In China the study and application of the hexagram and the Zhou Yi are divided into two major categories: religious Taoism and Confucianism. Religious Taoism mainly searches the relationship between Heaven and humanity, exploring destiny and fate. Confucian commen-taries on the Zhou Yi, on the other hand, focus on the relationships among humans. They highlight the code of conduct and encourage people to act righteously, to treat others in a sincere and trustworthy way, and to deal with jobs through the principle of moderation.

 

This e-book mainly provides an interpretation of the Zhou Yi according to Confucian commentaries, i.e. the Ten Wings. The translation of the text quoted from the Zhou Yi and the Ten Wings is presented in boldface fonts. In following Confucian thought, the text is analyzed and paraphrased through the image and line's characteristic, and then ends with divinatory reference. Each page of 64 hexagrams is structured as follows:

 

Hexagram

 

Preface: It is a general introduction to a hexagram and starts with the relative text quoted from Xu Gua Zhuan (序卦傳, Confucian commentary on the sequence of 64 hexagrams) which gives the reason why each hexagram comes after the previous one. The relative text of the Za Gua Zhuan (雜卦傳, Confucian commentary on the paired hexagrams) is also quoted and provided in every even-numbered hexagram.

 

Text (of the hexagram): The original Chinese text quoted from the Zhou Yi is translated according to its context and presented in a comparatively complete syntax (as the original lacks that element).

 

Commentary on the text: Confucian commentary on the hexagram text (Tuan Zhuan, 彖傳) is translated here and also presented in a comparatively complete syntax. It mainly paraphrases the name of a hexagram, its formation and virtue, good and bad fortune, as well as advice for action.

 

Text explanation: An elaboration based on Confucian commentary and in accordance with the images of a hexagram and the performance of its host or representative line is provided here.

 

Commentary on the image (of the hexagram): This contains the text of Da Xiang Zhuan (大象傳, Confucian commentary on the hexagram image). Its text is somewhat independent from what the text of the Zhou Yi tells about. It gives advice on how a person should perform in accordance with the images presented by the upper and bottom trigram of a hexagram.

 

Overview: It is provided by summarizing all above, relating hexagrams and text quoted from Xi Ci Zhuan.

 

Lines

 

Deduction: Here an overview of the lines of each hexagram is presented.

 

Text (of each line): The original Chinese text quoted from the Zhou Yi is translated and presented in a comparatively complete syntax.

 

Text explanation: It is based on Confucian commentary, while also taking into account the presented images and the line's performances.

 

Commentary on the image (of each line): This section contains the text of Xiao Xiang Zhuan (小象傳, Confucian commentary on the line's image), which paraphrases the cause or effect of what is described in the text of that line.

 

Enlightenment while the line starts to move: It is provided by summarizing all above and involving its changing hexagram. Although the line changes in according with the diviner's reading method. Here a study shows how the original line and the changing hexagram or line are related.

 

Additionally, hexagrams Qian (1) and Kun (2) contain their exclusive commentaries (Wen Yan Zhuan, 文言 傳). Some hexagrams also contain a Postscript, which provides information from various perspectives relating to the hexagram's feature, the history and customs of Shang and Zhou, to help further understand a hexagram and its lines.

 

Further reference material: the interpretation of Xi Ci Zhuan (繫詞傳, Confucian commentary on the text tagging), and the interpretation of Shuo Gua Zhuan (說卦傳, Confucian commentary on trigrams), can be found in the Appendix.

 

Due to the fact that the Zhou Yi was designed to give advice for all kinds of divinatory questions, its texts were provided without any annotation. In addition to this, many of its texts are composed of unrelated sentences which are further constituted by unrelated characters. Even worse those characters are arrayed in uncommon syntax, and each Chinese character usually possesses various meanings. Consequentially many different interpretations are created confusing the reader. Following the mainstream of the I Ching's argumentations, I try to provide every hexagram and its lines with consistent and complete interpretation from a holistic view which takes into account elements such as the sequence of 64-hexagram, the multiple aspects of a hexagram, the image and line analysis, the relating hexagrams, and so on.

 

As for the image and line analysis, I adopt the concept of the representative line to achieve a more easily-understood deduction, and I also introduce the concepts of the line's change (to the other gender) and move (to another position) in a hexagram for tracing the cause and effect of the text in order to unfold its true significance. For example, line 2 of hexagram 1 changes to the feminine becoming the representative line of the lower trigram Li (clinging, fire, brightness and the eyes), which enables it to be visible to line 5, the great lord, through its correlation with line 5. Once it moves to position 5 and to see line 5, the hexagram becomes Da You (14), wherein it possesses all the masculine lines. This explains the text: it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord.

 

Herewith 64 hexagrams are elaborated upon in a way that each hexagram represents a specific era or world. Its name advises what kind of era or world it is, and its text and commen-tary provide a panorama of its origination, status quo, surroundings, or direction to go, etc. Each line's position denotes a space-time continuum in the era or world of the hexagram, and the line develops from the bottom to the top according to its status and assigned mandate. The sequence links 64 hexagrams and reflects the world where we live. The changing line offers access to journey in this world.

In the Zhou Yi, the line's text is presented in the form of, for instance, nine five (of hexagram 1): a flying dragon in the sky, …….. . This signifies that the text is referred to when line 5 is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts to change to feminine (or move toward femininity trans-forming along the way). The line will eventually change if it acts according to the designated way or ignores what is advised. This creates a new hexagram and might reflect the cause and effect of the original line and the changing hexagram enlightening us.  

Last but not least, although the Zhou Yi is designed for divination, it is meant to be used by people, rather than for ruling people’s acts. The divination of the I Ching is definitely not fata-listic, but rather meant to provide advice so that people can contemplate on their problems, situations, and actions which they intend to take.