Book of Changes. Myths about the Book of Changes



“The Book of Changes” or “Canon of Changes” (I Ching, Zhou Yi – the Chinese character “I” means “changes”, “Jing” – “canon, book”, “Zhou” is treated as a “cycle of circulation, circulation” or According to some researchers, it perpetuates the name of the era of the reign of the Chou dynasty (1122 BC to 249 BC)) – one of the most ancient philosophical texts created in China.

Book of Changes. Myths about the Book of Changes


The “Book of Changes” is based on the idea of ​​variability, based on people’s observations of the constantly changing circumstances of the surrounding world. The theory of divination by the I Ching (one of the most ancient methods of obtaining predictions, replacing fortune telling on the tortoise shell) allows you to track how appropriate a person’s activity in a particular situation, whether it corresponds to the course of the world’s achievements or dissonances with it.

According to legend, the founder of the 8 trigrams (of which the I-ching hexagrams were later formed) was Fu Xi – the first ruler of China, a deity with the dragon’s body and the head of a man. He also invented music, taught people sericulture, some types of fishing, hunting, cooking, etc.

In the “Book of Changes” there are 64 gua (lyushi gua) – graphic symbols consisting of 6 horizontal yao (features) and called hexagrams (from Greek hexa – “six” and gramma – “line”), characterizing that or a different situation, taking into account its development over time. Yao, composing hexagram, can be either whole (yang) or interrupted (yin). The first are denoted by the number 9 (jiu), white and symbolize light, activity, tension (gang), the second corresponds to the figure 6 (lyu), black color; they are an expression of darkness, passivity, compliance (zhou).

In the process of divination after rituals and complex manipulations with various objects (yarrow stalks, branches, coins, etc.) a hexagram is built (in some cases, it is based on 1 or 2 additional graphic symbols of 6 traits) and is searched interpretation, written in the form of aphorisms and placed in the corresponding section of the book.

Confucius wrote a commentary on the I Ching.

There is no consensus on who owns the authorship of “Shi-i” (translated from Chinese – “Ten Wings”) – comments on the “Book of Changes”. Some researchers claim that all comments are written by Confucius. Others believe that his pen belongs only to “Da Zhuang” (in translation from Chinese – “Great Tradition”, another name – “Si tsi zhuan” – “Tradition of aphorisms”). Still others argue that Confucius did not write comments, but was the author of the main text of the “Book of Changes”. However, many modern scientists argue that Confucius has no relation to the “Book of Changes”. First, he was distinguished by deep rationalism and the desire for ordering, so he could hardly seriously be interested in the idea of ​​constant variability by the irrational mantle that was the basis of the I Ching. Secondly, the peculiarities of the language of the “Book of Changes” suggest that the main text was written long before Confucius (most probably between the VIII and VII centuries BC in the territory of the Qin Il I-Tsin lot), and “Ten Wings “appeared after the death of the famous philosopher and were written by one of his followers.

“The Book of Changes” was ranked by Confucius to texts that are mandatory for study.

This is not quite true. Researchers believe that I-ching was adopted by Confucians in the years 213-168. BC, ie. after the death of Confucius. Nowadays the “Book of Changes” really belongs to the Wu-ching (“the Pentateuch”) – a list of Confucian canonical books that are compulsory for study. In addition to the I-Ching, there is the Shi-ching (“Book of Hymns and Songs”), Shu-ching (“Book of Traditions”), Li-chi (“Notes on the perfect order of things, government and ceremonies”) and Chun-chiu , which is a chronicle of information about the principality of Lu (the authorship of this text is attributed to Confucius).

Another name is “Books of Changes” – “Forest of Changes”.

Absolutely mistaken opinion.I-lin (“Forest of Changes”) – one of the treatises, created on the basis of I-ching. The authorship of this work is attributed to Jiao Gong, who lived during the reign of the Han dynasty. In his work he considers not only each hexagram separately, but also tries to track its connections with the remaining hexagrams, as a result of which 4096 combinations are formed (instead of the classical ones 64). Each poem was accompanied by a poetic commentary, but the meaning of these poems could not be solved yet. It should be noted that “Forest of Changes” is not the only imitation book written by Confucian people based on I Ching. An example of such imitation is “Tai Xuan Jing” (“The Book of the Great Secret”), written by Ian Xiong and representing a collection of aphorisms accompanying 81 figures, formed from 4 traits (and not from 6, as in hexagrams), and in the composition of these figures there are not only whole and interrupted yao, but also two broken lines.

“The Book of Changes” can be considered a Taoist text.

This is not quite true. The philosophy of ancient Taoism, striving to go beyond the physical world, did not coincide with iszinism, the above-mentioned goal did not have. But, since I in. BC. There is a strong influence of the “Book of Changes” (not the main text, but the commentary of “Si Tsi Zhuan”) on the Taoist authors (Wei Bo Yan, Ge Hun, etc.).

