EIGHTH WING OF THE I CHING
CHINESE "BOOK OF CHANGE"
It is interesting to compare the Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah) with various aspects of the eighth and oldest wing of the Chinese Book of Change (I Ching), called the Shuo Qua. For instance, one can superimpose the circular version of the flat Tree of Life diagram from the Book of Formation (see Figure) directly over the "Before-the-World Sequence" produced from verses of the Shuo Kua (see Figure). In the Book of Formation, the Sefiroth are created in pairs. The phrase "balancing of weight" in the first verse of the Book of THAT Which is Concealed (Sifra Detzniyutha) alludes this to. In the Shuo Kua, the three-lined Trigrams are also created in pairs. Earlier, we identified the three columns of the flat, vertical version of the qabalistic Tree, with a middle column balancing two polarized side columns. One could similarly identify three columns in the Shuo Qua Tree. In the Book of Formation, the Central Column manifests between the Sefiroth Above or Height and Below or Abyss. In the Before-the-World Sequence, the same Central Column manifests between the Trigrams Heaven and Earth. The polarized side columns on the qabalistic Tree are referred to as "male" (right) and "female" (left), and reflect a descent from the supernal World of Emanation (Atziluth) to the material creation of the World of Making (Asiyah). In the Shuo Qua Tree, the two side columns are likewise polarized, reflecting the separation and changing differentiation of the pre-celestial yang (right) and yin (left) in the descent from the most yang condition of Vast Face in Trigram Heaven to the most yin condition of Small Face in Trigram Earth.
The Trigrams explicated in the Shuo Kua are eight permutations of yang (Vast Face) and yin (Small Face) lines in sets of three. In the I Ching, the Trigrams are variously combined to produce sixty-four different sets of six lines, called Hexagrams. The Trigrams can also be correlated respectively with six of the Hebrew Double Letters plus the two Mother Letters Mem (Water) and Shin (Fire). Each of the Hexagrams can thus be correlated to a combination of two of the eight Hebrew letters.
In the I Ching, the Fallen Tree finds its counterpart in the "After-the-World Sequence" (see Figure). The After-the-World Sequence is of particular significance to Taoist internal alchemy. In this context, the Taoist Tree alludes to a transformation of consciousness. The qabalistic Tree becomes a Fallen Tree when the Sefirah Knowledge/First in the throat center ostensibly "falls" and becomes the Sefirah Kingdom in the anal center. The qabalistic Tree once again becomes a Tree of Perfection in human consciousness when Kingdom returns to its original position in Knowledge/First and the entire Creation is seen as a Unity in Small Face in the Mind of Vast Face. In the Taoist Tree, when the world manifests, the Trigrams rotate and assume different positions, with Fire moving into the position formerly occupied by Heaven, and Water moving into the position formerly occupied by Earth.
Translation of the Shuo Kua
"DISCUSSION OF THE TRIGRAMS"
In ancient times the holy sages made the Book of Change thus:
- They invented the yarrow-stalk oracle in order to lend aid in a mysterious way to the light of the Gods. To heaven they assigned the number three and to Earth the number two; from these they computed the other numbers.
- They contemplated the changes in the dark and the light and established the hexagrams in accordance with them. They brought about movements in the firm and the yielding, and thus produced the individual lines.
- They put themselves in accord with Tao and its power, and in conformity with this laid down the order of what is right. By thinking through the order of the outer world to the end, and by exploring the law of their nature to the deepest core, they arrived at an understanding of fate.
In ancient times the holy sages made the Book of Changes thus:
- Their purpose was to follow the order of their nature and of fate.
- Therefore they determined the Tao of heaven and called it the dark and the light.
- They determined the Tao of the Earth and called it the yielding and the firm.
- They determined the Tao of Man and called it love and rectitude.
- They combined these three fundamental powers and doubled them;
therefore in the Book of Change, six lines always form a sign.
The places are divided into the dark and the light.
The yielding and the firm occupy these by turns.
Therefore the Book of Change has six places,
which constitute the linear figures.
Heaven and Earth determine the direction
The forces of mountain and lake are united.
Thunder and wind arouse each other.
Water and fire do not combat each other.
Thus are the eight Trigrams intermingled.
Counting that which is going into the past depends on the forward movement.
Knowing that which is to come depends on the backward movement.
This is why the Book of Change has backward-moving numbers.
God comes forth in the sign of the Arousing,
He brings all things to completion in the sign of the Gentle:
He causes creatures to perceive one another in the sign of the Clinging;
He causes them to serve one another in the sign of the Receptive;
He gives them joy in the sign of the Joyous;
He battles in the sign of the Creative;
He toils in the sign of the Abysmal;
He brings them to perfection in the sign of Keeping Still.
All living things come forth in the sign of the Arousing.
The Arousing stands in the east.
They come to completion in the sign of the Gentle.
The Gentle stands in the southeast.
Completion means that all creatures become pure and perfect.
The Clinging is the brightness in which all creatures perceive one another. It is the Trigram of the south. That the holy sages turned their faces to the south while they gave ear to the meaning of the universe means that in ruling they turned toward what is light. This they evidently took from this Trigram.
