Article Index

Ta Chuan - The Great Appendix - Section 1

A. THE FOUNDATIONS
Chapter I - The changes in Creation and in the Book of Change
I - 1
Heaven is lofty and honourable; earth is low. Ch'ien and K'un were determined in accordance with this. Things low and high appear displayed in a similar relation; the noble and the mean had their places assigned accordingly. Movement and rest are the regular qualities of their respective subjects. Hence comes the definite distinction of the lines as the strong and the weak.
Affairs are arranged together according to their tendencies, and things are divided according to their classes. Hence were produced what is good and what is evil.
In the heavens there are the figures there completed, and on the earth there are the bodies there formed. Corresponding to them were the changes and transformations exhibited in the I.

I - 2
After this fashion a strong and a weak line were manipulated together till there were the eight trigrams, and these were added, each to itself and all the others.

I - 3
We have the exciting forces of thunder and lightning; the fertilising influences of wind and rain; and the revolutions of sun and moon, which give rise to cold and warmth.

I - 4
The attributes expressed by Ch'ien constitute the male. The attributes expressed by K'un constitute the female.

I - 5
Ch'ien directs the great beginnings of things. K'un gives to them their completion.

I - 6
It is by the ease with which it proceeds that Ch'ien directs as it does, and by its unhesitating response that K'un exhibits such ability.

I - 7
Ease will be easily understood, and freedom from laborious effort will be easily followed. He who is easily understood will have adherents, and he who is easily followed will achieve success. He who has adherents can continue long, and he who achieves success can become great.
To be able to continue long shows the virtue of the wise and able man; to be able to become great is the heritage he will acquire.

I - 8
With the attainment of such ease and such freedom of laborious effort, the mastery is got of all principles under the sky. With the attainment of that mastery, the sage finds his position in the middle between heaven and earth.


Chapter II - On the wording and the use of the Book of Change
II - 1
The sages set forth the hexagrams, inspected the images contained in them, and appended their explanations; in this way the good fortune and the bad fortune indicated by them were made clear.

II - 2
The strong and the weak lines displace each other and indicate the changes and transformations.

II - 3
Therefore good fortune and evil are the indications of right and wrong in men's conduct of affairs, and repentance and regret are the indications of their sorrow and anxiety.

II - 4
The changes and transformations are the images of the advance and retrogression of the vital force in nature. Thus the strong and weak lines become the emblems of day and night. The movements which take place in the six places show the course of the three powers in perfect operation.

II - 5
Therefore what the superior man rests in, in whatever position he is placed, is the order shown in the I; and the study which gives him the greatest pleasure is that of the explanations of the several lines.

II - 6
Therefore the superior man, when living quietly, contemplates the images and studies the explanations of them; when initiating any movement, he contemplates the changes that are made in divining and studies the predictions from them. Thus 'is help extended to him from heaven; there will be good fortune and advantage in every movement'.
See also: Section 1, Chapter XII-1.


B. DETAILED COMMENTARIES
Chapter III - On the words of the signs and lines
III - 1
The judgements speak of the images; the lines speak of the changes.

III - 2
The expressions about good fortune or bad fortune are used with reference to being right or wrong according to the conditions of time and place. Those about repentance or regret refer to small faults; when it is said 'there will be no error', or 'no blame', there is reference to repairing an error by what is good.

III - 3
Therefore the distinction of lines as noble or mean is decided by their relative positions; the regulations of small and great are found in the hexagrams, and the discriminations of good and bad fortune appear in the explanations.

III - 4
Anxiety against repentance or regret should be felt at the boundary line between good and evil. The stirring up the thought of no blame arises from repentance.

III - 5
Thus of the hexagrams some are small and some are great; and of the explanations some are startling and some are unexciting. Every one of those explanations has reference to the tendencies of the symbols.


Chapter IV - The deeper meaning of the Book of Change
IV - 1
The I was made on a principle of accordance with heaven and earth, and reveals therefore, without rent or confusion, the Tao of heaven and earth.

