and monk myself. As such re-living history and becoming history again while setting the tone, or a place at immortality’s table, for others.     Looking forward, I see a process that may take a year or two, maybe more to complete this book, the sacred journey that I have committed myself to complete. It is obvious that it will take much self-discipline with every moment dedicate to self-cultivation on my inner attributes that mirror my ultimate endeavor and destiny. Centered around this, is redefining, i.e., taking another look at the three “attributes” the dragons brought to my attention Christmas Day in 1993:

— lack of coordination/balance                                                                                                                     — lack of memory/benefits                                                                                                                           — lack of patience/boundaries          

                       In everything there is Tao  

It is through you, Dan  we speak.  You have far to go but you can find the way.  Stay within yourself and it will come.  Tea is a part of the ritual that brings you to us

Lack of coordination, lack of memory and  lack of patience are but weaknesses we gave you to overcome.  For you to find the way you must find all three.

To find balance you must seek coordination.  To find benefits you must learn to remember,and To find boundaries you must first find patience.  Your power is in your vision.   When you have mastered  all three that vision, or oneness, is within you now  to find the way of virtue.   In everything there is Tao.

As the crane is to longevity  as a strong wind you should be. In following the Tao the rest will come. You must repeat the above liturgy prior to any  proceeding to find the way. We are here now  come with us.

(Written Christmas Day 1993 finished January 9, 1994)       

The shaman when it is appropriate to do so. The key is assuming the proper role when needed,  with little or no ego, as the shaman/sage; to use the power of the dragons as my shield. To acknowledge that I am ready and to project myself and my own divine nature, my divinity onto and into the story to be told. To simply focus on balance, benefits, and boundaries as the story unfolds.

— Balance must be coordinating the events along a timeline that tells the story as                             it should be.                                                                                                                                 — Benefits must be to acknowledge and recognize people and places by remembering                       what must be used to convey the Tao in the highest form possible that                                   augments  and supports the principle text, Cultivating Stillness.                                 — Boundaries must be to know when to proceed and when to stop and gaining patience                   all the while knowing and keeping to my ultimate objective.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       In the past, I have seen and used these three attributes incorrectly and taken personally. As if my ego was driving the train and not the universal spirit embodied by and through the Tao.  These three things refer not to what is in my world – although they are good to follow – they are to understand and utilize my divine presence in keeping with what is of my world, i.e., those things in keeping with the Tao and my innate eternal nature.

In going through all this process before proceeding with the text of Cultivating Stillness, I am trying to go to great lengths to be inclusive, finding the right balance and coordination of specific Taoist temples and mountains, and people, and Confucius sites in and around Qufu and Shandong, and Buddhist monasteries and mountains, plus other entities in China that help to convey the Tao that leads to better understanding and knowledge for those who may be reading this book. Who do I use to tell the story? Perhaps not just me giving a first-hand account as if I was there, but maybe as Lao Tzu, Chuang, Li Ping, Confucius, Mencius, or others conveying the true essence of the I Ching, and or Taoist basic teachings, as if asking “What would Lao Tzu or Confucius say as a contemporary today?” As if they were here now giving a lecture at one of these ancient sites dedicated to their memory. As if they were conveying the success or failure of the transformation the I Ching and Tao has had on humankind, nature, and how man views the universe today.

To tell both sides, to tell the story by becoming the story as the ever present sage, the shaman when it is appropriate to do so. The key as the author is assuming the proper role with little or no ego, as the shaman/sage; to use the power of the dragon as my shield and to acknowledge that I am ready. Before continuing, I acknowledge my mentor and times spent with Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching. What especially comes to mind is my own chapter 35 from Thoughts on Becoming a Sage as follows:

                 Remaining Humble yet Inexhaustible

Holding onto the true image of myself with humility, comity and grace I remain humbled by what the Tao places before me.  As I recommit my entire essence to only promoting that which comes forth as the greater image or vision that I am here to complete all the while knowing that my highest aspiration can succeed only with the success of all around me.                              

As the world comes forth to greet me each day, I remain protected, as I have no form thereby beyond whatever harm may come my way. I remain safe, serene and as one with the Tao.  Eventually everything coming before me as an equal, I walk guided by selflessness as all things come to me. As I remain one with all things.  While forgetting myself in others, others forget themselves in me. Therefore everyone finds his or her place and no one is not at one with me.                                       

Keep only to the plain and simple drawing people closer as you entertain with images of the Tao. Remaining at the point of inquiry, with no one quite sure how to love or hate, with no shape, taste or sound with which to please others. Remaining enmeshed in the Tao your role can never be exhausted.

It is with Lao Tzu as my guidepost from the Tao Te Ching and Cultivating Stillness that I continue with great humility and thoughtful meditation. It has been twenty one years since that Christmas Day when I wrote In everything there is Tao in my first book, An American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond. If I was truly reborn on Christmas Day, 1993, then it is now as if it is time for a full accounting. After taking time to reread portions of this book, I am taken aback by what I later wrote in May of 2000 from Thoughts on becoming a Sage, a book that was published in China six years later. That I am somehow bound by the eternal role I am here to play, who I am, i.e., as my own immortal self, and what I am here to do. And reminded that I am here to complete my own sacred text while updating that of those I meet along the way. In continuing this sojourn, I come forward to define my presence and acknowledge my role, as I am forever raising the sage mind into an awareness of my own.

The question is where to begin the narrative in such a way that it can act as the ultimate pendulum swinging back and forth, as if the I Ching held the ultimate sway. As if the sages of old were guiding my thoughts. I think the place to begin is the middle. This is the Middle Kingdom where the final say was with the emperor who was the dragon who had the clearest connection to God, or the Tao. This brings us to Confucius and Qufu. A natural fit for me as it has been my second home for seven of the last fourteen years. (2000-2014) When I am there it is as if I have always been there, as if my memories of what is known as Shandong are endless and never-ending as if I am assimilating almost 6,000 years of history, 3,000 before Confucius and almost 3,000 after. I lived in the shadow of the Confucius Temple and Mansion for almost three years teaching and living at the Qufu Normal School that was founded by the descendants of the four families. In addition to the Kung (Confucius) descendants, the families of Zeng Zi, Mencius, and Yan Hui were also taught at this special school exclusively until 1912 and the founding of the Republic of China when it was opened to the public. Today it is a high school with students from primarily villages and cities from southwest Shandong Province. While I was there I taught students who were to become English teachers both at Qufu Normal School and Jining University and at the Cambridge English School in Qufu and Jining. (2010-13) As a student myself of Chinese history for more than forty years (1970 to the present), being in Qufu only adds to my sense of its place in history. Living and teaching there serves to confirm your place in it. Wherever else I am at the moment will never replace Qufu as my home.

Anyway, back to the Middle Kingdom with Confucius and the I Ching. Confucius contributed greatly to the general understanding of the I Ching by adding what were known as commentaries. Of special note was his updating of the Great Treatise. Confucius contribution to Chinese history was immeasurable. For now though, the Great Treatise is our focus. It was a collection of short essays that provide a rational of the connection between the hexagrams and the events they predict. He re-confirmed that what the earliest shaman (mainly Fu Shi and the Yellow Emperor, who hailed from Qufu) did was to create the hexagrams having observed the figures (the broken and unbroken lines), then statements were added predicting either good or bad omen. Then whole and broken lines replace each other, bringing alternatives and transformation. Confucius focus on the I Ching commentaries was on Wings 5 and 6 of the total of 10 and are recorded in history.  They were known as The Great Treatise Dazhuan or Xiezhuan. Their earlier known reference was by Suma Qian in 100 BC. Confucius input was critical as it legitimized the Taoist canon and would help to synthesize what would be known as Chinese philosophy up to the present, more than 2500 years after his death. An example would be Li Ping who updated Confucius version of the I Ching 700 years later in the Han dynasty. His version became one of the required classics required in taking the Imperial exam that had to be passed for a job in Chinese government for over 1500 years.                                                                                                               Confucius, and those who came after him, were great synthesizers showing how everything made sense combining elements of the ancient culture and society together and a way forward. Others could then design their role to fit the times. Confucius is said today to be emblematic of the feudal society that defined China for over two thousand years. It was not Confucius himself that caused this. It was those who saw Confucianism as a good way to rule the masses and hundreds of millions of people. His impact on how the Tao could be integrated with the I Ching and lived alongside Confucianism was symbolic of just how great he was. It was also Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching that showed the proper way to govern that gave Taoism the chance to flourish and made the Taoist Temple’s as we shall show the legitimacy it needed to flourish as well.

It was through these commentaries, like that done by Confucius, that were written to describe and later define what the great sages “really meant” that defined the integration of the three great religions and philosophies of China. While the commentaries helped to define the reality of the times, in Taoism, the basic tenets remained fairly consistent from dynasty to dynasty. It was the text of Cultivating Stillness that served as the nucleus for Taoist Temples to have the wherewithal to remain constant and flourish.

Using the commentaries and with the influx of Buddhism in the 2nd century AD, I can go back and forth with I Ching and proceed through individual dynasties. The key is the philosophy of change and how a person manifests this change within his own life. You must begin approaching Cultivating Stillness with a threshold of understanding of the history of the I Ching, Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu and the pa’kua or bagua to fully appreciate the process of becoming. This is not a casual affair spent in your spare time. This is learning how to return to your eternal, vital essence and living each moment. This is my definition of wu wei – a peaceful almost joyful self expression of who you are meant to be fully exposed to the oneness of Tao within yourself and the universe. When there is no separation between you and your eternal self you can fully appreciate what is found in stillness. Learning how the universe within yourself functions is the central key to gaining understanding of your eternal role with the Tao.

It is said that the way of the creative works through change and transformation so that each thing receives its true nature and destiny and comes into accord with the Great Harmony. This is what furthers and perseveres. It was the key role of the shaman from the beginning who understood the power to further and power to persevere that becomes the I Ching and man’s connection to his innate self and nature. Through this continuous force all things are gradually changed until they are completely transformed in their manifestation. It is in this way man discovers his eternal essence and his source.

Later Heaven – Introduction

Table of Contents

Cultivation Stillness – Beginnings and commentary

Preface to understanding the Text of Cultivating Stillness                                                                  Taoist Cosmology and Internal Alchemy and commentary

Preface to understanding the Text of the Dazhuan 

Taoist Internal Medicine and the I Ching and commentary.

The cultivation of Internal Energy as an Alchemical Process and commentary

Illustrations of Cultivation Stillness throughout history               

I.     Part I

  1. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 1 – Wu chi
  2. Notes, Commentary and illustrations
  3. 1.1 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I
  4. Number 1   A cosmic analogy – How Heaven and Earth define Change
  5. Sacred Buddhist and Taoist Mountains of China
  6. Commentary and physical location depiction
  7. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 2 – Wang chi  
  8. Notes, Commentary and illustrations    
  9.  1.2 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I        
  10.  Number 2 Following the Omens – On Becoming a Dragon      
  11. Qingyang Taoist Temple and Mountain in Chengdu     
  12. Commentary and physical location depiction
  13. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 3 – Tai chi       
  14. Notes, Commentary and illustrations    
  15. 1.3 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 3
  16. The Statements – What the Words Show
  17. The Realm of the Amitabha Buddha 
  18. Commentary and physical location depiction  
  19. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 4 – The Three Realms of Existence
  20. Notes, Commentary and illustrations
  21. 1.4 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 4
  22. Embracing Tranquility as the Sage, Spirits, and Change                          
  23. Sanqing Mountain (The Sanqing Mountain is a renowned Taoist sacred                               mountain in Jiangxi Province. Sanqing means the “Three Pure Ones” in               Chinese as the Sanqing Mountain is made up of three main summits: Yujing,         Yuhua and Yuxu, representing the Taoist trinity)
  24. Commentary and physical location depiction
  25. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 5 – The Mind (Heart) of Tao
  26. Notes, Commentary and illustrations  
  27. 1.5 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 5  
  28. Tao and Yin/Yang – What the Spirits Are
  29.  Eternal Spring Taoist Temple (Changchunguan) in Wuhan 
  30. Commentary and physical location depiction
  31. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 6 – The Human Mind (Heart) 
  32. Notes, Commentary and illustrations
  33. 1.6 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 6
  34. Becoming the voice of Change as we embrace both Heaven and Earth  
  35. Qufu home of Yellow Emperor, Duke of Zhou and Confucius
  36. Commentary and physical location depiction
  37. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 7 – The Six Thieves      
  38. Notes, Commentary and illustrations
  39. 1.7 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 7                                                                     
  40. Embracing the Gates – the Yijing/I Ching becomes Supreme                                          
  41. Wuhua Memorial Temple of Three Kingdoms Period in Chengdu                                      
  42. Commentary and physical location depiction
  43. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 8 – The Three Obstructions 
  44. Notes, Commentary and illustrations      
  45. 1.8 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 8
  46. The Superior Man, the Symbols, and the Lines                                                                
  47. Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen
  48. Commentary and physical location depiction
  49. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 9 – The Nature of Emotion
  50.  Notes, Commentary and illustrations
  51. 1.9 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 9  
  52. Wand Counting (Yarrow Stick) Symbolism
  53.  Mount Taishan and Dai Temple in Tai’an
  54. Commentary and physical location depiction
  55. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 10 – Nothingness  
  56. Notes, Commentary and illustrations  
  57. 1.10 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 10    
  58.  The Four-fold Way of the Yijing/I Ching, Tao, and Sage Mind
  59. Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda) in Xian 
  60. Commentary and physical location depiction    
  61. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 11– Emptiness  
  62. Commentary and physical location depiction    
  63. 1.11 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 11
  64. The Creative Power of the Yijing/I Ching and Tao  
  65. Huashan (Flower Mountain) Taoist Temples east of Xian      
  66. Commentary and physical location depiction
  67. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 12 – Stillness and Original Nature         
  68. Notes, Commentary and illustrations  
  69. 1.12 The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 12 
  70. The Symbols of Change and the Great Enterprise  
  71. White Cloud Taoist Temple in Beijing
  72. Commentary and physical location depiction 

