I Ching and Me
  by Steve Karol
Steve Karol Consultants

The I Ching is one of the most valuable books to ever be produced on Earth. Sherrill and Chu say that "For the Chinese, the I Ching is the equivalent of the Bible. No other book pervades the lives of the people in the same way."*

This article assumes that the reader has a basic knowledge of the I Ching, and has studied the hexagrams enough to be familiar with their meanings and references. There are many translations of this book available, and you must find the one that you agree with and that seems to be the best for you.

The method that I have developed for myself comes from an ancient book, MEI HUA SIN I or The Plum Flower Mind I Ching and has proven itself to me many times, and while I sometimes use the other traditional methods for divination, I use this one the most anymore.

I discovered it in Jou, Tsung Hwa's book The Tao of I Ching: Way to Divination, (1984, Tai Chi Foundation, Taiwan). Shao Yung (c. AD 1020-1070) is a famous sage in Chinese History, who was given The Plum Flower Mind I Ching by its author's grandson who was told that on a certain day, month, and year, at a certain time, a person will come to visit, and he should give that person the book.

There were two methods of divination in the book that Shao received-- the way I use the I Ching is based on the Hsien Tien (Earlier Heaven) Method. This method does not require any coins or sticks-- Only yourself, your intuition, some math skills and an accurate watch or nearby clock. Intuition is the most important ingredient, and along with it, the ability focus your mind. If your Intuition and Focus are not developed enough, this method is useless to you.

Have you ever had the feeling that someone was watching you, and happen to look up and indeed, you were right? Possibly you started thinking about someone, and your phone rang with them calling you, or maybe they showed up unexpectedly for a visit! These are two of the most commonly shared forms of Intuition (ESP) among people everywhere, and you need to remember the "feeling" that you get when an event like this occurs. This "feeling" is from your Intuition, and Spiritual Contact will manafest itself with this same "feeling" when you develop this Intuition.

We all have worries, concerns, or questions about certain events that are taking place, or about to take place, in our lives. The I Ching was developed to help us receive answers to these questions and concerns and to help us achieve Self Mastery of Fate. It is a wonderful guide for the right actions or non-actions to take at the right times. I can honestly say that it has never let me down. Sometimes the answer is not what I had hoped for, but it is the truth.

The first step in my way of using the Hsien Tien method, is to formulate your question. I find that "How" and "What" questions work the best (How should I approach ________? What should I do about ______? How will _________ affect me? What will happen if _________?). You want to concentrate on this question and keep it in the back of your mind (this is the focus part) as you go about your daily activities.

Sooner or later, in the middle of whatever you happen to be doing, your Intuition will generate the "feeling". For me it appears as a shiver down my spine, for others "a weird vibe," but it is "the feeling". Generally for me, my question will pop into my head at this moment, or I will just know that this moment in time has the answer to my question. This is where the math comes in...

You need to write down or remember the hour and date that you received your "answer". The more accurate your watch or clock is the better-- the accuracy is only important if the time is very close to the hour, however, as any in-between times are written as the hour itself. The number for the time is from 1 to 24 and you must use the Standard Time for wherever you are at-- not Daylight Savings Time.

The day and month for the Western Calender are simply what day of the month it happens on, and the Western Month Number from 1 to 12. To get the number for the year, you must divide the year by 12 and use the remainder which will be a number from 1 to 11. If there is no remainder, you use 12 for the year's number.

So, if I use July 2, 1999 for an example it will translate as 7 for the month, 2 for the day, and 7 for the year. If this happened at 1:17 PM this would translate to the number 13, HOWEVER, I am on Daylight Savings Time, so the correct Standard Time number is 12...

The top trigram in a hexagram is called the Outer Trigram, and the bottom trigram is called the Inner Trigram. To get the number for the Outer Trigram, you must add together the numbers for the Month, Day, and Year and divide the sum by 8. The remainder will be a number from 1 to 7. If there is no remainder, the Outer Trigram Number is 8.

To get the number for the Inner Trigram, you add the numbers for the Month, Day, Year, and Hour together and divide the sum by 8. The remainder will be a number from 1 to 7. If there is no remainder, the Inner Trigram Number is 8.