IV - 2
The sage, in accordance with the I, looking up contemplates the brilliant phenomena of the heavens, and looking down examines the definite arrangements of the earth; thus he knows the causes of what is obscure and what is light. He traces things to their beginning and follows them to their end; thus he knows what can be said about death and life. Essence and breath form things, and the wandering away of the soul produces the change; thus he knows the characteristics of the in- and outgoing spirits.

IV - 3
There is a similarity between him and heaven and earth, and hence there is no contrariety in him to them. His knowledge embraces all things, and his Tao is helpful to all under the sky; hence he falls into no error. He acts according to the exigency of circumstances without being carried away by heir current. He rejoices in heaven and knows its ordinations; and hence he has no anxieties. He rests in his own position and cherishes the spirit of generous benevolence; hence he can love without reserve.

IV - 4
Through the I, he comprehends as in a mould the transformations of heaven and earth without any error. By an ever-varying adaption he completes all things without exception; he penetrates to a knowledge of the Tao of day and night and all connected phenomena. It is thus that his operation is spiritlike, unconditioned by place, while the changes that he produces are not restricted to any form.


Chapter V - Tao and its relation to the dark and light force
V - 1
The successive movement of the passive and active operations constitutes the Tao.

V - 2
That which ensues as the result is good; that which shows it in its completeness is the nature of men and things.

V - 3
The benevolent see it and call it benevolence; the wise see it and call it wisdom. The common people, acting daily according to it, yet have no knowledge of it. Thus it is that the Tao as seen by the superior man, is seen by few.

V - 4
It is manifested in the benevolence of its operations, and then again it conceals and stores up its recources. It gives all things their stimulus, without having the same anxieties that possess the sage. Complete is its abundant virtue and the greatness of its stores.

V - 5
Its rich possessions is what is intended by 'the greatness of its stores'; the daily renovation which it produces is what is meant by 'the abundance of its virtue'.

V - 6
Production and reproduction is what is called Change.

V - 7
The formation of the semblances (astral forms) is attributed to Ch'ien; the giving to them their specific forms is attributed to K'un.

V - 8
The exhaustive use of the numbers and thereby knowing the character of coming events, is what we call prediction; the comprehension of the changes indicated, leads us to what we call the business to attend to.

V - 9
That which is unfathomable in Tao, is the Spirit.


Chapter VI - Application of Tao on the Book of Change
VI - 1
Yes, wide is the I and great! If we speak of it in its farthest reaching, no limit can be set to it; if we speak of it with reference to what is near at hand, it is still and correct; if we speak of it in connexion with all between heaven and earth, it embraces all.

VI - 2
There is Ch'ien. In its stillness it is self-absorbed; when exerting its motive power it goes straight forward; and thus its productive action is on a grand scale.
There is K'un. In its stillness it is self-collected and capacious; when exerting its motive power it develops its resources; and thus its productive action is on a wide scale.
VI - 3
In its breadth and greatness, the I corresponds to heaven and earth; in its ever-recurring changes, it corresponds to the four seasons; in its mention of the bright or active, and the dark or passive operation, it corresponds to the sun and moon; and the excellence seen in the ease and ready response of its various operations corresponds to the perfect operations of nature.


Chapter VII - The effects of the Book of Change on people
VII - 1
The master said: 'Is not the I a perfect book? It was by the I that the sages exalted their virtue and enlarged their space of occupation. Their wisdom was high, and their rules of conduct were solid. That loftiness was after the pattern of heaven; that solidity after the pattern of earth'.

VII - 2
Heaven and earth having their positions as assigned to them, the changes take place between them. The nature of man, having been completed and being continually preserved, is the gate to Tao and righteousness.


Chapter VIII - On the use of the appended explanations
VIII - 1
The sages were able to survey all the complex phenomena under the sky. They then considered in their minds how they could be figured; and by means of the hexagrams they represented their material forms and their character. Hence the hexagrams are denominated semblances. These were called the images.

