Book of Changes


no hurry, no pause.


Notes from Watts (2007, p. 136), also see:

The I Ching (pronounced Ee Jing or Yi Jing) or Book of Changes is a commentary on 64 hexagrams, each composed of six lines, positive or negative in value, and therefore consisting of any two of eight possible trigrams. The I Ching presupposes a philosophy of nature based on polar vision of the universe; an electrical system in which a single energy manifests itself through two mutually arising poles, the yang (+) and the yin (-).

The eight trigrams represent the basic life principles:

Yin and yang are represented by broken and solid lines: yin is broken (⚋) and yang is solid (⚊)

As in throwing dice, various methods are used to select a hexagram at random – in answer to a specific question or to determine the general character of the total pattern of events as centred in the here and now – on the assumption that the random casting will of necessity be in accord with it.

The Book of Changes listed two sources for the eight trigrams. The chapter Xì Cí shàng; “The Great Treatise I” explains the first source (Adler’s translation) source:

In Change there is the Supreme Polarity, which generates the Two Modes. The Two Modes generate the Four Images, and the Four Images generate the Eight Trigrams.

The different combinations of the two trigrams lead to 64 hexagrams source:

䷀ Hexagram 1: Its inner (lower) trigram is ☰ (乾 qián) force = (天) heaven, and its outer (upper) trigram is identical.

䷁ Hexagram 2: Its inner (lower) trigram is ☷ (坤 kūn) field = (地) earth, and its outer (upper) trigram is identical.


Watts, A. (2007). In My Own Way: An Autobiography. New World Library.