The Receptive means the Earth. It takes care that all creatures are nourished.
Therefore it is said: "He causes them to serve one another in the sign of the Receptive."
The Joyous is mid autumn, which rejoices all creatures.
Therefore it is said: "He gives them joy in the sign of the Joyous."
He battles in the sign of the Creative.
The Creative is the Trigram of toil, to which all creatures are subject.
Therefore it is said; "He toils in the sign of the Abysmal."
Keeping Still is the Trigram of the northeast,
where beginning and end of all creatures are completed.
Therefore it is said: "He brings them to perfection in the sign of Keeping Still."
The spirit is mysterious in all living things and works through them.
Of all the forces that move things, there is none swifter than Thunder.
Of all the forces that bend things, there is none swifter than the Wind.
Of all forces that warm things, there is none more drying than Fire.
Of all forces that give joy to things, there is none more gladdening than the Lake.
Of all the forces that moisten things, there is none moister than Water.
Of all the forces that end and begin things, there is none
more glorious than Keeping Still.
Therefore: Water and fire complement each other,
Thunder and Wind do not interfere with each other,
and the forces of Mountain and Lake are united in their action.
Thus only are change and transformation possible, and thus only
can all things come to perfection.
The Creative is strong.
The Receptive is yielding.
The Arousing means movement.
The Gentle is penetrating.
The Abysmal is dangerous.
The Clinging means dependence.
Keeping Still means standstill.
The Joyous means pleasure.
The Creative acts in the horse,
the Receptive in the cow,
the Arousing in the dragon,
the Gentle in the cock,
the Abysmal in the pig,
the Clinging in the pheasant,
Keeping Still in the dog,
the Joyous in the sheep.
The Creative manifests itself in the head,
the Receptive in the belly,
the Arousing in the foot,
the Gentle in the thighs,
the Abysmal in the ear,
the Clinging in the eye,
Keeping Still in the hand,
the Joyous in the mouth.
The Creative is heaven, therefore, it is called the father.
The Receptive is the earth, therefore, it is called the mother.
In the Trigram of the Arousing, she seeks for the first time the power of the male and receives a son. Therefore, the Arousing is called the Eldest Son.
In the Trigram of the Gentle the male seeks for the first time the power of the female and receives a daughter. Therefore, the Gentle is called the Eldest Daughter.
In the Trigram of the Abysmal she seeks for a second time and receives a son. Therefore, it is called the Middle Son.
In the Trigram of the Clinging he seeks for a second time and receives a daughter. Therefore, it is called the Middle Daughter.
In the Trigram of Keeping Still she seeks for a third time and receives a son. Therefore, it is called the Youngest Son.
In the Trigram of the Joyous he seeks for a third time and receives a daughter. Therefore, it is called the Third Daughter.
The Creative is heaven. It is round, it is the prince, the father, jade, metal, cold, ice; it is deep red, a good horse, an old horse, a lean horse, a wild horse, tree fruit (straight, dragon, upper garment, word).
The Receptive is the earth, the mother. It is cloth, a kettle, frugality; it is level, it is a cow with a calf, a large wagon, form, the multitude, a shaft. Among the various kinds of soil, it is the black.
The Arousing is thunder, the dragon. It is dark yellow, it is a spreading out, a great road, the eldest son. It is decisive and vehement; it is bamboo that is green and young, it is reed and rush.
Among horses it signifies those which can neigh well, those with white hind legs, those which gallop, those with a star on the forehead.
Among useful plants are the pod-bearing ones. Finally it is the strong, that which grows luxuriantly.
The Gentle is wood, wind, the eldest daughter, the guideline, work; it is the white, the long, the high; it is advance and retreat, the undecided, odor.
Among men it means the gray-haired; it means those with broad foreheads;
it means those with much white in their eyes; it means those close to gain, so that in the market they get threefold value. Finally it is the sign of vehemence.
The Abysmal is water, ditches, ambush, bending and straightening out, bow and wheel.
Among men it means the melancholy, those with sick hearts, those with earache.
It is the blood sign, it is red.
Among horses it means those with beautiful backs, those with wild courage, those which let their heads hang, those with thin hoofs, those which stumble.
Among chariots it means those with many defects.
It is penetration, the moon. It means thieves.
Among varieties of wood it means those which are firm and have much pith.
The Clinging is fire, the sun, lightning, and the middle daughter.
It means coats of mail and helmets; it means lances and weapons.
Among men it means the big-bellied.
It is the sign of dryness. It means the tortoise, the crab,
the snail, the mussell, and the hawksbill tortoise.
Among trees it means those which dry out in the upper part of the trunk.
Keeping Still is the mountain; it is a by-path; it means little stones, doors and openings, fruits and seeds, eunuchs and watchmen, the fingers; it is the dog, the rat, and the various kinds of black-billed birds.
Among trees it means those which are firm and gnarled.
The Joyous is the lake, the youngest daughter; it is a sorceress, it is mouth and tongue. It means smashing and breaking apart; it means dropping off and bursting open. Among the kinds of soil it is the hard and salty. It is the concubine. It is the sheep.
End of the SHUO KUA