VIII - 2
The later sages were able to survey the motive influences working all under the sky. They contemplated them in their common action and special nature, in order to bring out the standard and proper tendency of each. They then appended their explanation to each of the hexagrams, to determine the good and evil indicated by it. Hence the lines with their explanations are denominated imitations. These were called the judgements.
Note: the paragraphs 1 and 2 are literally repeated in: Section 1, Chapter XII-5.


VIII - 3
The hexagrams speak of the most complex phenomena under the sky, and yet there is nothing in them to awaken dislike. The explanations speak of the subtlest movements under the sky, and yet there is nothing in them to produce confusion.

VIII - 4
They considered what was said, before they spoke; they deliberated on what was said before they made a move. By such consideration and deliberation they were able to make all the changes they undertook successful.

VIII - 5
Hexagram 61: Chung Fu - Inner Truth, nine in the second place:
'Here hid, retired, cries out the crane; her young's responsive cry sounds there.
Of spirits good, I drain this cup; with thee a cup I'll freely share'.


The master said: 'The superior man occupies his appartment and sends forth his words. If they be good, they will be responded to at a distance of more than a thousand miles; how much more so in the nearer circle! He occupies his appartment and sends forth his words. If they be evil, they will awaken opposition at a distance of more than a thousand miles; how much more so in the nearer circle!
Words issue from one's person and proceed to affect people. Actions proceed from what is near and their effects are seen at a distance. Words and actions are the hinges and springs of the superior man. The movements of these hinges and springs determine glory or disgrace. His words and actions move heaven and earth; may he be careless in regard to them'?

VIII - 6
Hexagram 13: T'ung Jen - Companionship, nine in the fifth place:
'The union of men first cries out and weeps, and afterwards laughs'.


The master said, on this: 'The ways of good men different seem. This one in a public office toils; that one at home the time beguiles.
One man his lips with silence seals; another all his mind reveals.
But when two men are one in heart, not iron bolts keep them apart;
The words they in their union use, fragrance like orchids will diffuse'.

VIII - 7
Hexagram 28: Ta Kuo - Excess, bottom six:
'The first six shows its subject placing mats of the white mao grass beneath what he puts on the ground'.


The master said: 'To place the things on the ground might be considered sufficient, but when he places beneath them mats of the white grass, what occasion for blame can there be? Such a course shows the height of carefulness. The white grass is insignificant, but by the use made of it, it may become important. He who goes forward using such carefull art, will not fall into any error'.

VIII - 8
Hexagram 15: Ch'ien - Modesty, nine in the third place:
'A superior man toiling laboriously and yet humble! He will bring things to an end, and with good fortune'.


The master said, on this: 'He toils with success, but does not boast of it; he achieves merit, but takes no virtue to himself from it. This is the height of generous goodness, and speaks of the man who, with great merit, yet places himself below others. He wishes his virtue to be more and more complete, and his intercourse with others to be more and more respectful; he who is so humble, carrying his respectfulness to the utmost, will be able to preserve himself in his position.'

VIII - 9
Hexagram 1: Ch'ien - Creative Principle, top-most nine:
'The dragon beyond his proper haunts; there will be occasion for repentance'.


The master said, on this: 'He is noble, but is not in his correct place; he is on high, but there are no people to acknowledge him; there is a man of virtue and ability below, but he will not assist him. Hence whatever movement he may make will give occasion for repentance.'

VIII - 10
Hexagram 60: - Restraint, bottom nine:
Chien 'He does not quit the courtyard before his door; there will be no occasion for blame'.


The master said, on this: 'Where disorder arises, it will be found that speech was the stepping-stone to it. If a ruler does not keep secret his deliberations with his minister, he will lose that minister. If a minister does not keep secret his deliberations with his ruler, he will lose his life. If important matters in the germ be not kept secret, that will be injurious to their accomplishment. Therefore the superior man is careful to maintain secrecy, and does not allow himself to speak'.

VIII - 11
Hexagram 40: Hsieh - Deliverance, six in the third place:
'Showing a porter with his burden, yet riding in a carriage. He will only tempt robbers to attack him. However firm and correct he may try to be, there will be cause for regret'.


