There are 2 things to learn
- The description of the hexagram and its six-lines or 6-stages description and then deriving the principle.
- The interaction and progression of one hexagram to another.
serial-no, Chinese Character, literal translation, synonyms, principle teaching
Let take an example,
41損 Decrease - Give, Invest, harming oneself to benefit others （損己利人）
The serial-no or sequence is 41. (so that you can easily look up other translations for its meaning)
The Chinese Character is 損
The Literal Translation is "Decrease", also means "harm"
The Dynamic, real meaning translation, is Give or Invest.
The Principle Teaching is harming oneself to benefit others.
We will discuss 41 損 Decrease hexagram in details in future. But I intentionally use this hexagram to illustrate an interesting point. The literal translation of the Chinese word is not a very good interpretation of the meaning. (There are many others literal translations that are ok, but I want you note that quite frequently, the literal translation is not good enough). Just reading the literal translation without going into the details will result in misinterpretation of Ji Ying. This is a common mistake of beginners. If we just read 41 as decrease or harm, we may be quick to jump to the conclusion that Yi Jing is teaching us to harm others to benefits ourselves. But the real teaching is the very opposite! It is teaching us to sow first into others and reap the benefits later. This sowing and reaping principle should be quite familiar to Christians. Hence, I prefer to use the word "Give or Invest" in place of "Decrease or Harm" or at least I will quality decrease with give or invest. So you will find my translation a bit different from other books but it is more meaningful ( I hope. If not, let me know).
Start with the First 2
Ok, back to where do we start from? It is usually recommended that one starts with the first 2 hexagrams - 1乾 Heaven and 2坤 Earth. These two are the foundational hexagrams that interact to give rise to the rest. This is the yang (1 Heaven, Father-Creative Force, Energy, invisible) and the yin (2 Earth, Mother-receptive, materials, visible).
There are those who group them. For example,
- to know how to have great blessings 元吉, learn these 4 hexagrams:
- 10履 Walk - Right conduct
- 41損 Decrease - Give
- 48井 The Well - Sharing
- 50鼎 Cauldron - Authority & Talents Management.
- 5需 Wanting - wait
- 13同人 Same Hearts
- 18蠱 Worm - In-fighting, Decay
- 26 大畜 Large Accumulation – Restraining Power
- 27 頤 Cheek – Nourishment & Self-Reliance 上九：由颐，厉吉，利涉大川。
- 42益 Overflowing Increase
- 59渙 Dispersion
- 61中孚 Integrity
- 64 未济 Uncompleted – Finish it Wisely & Boldly 六三：未济，征凶，利涉大川。
For me, I suggest the following grouping based on the growth life-cycle. It has 7 stages of growth from 1-starting, 2-Growth, 3-Impedance (or Blockage), 4-Breaking Fee, 5-Peek Success, 6-Decline and 7 Renewal. These 7 stages are to build on the 0-Foundational Personal Character and 8-Partnership for group success. Hopefully, this classification allows one to easily recognize the current situation and look for the corresponding hexagram to understand the needed principle for application.
Here is the mind-map of the Life-Cycle Yi Jing Taxonomy:
We shall cover the first two hexagram in future postings and then do a S-Curve or Bell-Curve with the first set hexagram that covers the curves. You may find following the S-Curve or Bell-Curve as a more fruitful way of applying the hexagram principles.