You can learn about the future using the “Book of Changes”.

I-ching can answer the question, outline the state of things in general terms, give advice on how to act in a particular situation. But to make the final decision, as well as to commit (or not to commit) this or that act will still have to the person himself. An important role is played by the type of question asked. If, for example, a person was interested in the development of the events of the past, all the answers of the “Book of Changes” will concern exclusively the past. In addition, the development of events in time can be displayed in the relationships of the features of the hexagram, read from the bottom up – from the future to the past, and in some cases – from top to bottom, from the past to the future (“vertical time”), sometimes in the hexagram, the time vector is directed from below up, and in its constituent trigrams – from top to bottom.

Book of Changes. Myths about the Book of Changes

For the divination of the “Book of Changes” it is best to use coins.

The choice of the items needed to obtain a prediction depends on which method of divination you wish to use. According to the descriptions posted in various sources, in order to get an answer from I-ching on the question interesting you, it is enough to throw 6 coins 6 times. Next – in accordance with their position, draw 6 traits (if 2 or 3 coins fell upwards by the “eagle” – an integral feature, if the “bar” is intermittent), making up a hexagram, the interpretation of which can be found on special tables. Today it is this simplified method of divination by the “Book of Changes” that is dominant.

A more complicated method is to assign a numerical value to each side of the coin (“eagle” – 2, “lattice” – 3), toss up 3 coins and then add the resulting digits giving a total of 6 to 9, and a hexagram. In some cases, fortunetellers use special hexahedral bones.

However, there is also a classic, much more complex method of divination, in which, according to the description contained in the “Si ci zhuan” (“Commentaries on adjuncts”), yarrow stems are used (nowadays often replaced with bamboo sticks, pencils, matches etc.). Other items can also be used (for example, the same coins), but it should be noted that they should be 50. Since in the process of divination, the items should be divided into 2 groups, and then clamped in the palms of their hands – the best choice will be long and thin sticks classic yarrow stems or other plants, bamboo sticks, etc.).

The process of divination by the “Book of Changes” is extremely simple – to build a hexagram it is enough to throw coins 6 times.

Yes, if we are talking about a simplified method of divination. But the traditional method involves the commission of a much more complex rite. First, a copy of I-ching wrapped in silk is extracted from this special box (with this silk the fortune-teller covers a small table on which manipulations will be made) and 50 yarrow stems, the length of which can be from 30 to 50 cm. Having spread the mentioned items on a table, lights spices, turns to the south, takes a certain pose (sits on the heels) and performs 3 ritual bows. After that, he collects all the stems in his right hand, and carries them three times over the steaming censer. Then the yarrow stems are arbitrarily divided into 2 bundles, clamped in the hands, after which the right hand receives a single stem from the right bundle and is placed between the ring finger and the little finger of the left hand. Then the right hand removes 4 stems from the left bundle, the remaining (from 1 to 4) are placed between the middle and ring finger of the left hand. After that, left hand from the right bundle take out 4 stems, the remaining stems are placed between the index and middle fingers of the left hand. Then the stems placed between the fingers of the left hand are laid aside, and the rest are again connected together, divided into 2 bundles, and the same procedure is carried out with them as for the first time (called “change”). Then the third “change” is carried out with the remaining stalks, after which the remaining stems are divided into 4 and in accordance with the received number (6, 7, 8 or 9) draw a particular feature. In order to build a hexagram, you need to make 18 changes. After completing the session, the diviner again performs 3 earthly obeisances and collects the items placed on the table in a box.

There are several methods of guessing:

– the stems are not separated by hands, but simply placed on a horizontal surface, then they are scattered in random order, and the corresponding calculations are made;

– 12 sticks are dropped into the glass, 6 of which have the designation “yin”, 6 – “yang”. Extracting the sticks from the glass, form a hexagram;

-catalogue method, produced as a result of numerological manipulations with a particular date;


– creating hexagrams as a result of counting arbitrarily selected objects (stones, leaves, birds, flowers, etc.);

– obtaining a hexagram pattern during meditation, dreaming or observing nature.

In traditional divination, 50 subjects are used.

Indeed, for guessing on the yarrow stems you need exactly 50 subjects. This number is the derivative of several components:

– 10 celestial trunks (tian gan), which used to designate a 10-day week and were distributed according to the elements in combination with Yin or Yang qualities (for example, the first trunk (jia) – Tree yang, 2 (i) – Yin tree, 3 (bin) – Yang Fire, etc.);

– 2 terrestrial branches (di zhi), according to some researchers associated with the 12 lunar months, making up the solar year. Each branch corresponds to a certain geographical direction, element and animal. For example, the first branch (zi) corresponds to the north, the water and the Rat, two branches (chow) – the northeast, the earth, the Bull, etc. In addition, the branches are divided into Yang (even) and Yin (odd);

– 28 constellations (“lunar parking”) – correspond to certain lunar days.