The master said: 'The makers of the I may be said to have known the philosophy of robbery. The I says: 'Here is a burden-bearer, and yet rides in a carriage, thereby exciting robbers to attack him'. Burden-bearing is the business of a small man. A carriage is the vehicle of a gentleman. When a small man rides in the vehicle of a gentleman, robbers will think of taking it from him. Insolent to those above him, and oppressive to those below, robbers will wish to attack him. Careless laying up of things excites to robbery as a woman's adorning herself excites to lust. What the I says about the burden-bearer's riding a carriage, and exciting robbers to attack him, shows how robbery is called out'.


Chapter IX - About the Oracle
IX - 1
To heaven belongs the number 1, to earth 2, to heaven 3, to earth 4, to heaven 5, to earth 6, to heaven 7, to earth 8, to heaven 9, to earth 10.

IX - 2
The numbers belonging to heaven are five, and those belonging to earth are also five. The numbers of these two series correspond to each other in their fixed positions, so that each has its mate. The heavenly numbers amount to 25, and the earthly to 30. The numbers of heaven and earth together amount to 55. It is by these that the changes and transformations are effected, and the spirit-like agencies kept in movement.
Note of the compiler: See in connexion with the paragraphs 1 and 2: Section 1, Chapter XI-8 and the 'Map & Writing'.

He T'u - Map of the Yellow River
Like the Primal Arrangement or the 'Arrangement of Early Heaven', the 'Map of the Yellow River' is attributed to the mythical sage Fu Hsi.

The water in the north derives from the 1 of heaven and the 6 of earth, the fire in the south from the 2 of earth and the 7 of heaven. The wood in the east derives from the 3 of heaven and the 8 of earth, the metal in the west from the 4 of earth and the 9 of heaven. The earth (surface, ground) in the center derives from the 5 of heaven and the 10 of earth (planet, heavenly body).

Lo Hsu - River Lo Writing
Here the numbers are rearranged into a 'magic square' and combined with the eight trigrams in the Inner World Arrangement or the 'Arrangement of Later Heaven', that is attributed to king Wen of Chou.

IX - 3
Note of the compiler: The paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 6, and also paragraph 3 of the next chapter, are about the 'yarrowstalk-method' of divination, a rather time-consuming process, unless it were implemented in the program. We've decided not to do so, because of the additional text needed to explain the method in detail, and its adding nothing significant to the coin-method.

The numbers of the Great Expansion make 50, of which only 49 are used in divination. The sticks are divided into two heaps to represent heaven and earth. One is then taken from the heap on the right and placed between the little finger of the left hand and the next, that there may thus be symbolized the three powers, heaven, earth and man. The heaps on both sides are manipulated by fours to represent the four seasons; and then the remainders are returned, and placed between the two middlefingers of the left hand, to represent the intercalary month. In five years there are two intercalations, and therefore there are two operations; and afterwards the whole process is repeated.

IX - 4
The numbers required for Ch'ien amount to 216, those for K'un to 144. Together they are 360, corresponding to the days of the year.

IX - 5
The number produced by the sticks in both parts amounts to 11520, corresponding to the number of the ten-thousand things.

IX - 6
Therefore by means of the four operations is the I completed. It takes 18 changes to form a hexagram.

IX - 7
The formation of the eight trigrams constitutes the small completion of the I.

IX - 8
If we led on the hexagrams and expanded them, if we prolonged each by the addition of yet another, then all events possible under the sky might have their representation.
Note of the compiler: Each divination produces two hexagrams, representing a transition governed by the mediator. Thus there are 64x64 or 4096 possible transitions, representing all under the sky.


IX - 9
The hexagrams and their appended explanations make manifest the ways of good and ill fortune and show virtuous actions in their spiritual relations. In this way, by consulting them, we may receive an answer to our doubts, and we may even by means of them assist the spiritual powers in their agency in nature and providence.

IX - 10
The master said: 'He who knows the method of change and transformation may be said to know the works of the gods'.