    Part II

  73. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 13 – The True Way
  74. Notes, Commentary and illustrations    
  75. 2.1 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 1                    
  76. Cosmic Beginnings    
  77. Guangzhou’s Renwei Temple     
  78. Commentary and physical location depiction
  79. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 14 – The Mysterious Achievement        
  80. Notes, Commentary and illustrations 
  81.  2.2 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 2 
  82. From Shaman to Sage       
  83. Mencius of Zhoucheng and the Institutionalism of Confucianism 
  84. Commentary and physical location depiction
  85. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 15 – The Sacred Path    
  86. Notes, Commentary and illustrations                                         
  87. 2.3 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 3    
  88. Images, Structure, Judgments and Commentaries   
  89. City God Temple or Chenghuang Miao in Shanghai         
  90. Commentary and physical location depiction
  91. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 16 – Waxing and Waning     
  92. Notes, Commentary and illustrations           
  93. 2.4 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 4         
  94. On the Nature of the Trigrams (tortoise shells, yarrow sticks, and coins)                  
  95. White Horse Buddhist Temple, Luoyang                                                                           
  96. Commentary and physical location depiction
  97. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 17 –Virtues        
  98.  Notes, Commentary and illustrations                                                                     
  99. 2.5 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 5                      
  100. On the Commentaries – Associating the Yijing with how to live a good Life                
  101. Wang Pi – A Lasting Vision of the Way                                                    
  102. Commentary
  103. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 18 – Forgetting the Mind   
  104. Notes, Commentary and illustrations    
  105.  2.6 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 6   
  106. To know the way of Qian (light) while holding onto Kun (Dark)   
  107. Mount Longhu “Dragon Tiger Mountain” in Jiangxi   
  108. Commentary and physical location depiction
  109. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 19 – The Spirit     
  110.  Notes, Commentary and illustrations    
  111. 2.7 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 7  
  112. The Seeds of Character that leads to Greatness begins with the Yijing   Three Major Buddhist Grottoes in China,  Mogao Grottoes, Longmen Gtottoes, and Yungang
  113. Grottoes and Leshan Giant Buddha       
  114. Commentary and physical location depiction
  115. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 20 – The Myriad World of Ten Thousand Things 
  116. Notes, Commentary and illustrations      
  117. 2.8 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 8      
  118. To be One with the Yijing you must first live the Tao   
  119.  Lao, Chuang, and Lieh Tzu The essence of Tao                                                                 
  120. Commentary and physical location depiction
  121. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 21 – Craving and Desire     
  122. Notes, Commentary and illustrations      
  123. 2.9 The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 9   
  124. Staying within the Lines for Eternity’s Sake                                                                         
  125. Xuanmiao Temple, “Mysterious Sublimity Temple” or “Mysterious Essence Temple” is a prominent Taoist temple with a long history, located at the center of old Suzhou City.   Commentary and physical location depiction
  126. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 22 –Anxiety and Stress      
  127. Notes, Commentary and illustrations                                                                  
  128. 2.10 The Dazhuan 6th Wing   Part II   Number 10    
  129. What is the Dazhuan, but to imitate the Patterns of Heaven                                        
  130. Longxing Monastery in Zhengding (Hebei, China)     
  131. Commentary and physical location depiction
  132. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 23 – Life and Death    
  133. Notes, Commentary and illustrations        
  134. 2.11  The Dazhuan   6th Wing   Part II   Number 11    
  135. Keeping Rhythm with the Big Dance in the Sky
  136. Yonghe Lama Temple, in the northeast corner of downtown Beijing.    
  137. Commentary and physical location depiction      
  138. Cultivating Stillness Chapter 24 – Transcendence      
  139. Notes, Commentary and illustrations                
  140. 2.12    The Dazhuan 7th Wing   Part II   Number 12    
  141. Final Words of the Dazhuan and I Ching          
  142. Coming forward to meet the Jade Emperor        
  143. Commentary and physical location depiction

Attributing References, photos, and illustrations

Commonly Used Taoist Terms

Bibliography and Further reading

Part 1 of the Dazhuan

1.1        The Dazhuan   5th Wing   Part I   Number 1

        A cosmic analogy – How Heaven and Earth define Change

There is a symbolic reality of what lies between figures formed in Heaven and are shapes on Earth as high and low places are spread about as both movement and stillness. Just as with in the face of Heaven each person stands alone, there are limits to what is knowable. Just as there are gates in which things come and go always transforming into being something new. The energies that are at work in Heaven and Earth also drive the symbols of change as we observe that events never happen alone and that all changes and the transformation of Heaven and Earth reside in the Yijing, or I Ching. The symbols of change found in the I Ching contain the formative power of both Heaven and Earth as whole and broken lines that distinguish that events are both different and the same and can be interpreted and understood. These transformations can be seen in the movement found in the Eight Diagrams, the bagua. These three line figures contain the energy of natural processes: as thunder and lightning stimulate, wind and rain fertilize, sun and moon move on their prescribed courses and after cold comes heat.

The fundamental symbols of change are chien and kun. They contain the power of Heaven and Earth and serve to connect us directly with change. Chien (Heaven) helps us to change spontaneously letting us know change in our hearts. Kun (Earth) makes and completes everything. This gives us the ability to act without complications or pride (ego) and lets us follow change in life with simplicity and spontaneity. When we open ourselves to the influence of change we acquire the ability to gain both the deep affection of others and ability to lead our own life as an independent person. The Great Treatise tells us, “What is readily recognized is accepted.  What is readily followed brings success. What is accepted can endure and what brings success can grow great. Endurance is the wise man’s power; greatness is the wise man’s task. Being spontaneous and simple means grasping the principles of all under Heaven; grasping the principles of all under chien, or Heaven, means finding one’s place in the midst of kun, or earth”. This is called the “Great Enterprise”.  The key to initiating a sense of understanding change is becoming aware of what is known as symbolic reality that teaches you to see the pattern of things. It is this symbolic reality that becomes our own reflection. Staying in the middle is a step towards freedom from compulsive emotion, the fear of anticipation, and sorrow over the unexpected. The I Ching gives you direct access to the symbolic world behind appearances and with practice the ability to know that lies ahead.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 2   

1.2        Following the Omens and One’s Fate

The shaman and sages created the hexagrams having observed the nuances found in nature then added statements to indicate good and ill omens as man followed the natural course of events. That what usually came into a situation usually determined the outcome. An omen is a phenomenon that is believed to foretell the future, often signifying the advent of change one learned through observation. People in ancient times believed that omens appear or come with a divine message from their gods who they saw as residing with the stars they could see at night and the coming of the sun and moon everyday as fixtures they could see that made them a part of something bigger than themselves. For early China this meant the shaman, who was considered to have a direct link with Heaven and what was to later be known as the I Ching, possessed the means and was the method to communicate what these omens meant. The key the shaman discovered was an understanding that the whole and broken lines of the hexagram once formed replace one another and that a person could alter his fate by staying connected to his or her source. Thus omens both auspicious and disastrous became figures of failure and success, and that troubles and distress are figures of worry and anxiety that leads to alternation and transformation… and change. And that it is how we connect through our imagination back to our beginning, or source, that we can see and determine our future.

The key to understanding myths and legends in China is that they point to a door to further understanding over five thousand years of continuous history and culture. They point to the place where ancient stories were born, retold and modified to fit current events over and over again. This has always been the niche of the storyteller. The one telling the story in such a way that myth and reality merge into one story that fits or suits the times. Making connections, showing how through the stories from the ancients that there was a way of becoming universal ourselves. We thereby become a part of the story through our lives and by living and telling our own version of events as we too come in harmony with change. Opening the door to who we have always been and will be again, as if our purpose here is to first re-discover our source.

As if connecting with a time that truly defines us before history began and the deep wisdom that resided at a time when few people doubted the reality they expressed. Over time it was just a matter of furthering a common story that everyone could identify with and then become a part of the story as well. It is a commonality everyone shares regardless of their origin. The key to transformation acknowledged by the shaman was that symbols were more lasting than words where meaning could be interpreted in many ways. It was the lines of the diagrams and words conveying certain meanings that created the language called change. Through the sage, who represented the spirits, they learned the method of advancing and withdrawing energy, the alternation of light and dark, and the three powers or pivots – Heaven, Earth, and Humanity. The role of the sage throughout history has been to help us to take our place in history and finding tranquility, the place our hearts truly reside and the peace of mind to stay there.

But it is the connection to the Tao, I Ching, and Cultivating Stillness illustrated here that begins with the movement of the six lines of the hexagram illustrating the Tao of the Great Triad. It is these Three Pure Ones that are the Taoist Trinity, the three highest Gods in the Taoist pantheon. They are regarded as pure manifestation of the Tao and the origin of all sentient beings. From the Taoist classic Tao Te Ching, it was held that “The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.” This key to the process of divination and understanding the role of the oracle is as if fine-tuning of prayer. As in meditation, expressing a problem, a difficulty, or emotion, you pose the question to change (to the I Ching) in words. Then you must take the words of the answer into your heart. The answer or symbol will arise as if a spirit has been evoked and the right answer will appear. It acts as the soul and changes the way one thinks setting foot on the Way of the Tao becoming what Chuang Tzu would call the Perfected Man and furthered by the Eight Immortals and Queen Mother of the West in Chinese history. The superior man finds his place in life resting content in the succession of change; he finds satisfaction taking delight in the words; when he acts he observes the alternations and takes delight in the omens as if knowing the future that lies before him. Thusly becoming the person he is meant to be. The grace of Heaven and eternal dragons always coming to his aid as the way of the Tao becomes auspicious and open to him as his highest endeavor and destiny is now fulfilled.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 3

1.3          The Statements – What the Words Show 

We first look to how great and small are related in the Yijing and in our lives as the images and symbols that connect us to the invisible world. Great and small are key words, the oldest terms for yin and yang. Through them we know if we should be forceful and follow our own idea, or are flexible and yield to others. It is the hexagrams that refer to figures while the line statements refer to alternations. In reading the lines auspicious and disaster means success and failure. Trouble and distress refer to minor mistakes; no misfortune means mistakes can be mended. Therefore what is seen as noble or base depends on position, just as sorting out what is great or small depends on the hexagram while discerning rather something is auspicious or disastrous depends on the statement. Worrying at trouble and distress depends on the risk as quaking at no misfortune depends on distress. Thus, the hexagrams deal with great and small, the statements deal with danger and comfort and show the way things are going.

It would be those who could successfully read the symbols that made consulting the spirit world central to what could be known and what could not be known.  Just as we ourselves are in constant transformation, our spirit always advancing and withdrawing as we look for and to a change of heart. The ability to know the Way, or Tao, is through the words we speak and write. Anxiety occurs due to our innate desire to know what the Tao teaches – and staying within the limits of the Way. With this the Superior Man or Women will know how to act as their own divine return signals at both danger and ease. This is how the talisman became important as it defined one’s eternal connection with nature and the universe. (A talisman is a stone, ring, or other object, engraved with figures or characters supposed to possess power to connect one with the universe and worn as an amulet or charm. It’s presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions).

Fulu is a term for Taoist practitioners in the past that could draw and write supernatural talismans, Fu which they believed functioned as summons or instructions to deities, spirits, or as tools of exorcism, as  medical potions for ailments. It is believed by Taoists that in the past the ability to write Shenfu had been once decreed by their deities to authorized priests or daoshi. Lu (Chinese: 籙) is a register and compilation of the membership of the daoshi as well as the skills they were able to use. These practitioners are also called Fulu Pai (Chinese: 符籙派) or the Fulu Sect made up of daoshi from different schools or offshoots of Taojia. It is a symbol that connects us to the invisible world. This was one of the major precept’s outlining the shaman’s influence,  (especially the Big Dipper) and what could be seen and observed in nature.  This gave the shaman the ability to converse with nature. It was through symbols that the ancients found the doorway to Heaven. Examples of these symbols first illustrating the sun, moon, and stars, were unearthed during the Han dynasty at Nanyang in Henan Province and depict the sixteen stars of the Azure, or Green Dragon constellation. The Azure Dragon occupies the four constellations that define the horizon. From prehistory forward, the ancient Chinese felt a direct connection to the stars as if they were in reality the place of their ancestors. First on tortoise shell then later on the hip bone of a horse, bear, or elk, and even later yarrow sticks, came the desire and need to communicate with the spirit world and others and speak – to develop a vocabulary with words that spoke to the divine spirit within. It was this innate urging to connect with the universe that cultivating stillness through meditation was fine-tuned over the centuries.

It was this use of imagination and images that attached words to the divine connection of man and in stillness that man’s divine nature could manifest to the fullest. It was then that the paradigm shifted and the words could define the symbols and everything changed. Then six lines became eight and the bagua came into being and in about 1100 BC King Wen (1152 – 1056 BC) added words, statements with meaning, to the lines.  It was with the consultation process that the lines were considered as transforming. It is when a line “transforms” that is turns into its opposite. This is when the words attached to the lines take on great importance. It is here that the spirit is changing shape, so that we know how to act.  Over the centuries many others would write their own commentaries as to the meaning of the lines to fit their philosophy to what they would say the I Ching and Tao really meant. Key among those would be Confucius and then later Wang Pi in the Han dynasty. The primary connection between the I Ching and the Tao is rather change is flowing or is blocked and it is the position of the strong and supple lines that help us to know whether our place in life is great or small. This speaks to our innate moral center or virtue and our desire to find and stay in tune with what is universal. It is in this way we return to the Tao and our eternal self.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 4

1.4 Embracing Tranquility as the Sage, the Spirits, and Change           

      The I Ching and change is always taking the measure of Heaven and Earth in every person, place and thing and is the source of all beginnings. It is the union of opposites containing the signs of Heaven and knowledge of what is light and clear with what is dark and obscure – the patterns of Earth.  The ancient shaman and later the sage understood this and could go to the beginning of things and trace its impact and nature to the end. By observing nature they could see how birth was a beginning and death an end that united heavenly spirit with earthly realizing power.  That life is a never-ending continuum of one’s soul or spirit. It would be much later when Chuang Tzu would have this realization and express this best.