The lines in trigrams and hexagrams are called yaos. There is always one moving yao that changes to its opposite (yin to yang or yang to yin, broken line to solid line, or solid line to broken line). To get the number for the Moving Yao in your hexagram, you add the numbers for the Month, Day, Year, and Hour together and divide the sum by 6. The remainder will be a number from 1 to 5. If there is no remainder, the Moving Yao Number is 6.

So we have 7 for the month, 2 for the day, 7 for the year, and 12 for the hour. This means that the Outer Trigram Number is the remainder of (7 + 2 + 7) ÷ 8, which is 16 ÷ 8 = 2 with no remainder. The number for the Outer Trigram is 8.

The number for the Inner Trigram is (7 + 2 + 7 + 12) ÷ 8, which is 28 ÷ 8 = 3 with a remainder of 4. The number for the Inner Trigram is 4.

The number for the Moving Yao is (7 + 2 + 7 + 12) ÷ 6, which is 28 ÷ 6 = 4 with a remainder of 4. The number for the Moving Yao is 4.

The numbers for the trigrams represent their order as such:

Chien's number is 1 Tui's number is 2 Li's number is 3 Chen's number is 4
Sun's number is 5 Kan's number is 6 Ken's number is 7 Kun's number is 8

So our initial hexagram, or the Pen Kua is Hexagram Number 24, or Fu (Return) with the Fourth Yao Moving:

Hexagram 24:  Fu (Return)
Pen Kua

Sometimes, depending on the situation and the question asked, this initial hexagram is all that is needed for an answer. Other times, may require knowing the final outcome, or how the situation will end up. This hexagram is called the Shih Kua, and is derived by the Moving Line or Yao. In our case it is Hexagram Number 51, or Zhen (Thunder):

Hexagram 24:  Fu (Return)
Pen Kua
Hexagram Number 51:  Zhen (Thunder)
Shih Kua

Every situation has a beginning, a middle where everything is active, and a conclusion. Once again, depending on your question, or situation, you may want to derive the hexagram for this active middle. This hexagram is called the Hu Kua.

The Hu Kua is derived by taking the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th lines of the initial hexagram (Pen Kua) and making them the Lower, or Inner Trigram. You then take the 3rd, 4th, and 5th lines of the Pen Kua and these become the Upper, or Outer Trigram. In our example this hexagram becomes Hexagram Number 2, Kun (Earth).

Hexagram 24:  Fu (Return)
Pen Kua
Hexagram Number 2:  Kun (Earth)
Hu Kua

We now have a hexagram for the beginning, middle, and end of our situation or answer to our question:

Hexagram 24:  Fu (Return)
Pen Kua
Hexagram Number 2:  Kun (Earth)
Hu Kua
Hexagram Number 51:  Zhen (Thunder)
Shih Kua

I will not go into analyzing the meanings of these three hexagrams, everyone's interpretation is personal, and actually, I did not ask any question : ) I will mention here, however, that some translators tell you not to read the Component (Yao Tsi) or Meaning of the Moving Line in the Hu Kua and Shih Kua Hexagrams-- I choose to read this for all three hexagrams...

My favorite books for English Translations of the I Ching are:

Jou, Tsung Hwa, Tao of I Ching Way to Divination (1984, Tai Chi Foundation, Taiwan).

Richard Wilhelm/Cary F. Baynes, The I Ching: Or, Book of Changes (1950, Bollingen Foundation, Inc., New York, N.Y. Twenty Fourth Printing 1990).

Thomas Cleary, I Ching : The Book of Change (1992, Shambala Pocket Classics, Boston and London).

Wu Wei, The I Ching: The I Ching: The Book of Changes and How To Use It (1995, Power Press, Los Angeles, CA).

* W. A. Sherrill and W. K. Chu, An Anthology of I Ching, (1977, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, England)
Copyright 1999 by Steve Karol Consultants, All rights in the above article are reserved.
No portion may be reproduced in any form without the express permission of the author.

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