Chapter X - The fourfold use of the Book of Change
X - 1
In the I there are four things characteristic of the way of the sages. We should set the highest value on its judgements to guide our speaking; on its changes for the initiation of our movements; on its images for the construction of implements; and on its predictions for our practice of divination.

X - 2
Therefore, when a superior man is about to take action of a more private or of a public character, he asks the I, making his inquiry in words. It receives his order and the answer comes as an echo's response. Be the subject remote or near, mysterious or deep, he forthwith knows of what kind will be the coming result. If the I were not the most exquisite thing under heaven, would it be able to perform such an operation as this?

X - 3
The sticks are manipulated by threes and fives to determine one change; they are laid on opposite sides, and placed one up, one down, to make sure of their numbers; and the changes are gone through with this way till they form the figures pertaining to heaven and earth. Their numbers are exactly determined and the images of all things under the sky are fixed (i.e. the 4096 transitions). If the I were not the thing most capable of change of all things under heaven, how could it effect such a result as this?

X - 4
In the I there is no thought and no action. It is still and without movement; but, when acted on, it penetrates forthwith to all phenomena and events under the sky. If it were not the most spirit-like thing under the sky, how could it be found doing this?

X - 5
The operations forming the I are the method by which the sages searched out exhaustively what was deep, and investigated the minutest springs of things.

X - 6
Those operations searched out what was deep: therefore they could penetrate to the views of all under the sky. They made apparent the minutest springs of things: therefore the could bring to a completion all undertakings under the sky. Their action was spirit-like: therefore they could make speed without hurry and reach their destination without travelling.

X - 7
This is the import of what the master said, that 'In the I there are four things indicating the way of the sages'.


Chapter XI - On yarrowstalks, signs and lines
XI - 1
The master said: 'What is it, that the I does? The I opens up things, accomplishes the undertakings of men, and embraces the ways of all things under the sky. This and nothing more is what the I does. Thereby the sages, through it, would give their proper course to the aims of all under the sky, would give stability to their undertakings, and determine their doubts'.

XI - 2
Therefore the virtue of the stalks is versatile and spirit-like; that of the hexagrams is exact and wise; and the meaning given by the six lines is changeful to give the proper information to men. The sages having, by their possession of these three virtues, cleansed their minds, retired and laid them up in the secrecy of their conciousness. But their symphaties were with the people in regard both to their good fortune and evil. By their spirit-like ability they knew the character of coming events, and their wisdom had stored up all experiences of the past. Who could be able to accomplish all this? Only the ancient sages, quick in apprehension and clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence and all-embracing knowledge, and with a majesty, going spirit-like to its objects: it was only they who could do so.

XI - 3
Therefore, fully understanding the Tao of heaven and having clearly ascertained the experience of the people, the sages instituted these spirit-like things as a provision for the use of the people. The sages went about the emploment of them by purifying their hearts and with reverent caution, thereby giving spirituality and intelligence to their virtue.

XI - 4
Thus the closing of a door may be pronounced analogous to K'un, and the opening of it to Ch'ien. The transition in between may be called a change; and the continuous passing of one state to the other may be called the constant course of things. The first appearence of anything is what we call an image; when it has received its complete form, we call it a definite thing. The divining-plant having been produced, the sages set it apart and laid down the method of divination: that we call the laws of divination. The advantage arising from it in external and internal matters, so that the people all use it, stamps it with a character we call spirit-like.

XI - 5
Therefore in the I there is the Grand Extreme, which produced the two elementary Forces. Those two Forces produced the four images, which in turn produced the eight trigrams.
Note of the compiler: Legge also gives 'Grand Terminus' as a translation of 'T'ai Chi'. Wilhelm gives 'First Beginning'. Neither, of course, were familiar with the concept of the Big Bang at the beginning of our Universe.


XI - 6
The eight trigrams served to determine the good and evil issues of events, and from this determination was produced the successful prosecution of the great business of life.

