For over 3,000 years, the Chinese have placed great value on the I Ching, turning to it for guidance and insight regarding past, present, and future events. For over a decade, researcher Robert Benson worked towards making the English text of this book easier to understand and appreciate. The result is an I Ching that stands alone, providing answers for anyone facing a time of personal crisis.
Methods—How to Use the I Ching
History—How the I Ching Came to Be
Theory—Understanding the I Ching
The Hexagrams With Interpretive Text
Traditional Hexagram Lookup
Alternative Hexagram Lookup
Hexagrams in Number Order
Hexagrams in Line Order
The I Ching (pronounced ee-jing) is one of the oldest written documents. It is called a “book of divination,” or fortunetelling, but it is also an expression of ideas that became incorporated into the important philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism in ancient China. The I Ching has been fundamental to Chinese culture for more than two thousand years, and now its influence is spreading into the Western world.
Some of the I Ching’s concepts, for instance yin and yang, are comparatively well known in the West. According to this idea, all things in the universe can be classified by their nature into one of two complementary qualities. Female is yin and male is yang; winter is yin and summer is yang; home is yin and workplace is yang, and so on. The I Ching incorporates other principles, particularly with regard to the nature of change, which you will come to understand as you read this book.
The I Ching text is divided into sixty-four major sections, each of which describes an important concept. Each of these sections also has a corresponding unique six-line figure called a hexagram. When you “consult the oracle” to determine what prediction applies to your question, you are generating hexagrams to look up in the book.
Chapter 1 explains how to use the I Ching. That is, both how to create your own predictions, and how to use this book. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the history of the I Ching. It has a surprisingly complex past, and knowing this will enrich your use of it. Chapter 3 explores the theory behind the I Ching. What are its guiding principles? What do the different hexagram lines mean? These and other questions are addressed.
The I Ching text follows the three introductory chapters. Each major section of the text has a general meaning described below the hexagram title, and following that, subparts contain specific meanings for variations within the general concept. In this book, all the subparts are clearly numbered to keep things neatly in place, and cross-references to other hexagrams are shown so internal conceptual links can be seen.
The I Ching is an amazingly valuable tool when used properly. This book gives you the tools you will need to use it successfully. The I Ching will give you a new way to understand your life, as well as give you new perspectives on life in general.