It was in early prehistory that spirit travel was said to be common for those who were adept at conversing with what could not be known. Except that by and through following the cosmos and movement of the stars, the shaman could fix their location with the stars and return. It was this fixing of the stars, sun and moon that allowed the universe to speak and the sage to listen and then speak and communicate on its behalf. In what was to become the traditional roll of the dragon in Chinese folklore and history. The ultimate allegory depicting man’s connection to the universe and the Tao, it was through this understanding that all things come about first as a symbol (hsiang) and that the symbol is a heavenly spirit that connects with body-energy (chi) by using the realizing power of Earth (K’un) in life. In death the soul wanders, detaches itself and floats up. It is in this way a transformation occurs. Life is not simply the union and separation of the light and the dark with death, but a celebration of how one returns to his origin. It was with this knowledge the shaman could penetrate all mysteries. And it was the I Ching and what was later to become Taoism that drove the connection between Earth and Heaven by what Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Lieh Tzu, Confucius, Yang Chu, Mencius, Mo Tzu, and so many others were to contribute to the spiritual and philosophical world. It is with this realization that they become your peers again and again. The Taoist teachings of Lao, Chuang and Lieh Tzu; Confucian ethics of Confucius and Mencius; universal love of Mo Tzu, and the individualism of Yang Chu, we find all of them in change and the I Ching.  Using change they brought security to those who depended on them.

By following fate such an enlightened person can be free of care and sorrow. To stay in tune with this universal understanding you must use affection, dialogue and divination, not simply diligence and study. Nothing can separate us from our eternal path or spirit except our own lack of focus and effort. We learn not to become anxious when it is time to speak as our voice becomes a mirror or reflection of Heaven. You (we) have always had this power. It is our understanding, wisdom, and furthering coming forward that allows us to use our power and great vision of things to come. It is in unblocking the power that already resides within us that determines our fate. The key being the spirits (shen) not being confined to your thoughts and change not being confined to your body.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 5

1.5   Tao and Yin/Yang… What the Spirits Are   

As the ancients explored the universe, i.e. the mysteries of the Tao, they could see what was both beautiful and radical. What can be seen as one light (yang) and one dark (yin) and an on-going balance between the two, showing that nothing in the universe exists alone by itself. For everything to exist it must have its opposite and that both are in continual interplay: life and death, joy and sorrow, man and women, love and hate, expansion and contraction.  Everything existing in a state of flux with these qualities constantly moving, first one and then the other with one dark and one light, where we lose our way is when we try to hold onto one when the other comes into full play. When you can totally identify your thinking with this process, never trying to hold onto one over the other, then you can begin to fully know the Tao and to find the way of virtue (te). If you want to call it benevolent, call it benevolence. It is the gift of life. It is concealed in all that you do. Most importantly, it does not share the Confucian philosopher’s anxiety about imperfection. Understand the spontaneity of Chuang Tzu and you can see the Tao as perfect and its power and virtue as complete. Its greatness possesses all things including us.       

It was here that the “one light and one dark” is the Way of the Tao began to transform what was to become Chinese philosophy. This became the essence to understanding and when the terms yin and yang were first used and appeared as a pair. The key to wisdom and understanding is to never see or hold the opposites separately; they are to be held together. By holding them together you have found the key element, i.e., what is essential. By using this, an individual can become who they are really meant to be. It is the Tao that is seen by embracing the two in the one, as the ultimate te, cementing power and virtue together. Just as it is change that gives life or birth to everything that has a beginning, it is the power that moves the symbols and the power that unfolds them into life. So it is in using the I Ching that shows us how the symbols are unfolding to create our fate. Its greatness possesses all things and it is through its great possessions we know true prosperity. What moves and completes the symbols is called Ch’ien (Heaven) and what unfolds them into patterns is called K’un (Earth). In using the symbols found in change (the I Ching), we learn our fate through divination. It is when we penetrate our own transformation by cultivating stillness through what Lao Tzu teaches us, that we can begin to understand the light and the dark and the spirit (shen) within ourselves. It is then as we do the work the spirit arrives.

This is always the question of the sage. As he begins looking within to his inner virtue for guidance and remembering his innate connection first to nature and the world around him, to what he can see, touch, and feel. What his senses connect him to. And then secondly, how is his inner virtue connected to the cosmos. It is for this reason a solid foundation is sought that answers to his source. Over the millennia it has been in stillness that the universe comes calling, and it is how we respond to the inevitable spirits that know us by name that determine our fate.  Everything here, the updating of the 5th and 6th Wings, the Dazhuan; the intoning of the Taoist canon Cultivating Stillness; the references to specific locations of Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist historic sites important to Chinese philosophical and religious history, are to ignite, or re-ignite our eternal connection to our innermost origins, to what defines us and who we really are. Not for necessarily the scholar, but for Lieh Tzu’s everyday man, the common man who seeks his own fate in both the light and dark and change. This is done as if it is King Wen and Ji Dan, the Duke of Chou are here doing the updating themselves.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 6

1.6        Becoming the voice of Change as we embrace both Heaven and Earth

Change is equated with what is broad and what is great. These two energies are linked with the primary energies of Ch’ien and K’un. Through Ch’ien it can speak to what is far or outside ourselves. Through K’un change can speak to what is near, the inside or what is in the soul. Change, via the I Ching, encompasses both Heaven and Earth and everything in-between and remains unmoved by personal desire. It is through cultivating stillness we can gain an understanding of Ch’ien and K’un and how they influence our lives, the lives of others, and the world around us. By using both we rediscover the virtue hidden within ourselves.

First there is Ch’ien, it manifests as if it is expressing the wishes or greatness of the universe that it comes forward. As if divine energy, alone and concentrated making its presence felt and known. It can move as if in a straight line. Ch’ien represents yang energy; it is visionary as if knowing the intent of Heaven. But in practical terms it needs its opposite to function properly, or yin energy to be present. K’un is more practical almost structural energy. While appearing to be weak, it is resting, as if intent on taking its turn to come forward, or furthering its desire to seek or find a common way before proceeding. It focuses on the stillness within as it waits to match its energy with its opposite.  This is the Tao in action as it moves nature and all things to their recognizable middle.  It moves and unfolds what works into the here and now, it’s broken lines representing the myriad things in flux waiting to be matched with their opposite yang energy.  Change always present and waiting, as if anxious to play its eternal role, matching Heaven and Earth, the four seasons, and the sun and moon. It is here that the central player keeps everything on an even keel and on the same page. The central aspect of change is virtue (te). Virtue is the most powerful element in the universe and is the Tao in action. When we speak of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching we are speaking in no uncertain terms of the Way of Virtue.

It has always been the task of harnessing this dual energy that can best be illustrated by Chuang Tzu’s Perfected Man and Confucian thought of holding the reigns together for the common good and more importantly the status quo represented by hierarchy and authority. It is these two opposites that have permeating Chinese philosophy for thousands of years. It becomes who gets to ask the question and whose commentary or interpretation of the meaning of the lines of change gets heard. Who gets to be the voice on Heaven and how is that parlayed into some kind of practical application here on Earth? This has always been the question asked of the I Ching, and change. Who can speak for or to the universe unhampered by desires or prejudices?

If our virtue is all that defines us and how we ultimately return in the end, then using change to return to the beginning to see how Ch’ien, or Heaven, moves us and gives us the symbol and how K’un, or Earth, unfolds this into a pattern of life becomes our ultimate endeavor. It was the sage who learned that by cultivation stillness we can do this for ourselves.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 7

1.7   Opening the Gates – the I Ching becomes Supreme

Is it not as if Lao, Chuang and Lieh Tzu along with Ji Dan and King Wen are in fact here whispering in my ear what must be said again as one considers their transformation as the essence of virtue, tranquility and change? It is as if it is their voices reaching across the centuries conveying the true meaning of cultivating stillness and the gift of the Way that are to be followed. As if we are putting feet on Lao Tzu’s work in a practical way by eliminating the mystery so that others can see their own future in the Tao and the cosmos.  First, is the recognition that coming into virtue cannot be a haphazard affair, that true study of the Tao and change is superior to other methods of spiritual transformation? From the earliest shaman and sage they used this power and virtue on behalf of Heaven, Earth, and everything in between. It is in effect connecting the intuition of Heaven which lifts us to our highest good with the thought of Earth that connects us with others. With these two grounded internally within, it as if nothing else can enter and we are henceforth protected as if gates have been erected to determine what may enter as if Heaven has now told you your mission.  Once this is done your nature becomes complete and you can find your true place in the world.

We must give these two fundamental powers (the intuition of Heaven and thought which connects us with others and Earth) as fixed places within ourselves. It is by and through this inner discipline that we open ourselves to change. It is when we open or erect the gates that the process of transformation can begin. It is by this we go through the process of “fixing our heart”. Not running after each emotion. Not that you repress your feelings, but that you dis-identify with them. This is an underlying and fundamental aspect or teaching of change that sustains us and helps us to endure. By realizing and fixing the poles within us, we find tranquility and can set about completing our own nature and fate.

In meditation we learn to listen to our inner voice and to our teachers. Those we have always known and thought of once as dragons, the ultimate image and mirror of the true sage. In quiet stillness we listen and hear Lao Tzu and other mentors we have known through eternity and only come to ask the same question we have always repeated. “Is not change above all other things?” By observing nature and the cosmos, the sage has always used change to exalt their power and virtue to include what they gained as spirit, through Heaven, just as they were able to broaden their field of understanding to include the expanse of Earth. It is these two connecting with the intuition of Heaven that raises us up so that we can identify with our own divinity as the connection to the universe that connects us to all other things that humbles us, what it is that gives us humility.

The shaman taught that by exalting what we follow in Heaven we can connect what we follow and find on Earth. We do this by giving both Heaven and Earth fixed places or established poles within ourselves. What we allow comes and goes and is called “fixing or erecting the gates” and ultimately serves to define us. We begin to proceed with this transformation through the Taoist canon referred to as Cultivating Stillness. By following this ancient text you can complete your nature, as it sustains you through life and gives you the perseverance to endure. This becomes the gateway to the Tao. It fixes your heart leaving little doubt as to the path you must follow and frees you from compulsion. Your thoughts and actions become but a mirror of which you see yourself as becoming. If that means that you spend your time identifying and finding ways to return to your source, then be the first to open the gates to understanding the wisdom and virtue you have always known that has been ever-present and at your beck and call.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 8

1.8 The Sage Mind and Superior Man, the Symbols, and the Lines      

It is our ability to go deep within to Sage Mind, to our capacity of enlightenment and wisdom and its relations with and to the figures and symbols that connect us to the universe. It is the calling of the lines that ignite the interest of the sage, especially with recollections of Fu Hsi and his wife Nuwa, the Yellow Emperor or Huangdi, Ji Dan the Duke of Chou, and Confucius and so many others. Rather real, myth, or simply imagined, the acts of the sage determined the future of China. Others may have taken their words and writing and symbols representing what they “truly meant to say” in order to fit the times they intended to create, but it was the sage and Sage Mind that set the stage for all that followed. Just as it was then and continues to be Sage Mind that expresses the thoughts of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu and the Tao. Sage Mind expresses the essence of the Tao from its beginning with an understanding beyond every day events, Sage Mind recognizes change as formative and the way there is by cultivating stillness. Others have had their influence along the way, however the Tao and change are what remains eternal. It was a desire to understand the meaning of the knowledge and wisdom with a uniform structure that led to the lines representing everything through the cosmos to yin and yang and reasoning beyond simply every day events. Sage Mind created the I Ching to tell us if the way ahead was open or closed for a particular or certain situation as everyone coalesces around what the lines, change, and oracle means to them. By using change (the symbols and lines) the Sage Mind speaks to us. If we listen it can move both our thoughts and actions. He calculates and then speaks. He considers and then acts. If we use them we are spontaneously transformed.

The divine use of the I Ching is an important part of spiritual discipline. Different people can receive different or unique divine portraits of a certain circumstance as all are spontaneous. The sage does not analyze the lines; he brings them inside himself to find the right fit within his heart and mind. It is as if his innate divine sense of how to respond to a symbol or how this particular event will play out in keeping with the laws of nature and the Tao are to remain open or closed. It was through understanding the enormous power of symbolic reality and the power it possesses that the Sage Mind could shape events while having no technical analysis to define it. Much later Confucian schools of analysis tried to find some systematic analysis of the numbers, line position or yin-yang relation to their advantage. It was the sage who knew that the spirit moves spontaneously through the universe as it acts on its ability to respond to a symbol, to register, understand, and convey an answer to a problem in symbolic terms. As if the Sage Mind is only acting as the conduit or ultimate connection to the cosmos as the symbols are transmitted into words of virtue. It is by and through cultivating stillness our tranquility and virtue become exposed that we become able to think and act intuitively through our own Sage Mind.  The Master said, “If a Superior Man stays indoors and utters good words, they are accepted a thousand leagues, or miles, away, and if they are bad words they are rejected just the same. Words one used may influence people, deeds start from where one is and are seen from afar. Words and deeds are a Superior Man’s hinge and trigger. How he uses them decides glory or shame as his words and deeds move heaven and earth. How could he not be cautious?” The Master continues, “To speak of his own merit belittles a man. If one’s own ability grows greater, one’s behavior shows respect, this is modesty and that in perfecting respect for others that we preserve our own standing”.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 8 continued…

1.8.1        The Goal of Change and discovering our Helping Spirit    

It is change that makes the way visible. It shows spirit in action and helps you to accumulate power and virtue. Those who use change receive aid from the universe, they acquire a helping spirit similar to those who in ancient times were protected by the gods and have often taken on the metaphor of being a dragon in Chinese history. The dragon becoming the closest resemblance man could obtain in immortality to his innate highest self, i.e., the true and eternal sage. The question before the inquiring mind as they have continually focused on cultivating their most inner nature and spirit has been, “If you know the way of Change (The I Ching) and virtue and the transformations that can occur, won’t you then know how the spirit acts?” This has always been the underlying precept, or quest for gaining the knowledge and wisdom of the Tao.

What Lao Tzu teaches is focusing on cultivating stillness and finding the appropriate teachers with attributes needed in making this discipline come into play. It is the process of acquiring this “helping spirit” (shen) just as in the past like the ancient shaman and sage that one re-discovers their source. It is through using change that you learn the Way of the Tao. It helps you to accumulate the power and virtue (te) to become an accomplished person and begin to return to what is universal, where you fit in the cosmos and eternal scheme of things. It’s like preparing for a trip home and only taking what you have learned while you are here. It is this that makes one truly immortal; that if you know the way of change and transformation, the ways of the ancient sage and shaman are open to you as well. Who are these “helping spirits” we call shen, how do we perfect or transform these traits within ourselves and how does the Great Treatise and change, the I Ching, expand on this process?