XI - 7
Therefore of all things that furnish models and visible figures, there are none greater than heaven and earth; of things that change and extend an influence, there are none greater than the four seasons; of things suspended in the sky with their images displayed clear and bright, there are none greater than the sun and moon; of the honoured and exalted there are none greater than he who is the rich and noble one; in preparing things for practical use, and inventing and making instruments for the benefit of all, there are none greater than the sages; to explore what is complex, search out what is hidden, to hook up what lies deep and reach what is distant, thereby determining the issues for good or ill of all events, and completing all men's strenuous endeavours under heaven, there are none greater than the I.

XI - 8
Therefore heaven produced the spirit-like things, and the sages took advantage of them. Heaven and earth are marked by changes and transformations, and the sages imitated them. Heaven hangs out its figures from which are seen good fortune and bad, and the sages made their images accordingly. The Ho gave forth the Map and the Lo the Writing, of both of which the sages took advantage.
Note of the compiler: The last sentence is an addition of a later date. Reference is made to two legendary occurrences at the times of Fu Hsi and YĆ¼ (founder of the first dynasty of China, the Hsia-dynasty, which is said to have lasted from 2205 to 1766 BC). The Map is He T'u, or 'Map of the Yellow River'. The Writing is Lo Hsu, or 'River Lo Writing'.
See also: Section 1, Chapter IX-1,2


XI - 9
In the I there are images to inform men; the explanations appended to them convey the significance of the hexagrams and lines; there are determinations as fortunate or the reverse to settle the doubts of men.


Chapter XII - Summary
XII - 1
It is said in the I: 'Help is given to him from heaven. There will be good fortune; advantage in every respect'. The master said: 'Yu is the symbol of assisting. He whom heaven assists is observant of what is right; he whom men assist is sincere. The individual here indicated treads the path of sincerity, desires to be observant, and studies to exalt the worthy. Hence 'Help is given to him from heaven. There will be good fortune; advantage in every respect''.
See also: Section 1, Chapter II-6, of which this is an elaboration, and Section 2, Chapter II-5.

XII - 2
The master said: 'The written characters are not the full exponent of speech, and speech is not the full expression of ideas; -- is it impossible then to discover the ideas of the sages'?.
The master said: 'The sages made their images to set forth fully their ideas; appointed all the hexagrams to show fully the truth and falsehood of things; appended their explanations to give the full expression of their words, and changed and made general the method of doing so, to exhibit fully what was advantageous. They thus stimulated the people as by drums and dances, thereby completely developing the spirit-like character of the I'.

XII - 3
May we not say that Ch'ien and K'un are the secret and substance of the I? Ch'ien and K'un being established, the system of changes was thereby constituted. If Ch'ien and K'un were taken away, there would be no means of seeing that system; and if no changes were seen, Ch'ien and K'un would almost cease to exist.

XII - 4
Hence that which is antecedent to material form, we call Tao; that which is subsequent to material form, we call a definite thing.
Transformation and shaping is what we call change; carrying this out and operating with it, is what we call generalizing the method; taking the result and setting it forth for all the people under heaven is what we call the business of life.

XII - 5
Hence, to speak of the images: the sages were able to survey all the complex phenomena under the sky. They then considered in their minds how they could be figured; and by means of the hexagrams they represented their material forms and their character. Hence the hexagrams are denominared semblances. These were called the images. The later sages were able to survey the motive influences working all under the sky. They contemplated them in their common action and special nature, in order to bring out the standard and proper tendency of each. They then appended their explanation to each of the hexagrams, to determine the good and evil indicated by it. Hence the lines with their explanations are denominated imitations. These were called the judgements.
Note: This is a literal repetition of: Section 1, Chapter VIII-1,2.

XII - 6
The most thorough mastery of all the complex phenomena under the sky is obtained from the hexagrams. The greatest stimulus to movement in adaption to all affairs under the sky is obtained from the judgements.

XII - 7
The transformation and shaping that take place are obtained from the changes of the lines; the carrying this out and operating with it is obtained from the general method. The seeing their spirit-like intimations and understanding them, depended on their being the proper men; and their completing them by silent meditation, and securing the faith of others without the use of words, depended on their virtuous conduct.