The aforementioned collection of 50 items is referred to as the “Great Propagation”. However, it should be borne in mind that one of the stems at the very beginning of the ritual will be put aside, therefore in fact in all calculations the work is done with 49 items.

The table used for the construction of hexagrams is square.

For convenience, trigrams, from which hexagrams are subsequently formed, are actually most often placed in a square table. However, there is a circular arrangement of trigrams, and in this case opposite to each set of 3 traits along the diagonal is its opposite.

By building the hexagram and its interpretation, the process of divination is exhausted.

If it is a question of simplistic guessing, this is so. In the classical version, the features are divided into “old” and “young” (number 6 – “old yin”, 7 – “young yang”, 8 – “young yin” and 9 – “old yang”). If there is at least one “old” feature when guessing, another hexagram is constructed, in which the trait “becomes younger”, i.e. is replaced by the opposite one. In this case, the first hexagram is interpreted as the current state of things, the second – as the development of the situation in the future (the so-called “horizontal time”). Sometimes, only the aphorisms associated with the “old” line, undergoing the “rejuvenation” process, are considered, and the second hexagram is not built. From the hexagram can also be allocated “hu gua” (“internal (nuclear) hexagram”): based on 4 internal features (2-5), a separate hexagram is constructed.

Much attention is paid to the study of the relationship between features in the hexagram. There are several types of relationships:

– “xiang in” (“consonance”) – a comparison of 1 and 4, 2 and 5 (this ratio is called zhong – “median”), as well as 3 and 6 traits. Consonant or favorable is the heterogeneity of traits (yang-yin), but the same combinations are called “bu Xiang in” (“inconsistent”);

– “chen bi” (“neighborhood”) – 1, 2, 2 and 3 features are compared, etc. As in “Xiang Ying,” the difference in traits is considered favorable and is called “chen bi” (“convergence”);

– “jjuy” (“support”) – if the Yan feature is located above the Yin;

– “cheng” (“saddle”) – Yin line is based on the Yang;

– “cheng” (a hieroglyph similar to the previous one in reading but different in spelling and denoting “acceptance”) – the yin feature is located under the yang yao.

Each line in the hexagram corresponds to a specific number.

This is not quite true. Traits in hexagrams are considered bottom-up (while Chinese writing assumes reading the inscription from top to bottom), the first one is called “chu” (“initial”), the latter is “shan” (“upper”). The remaining positions are actually named according to ordinal numbers – the second, third and fourth.

Analyzing the position of the features in the hexagram, you can get information about various events.

The interpretation of both the features themselves and their interrelations is much broader. For example, when studying a hexagram, one can obtain information about the relationship between the three main categories of ancient Chinese philosophy – Heaven (it is symbolized by the upper pair of traits), Human (middle pair yao) and Earth (lower pair of traits). In some cases, the ratio of hexagrams to 5 planets is considered. Each position of yao has a correspondence in the human body (1 – feet, 2 – shins, 3 – thighs, etc.), the body of the animal (1 – tail, 2 – hind legs, 3 – posterior half of trunk etc .), and in society (1 – commoner, 2 – serving, 3 – grandee, etc.).

Some experts consider and interpret the hexagram obtained in the process of divination as a mapping of the state of chakras (from muladhara to ajna), but it should be noted that such an interpretation has nothing to do with the ancient Chinese way of guessing and interpreting the information received.

When a hexagram is viewed as a combination of two trigrams, the lower one is a reflection of the inner world, of the offensive and creation, while the upper one embodies the external world, retreat and destruction.

Book of Changes. Myths about the Book of Changes

The interpretation of each hexagram consists of 6 parts, displaying the values ​​of each of the features.

In modern explanations accompanying this kind of fortune-telling, this is so. However, in the earliest variants of comments, each hexagram was accompanied by 4 aphorisms, reflecting the stages of development of the whole set of features in general (from the “original” position to the “developing”, “complete” and, finally, “decaying”).

There are “correct” and “wrong” hexagrams.

This is not quite true.In this kind of fortune-telling, the locations of the features called “wei” (“positions”) are divided into the Yang and Yin (odd positions, from the initial to the fifth – the Yin, the even ones from the second to the upper ones). And the location on the corresponding positions of Yin and Yang (ie whole or interrupted) features is called “relevant.” However, this arrangement takes place only in one hexagram – 63. In all other cases, at least one feature is “out of place”. The complete “irrelevance” of traits is observed only in 64 hexagram.



Add a Comment