What is important is that every living thing possesses an innate knowing of the Way and just as important that it has known of us as well. That this “protective spirit” has always been present as if on stand-by, as if our own thoughts, words, and challenges that we  encounter in the present are here to illustrate our connection with change and responsibility to and for virtue. It’s our efforts in seeking a “helping spirit” beyond ourselves in the here and now… in the present, that always seems elusive. As if our spirit guides have always been present from the beginning, simply waiting. The shaman knew and felt a connection with the unknown that shows or signifies that we are in reality both different and the same as those around us depending how we define or know of our own divinity. That once we can see beyond ourselves that our goals begin to reside on a higher plane and that we possess a vision of what can be, as if the voice of the sage from a different indefinable place has our attention. To a place of no ego and little or no attachments, that clearing your mind is central to the endeavor and change itself is as if waiting until we become fully committed to what is to become our highest and best good… and what the words and most importantly the symbols of the I Ching teach us. Not only for myself but proceeding as if I am here to help or show others the Way as well. Key understanding is that yin/yang are not opposing forces (dualities), but complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. This makes keeping away from extremes and to the middle allows you to go in either direction depending on the spontaneity of the circumstances or situation at hand.   Two terms from the Hsi Tz’u Chuan (a treatise forming part of the Ten Wings) are important here. First, is hsiang, often appearing as symbols that speak to the subconscious mind of the inquirer that evokes an imaginative process which completes the ceaseless energy, or activity of heaven. This is epitomized by the person known as the chun tzu, the ideal user of the I Ching who immerses himself in the figures obtained through divination while taking the words into his heart he allows them to symbolize his situation making it symbolic. In this way he brings forth spirit or ‘shen’ as he acts in accordance with the spontaneous changes of the universe.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 9

        1.9 Wand Counting (Yarrow Stick) Symbolism

      The initial question is what and how did the ancient shaman and later sage teach in imparting or conveying wisdom in regards to powers that remain unseen in the universe? How do we relate to this universe, the stars, sun, moon and nature and what is the purpose of divination except to reach out to the spirit world to learn how to relate with and sometimes try to control this power? What is the process of studying change and how do we incorporate change into who we are now and who we are yet to become? How do we live a life of harmony with one another and the cosmos other than through our innate commonality and virtue and where did this come from? And most importantly who gets to decide this once we know and how is this knowledge and wisdom to be related to others?

All of these questions occurred in prehistory before written or common language existed.  But it was the shaman, the holy man of antiquity, whose responsibility it was to make these connections to work with the unknown, with what was to become known as the Tao. To sort these things out and explain to everyone what this all meant. Before there were lines, there was numbers that were seen to correlate with what could be seen and known and what could not. That everything has its opposite and relates to either heaven (ch’ien) or earth (kun). Heaven could be seen as odd numbers (1,3,5,7 and 9) and earth as even numbers (2,4,6,8 and 10). Each has five numbers and is interlocked together as divine order. Each number in one series has its partner in the other. The sum of heaven’s number is 25 and the sum of earth’s numbers is 30, the total sum of the numbers of heaven and earth in 55.  It is the process in which these numbers come together that stimulates alternation and transformation that animates or energizes the spirit world. Dividing into two parts as even and odd creates the yin/yang phenomena representing the duality of the universe. It was in the counting of the yarrow sticks that a method could be devised to obtain the appropriate calculation for a particular situation. The wands (yarrow sticks) counted out for heaven or ch’ien number 216 and the wands counted out for kun number 144. Together they total 360, or the number of days in the lunar New Year. When the yarrow sticks are counted out for both parts they total the ten thousand entities or things under heaven. Nothing is left out. In this way the four-fold operation fulfills change, or the I Ching. This in essence is how the process of change is to manifest and work.

In determining what action a person should take without yarrow sticks one uses three coins in the tradition known as throwing the three and the five which means throwing three coins five times to get a reading of heads or tails which equate to either even or odd. With this process comes a transformation and we model our desires and actions on them.  Just as the shaman before him, the sage learned how to create change through the divination process by shaping his desires through the mirror of change. It was through the sixty-four diagrams that any situation could be understood and where you fit in with it and identify and acquire this “helping spirit”.  Elaborate rituals were designed in antiquity to speak to the spirits in which tortoise shells and then animal bones became the common medium where symbols could be written and interpreted. Later a language of lines developed to speak with what was to be known as divine communication, otherwise known as the oracle. This spirit helper or medium was known as wu. Fu Shi was the greatest of these early shamans and a teacher, a transmitter, the first oracle of the unknown. Much later others would attempt to transpose their own image onto who Fu Shi was – claiming themselves as heir apparent and to ”convey” what he “really” meant.

Reading and understanding the oracle was a method that took hundreds of years to perfect and thousands of years to fully appreciate. It’s here that one can begin to understand the meaning of change, the spirit world and man’s connection with cosmology and the universe. It began with tortoise shells, yarrow sticks, and eventually three coins that would create the images and symbols connecting with numbers and development of a method to consult their meaning. You then ask a question; initially this was simply a response that only required a yes or no answer. What followed was to become a common teaching. It’s not simply a matter of understanding; for the shaman and then people in general, it is the act of becoming innately connected with what defines what is being proposed and said and done according to “the will of Heaven”. It is taking the next step beyond you as the key to transformation and self realization. First as simply symbols represented as lines and then later words that were meant to define what the lines meant. Aligning oneself with the intent of the spirit world you become the essence of change. Aligning change with the Tao is what keeps the world in divine order. It is by aligning ourselves with this through cultivating stillness that our spirit is set free to roam the universe once more as our virtue comes forward to know itself and immortality once again.   

The Dazhuan, the Great Treatise we are following here, goes into great detail using yarrow sticks to illustrate the connections between numbers that correspond to the four kinds of lines that make up a diagram seen as either transforming or stable yin and yang lines. What is produced is called a bagua or diagram that gives you access to the words and symbols.  With this you form two of the eight diagrams that have three lines; by doubling them you create one of the sixty-four diagrams. By carrying out and extending the process of extrapolation (instance of inferring an unknown from something that is known), the ten thousand things and every matter under heaven can be covered, Tao made manifest, and spirit powers activated. This process brings the power and spirit of the Way, or Tao to light within you.  You can then serve that spirit by being in harmony with your inner virtue through your activities. When you understand this, you can begin to know how the spirit moves and what the shaman and what would come to be known as Sage Mind understood as well. While it was the shaman who stayed within the confines of religious Taoism, it would be in following the philosophical aspects of the Tao that the sage would play his vital role and where Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu and others would define Taoism in the realm of history.

It was the beginning of how to use this process that the Chou used to defeat the Shang dynasty in roughly 1100 BC. The Shang had come to know some of the basic tenets of change described above, but used them for their own self interest to the detriment of the world around them. It was this misuse of the wisdom and knowledge of what it meant to follow divine order that Ji Dan, the Duke of Chou used to write the basics of the “Book of Rites”, one of the major classics edited by Confucius five hundred years later.  It would be his father King Wen of the Chou clan who had been imprisoned by the Shang that wrote the initial lines that would be associated with the symbols of change, the I Ching.  They had seen how with the Shang dynasty that by not following what was seen as remaining within the will of nature and mandate of heaven what the consequences could be. They had learned that to know the Tao of alternation and transformation is to know how spirits act and that man should act accordingly.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 10

1.10        The four-fold Way of the I Ching, Tao, and Sage Mind

Knowing through change focuses on the Sage Mind with the intent of connecting with the divine energy of the universe. Change exemplifies the four-fold way of the Sage Mind. The sage spoke in the light of its statements; he acts in the light of its figures, and used divination in the light of its omens. He honors its speech through his words so that you can model your thoughts on them and honors its movements through transformation so that you can model your actions on them. Change reflects its creative power through symbols so that you can model your imagination on them. Then uses its insight into living through these divine signs found in nature so that you can shape your desires through them. It is through this Sage Mind that the sage comes into being. As you shape your own insight gained from the I Ching you learn to live through the signs that have followed you through eternity as you shape your desires through the mirror of change. As all your actions simply come through this image of your true identity, or self, you gain the vision to see the outcome of coming events so that you can model your behavior accordingly. It is for this reason living in the moment in total virtue that Cultivating Stillness becomes as important as it is through Sage Mind that a person becomes transformed or re-born. As an actualized person, you do not study change – you use it by understanding the I Ching and its connection to the Tao. You become affixed to its universal meaning and experience it through the context of your own life. We then shape our desires and our lives through the words that speak to transformation. Change is universal and without conscious intention seems still and unmoving. As if inert and motionless, but when activated it penetrates every cause under heaven and the mysteries of everything in the universe. Through (paintings by Zhu Da (1626–1705) using the symbols, lines, and the yin and yang philosophy, the I Ching allows the Sage Mind  to penetrate the depth of all intentions, what is hidden and profound so that he can understand the infinitely subtle beginnings (ji) of change. His perception of the first signs of development is as with your own association with the diagrams that produces your connection to a web of images you relate to in the world as all your actions merely come through it. When the Master says, “The I Ching holds the four-fold Tao of the sages”; this is what he meant.

Carrying a step further that supports and augments the Great Treatise, the influence of two Chinese scholars Lu Xianshan (1139-1192) and Mencius (372- 289 BC) contributed greatly to this philosophy of the mind, in particular the Sage Mind. In Unity of the Mind and the Way, Lu says, “The universe is my mind and my mind is the universe.” Lu brought forward the concept of the heart/mind as the ultimate one or source that encompasses everything in the universe and the principle of the Tao. What this meant was that the mind of humanity and the mind of the Way, or Tao, are the same things. He emphasized that everything is connected and originated from the heart/mind. This along with Mencius concept of original mind that was further developed by Lu means that all human beings are born with innate moral knowledge and virtue. This original mind is fourfold as Mencius called them “four roots of the heart”, they are:

Compassion – The root of humaneness (ren).                                                                               Shame – The root of righteousness (yi).                                                                                       Respect – The root of propriety and ritual observation (li).                                             Knowledge of right and wrong – The root of wisdom (zhi).

These four correlate together like real roots in nature and must be nurtured first before branches are formed and flowers can bloom. This concept is very similar to that found in Cultivating Stillness. These four roots are said to be tendencies of the mind and require proper nurturing to grow strong and healthy to manifest their true nature, which is virtue. It is felt this original mind is shared by all human beings, both the sage and common people and that its truths are ageless and eternal. Acquiring this helping spirit helps us to settle into a routine of living in the moment, of being able to arrive at our destination without really trying. We simply arrive by doing nothing as our spirit finds its equilibrium just where it is. It is as the ancients say… we are living in the middle of things, as if in balance, in what is known as wu wei.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 11

1.11        The Creative Power of the I Ching and Tao

It is when you fully and completely understand the power and virtue of change and the I Ching and how Lao, Chuang, Lieh Tzu and the Tao instructs your understanding and wisdom and use it fully that your innate divine nature will manifest in the world. You must stay focused on change and staying in the middle of things not swayed by extremes. With this you become clear as to the path you must take. Using change, and the I Ching you can purify your heart and know again where the mysteries begin and where they lead you in transforming your mind and body. What is it the sage teaches that embraces the Tao, penetrates all intentions and defines all tasks thereby resolving all problems under heaven?  It is through the hexagrams and I Ching that nature opens and closes and brings the ten thousand things to completion that is inevitable. It is by cultivating stillness that the divine spirit within enfolds you as well. Keeping to the middle and staying in the moment as if acting simultaneously becomes a quality of mind, a state of being, and a divinatory technique that leads one to a still and tranquil lifestyle. It shows you how your activities in Lower Heaven (how things exist and how you fulfill your endeavors correctly through living in the everyday world) and how this relates to who you ultimately are to become when you return to your origin and destiny in Upper Heaven. This involves discernment and understanding our fate and purpose. Both the shaman and sage who lived before written history used change in this way. They used it to penetrate all the purpose and causes of action in the world and thereby settle all doubts that would lead to argument and conflict. Setting an example for others to remain above what living brings each day.

The hexagrams of the I Ching open and close and reveal how things exist. It shows how to fulfill desires correctly and do what you must do. The power and virtue of the yarrow sticks are round and invite the spirit. The power and virtue of the diagrams is square and tell you the meaning of the six lines as they fit a particular situation and what can be known. With this the sage cleanses his mind preferring to follow Lieh Tzu’s example of the sage living a simple and secluded lifestyle at one with nature and spending his time with his old friends roaming the stars. As if he is present but not really here. They convey where the mysteries begin and what is coming on the river of time. Knowing this you can begin to learn to remember what has gone by and what will come again. That change and the Sage Mind are one. Working together they reveal the Way of Heaven.    A person must engage a spirit medium, or helper, to assist in purifying his heart and mind and learn to fast to raise his power and virtue into the light for the spirit to see. He then can devise and bring forth spirit tools, and come to be known as an oracle. Using these tools the sage could discipline himself to refine his connection and powers with the spirit world and anticipate what the people need.

