(8 pages total)
Page 6 - The Eight Trigrams of the I-Ching (Yijing)
In accordance with these concepts, the Later Heaven arrangement of the trigrams shows a self-generating cyclic movement while the Early Heaven arrangement indicates the interaction of the polar forces which actually bring about creation. It is said that knowing how to relate and work with these two trigram arrangements when practicing Chinese Ch'i Kung (Qigong) or Internal Martial Arts will lead to internal restoration and completion of one's ch'i (Qi). Knowing how to preserve Early Heaven energy (the body's innate energy) and cultivate pure Later Heaven energy (energy derived from food and air) in the body are key aspects in maintenance of health through Chinese Ch'i Kung or Internal Martial Arts practice.
The Fu Hsi Arrangement
The Fu Hsi or Early Heaven arrangement of the trigrams is said to have existed prior to the Book of Changes. The trigrams themselves are formed by combining the Yang-I and Yin-I as shown in the illustration below. Study of this progressive combinatory sequence will reveal that the Szu-Hsiang are formed by duplicating two sets of the Liang-I and adding the Yang-I under the first set, and the Yin-I under the second set (the first set being the set on the left).
Similarly, the Pa Kua are formed by duplicating two sets of the Szu-Hsaing and adding the Yang-I to the bottom of the first set and the Yin-I to the bottom of the second set. In the Early Heaven arrangement of the trigrams, the first set of four trigrams occupy the left side of the circle, running from top to bottom, and the second set occupy the right side of the circle, also running from top to bottom. The four trigrams on the left pertain to Heaven, are creative and move upward. The four on the right pertain Earth, are receptive and move downward.
The Early Heaven arrangement is based on a balance of opposing forces representing a primordial order rooted in stillness and reaching beyond space and time parameters. The eight universal forces represented by these trigrams are balanced axially and the diagram of Fu Hsi is read along these four axes.
At the ends of the vertical axis are the trigrams representative of Heaven and Earth (Ch'ien and K'un respectively) and thus extreme yin and extreme yang balance the polar (positive and negative) positions of this diagram. At the ends of the horizontal axis are the trigrams representative of fire and water (Li and K'an respectively). Fire is positioned in the East (South is at the top) and moves upward, thus representing the rising of the sun. Water is positioned in the West and moves downward, representing the setting of the sun and darkness of night. These four trigrams make up the Szu-Cheng (four sides) of the Fu Hsi arrangement.
The Szu-Yu (four corners) of the Fu Hsi diagram are composed of the trigrams Sun, Chen, Tui, and Ken. To the right of the Heaven trigram (Southwest) we find the trigram Sun. Sun is one of the Earthly trigrams and represents the Wind (the Gentle). This trigram is balanced with the Chen (Thunder) trigram positioned in the Northeast. Thunder is seen as a dynamic force, a sudden spark of energy, with the ability to arouse and stimulate. Wind (also related to the Wood element) balances this force with a gentle, receptive nature. In the Southeast we find the Tui (Lake) trigram symbolizing joyfulness, transparency, and lightness. This trigram is balance in the Northwest by the trigram Ken (Mountain) which represents steadfastness, resistance, and solidity.
In accordance with the concept of "Early Heaven," the Fu Hsi arrangement, with its polar opposites placed in axial positions around the circle, represents the innate, primal, time-independent forces. This symbol can thus be interpreted as representing the perfect balance we imagine existing prior to the conception of life, the complete stillness prior to initiation of movement, and the void which exists beyond space/time parameters.
In his commentary on the I-Ching, Confucius said: "Water and Fire compensate each other, Thunder and Wind do not disturb each other, Mountain and Lake are dependent of each other; Thus only change and transformation become possible, and all things become complete."
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