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By Dale Bruder
The I Ching or Book of Changes is the oldest surviving Chinese classic, and is a venerable compendium of human behavior, both as individual and in groups. Through the ages, over several millennia, into the present, it has retained its position as a book of fundamental universal principles.
Some four hundred years ago the I Ching was noticed by a European missionary for the similarity between its structure and the binary arithmetic a German philosopher-mathematician was just then formulating. A translation of the text was introduced to the western literature in the seventeenth century, beginning an asian influence on the thinking of philosophers, scientists and mathematicians that continues today.
Attributed to four authors between remote antiquity and the fifth century B.C., the I Ching grew from pre-historic notations to sixty-four hexagrams of 384 lines of illustrative text. Written in naturalistic metaphors describing the comings and goings of energy; the I Ching survived book burnings and warlords to become required study for advancement in spiritual and human endeavors.
When viewed historically, the I Ching is revealed as a source book for understanding the general principles in the conduct of the world. Dynasties and empires rise and fall, relationships prosper and deteriorate, generations pass, ideas take on life then become brittle, temporal beings enter and exit the stage yet the I Ching remains an authentic reflection of the unfolding of time.
The book was first noticed by Westerners for the binary structure; the dashed and straight lines. As its name implies, a hexagram is a stack of six lines. Every variation of dashed and straight lines creates sixty four hexagrams. In the binary structure a dashed line represents zero and a straight line represents one; the first computer code.
Accessing the I Ching is done by casting fifty yarrow sticks or three coins six times while holding an inquiry in one’s mind. The casting is counted as 6, 7, 8, 9. The numbers are noted from bottom to top as dashed or straight lines. Even numbers are dashed, odd numbers are straight. A graph of the eight variations of three lines; a trigram, are matched to compose a top and bottom that becomes one of the sixty-four hexagram.
Taoism rose out of study and application of the I Ching. The “Way” as described by Kuo Ying, a fourteenth century scholar, represents a universal order or principle. “The word I Ching means change; that is, changing in accord with the time so as to follow the Tao. As a book, the I Ching is vast and comprehensive; by following the principles of essence and life, understanding the reasons of the obscure and the obvious, and comprehending the conditions of things and beings, it shows the way to enlighten people and accomplish tasks”
The ninth century Taoist Lu Tung-pin wrote “although the words are very clear, yet they are also very vague. The shallow may take the I Ching to be a book of divination, but the profound consider it the secret of the celestial mechanism.”
As described contextually, the I Ching is a means of observing and understanding the anatomy of events. In the Book of Balance and Harmony, compiled in the years transitioning the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the role of the I Ching is described:
“The Changes are threefold; there are the Changes of Heaven, the Changes of sages, and the Changes of mind. The Changes of Heaven consists of the principles of transformation. The Changes of Sages consists of representations of transformation. The Changes of Mind consists of the Tao of transformation.
In contemplation of the Changes of Sages, what is important is to understand the representations; when the representations are understood, one enters into the sagehood. In contemplation of the Changes of Heaven, what is important is to comprehend the principles; when the principles are comprehended, one knows Heaven. In contemplation of the Changes of the Mind, what is important is practice of Tao; when the Tao is put into practice, it completes the mind.
If one does not read the Changes of Sages, one will not understand the Changes of Heaven; if one does not understand the Changes of Heaven, one will not know the changes of mind, one will not be sufficiently able to master change.”
There are numerous ways to access the wisdom of the I Ching. Throughout history cultural innovators devised methodologies including divination, mandalas and following different orders of the hexagrams including numerical (1 to 64) and the lunar order based on an agrarian calendar.
As a book of universal principles, it is a gift from the celestial mystery on how to flow in time like water. There are no deity’s to worship nor punishment for nonbelief. The I Ching is plain and simple, an instruction book of creative blossoming.
This is the original write up of what came to be called Transformative Tao circa 1978 CE
Each hexagram of the I Ching Is a structure representing an archetypical expression symbolizing a particular condition or stage from social-psychological point of views that may be experienced and recognized by a human being.
The I Ching can also be engaged from primarily a spiritual point of view. The Tao analyzes relationships and energy configurations individually and with groups. By taking into account both the subjective and objective dimensions of the hexagram structures, it’s extraordinary subtle and complex wisdom is revealed.
The commentaries are unusually versatile in terms of studying personal and collective life. Our inquiries will reveal relationships between interpersonal and intrapersonal forces, at the crucial point on which the Tao – Way or inner pattern or design is the focus.