The sage begins to feel the friendship of the spirit and live connected to the Way of Heaven. He can then begin to open the gate that is called Ch’ien and close the gate called K’un at will. By coming and going through these gates he is then transformed and can communicate with all things as all things are now revealed to him and it is by and through embodying this knowledge and wisdom he develops traits in becoming the sage as well.  From the beginning the shaman has taught that the key to unlocking the wisdom of the I Ching within oneself is in learning how to close and open the gates internally that is called alternation. That endless toing and froing is called development. What is then perceived is called a figure; given shape it is called an object; putting it to use is called a method. Using this coming and going to advantage for everyone’s sake is called spirit power. It is in bringing forth the knowledge and wisdom from antiquity through eons of time that comes into play for the benefit of the ten thousand things. How this knowledge is transmitted and retained over thousands of years become the greatest challenge of the sage and heaven. Who is to convey this knowledge and how is the story to be told? What you can now see through meditation, cultivating stillness and in your imagination is the symbol that becomes and transforms the lines and later the words of the oracle. When we apply our virtue to what we touch we become the vessel. What we use to regulate our actions with others is call the patterns found in Heaven, on Earth, and what is in keeping with the Tao. What helps us as we come and go is called the spirit.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 12    

1.12 The Spirit Things                                                                                                      

The early shaman and sage brought forth the Great Axis, or line __________ that represented the rotation of the earth around the sun. They had studied the planets, constellations, and stars from what seemed like eternity. This cosmology was what fixed their place in the universe. Following the earth’s rotation around the sun and the moon around the earth, they could define naturally occurring phenomena that they could then live by.  They saw this as divided into two parts; Earth as what they could see, anticipate, and come to know, and Heaven that which would always be mysterious and indefinable, but in control. Day and night, dark and light, what is known and unknown, and most importantly that everything had its opposite. This brought forth the two great powers that could be represented as either a straight line __________ they would refer to as yang, and a broken line ____  ____ that was to be called yin. What Fu Shi and shaman that followed up to and including the Yellow Emperor in roughly 2700 BC knew was how to finesse this to represent symbols that now defined their imagination and how they would relate with the two, the spirit world and nature around them. Their lives and Earth being tied to four seasons, they saw this connection to Heaven and foretelling future events as four symbols:                                                                                                                                     __________             _________                  ___          ___                     ___          ___                     __________             ___        ___                 __________    `              ___          ___                            old or                          young or                          young or                                old or                      transforming               continuing                     continuing                       transforming                         yang energy                yin energy                     yang energy                       yin energy

It would be the four symbols that would generate the Eight Diagrams, and the interaction of the Eight Diagrams that into the figures, or lines, determines whether the way is open or closed, knowing this one can move towards the Great Enterprise of transformation. There are no greater representations, transformations, or the way showing this continuation than the four seasons – we see them as the four symbols:

1) There is no brighter, light-giving symbols hanging from Heaven than the sun and moon. We can see them manifest in the dark and light lines.                                                                               2) There is no more honored social position that the person of rank and wealth.                               3) There is no greater maker of the tools and vessels that help us in the world we live in than the sage.                                                                                                                                                                         4) There is no greater way to compass and understand the myriad things, to explore hidden beginnings, to penetrate what is deep, or to reach what is distant, to know if the way is closed or open in our world, or create will or resolution that through the oracle.

It was the sage who took advantage of them, imitated transformation, reproduced them and helped us to understand them. Change has four kinds of symbols that act as omens – opening, closing, the seasons, and time. It is the words that are attached to the symbols and lines that tell you whether the way is open or closed, then you are able to make a decision in keeping with your innate virtue in keeping with the wisdom of the Tao.  What changes the I Ching from the point of the Han dynasty in roughly 200 AD onward was the inclusion by the Confucians, especially Wang Pi, the number two above, that there is no more honored social position that the person of rank and wealth. It moved change away from words and symbols that can have many meanings, to diagrams and lines thereby fixing patterns so that meaning could fit hierarchically with their own prescription of Chinese history. Once the emperor deified Fu Shi into the image the Confucians wanted portrayed, history was thusly written afterwards. The Han made the myth of Fu Shi an actual person who could represent history in the image they wanted it to become.

The Dazhuan   5th Wing        Part I   Number 12.1

1.12.1     The Symbols of Change and the Great Enterprise

To be and to remain above the fray of what living brings each day. To recall earlier times and Heaven knowing what was and and will be again. To become nothing more than the face of Tao – an inner knowing with time spent here but an instant conveying essential knowledge. While here did I impart the wisdom of the ages and symbols of change,   contributing to the Great Enterprise until I am asked to return again?

For the sage, when he appears, the status quo always fears change because what may have occurred up to this moment are always the workings of Later, or Lower Heaven as best described in Cultivating Stillness. When Earlier or Upper Heaven appears on the scene, human nature and ego always becomes unsettled. You are and always have been the light of the world, a beacon of energy, of light having a tendency to disrupt the status quo, what is universally good and virtuous. Peeling away the worn layers of your own humanity and of those around you, you can begin to recognize and accept for the first time who you really are and begin to see others in a similar vein, or light. It is only when you and others act outside your inner nature as your ego that you fail to change. You and others are here in the present in order to further this virtue and simply move beyond earthly endeavor.  To become yourself again… who you have always been – just you and that is all. For the sage, living in gratitude for the innate talents waiting for you to come forward to claim as if the universe, the Tao, and dragons keep calling. The ultimate secret of the I Ching is to take us back to our beginnings so that we can connect with our eternal essence again and again.

Heaven has always been our shield just as the way of the Tao has always been open as we proceed on this Great Enterprise. Just as we know that nothing that appears will not be advantageous, the Tao becomes closed when we find ourselves in situations not of our own making. But with wholehearted trust of the experience, we simply wait for it to open once again. Heaven protects the flow of our life as the Tao has reveals our innermost spirit. We move effortlessly and reverently within this loving spirit and grace. As we are the Tao and the Tao is us. Always present simply waiting for us to be open to my journey with my purpose to clarify the thoughts of the ancient shaman and sage who would one day appear to me as dragons.

Assimilating the Sage Mind of all I have followed. Not so much for accolades found in the present but to return and report back to the ancients who decided to send me on this journey. Many others could have come, but the two-fold reason for your choosing was so you could ascend to heights your spirit has never gone before, to your own furthering along the eternal way and to relay from another perspective the Tao for today. It is for this reason, the guiding light of change and being somewhat different from others, has always been upon you. Rather others come to see you in your present light is not important. It is what you return with we hope to see again. Unknowingly, you have always been a symbol of change yet to come. Just as symbols you have seen have guided you to your present circumstances that allow you to speak and write words of transformation for others as well. As the spirits were with the earliest shaman they embody you as well.

The eternal spirit found in the Tao and change has always been humanities guiding light. Sage Mind set out the symbols that describe their own mind; they set out the diagrams to illustrate your true circumstances, and established the lines in order to more fully relay what they have to say. The Sage Mind made both the transforming and continuing lines to show how to take advantage of the situation at hand. They used these methods to bring down the spirit world so they could converse with them. Just as we can through embodying change. From the earliest times of antiquity indescribable change has been recognized as the way of the sacred, or of the Sage Mind creating meaning. Finding ways to induce the Sage Mind, my intuitive mind has always been my guiding light and key as the spirit of change, and the dragons, who have always enfolded me as one of their own.

It is in following the ways of Ch’ien (Heaven) and K’un (Earth), Ch’ien our earlier self and K’un what we find here on earth, that we strive to find and stay in the middle, or present. With both acting as the looms of time, always weaving and interconnecting all that has ever existed in our past, present, and future as the elements of change move between them. What lies ahead, or upstream, is the Way. It is our own reflection mirroring Heaven. What lies downstream, or where we have been, is the vessel or tool of the moment – shaping and transforming everything that we have met along the way. This reflects the K’un. It is through their transformation, interaction and change that give each of us an awareness that we are here to use. It is the patterns we choose to follow that keep us on our sacred path, our Great Enterprise.

It is in this vein, I complete the final chapter of Wing number 5 of The Dazhuan, a segment of the Commentary of the Appended Judgments as the sage using symbols to determine forms and appearances and connect all things. Following movements and patterns to trace what endures and attaching words to see what calls out to us and if the way ahead is open or closed. It was in this way the earliest shaman learned to follow and trust his intuition and instincts. Just as with them, everything we ever can see, feel, think, say or touch coming to us as symbols representing a reflection or mirror of space and time. We voice these symbols through the lines and words we use to express them and when we are in sync with the universe, the light of the spirit come forth to light our way. With every encounter different than the one before or that will follow based on our ability to change events or how they change us as they pass us by.  As change silently completes an unbroken trust, we strive for the power and virtue to become who we are meant to be following the Way of Virtue, the Tao and Heaven.

In ancient times both the shaman and sage saw and understood the spirit forces of the world. They could do this because they were a part of this world as well just as they are to this day. As has been said many times here, they could see that symbols could determine forms and appearances and how everything was connected. The sage then and now is trained to see the symbols to recognize the spirit in the world in which he lives. To aggressively, find and seek, and once discovered know how to use this spirit found in the natural world in a positive way. By doing this the sage can group them together, understand how thing meet and stimulate humanity and know what endures. They attached words to associate with the Tao and learned that the words called out to you. They learned that underlying mysteries and unexplained situations ran through all things and are presented as symbols that they then put into words.This creates a parallel reality – a world of symbols and one of spirit. Knowing and using this induces a spiritual transformation. The lines of the I Ching, the Book of Changes becomes shorthand for transforming change that attracts the lights and energy of heaven, i.e., getting their attention thereby creating a chance, an unspoken trust, to become again who we are meant to be. Centuries later the Confucians in Han dynasty attached words and their own commentary to filter the meaning through their own lens of history just as we can continue to do the same today.

Part 2         The Dazhuan

The 5th and 6th Wings originally entitled Hsi Tz’u (the Dazhuan) appears in the Ssuma Ch’ien and were said to be judgments written by King Wen and the Duke of Chou who appended them to the hexagrams and their lines. They were the lines of the present text that were modified as commentaries by Confucius and explained as “appended judgments”.  Part II is the attempts by later “Confucians” to re-define the I Ching (Yijing) to fit into their vision as to how the I Ching should be interpreted that fit their own vision of the scheme of things.

The 6th Wing of the Dazhuan        The Great Treatise

2.1        Cosmic Beginnings

The eight trigrams are arranged in such a way that the lines, and oracle, may become complete and tell the story of things to come. It is when the lines are doubled that the hexagrams emerge and become transformed. It is here, given a place to reside, that the sage begins to emerge as he moves within the flow of nature furthering the cause of the Tao. What was to become known as the I Ching but his instrument foretelling his own claim to immortality and furthering the knowledge of what is known and can never be known except by one who speaks for the universe. As the alternation of whole and broken lines emerge what is firm and yielding moves constantly in ebb and flow displacing each other as change occurs and is recorded with explanations soon to follow. What the sage learned over eons of time was that movement gives way to judgment and judgments give their counsel through the oracle, or vessel, conveying either good or bad that was surely to follow.

The shaman and later sage learned that knowing the way of the Tao, of both heaven and earth, would bear the fruit of divination, i.e., the practice of foretelling future events or to discover hidden knowledge by prophecy, perception by intuition; or instinctive foresight found in the Yijing. It was through the perseverance of those that would later read the lines and put them into the context of the current situation that the sense of the oracle and divination was to gain true meaning. This perseverance became the byword for following the natural laws that sustains and gives support to everything in the cosmos.     The shaman knew that in order to be transformative, the lines would need definition and names. Therefore, opposites that served to complement each other had to be defined. Hundreds, even thousands of years, would be needed to refine through trial and error man’s efforts to follow the natural course of events and how man was to mirror this universal truths. Staying in the middle of thing avoiding extremes was the beginning of things, as if like the ridgepole holding everything together but generally hidden from view. It would be the complementary aspect of the opposites that would define the essence of the true understanding of the Yijing and the one who could interpret that meaning would be the one who got to tell the story. The straight line would be known as yang, or ch’ien, and considered as creative, full of spontaneity and able to show what was easy. Complementing yang, its opposite would be yin, or Kun. Kun is receptive in nature, yielding, and thrives in simplicity. Doing what becomes simple. It would be through these lines and their symbols that the way ahead could be determined as either open or closed.

As the lines and symbols move accomplishments and tasks subsequently appear as alternations, or acts or processes of alternating, or moving by succession or repeated rotation. It was to be the shaman, the conveyer or precursor of the one who could foretell events through his innate intuition who could convey the great power and virtue of heaven and earth. It is in this way the sage learned to gain standing among men. It is through our own transformation and regeneration that this virtue of heaven and earth bestows life and it is within the power of the sage to stand and receive it.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 2

2.2  From Shaman to Sage

It was the holy man of the clan, the shaman whose task it was from the beginning to try to make sense of it all that connected heaven and earth. By observing nature and seeing how everything is connected – the sun, moon, the constellations, heaven, the earth, thunder, wind, fire and water… everything one and the same to later be referred to as the ten thousand things. Every occurrence a result of cause and effect and patterns that could be followed from their beginning to end that along the way tell a foreseeable future. It would be Fuxi, who discovered the bagua or “eight trigrams” in about 2800 BC that became the symbolic basis for medical, philosophical, and astrological thinking, who after hundreds of years of oral tradition “prehistory” would be the one credited for putting it all together. Looking upward in contemplation he wondered how one could change himself from one who saw things in a philosophical light as the shaman all depended on, to practical discovery of the movement of the sun, moon and stars and his own origin and to be able to tell the story as lines on a rock and later a tortoise shell. The images of “everything under the sun” could now be depicted by the trigrams, three lines,  he had devised along with an innate power to communicate with others and the spirit world. Fuxi was more than a great shaman; he was an innovator and championed the tasks and fate of other men and women who followed him. He connected the spirit world with the eight trigrams and categorized the myriad things. He is said to have twined cords into nets that helped with fishing and hunting and to have partnered with Nüwa a goddess in ancient Chinese mythology who best known for creating mankind and repairing the pillar of heaven.

Next was Shennong, considered the founder of Chinese medicine, who was known as the Divine Husbandman. He was also known as the “Red Emperor” because his patron element was fire; the first King to be called as Yan Di, meaning the “Emperor of Fire.”  Shennong came forward shaping wood to make plowshares and plow handles teaching the benefit of plowing and tilling. He brought people together as a community in markets and assembled commodities to be bartered thereby making exchange become easy. Shennong the man, according to Chinese mythology, was the second of the ancient legendary Chinese emperors. Said to have been born in the 28th century BC, his mother a princess and his father a heavenly dragon. His name literally means “Divine Farmer”. In Chinese mythology and culture, Shennong was the second of the legendary three emperors referred to as the “Three Sovereigns” namely: Fuxi, Shennong, and Hungdi, also known as The Yellow Emperor who then was followed by Yao and Shun. Over the centuries of early China they developed a simple continuity as to how people should live. They illustrated the power of the divine spirit that resides in each of us. The myths of their living are what made them immortal.

These ancients served to illustrate the power of the spirit creating positive change. When change was affected there was alternation, alternation gave development which led to lasting progress. The connection between heaven and earth permeated throughout the ancient culture of China and came explicitly from Ch’ien and Kun. The Yellow Emperor, Yao and Shun wore draped upper and nether garments and all under heaven was well ordered. It is said in wearing these clothes this way that these three sat quietly without stirring and as a result of their inaction things automatically righted themselves.  A sense of blessing grew out of this and this quiet meditation led to the axiom of cultivating stillness.

