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 magics.
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 12 (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 Beginning. On Earth, it denotes east in directions, spring in four seasons, and benevolence in virtues.
Even yang expands, yin contracts. 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 propriety 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 virtue.
A new cycle starts at the end of the old yin. The endless regeneration of this cycle is called the:
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 drawing below depicts the changes of Heaven, Earth, and all beings within, represented by the eight trigrams.
The eight trigrams have two orders: Xian-tien Order and Hou-tien Order. 10 The great Saint Fu-xi observed natural phenomena of Heaven and Earth, and noted his observations as the:
Qian (Heaven), and kun (Earth) determine top and bottom, and hence the axis.
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. From his observations he induced:
This order is based on water (kan) and fire (li) and is the manifestation of the order of mutual suppression among the five fundamental elements; It shows that the cultivation of the world is based on matters.
Substituting Qian and kun by kan and li, the Hou-tien Order 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 the 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 destination all become clear.
The road of which souls and bodies travel now becomes obvious.
2 thoughts on “5. I Ching first states Qian, Beginning, Cultivation, Reward, and Perseverance. What does it mean?”
I’ve studied Western philosophy for 3o years and have a hard time finding information on the Taoist first principles and how they correlate to Western esotericism.
You cans see in the glyphs for Western Elements how they correspond to Taoist bigrams:
🜂 🜁 🜃 🜄
⚌ ⚍ ⚎ ⚏
However, the names are not the same. It looks like from your diagram of the Wu-ji emanating the 10,000 things uses the Western concepts for Spirit/Fire 🜂 and Pschye/Water 🜄 but calls them Heaven and Earth.
Can you help enlighten me on these matters?
Hi, Caleb Grayson.
First, I have to apologize because my knowledge of Western philosophy was superficial. As such, I am not able to correlate it with I-Ching or Yi Jing. The same goes to the Indian philosophy. They are broad and unfathomable even though on the surface all these philosophies have similarities.
The same goes to the topic of I-Ching. It is vast, and its interpretations and forecasting depend on the readers. Some of them are so good that I am amazed at their knowledge. But they are more to the study of Chinese Metaphysics.
As for the spiritual side, it’s beyond me. As I said, I am still learning. You are not wrong when you correlate Wu-ji to Heaven. However, just the word ‘Heaven’ itself have different levels of interpretation in Eastern philosophy, which are deep and vast. I was once told not to be limit by words and its interpretations; try to look at the ‘big picture’. I’m still trying to understand and realize that. Sometimes, I find it helpful to simplify things.
Thank you for your question but in these matters, I am not able to help.