Through the movement or transformation of its parts, Each hexagram contains every other hexagram through the process of methodical changing of its lines,
Beginning with the bottom first line and moving upward to the sixth and top most line, one is able to draft the complete cyclic evolution of the hexagram. One depicts graphically the orderly, step by step transformations of a hexagram through to it coming back to itself.
This process of cyclic evolution is completed in twelve stages.To structure a blueprint if the I Ching’s wisdom by which to guide one’s thinking, planning and actions in order to reach a particular goal, this method is most effective.
A form used in applying this method has been named The Twelve Earthly Branches Method of Consultation. In Tao Time it is called Transformative Tao.
The consultation page includes
- The Earthly Conditions – time of day, date, location, weather and optionally phase of the moon, astrological data, etc.
- The question or situation being consulted about is expressed into up to eight words
- Synchronistic Response is the Oracle’s response to the consultation
- NOW which is the first of twelve changes the synchronistic response will undergo.
- Immediately following (adjoining) is labeled NEXT for recording the second change taking place on through twelve changes where the hexagram returns to itself.
For each of the twelve hexagram on the master page there is a double page journal to plan and deal specifically with each facet of the matter and situation as it moves from change to change (day to day, week to week, month to month.)
The Twelve Earthly Branches plays out in 72 steps beginning with the first line of the NOW hexagram. Experience has shown results manifesting in 2-6 months as accomplishments and new opportunities and challenges. The quality of the manifestations relies on the awareness and discipline of the inquirer at the time of the inquiry to the Oracle and attention to the process.
The structure is a blueprint of the Tao’s wisdom. It guide one’s thinking, planning and actions in order to reach a particular goal. This method is most effective. The graphic format known named The Twelve Earthly Branches Method of Consultation is a means of divining a goal.
Seasonal Command: Hexagram 30 This is that area of the rhythmic cycles of Change when things respond to the urge to leave where they are. Also a counteraction is intiated which tries to maintain their place and tends to freeze their idenity. One has to be aware of being located in order to experience leaving. Departing is an afteraffect of Clinging. In short, things become busy with clinging as they mistake the flame of existance as its light. The flame of fire is leaping from the fuel of its orgin seeks to cling to its source. In so doing it consumes its own raison d’etre and loses the center of its brightness.
Sequence: As fire leaps from its fuel, so humans departs from nature. The brightness of light is not in itself, but in the effect as it interacts with other conditions of existance. The Ideal Persons’ spiritual creativity is not manifested in philosophies, creeds, theological dogmas or political systems nor in one’s wisdom or foolishness; it is manifested in the way an Ideal Person effects and transforms the world.
Seasonal Command: This is that area in the rhythmic cycles of Change when things respond to the urge to leave where they are; to seperate from what they are. Thus is initiated a counteraction which tries to maintain their place, and tends to freeze their idenity.
One has to be aware of being located in order to experience leaving. Departing is an aftereffect of Clinging. In short, things become busy with clinging as they mistake the flames of existance as its light. The flame of fire in leaping from the fuel of its orgin seeks to cling to its source. In so doing it consumes its own raison d’etre and loses the senter of its brightness.
Sequence: As fire leaps from its fuel, so humans departs from nature. The brightness of light is not in itself, but in its effect as it interacts with other other conditions of existance. Human’s spiritual creativity is not manifested in philosophies, creeds, theological dogmas, or political systems, nor in wisdom, nor in foolishness; it is manifested in the way one affects and transforms the world.
The hexagrams for the Sixth Moon are in this order: 33: Retreat, 50: The Cauldron, 10: Treading, 59: dispersion, 55: Abundance
Lunar Counsel: To be in accord with the time is to know the moment for Yin and the moment for Yang. when hostile forces dominate the ideal person retreats. Foundations for success are built when one retreats with confidence at the proper time and structures new plans of action. By stubbornly clinging to bad judgement and blind pride, one comes to flee in panic. Planned reteat is to hold control of one’s actions and select options. In this way hostile forces are eventually neutralized.
Sequence: All existence is process; a begetting, becoming and begoning. Difficulties arise from trying to stand still in midair and trying to broad-jump in a box. Observe the time and conditions: they dictate the “when” for Retreat
- Incredible lunar eclipse floats near the Lagoon (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
Deep in the Taoist I Ching discipline is a firing process of spiritul alchemy. The cauldron and furnance are the hexagrams Heaven and Earth, symbolizing energy and spirit, firmness and flexibility. The medicines are the hexagrams Water and Fire, symbolizing real knowledge and conscious knowledge.
Taking the Yang of Water and filling in the Yin of Fire, water and fire settle each other; it happens naturally without forced effort. This is using yin to seek yang so that they complete, balance and settle each other.
Explore the I Ching through Tao Time.