The Dazhuan  6th Wing        Part II   Number 2

2.2        The first Practical application of the Wisdom of the I Ching and Tao

It is in the silence that was to become meditation called cultivating stillness that was to lead to associating the hexagrams to specific actions. By emulating and following the symbols representing the trigrams, what was considered either as myth or actual occurrences or actions led people to carry out actual reforms. This would be a re-occurring theme throughout Chinese history as what called be called innate pragmatism, or as the Taoists would later refer to as cause and effect. Remaking the past to fit the aspirations of the current generation would become an art form. Especially much later in the Han dynasty modifying the intent of the Yijing was done with great effect. But in the period of pre-history when written records were not prevalent, following the shaman was essential. It would be the reforms they instituted that had the most lasting effect of Chinese civilization. They could begin to see beyond mere subsistence using the natural world around them to weave together what would combine innate wisdom with practical application of the world they lived in. Always looking to the earth and sky for symbols to guide them through the seasons and to the shaman and sage, the superior person to show the way, but it would be the underlying Tao and intervening Yijing that was to give the appropriate answer and show the way. They learned to:

  • Hollow out tree trunks to make boats and shaved wood to make oars. The rivers next to where they lived provided transportation and enabled them to travel to distant places so they could communicate with others. The trigram wood over water would illustrate or show this.
  • Tame the ox and yoke the horse so that heavy loads could be transported over long distances. An indication of the value in movement behind a superior force as the horse and ox could move ahead as they now could travel to distant places both by water on boats and on land as well.
  • Protecting themselves using outer walls and double gates of their settlements that was seen as necessary in protection against robbers. The use of symbols and the trigrams is illustrative here with the trigram Chen, movement above and k’un, the earth below. The trigrams are K’an meaning danger and Ken meaning mountain. K’un symbolizes the closed door; hence the double gates. K’an means thief. Beyond the gates, movement with wood (Ch’en) in the hand (Ken), serves as the preparation against the thief. It would be the oral tradition of interpreting the lines that gave root to establishing a common written language.
  • Next came splitting wood and making a pestle, a tool for pounding and grinding and a bowl shaped hole in the ground for a mortar. With this they could grind grain for baking bread. The mortar was a primitive mill that advanced the growing of grain in their diet.
  • They strung a piece of wood for a bow and hardened pieces of wood in the fire and cut stone for arrows. This enhanced their power and awe in the opponents and added greatly to their hunting abilities.
  • As more people lived longer lives they moved out of caves and into houses with a ridgepole for eaves to ward off wind and rain. It was the shaman and sage who now guided people to safety of communities and collective living arrangements.
  • Dealing with death and the spirit world, i.e., the unknown, was always the realm of the shaman or holy man. In earliest time burial was performed by covering the corpse with brush with neither mound or grave with no set time for mourning. The shaman changed this to reflect the sense of the eternal spirit through the institution of rituals and ancestor worship which carries on even today in modern China. This connection to the eternal was essential the continuity of all things under heaven that manifested here on earth.
  • Finally comes the knotting of cords to try to bring a sense of order to give a sense of what was right as a means of governing. In much later generations, once writing was more fully introduced, written documents would serve to regulate officials and supervising the people. Writing in the earliest of times was scratched on tablets of smoothed bamboo when the ability to govern the larger community became essential.

All of the above has been laid out continuously in various commentaries over the intervening centuries and can be identified as the period of history leading up to the beginning of the Shang dynasty and a written language in approximately 1600BC and describes this early period.  It was the Sage Mind that provided the even keel to furthering through trial and error that which gave structure to human life. Along with the power and virtue of heaven and earth that provided the essential principles of the natural world following what was to become essential philosophical Taoism.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 3           

2.3        Images, Structure, Judgments and Commentaries

      What the shaman discovered over the millennia was that the natural order of things followed images and a certain structure that foretold future events. That when man could attune himself to this, what would one day be referred to as the Tao, then all would be right in the world. Conversely, when man’s actions did not follow the natural order of things, disaster occurs. This basic premise was underlying everything from not only man himself, but every aspect he could observe in his environment as well. It was the Yijing, Book of Changes, i.e., the trigrams, and then much later the hexagrams, that reflects and consists of images that are reproductions of conditions in heaven and on earth and that when they are applied productively they have enormous creative power in the realm of those who know how to use them. Fuxi, Shennong, and the Yellow Emperor knew this and they had done their best to impart this wisdom to those who would follow them for the benefit of all things under heaven as previously described.

The paradox had always been from the earliest clan gatherings of Fuxi and even hundreds of years earlier, was how to use the hexagrams and their essential eternal teachings to unleash the creative power in the realm of ideas within each individual. Over the centuries leading up to the Shang dynasty when written history could be recorded and followed, (a period from Fuxi 2900BC to 1700BC), this excess of personal aggrandizement would come to the forefront with the Shang. It would be when the pendulum swung back the other way with King Wen in 1100BC and the following Zhou dynasty that the true meaning of the lines, now referred to as statements, could begin to go forward.  Again it is worth repeating, it is in the knowing of how to use the statements within the hexagrams properly that unleashes our creative power to influence events yet to come that becomes essential. The challenge of the shaman had always been imparting this eternal wisdom to people who did not understand the true meaning of the lines and how to read and use them. This tempering of the personal ego led to the focus on cultivating stillness within oneself and was enhanced even further with the arrival of the buddhist influence from SW China and India in 300-400AD. This was to serve to cement the eternal connection between man and the universe so our focus would remain empowering our internal energies with the outer world we find ourselves.

Here in the Dazhuan, in the 5th and 6th Wings, it is assumed that they are not written in a vacuum and the earlier Wings especially The Commentary of the Decision, Wings 1 and 2, are already known and understood and as with the remaining Wings (3 through 10) the materials from which the hexagrams have been constructed are explained. Taken as a whole, this means we are describing change as it evolves through Confucius or others who wrote their own commentary later and conveyed its importance attributing to him. Confucius, in his later years did spend his time trying to grasp the meaning of the I Ching and determine how it fit with his own vision and bringing it in keeping with his take on history. The works of Ji Dan, the fourth son of King Wen of Zhou, five hundred years earlier were essential in making this connection to Chinese antiquity. All three, the Yellow Emperor, Ji Dan, and Confucius all hailed from the city of Lu, or Qufu. Others would later use this as a pathway for their own “interpretation” of the I Ching and Confucius who had ties to all the loose endings of history that preceded him.

In the end, it is the hexagrams that give meaning to the underlying line statements that follow all the actions under heaven. The lines are the imitations of heaven as movements on earth. It is that simple. In the case of the Book of Changes, the lines are the equivalent to the judgments appended to them. In this way both good and bad auspices appear as judgments and apply themselves to the lines that move. They can then reflect the changes within the individual situation. This basic understanding must be made and accounted for before proceeding further. If you don’t know or understand the underlying precepts then it is impossible to obtain an accurate reading. Unfortunately, with popular culture over hundreds of centuries people became enamored with the reading of the lines more as simple “fortune-telling”. Not taking into account the seriousness of the underlying premise of the true essence or meaning of the I Ching. It is the changes that reflect an individual situation in which either good or auspices things occur, or bad, i.e., misfortune arise, along with remorse and humiliation, or trouble and distress appears. It is our own movement, illustrated by our actions that reveal the direction that events are taking and with that warnings or confirmations are added. Going forward we either further our good or don’t. We decide this solely by our actions and it is by following the I Ching we can know what comes in advance, when to proceed and when not to with answers usually a simple yes or no.

Over the times and centuries of judgments and commentaries however, it became clear and evident that when one compares the Judgments with the Images, different “readings” can be determined that serve to justify what direction this powerful oracle, or tool, was to take. At  one point, Confucius became the fulcrum, or pivot, as to how this was to occur. In almost every instance it was not Confucius himself, but others who used his name to solidify through “commentary” what the real interpretation should be. For now, leave it to say that it should be the original intent of the shaman and Taoist sage who have the final say not the political whim of the moment.

Thanks to Wang Bi and other Confucians during the Han dynasty who were bent on the “Confucian interpretation” of the I Ching, his version became required study for the rigorous examination system after the Later Han in roughly 200AD. The Confucian ideal became a permanent fixture in China for almost two thousand years until the fall of the last emperor in 1912. This paradox of the real intent of the Book of Changes will always be in contention due to man’s attempts to control events that leads to a “politically correct manageable outcome” verses the Taoist understanding of letting nature decide for itself.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 4           

2.4         On the Nature of the Trigrams (tortoise shells, yarrow sticks, and coins)

It is here that we go from narrative to numbers. The numbers are what make the I Ching work.  You cannot get a reading without tortoise shells, yarrow sticks or coins and the only way to do it is to go through it. In looking where this chapter of the Dazhuan fits with its companion in this book, i.e., Cultivating Stillness, this is a good place to cite references to all three divination techniques, tortoise shell, yarrow sticks, and coins. There is not space here, nor the intent to focus on the numbers. To do so would pull away from the philosophical updating of the Great Treatise. However, some descriptions are needed and references in other entries of the Ten Wings can do this much better. My interest has always been to return to the ways of the shaman.

Since ancient times the approach has always been twofold. First, the process of connecting to the spirit world and second understanding man’s relationship with universal law and then the ability to predict what step are to be taken so that a certain understanding occurs as to how to live and to know how to anticipate the outcome of future events. What could be defined and can be illustrated as an inner structure, image, motivation and essence as shown in the following chart:

STRUCTURE MOTIVATION      IMAGE ESSENCE NAME SYMBOL
1. Sense Soft/Pentrating Grass/Wind Yin Sensing Sun
2. Think    Attaching Wood/Fire Yin Thinking Li
3. Feel Serene Lake Yin Feeling Tui
4. Will Receptive Earth/Cave Yin Willing Kun
5. Body Keeping Still Mountain Yang Feeling Ken
6. Soul Danger, Abyss River/Water Yang Thinking Kan
7. Spirit Exciting Thunder Yang Sensing Chen
8. Awareness Creative Heaven Yang Willing Chien

It was the trigrams that provided the path, or way, to do this. From the earliest time of antiquity it was the lines and how they reflected change and what was obvious if you were paying attention.. They could associate change with light and dark. The sun came up and daylight came and at night it went down and it became dark. They then decided light trigrams have three sons, Ch’en, K’an, and Ken, each of which consists of two dark lines and one light line. The dark trigrams are the three daughters, Sun, Li, and Tui each of which consists of two light lines and one dark line. A yang trigram contains more yin lines while a yin trigram contains more yang lines. The difference is that a yang trigram has an odd number of strokes and a yin trigram has an even number of strokes. Why is this? How did the shaman come to this way of thinking of current events?

It was with the tortoise shell when the wisdom of the shaman first came to light to his clan. The tortoise shell oracle is the earliest record of foretelling events before and just as importantly why they occur. With the tortoise shell the shaman would apply heat to a point on the outer shell and interpret the resulting cracks. Needing a record of the cracks, a written language soon took hold and characters representing certain fixtures found in nature soon appeared and understanding and structure began to appear. Later in the Shang dynasty the shell would be cut into strips after heating in the fire and symbols and common inscriptions would be added. The shaman would then interpret the will of heaven and their natural environment. The cracks in the tortoise shell would soon be seen as the intent of heaven itself. Divination techniques in early China took thousands of years of trial and error. It was a serious endeavor. Getting positive or negative readings by the diviner could lead to good or bad decisions and the deaths of thousands if the wrong reading of the tortoise shell was given. Later in the Zhou dynasty it was not uncommon for both the tortoise shell and the yarrow stalks to be used in consulting the oracle and a book kept of readings and interpretations for future reference.

When tortoise shell and the tortoise itself became endangered another more plentiful source of divination and calling the oracle was needed to read the intent of the trigrams. It was discovered that the hexagrams may be manipulated through the use of yarrow stalks. The following directions may be found in the Ten Wings.

One takes fifty yarrow stalks, of which only forth nine are used. These forty nine are then divided into two heaps (at random), and then a stalk from the right hand heap is inserted between the ring finger and the little finger of the left hand. The left heap is counted through by fours, and the remainder (four or less) is inserted between the ring finger and the middle finger. This constitutes one change.  Now one is holding in one’s hand either five or nine stalks in all. The two remaining heaps  are put together, and the same process is repeated twice. These second and third times, one obtains either four or eight stalks. The five stalks of the first counting and the four of each of the succeeding counting are regarded as a unit having the numerical value three; the nine stalks of the first counting and the eight of the succeeding countings have the numerical value two.  When three successive produce the sum 3+3+3=9, this makes the old yang, i.e., a firm line that moves. The sum 2+2+2=6 makes old yin, a yielding line that moves. Seven is the young yang, and eight is the young yin; they are not taken into account as individual lines.

Note that only the remainders after counting through fours are kept and laid upon the single stalk that was removed at the start. The piles of four are re-used for each change. The numbers of piles of four is not used in calculation; it’s the remainders that are used. The removing of all the fours is a way of calculating the remainder; those four are then re-used for the next change, so that the total number of stalks in use remains high, to keep all remainders equally probable. In terms of chances out of sixteen, the three coin method yields 2,2,6,6 instead of 1,3,5,7 for old-yin, old yang, young-yang, young yin respectively. That is,

Traditional Probability            Three Coin Probability  Yin/Yang                        Signification             Number    Symbol

p=1/16                          p=2/16         old yin     yin changing into yang       6            __x__

p=3/16                           p=2/16         old yang  yang changing into yin      9              __o__

p=5/16                          p=6/16          young yang  yang unchanging           7            _____              p=7/16                          p=6/16         young yin        yin unchanging            8            __  __

It was not uncommon for experienced practitioners to ignore the text, building the oracle from the pictures created by the lines, bigrams, trigrams, and final hexagram. Each line of a hexagram determined with these methods is either stable (“young”) or changing (“old”); thus, there are four possibilities for each line, corresponding to the cycle of change from yin to yang and back again. Once a hexagram is determined, each line has been determined as either changing (old) or unchanging (young). Old yin is seen as more powerful than young yin, and old yang is more powerful than young yang. Any line in a hexagram that is old (“changing“) adds additional meaning to that hexagram. Taoist philosophy holds that powerful yin will eventually turn to yang (and vice versa), so a new hexagram is formed by transposing each changing yin line with a yang line, and vice versa. Thus, further insight into the process of change is gained by reading the text of this new hexagram and studying it as the result of the current change.

