I Ching first states Qian, Beginning, Cultivation,
Reward, and Perseverance. What does it mean?
I Ching is the oldest oracle that details the fundamentals of
the creation of the cosmos. Its content is vast and profound.
It is the source of all enchantments and magic. It first states
“Qian, Beginning, Cultivation, Reward, and Perseverance.”
Qian has the great might of creation. All things owe their
existence to Qian. It represents Tao in the cosmos and the
True Self in human. “Beginning,” the utmost benevolence,
is the beginning of the cosmos. “Cultivation,” the utmost
perfection, symbolizes the prosperity of beings in the cosmos.
“Reward,” the mysticism of the Truth, indicates that all things
and beings are at proper places and in harmony. “Perseverance,”
the root of all substances and matters, represents that all beings
following the everlasting Tao.
The Xi section of I Ching states that the origin of I is Tai-ji
(the Great Primal Beginning). Tai-ji produces the two primary
forces yin and yang. The two primary forces generate the four
images: young yang, old yang, young yin, and old yin. The
four images generate the eight trigrams. The eight trigrams
symbolize Heaven, Earth, and all phenomena within. The
eternal opposition and changes between yin and yang is Tao.
The interactions between yang and yin reveal the five fundamental
elements – water, wood, fire, earth and metal. The Qi of these five
fundamental elements circulates to produce the sequential changes
of the four seasons. When yin settles to the ultimate quiescence, it
starts to transform into yang, and this is young yang. In Heaven,
this is the Beginning. On Earth, it denotes east in direction, spring
in four seasons, and benevolence in virtues. When yang expands
yin will contract. When yin totally vanishes, it is old yang. In
Heaven, this is Cultivation. On Earth, it denotes south in directions,
summer in four seasons, and prosperity in virtues. When yang
expands to its maximum and exhausts itself, yin evolves, and
this is young yin. In Heaven, this is Reward. On Earth, it denotes
west in directions, autumn in four seasons and justice in virtues.
Yin distends continuously until yang totally vanishes, and this is
old yin. In Heaven, it is Perseverance. On Earth, it denotes north
in directions, winter in four seasons, and wisdom in virtues. A new
cycle starts at the end of the old yin. The endless regeneration of this
cycle is called Tao of Heaven and Earth.
Each of the eight trigrams is made up of three symbols. Each
symbol is either yang or yin. Yang represents firm and yin yielding.
The eight trigrams represent the interactions between yin and yang,
and are explained as follows:
The eight trigrams have two orders: Xian-tien Order and Hou-tien
Order. The great Saint Fu-xi observed natural phenomena of Heaven
and Earth, and noted his observations as the Xian-tien Order. Qian
(Heaven), and Kun (Earth) determine top and bottom, and hence
The sun and the moon revolve around the axis from east to west.
Mountains and lakes situate accordingly, with thunder and wind
permeating in between. This order symbolizes that the creation of
the universe is based on the spiritual energy. It shows the order of
mutual stimulation among the five fundamental elements, the growth
aspect of the law of nature. This is the Tao of Heaven, the essence of
the eight trigrams.
Saint King Wen observed that all changes and natural phenomena were
based on yin and yang. He saw that as the human mind progressed and
the spiritual forces changed, the society became more and more
complicated. He induced Hou-tien Order from his observations. This
order is based on water (
order of mutual suppression among the five fundamental elements.
It shows that the cultivation of the world is based on matters.
and kun by
symbolizes all changes of phenomena, spiritual forces and fate,
and matters on Earth. Hou-tien Order is the Tao of mankind and
the manifestation of the eight trigrams.
Only by comparing the two orders can one know the origin of
all changes and phenomena, and the difference between Tao of
Heaven and the Tao of mankind. Xian-tien Order shows the origin
and Hou-tien Order the manifestation. Hou-tien Order shows the
way and Xian-tien Order the destination. When Hou-tien Order is
correlated with Xian-tien Order, the beginning, the end, the origin,
and the destruction all become clear. The road of which souls and
bodies travel now becomes obvious. These two orders together show
the path of returning to God’s Kingdom.