How the coins are tossed First, use three coins with distinct “heads” or “tails” sides. For each of the six lines of the hexagram, beginning with the first (bottom) line and ending with the sixth (top) line. Then toss all three coins and write down the resulting line. Once six lines have been determined, the hexagram is formed.                                         How to determine the line from the coin toss  Following the numerical method, you assign the value three to each “heads” result, and two to each “tails” result. Odd numbered totals are represented by a solid line (yang), while even numbered totals are designated by a broken line (yin). Next total all the coin values (they will be six, seven, eight or nine. Finally determine the current line of the hexagram of the hexagram fro this number: 6=old yin, 7=young yang, 8=young yin and 9=old yang.

The above helped to identify both the light and the dark. What is their nature or what defines their power and actions. The light trigrams have one ruler, or prince and two subjects or commoners. They show the way of the Tao, or superior man. The dark trigrams, or yin, have two rulers or princes, and one subject or commoner. This is the Tao, or way, of the inferior man. It was this dichotomy, or difference that over hundreds of years after Confucius, the powers that be used the State, especially in the Later Han to fuse the moral superiority of the Confucian standards into everyday life in China. Thusly, a “superior man” followed a destiny in keeping with what was good for the “powers that be” and fitting in would be to his benefit. Taoism and Chuang Tzu’s ideal of the Perfected Man was molded by the Confucians in the Han dynasty to mean the superior man who followed the Mandate of Heaven, the emperor and the strict moral code of the Confucians. If one did not adhere to this strict moral code then he was in turn an inferior man and could be not in turn follow his “true nature” i.e., the Tao.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 5           

2.5   On the Commentaries – Associating the Yijing with how to live a good Life

The Dazhuan, and the Ten Wings, purpose has over the centuries served in helping to explain how the symbols, lines, hexagrams and resulting oracle affect our daily lives and the results of what can come as cause and effect. References to the Master refer to Confucius.

  1. Yijing, the I Ching, says when a man is agitated or distraught and his thoughts and mind go hither and thither, only those friends on whom he fixes his conscious thought will follow. It is in assigning meaning to the hexagrams that they become relevant to everyday life. The Master says under heaven why are there thoughts and cares? In heaven all things return to their common source, to a starting point though in different ways along different paths. One resolution for a hundred cares. Under heaven what need has nature of thoughts and cares?
  2. When the sun goes, the moon comes; and when the moon goes, the sun comes. When the sun and moon alternate heat comes and goes with the moon. Cold and heat alternate and change places as the year completes itself. The past contracts and the future expands, contraction and expansion act upon each other looking for advantage and that which furthers.
  3. A caterpillar contracts in order to extend and dragons and snakes hibernate in order to preserve their life and wake again. This rule extends to the spirit of life and demonstrates that the penetration of the germinal or original thought into mind promotes personal security and lead to the ennoblement of human powers.
  4. Over and beyond this nothing can be known and transcends all knowledge. When a man comprehends the divine and understands the transformation he begins to see beyond the conscious world that has limited him as it is brought about through intention. Nature has no intention as if an underlying unity seems to lead to a goal as if perfectly planned down to the last detail. It is when this working furthers and brings peace to life that it elevates man’s nature to the divine.
  5. The Yijing says a man allows himself to be opposed by stone as if held back by thorns and thistles. So consumed that he enters his house and does not see his wife as such only disaster can follow. The Master responds by saying that being oppressed by something that is not oppressive will surely bring shame to one’s name. Leaning on or clutching in disgrace that which he should not will mean his life will surely be in danger. With his mind full of the calamity, how can he not miss his wife? (hexagram 47, K’un, Oppression – Wilhelm)
  6. A duke shoots a hawk from a city wall. He kills it and all seems favorable. Following this, the Master says the hawk is a bird. The bow and arrow are instruments at hand and the Duke who shoots it is a man. The superior man keeps his means to success to his own person. He bides his time and then acts and is free to go after his quarry. He proceeds by having the proper instrument and means ready for action. (hexagram 40, Hsieh, Deliverance – Wilhelm)
  7. A small man is not ashamed at not being benevolent or shrinking from injustice. If he sees no advantage to be gained and no threat he makes no effort. If he is corrected in small matters and careful in large ones this will make a small man happy. The Yijing says he is soon to be shackled with leg fetters so that his small toes soon disappear – no matter. (hexagram 21, Shih Ho, Biting Through – Wilhelm)
  8. If goodness does not mount up or accumulate it will not be enough to earn a good name. If evil does not mount up it will not be strong enough to destroy a man. Therefore, a small man sees no advantage in doing good so he does not cultivate it and sees small evils as harmless and does not give them up. So that his evils cannot be hidden as his crimes increase and cannot be absolved. The Yijing says shouldering a long wooden collar worn by common criminals as a punishment often called a cangue thereby mutilating his ears becomes disastrous and very fitting. (hexagram 21, Shih Ho, Biting Through – Wilhelm)
  9. A man in danger looks to his safety, in ruin looks to his life and in a disturbance look to control. Therefore, a superior man when in safety does not forget danger, when life is good does not forget ruin, and when in control does not forget disturbance. Thereby he can protect both the state and his household. The Master adds, danger arises when man feels secure in his position. Destruction threatens when a man seeks to protect his worldly or earthly estate, and confusion reigns once a man thinks he has put everything in order. The Yijing says, will it flee? Will it flee? Tie it to a mulberry tree. (hexagram 12, P’i, Standstill – Wilhelm)
  10. The Master says that when abilities are small and office high, wisdom small and plans large, strength small and burdens heavy then trouble is seldom avoidable. The Yijing says the legs of the cauldron are broken and the prince’s meal is spilled. This is one not capable of his duties. Penalty of death is due. (hexagram 50, Ting, The Cauldren – Wilhelm)
  11. The Master said that to know the seeds that is divine indeed. Discerning the first signs of a process is not that not the work of spirit? A superior man does not seek to flatter those above him and is not overbearing with those below him. Is this not awareness? Along with the first sign of movement comes the first trace of good or bad fortune. The superior man perceives the seeds and immediately takes action. (hexagram 16, Yu, Enthusiasm – Wilhelm)

The superior man knows the subtle, knows the sheer, knows the cloudy and knows                 the clear. He ten thousand will revere.  He knows what is evident and hidden as well.             With foreknowledge misfortune will never prevail.

  1. The Master said, the scion of the Yan clan, did he attain to discernment of first signs? If he had a fault he never failed to recognize it and never commits the error a second time, thereby learning from experience. The Yijing says, returning home from a short distance, he has no need for remorse. (hexagram 24, Fu, Return – Wilhelm)
  2. The Master said heaven and earth come together as the myriad things are transformed and activated, male and female blend their essence and all creatures take shape and are born. The Yijing says when three travel together and one is lost, the one who travels alone finds a friend or companion. This means the outcome is the same either way.  (hexagram 41, Sun, Decrease – Wilhelm)
  3. The Master says the superior man sees to his safety before he acts, composes his mind before he speaks, and confirms his relationships before making a request. The superior man gives attention to these three things and therefore is safe. If he acts riskily people will not support him. If he speaks without confidence people will not respond. If he makes demands without first confirming relationships, people will not stand behind him. If no one stands behind him, ill-wishers will draw near. If a man is brusque in his movements others will not cooperate. If he is agitated in his words, they awaken no echo in others. If he asks for something without first established relations, it will not be given to him. If no one is with him, those who would harm him draw near. The Yijing says if one is not seen as enriching himself or others, misfortune will surely follow. (hexagram 42, Yu, Increase – Wilhelm)

  The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 6           

2.6     To know the way of Ch’ien (light) while holding onto Kun (Dark)

Maintaining the connection with the divine forces of light, sometimes referred to metaphorically as the dragon, of constant energy in motion is the key to our longevity. Understanding the two primal forces, the creative Qian, or Ch’ien, and the receptive Kun is the beginning. These two polar opposites and their movement and interaction determine all under heaven and the eternal aspects of each of us, as well as, all things found in nature.

The Master (Confucius) said, Qian and Kun are they not the double door of the Yijing with Qian the entity of yang and Kun the entity of yin. When yin and yang unite their powers, whole and broken lines are formed as the hexagrams that encompass the elements of both heaven and earth there by bringing forth the power to communicate with the spirits. It was this power that transformed both the shaman and later the sage who would embody the image of the dragon as one who would exemplify the true intent of what was to later become known as the Tao.

The names of the sixty-four hexagrams are varied, but serve to remind us of the intent of our beginnings. Circumstances are described and actual situations expressed that bring to life the eternal meaning of the Yijing. While the Yijing has remained eternally constant, eras of decline and reconstruction come and go with our virtue the only thing that remains eternal. It has remained the sage who has been responsible for reminding people of their origins and bringing them back to it. Just as it has always been the Book of Changes, the Yijing, that has illuminated the past while looking to the future so that minute indications can be detected and obscurities made clear. The Yijing discloses that which is hidden and opens that which is dark. Given a name and decisive judgments everything is clear and becomes complete. In illuminating the past the applications of the Yijing become broad, it’s meaning far-reaching and judgments shown to be well ordered and make their point. Matters are plainly set out though the sense is profound with words that connect to the spirit. When a choice is to be made the Yijing guides peoples conduct making clear whether a plan will succeed or fail. It reshapes our thoughts as we follow them. The secret is in finding one’s middle and not straying too far in either direction. Knowing rather the way ahead is open or closed ahead – and rather retribution for our past actions or rewards awaits us. Hidden things are revealed in time and space, first as names and relationships, then explicitly through the judgments; the ultimate being able to know the light while holding onto the dark.

As the Yijing was fused over several millennia with the Tao, the language used to describe it was similar to the Tao. Thus the Dazhuan combines the two with the following words “The Book of Changes is vast and great. When one speaks of what is far, it knows no limits. When one speaks of what is near, it is still and straight. When one speaks of the space between heaven and earth, it embraces everything. Since the Yijing is seen as being in complete harmony with the Tao, it is able to provide representational images of the patterns of the cosmos so that people can associate their immediate life condition and chang their lives to bring it into harmony with the Tao as harmonizing oneself with the Tao is the key to both life and death”.

 The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 7           

2.7        The Seeds of Character that lead to Greatness begins with the Yijing

      The origins of the Yijing can be found in antiquity. From Fuxi onward the shaman furthered the eternal connection between man, heaven, and earth with the aim of finding and fulfilling man’s character and virtue for the benefit of those present. It was the imprisonment of King Wen and the outrageousness of the Shang that proved to be the final straw. The seeds of the proper way to treat others were first written on oracle bones by the shaman during the Shang dynasty. This became the An annotated version of the Book of Rites, dated before 907. The Book of Rites was first penned by Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou in 1000 BC, then codified by Confucius another five hundred years later to become a permanent fixture in Chinese culture. The two traits that best defined this effort were virtue and character.

There had always been suffering and sorrow and the need to make the right decisions that would benefit everyone and for man to see beyond his own personal benefit, a constant struggle that continues even today. A struggle that always comes that can be defined as character. Something the shaman always stressed to leaders who saw in themselves the way forward. It would be King Wen the person who added the lines to the Yijing giving the hexagrams real meaning and Ji Dan who showed through exemplary personal character the way to proceed. He saw the value of what would later be referred to as the Book of Changes and the statements that showed the way. He knew the value of the hexagrams as a way of bringing forward a commonality among all people. It was the structure of the hexagrams focusing on development of character later emphasized in the Dazhuan and elaborated on below that would show the way.

From the sixty-four hexagrams, eight best defines this as follows:

  • Hexagram 10 TREADING Lu shows the basis of character and powers. Lu is the basis of powers. It is harmonious and effective and harmonizes conduct to outward behavior.
  • Hexagram 15 MODESTY Ch’ien is the handling of powers, to be seen as honorable and renowned and to regulate manners. To know modesty honors others and thereby obtains honors for oneself. To show the attitude that is necessary before character formation and to have the attitude of mind.
  • Hexagram 24 RETURN Fu is the root of powers. To start small with distinguishing subtleties. To know yourself and be able to prevail in its own unique character against any temptations of your surroundings. To have the self examination and self knowledge to institute lasting reforms after acknowledging your errors along the way.
  • Hexagon 32 DURATION Heng represents the cohesion of powers. To be varied and not worrisome. To have firmness of character in the correct frame of time. To observe numerous movements and experiences from which fixed rules are derived so that a unified character results.
  • Hexagon 41 DECREASE Sun. The cultivation of powers is at first difficult but later easy and fend off harm. To depend less on lower faculties and untamed instincts, in favor of the higher life of the mind. When the instincts are tamed the essence of character training can begin and harm can be kept at a distance.
  • Hexagrams 42 INCREASE I or Yi. This represents the maturity of powers, a maturity without artifice or expediency that furthers one’s advantage representing needed fullness to character, mere asceticism (a person who can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, abstinence or austerity) is not enough to make good character – greatness is also needed. To show an on-going growth of personality that is not artificial and focuses on things that are useful to others, i.e., refining one’s virtue.
  • Hexagram 47 OPPRESSION Kun. To appreciate and understand the discernment of one’s powers, sometimes perplexing yet penetrating while lessening resentment of others. To be able to develop the character needed to prove himself in the field where one must prove oneself. Obstacles arrive that must be overcome. He is confronted with boundaries that cannot be overcome except by recognizing them for what they are. In recognized the fate of things you cease to have adversity. By not fighting fate, resentment fades and character is purified allowing one to advance in the inner workings of the Tao.
  • Hexagram 48 THE WELL Jing or Ching. The field of powers is simply defining where you are, it is stationary yet moving upward and discerns righteousness. With this you have become the wellspring, though fixed to one spot dispensing blessing far and wide with far reaching influence. It is here where one’s character takes effect. Others van now perceive the profound influence emanating from such a personality. While the person keeps or stays in the background. Through showing what is right, the sage makes it possible for the right to take effect.
  • Hexagram 57 THE GENTLE, THE PENETRATING Xun or Sun. This represents the control of powers, premeditated yet hidden but always acting appropriately. To remain flexible in character, not rigid that holds fast to established principles that is in reality pedantry, slavish attention to the rules, but instead mobility. Thereby one weighs things and penetrates to the needs of the times without exposing oneself to attack, learning instead to take circumstances into account preserving a strong unity of character with intelligent versatility.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 8           

2.8   To be one with the Yijing you must first live the Tao

To know the Yijing you must be one with the Tao. To know the Yijing you must first live as if every breath depended on its eternal wisdom. That everything changes from moment of moment is in keeping with the divine order of the universe and you must be willing to become a part of this change as your personality returns to its origins. Because as with the Tao, you too are ever-changing as well, always alternating and without rest. Once acknowledged you are refreshed. This is why meditation and cultivating stillness is so essential. It is here “in the silence” the stillness that we recoup our energies and refocus on what is truly important.

It is here as we flow unimpeded through the six empty places, moving up and down, side to side without rules and law that would impede our movement that we encounter both the firm and the yielding. These are in essence the hexagrams themselves, appearing as both whole and broken lines forever changing places. There can be no confirming them within a rule and they have no confining or consistent principle. As such, only alternation and change, is all that can happen. The Yijing gives life its meaning. It does not simply tell people what to do; it establishes a creative relationship between the unconscious and the cosmos. It constellates the mysterious order of personality bring one in alignment with the Tao; it creates what Jung called synchronicity. It is from this place a person can know of his beginnings or origin and begin to fully appreciate and to know that we and the Tao are one. Both we and the ever-changing world experience constant renewal and movement. Forever without rest we flow through the six empty places rising and sinking without fixed laws or rules. It is as if we ourselves are the hexagrams defining our world as whole or unbroken lines – sometimes firm other times yielding constantly changing places never to be confined with a rule that can define us, or finding consistent principles that would serve to confine us, saying in effect… only change at work here with alternation and things in flux all that happens.

As we come in tune with our natural rhythm it as if the Yijing is speaking to us we begin to come and go without limits. Neither without nor within teaches us caution we shed our light as we come forward. We become weary of the Kuei who represent compulsion, negative emotion and pain whose purpose is to paralyze a person or situation. As if we have gotten the attention of our ancient spirit helpers, the daimon, our old friends the shen are reminding us of what we have always known but simply forgotten. Acting as if you have no teacher you treat others as you would your parents. As for others, they begin to see you not as a teacher or guide, but as if you are their parent at their side. First comes knowing yourself through living the Yijing. Study the symbols of antiquity, the words of the shaman and sage. Take up the words, meditate, and ponder their meaning within your innermost being that defines you as the principles emerge and reveal themselves. If you are unprepared or not the right person intended at this moment, the Tao will not manifest in you. Carl Jung said, “To rest in Tao means fulfillment, wholeness, mission done, the perfect realization of the meaning of existence innate in things. Personality is Tao. The emergence of a new center in the personality, that with the Tao we can find the synchronicity of life. That synchronicity asserts that what appears as coincidence is actually connected by a similarity of meaning. What the Tao and Yijing represent is the continuous creation of a pattern that exists in all eternity”. To this I would say not mission done, but that the mission continues.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 9           

2.9        Staying within the Lines for Eternity’s sake

For one to truly understand the Yijing within the context of the Dazhuan, you must begin by staying within the lines. It is a text about how any person can describe their own beginnings and foreseeable future that moves towards a knowable ending. Its purpose is simply to describe the true nature of things. How the six lines intermingle to match every occasion. In reading the hexagrams you must begin from the bottom and move up to the top or sixth line that usually serves to sum things up and tries to explain. They are considered to be the root and the tip. The bottom line makes a suggestion and the top line comes to a conclusion, as if defining cause and effect. A judgment on the first line is tentative while on the last everything has gained completion and the answer is given. It is here in-between them that distinguishing details, determining powers, and dividing true and false that would not be possible without the intervening lines that define the two. Even the four interior lines can be seen as upper and lower trigrams that add further meaning. The qualities of the interior lines remain inseparable and are intrinsically connected to what is firm or yielding. These represent parts that are always going through gradual change and movement that reveal their true character and identity. This allows either right or wrong, or yes or no to be distinguishable in the time in which a question is asked.

Imagine yourself the shaman knowing what is known at the time of Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou in 1000 BC living in Ji Dan’s hometown of Qufu, looking to the stars and the Big Dipper with the lines and seeing the answers spread before for you. Contemplating and trying to decipher the judgment his father, King Wen, has added to the lines while still in prison of the Shang. He can now think through the greater part of the statements and draw sensible meaningful conclusions from them. This was the defining moment of what the Yijing was to become. He would have had the sixty-four hexagrams and amended judgments spread before him and to have read and seen for himself the interaction of the lines. The answers would have been as clear as the night sky he used to light his way. During my own years of living and teaching in Qufu, I often found myself looking to the night sky and thinking of what Ji Dan and what Confucius himself would have felt as they too looked to the Big Dipper and night sky all those year ago wondering about how all things were forever connected to each other and what for eternity’s sake it could all mean. The Yellow Emperor had also stood here in Qufu, two thousand years earlier than Confucius and wondered the same thing.

Now understanding the role of the bottom and top lines, the shaman would move to the second and fourth lines and see that they have the same force but have taken different positions and that there values are not the same. With the second generally approving or praising, while the fourth threatening. After years of experience and counsel by his peers, he knew that the Tao of the broken line was advantageous if it is far from the center and that no misfortune would appear in the reading, the omen needed for t he broken line. He also knew that the third and fifth lines have the same force, but took different positions as well. The third line is generally ominous and the fifth if usually propitious representing levels of rank and loneliness. If broken they meant danger, if whole they meant one would be triumphant. There were also the readings of the upper and lower trigrams within each hexagram that would be read. It would take years of diligent practice and trial and error to perfect the reading of the lines of the hexagrams and understanding the basic tenets of the Yijing. But knowing the way of the Tao and keeping to it would be the key to understanding how to live. This would be the greatest contribution and gift of the Dazhuan. It has taken many generations and thousands of years of diligence by both the shaman and sage to bring forth the divine wisdom of the cosmos.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 10         

2.10        What is the Dazhuan, but to imitate the patterns of Heaven?

What is the Dazhuan, but an explanation of the Yijing, a document that covers all matters under heaven. Showing the way to appreciate and honor the Tao. Vast and immense, it shows the way of the cosmos. It contains this and the Tao of earth and man. It combines all three and doubles them this is why there are six lines in the hexagrams. The six lines are simply the ways of these three primal powers. The way of the Yijing, of change, is epitomized by perpetual motion or movement. The lines are constantly going through a process of change. It was always the rhythm of the drum and music, of the perpetual motion that brought the shaman in line with the power of the spirit world. It was Fuxi who first saw this connection. As the more in tune with the spirits the better he could stay in tune with them. He became a great teacher at all the clan meetings up and down the Yellow River, primarily because he was a great storyteller. He learned his craft by understanding and putting words to the lines. Lines drawn on tortoise shells could move and tell a narrative, either true or imagined, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader. Fuxi could fill with delight or wonder; enrapture his audience. His legacy was to have the tale to be told as the storyteller becomes the fulcrum of antiquity. Above all he was a teacher. As the centuries followed the shaman became the conveyor of the lines, next through the Yellow Emperor and many others who learned how to convey the universal meaning that touched all.  But it always came back to the lines and their movement and what it all meant and being present in the moment that opens the window to one’s past.

For generations beyond count before the shaman of Ji Dan’s time, the holy man of antiquity covered himself with red ochre (the color red was also call Dan from the time of China’s prehistory in order to identify and commune with nature and the spirit world trying to decide the makeup of these three doubled, or six lines to be known as the hexagrams. These lines were to be divided into three parts, the first and second lines as the places of earth, the third and fourth as man, and the fifth and sixth belonging to heaven. The lines have positions realized as events; events have mutual relationships that come about as patterns. How the story was to be told depended on the situation at hand that portrays either good or bad things to come. Living within the realm, the whims of nature, there was always a foreboding of fire, floods and misfortune that dictated events. Knowing how to anticipate what may happen led to a knowledge that could be passed down first orally, then written. The Chinese word for line is hsiao. Another meaning of hsiao came to be “to imitate” the patterns of heaven. This is what was to become the Tao. That is that the lines could imitate the connection between the three primortals – man, heaven and earth.

The shaman knew the Tao represented both movement and change, therefore as the lines change their meaning through movement and a series of stages that one could see every day through nature and the evolving four seasons every year a person could modify his behavior accordingly. This diversity gives meaning and purpose to life, patterns to follow and characteristics that match them. It is here where both good and bad can occur. Unfortunately, these characteristics do not always follow or match with the way of the Tao. It would be through conscious observation and wisdom gained over the millennia that man could learn to anticipate the future and through practice develop the workings of the Yijing.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 11       

2.11        Keeping Rhythm with the Big Dance in the Sky

From the earliest of times, we are told of the Great Yu who had received a book entitled Shui-Ching, the Book of Power over Waters from sacred powers in the sky where he was able to travel to learn from celestial spirits. It would be the dance of power referred to by the ancients and called the Pace of Yu that had been passed down from the Xia to the Shang in Taoist rituals.  These movements were danced for generations by the mystics, what we would call sorcerers and shaman. In ancient Chinese civilization the wu, or shaman, were key and central members of the community. It would be towards the end of the Shang dynasty when the shaman was inviting the spirits, reading omens, rainmaking, and celestial divination was to be at its zenith, or peak.

The Shang dynasty represented a time when the personal power of kings became paramount and the divine rights honoring man’s connection to heaven and earth took a back seat to this unyielding power. Into this stepped the need to convey the meaning of not only the lines representing the Yijing and its power, but it’s meaning through clear and concise statements to re-enforce this divine connection. It would be King Wen while he was imprisoned by the Shang at Youli, who would produce the part that was missing, that could expand the meaning of the sixty-four hexagrams. This had always been the paradox of the Yijing. Oftentimes, because of their supposed connection with divine sources, the King was seen as a sage because of this connection also personified the shaman when he could do so. This could have a dramatic impact on the populace. Both King… of the Shang dynasty and King Wen saw themselves as this divine extension of God. Unfortunately, the Shang king was not and used his power in an unscrupulous matter. Fortunately for history’s sake King Wen was a shaman first before becoming a king. The statements prepared by King Wen as an appendage to the Yijing speak clearly of this danger and from a caution illustrating the intent of remaining without blame and thus gaining success. This lesson became essential to Chinese history and the benchmark of how ancient China was to progress from this time forward. The Mandate from Heaven was now secure.

It would be this line of reasoning that so enamored Confucius more than five hundred years later and caused him to focus on the need for virtue and benevolence that were to direct all his teachings. King Wen, while in prison saw that danger encourages peace and that complacency provokes one’s downfall. He embodied this eternal spirit that had been passed down from Yu the Great and saw the great potential of mankind and the Yijing and what would someday be referred to as the Tao. Nothing was to be omitted. It would talk of beginnings and endings and embraced the idea that we should live out our activities in life in such a way that we would be without blame. King Wen would add the statements to the lines that set the stage for so many that would follow.

For a hundred years after the fall of the Shang in 1070 BC, it was as if a renaissance of practical thinking led by Ji Dan, the Duke of Zhou, and others to produce the Book of Rites and the principle idea behind the Mandate of Heaven which would one day become the sole property of the emperor that was to become the benchmark for China’s development. Five to eight hundred years later during the Warring Stated Period of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, and so many others during a period called the One Hundred Schools, that this would be codified as the Ten Wings, of which the Dazhuan, this book, was to be a part of. Later the Han scholars and Wang Bi would codify into the Confucian dialectic and the Yijing would become a major element of the examination system that directed the fate of China for over two thousand years.

The Dazhuan   6th Wing        Part II   Number 12         

2.12        Final Words of the Dazhuan and I Ching (Yijing)

Both Ch’ien and Kun reign supreme under heaven. The ultimate in both firmness and compliance – Ch’ien or Qian applies its power spontaneously and is alert and weary of impending danger, while Kun tries to keep things simple and free from obstruction.  Qian is creative as it works from the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination; and strength downward as if from heaven, thereby mastering danger. While Kun is working from below accomplishing heavy tasks, freeing things from obstruction, i.e., something that obstructs, blocks, or closes up with an obstacle or obstacles or hindrance. With thus the Yijing can rejoice in heart and examine any anxieties going forward. It is though this joy one can gain an overall view of good and bad fortune and know how to precede in the proper way.

With this change, alternation and transformation naturally occur and auspicious or promising success; propitious; opportune; or events that meet favorable omens are furthered and the oracle is made clear. The lines of the hexagrams give guidance so that you can act in accordance with the changes and know reality as the future becomes clear. Heaven and earth remain fixed to their places as the sage continues to perfect his skill. Working in union with both the counsel of humans and the spirits certain knowledge is gained that can be shared.

The eight trigrams show the way through images, symbols, and figures, the hexagrams and line statements then speak to circumstances. As the broken and whole lines are mingled, good fortune and bad auspices appear. In that the firm and yielding are interspersed and good fortune or bad can be discerned or known. This is the underlying basis of the Yijing. Once known that heaven and earth know and determine the place we reside, the possibilities become endless. It’s always been the wisdom of the sage that has brought these possibilities into reality. It is the reconciling this reality into a collaboration of the thoughts of the spirits and men with the Yijing that thing naturally occur. It is said that when love and hate vie with each other good and bad auspicious are born; when far and near react to each other trouble and distress are born; and that when true and false influence each other advantage and loss are born. In every situation of the Yijing, when two or more converge without mutual profit disaster emerges. When closely related to not harmonize, misfortune is a result; this gives rise to injury, remorse, and humiliation.

Ultimately with the Yijing, it is the close relationship of the lines as illustrated by their correspondence with each other and how they hold together over time. It is according to whether the lines attract or repel one another that good fortune or bad fortune ensues.  Finally, the Dazhuan ends with the following:

  • Words of the rebellious are shameful;
  • Words of the shifty are diffuse;
  • Words of the fortunate are few;
  • Words of the agitated are many;
  • Words of the slanderous are evasive;
  • And, words of the faithless are twisted.