CHAPTER IV. The Deeper Implications of the Books of Changes

1. The Book of Changes contains the measure of heaven and earth; therefore it enables us to comprehend the tao of heaven and earth and its order.

This chapter sets forth the mysterious connections existing between the reproductions given in the Book of Changes and reality. Since the book presents a complete image of heaven and earth, a microcosm of all possible relationships, it enables us to calculate the movements in every situation to which these reproductions apply. If we ask how the Book of Changes can be a reproduction of the cosmos, the answer is that it is the work of men with cosmic intelligence, men who have incorporated their wisdom in the symbols of this book. Hence it contains the standard of heaven and earth.

The following section explains how the fact that the Book of Changes contains the measure, the standard of heaven and earth, makes it possible for us to investigate with its help the laws of the universe. Section 3 deduces from the resemblance of the Changes to heaven and earth a complete representation of inner predispositions. The fourth section, starting from the fact that the Changes comprise all forms and situations, shows how we can attain ultimate mastery of fate.

2. Looking upward we contemplate with its help the signs in the heavens; looking down, we examine the lines of the earth. Thus we come to know the circumstances of the dark and the light. Going back to the beginnings of things and pursuing them to the end, we come to know the lessons of birth and death. The union of seed and power produces all things; the escape of the soul brings about change. Through this we come to know the conditions of outgoing and returning spirits.

The Book of Changes is based on the two fundamental principles of the light and the dark. The hexagrams are built up out of these elements. The individual lines are either at rest or in motion. When at rest--that is, when represented by the number seven (firm) or eight (yielding)--they build up the hexagram. When in motion--that is, when represented by the number nine (firm) or six (yielding)--they break down the hexagram again and transform it into a new hexagram. These are the processes that open our eyes to the secrets of life.

when we apply these principles to the signs in the heavens (the sun standing for light, the moon for darkness) and to the lines of directions on the earth (the cardinal points), we learn to know the circumstances concerning the dark and the light, i.e., the laws that bring about the course and alternation of the seasons and that condition the appearance and withdrawal of the vegetative life force. Thus we learn by observing the beginnings and endings of life that birth and death form one recurrent cycle. Birth is the coming forth into the world of the visible; death is the return into the regions of the invisible. Neither of these signifies an absolute beginning nor an absolute ending, any more than do the changes of the seasons within the year. Nor is it otherwise in the case of man. Just as the resting lines build up the hexagrams and produce change when they begin to move, so bodily existence is built up by the union of "outgoing" life streams of seed (male) with power (female). This corporeal existence remains relatively constant as long as the constructive forces are in the resting state, in equilibrium. When they begin to move, disintegration sets in. The psychic element escapes--the higher part mounting upward, the lower sinking to earth; the body disintegrates.

The spiritual forces that produce the building up and the breaking down of visible existence likewise belong either to the light principle or to the dark principle. The light spirits (shĂȘn) are outgoing; they are the active spirits, which can also enter upon new incarnations. The dark spirits (kuei) return home; they are the withdrawing forces and have the task of assimilating what life has yielded.

This idea of returning and outgoing spirits by no means entails the notion of good and evil beings; it only differentiates the expanding and the contracting phase of the underlying life energy. These are the ebb and flow in the great ocean of life.

3. Since in this way man comes to resemble heaven and earth, he is not in conflict with them. His wisdom embraces all things, and his tao brings order into the whole world; therefore he does not err. He is active everywhere but does not let himself be carried away. He rejoices in heaven and has knowledge of fate, therefore he is free of care. He is content with his circumstances and genuine in his kindness, therefore he can practice love.

Here we are shown how with the help of the fundamental principles of the Book of Changes it is possible to arrive at a complete realization of man's innate capacities. This unfolding rests on the fact that man has innate capacities that resemble heaven and earth, that he is a microcosm. Now, since the laws of heaven and earth are reproduced in the Book of Changes, man is provided with the means of shaping his own nature, so that his inborn potentialities for good can be completely realized. In this process two factors are to be taken into account: wisdom and action, or intellect and will. If intellect and will are correctly centered, the emotional life takes on harmony. We have here four propositions based on wisdom and love, justice and mores, reminding us of the combination of these principles with the four words in the hexagram Ch'ien, THE CREATIVE: "Sublime success; perseverance furthers."

The effect of wisdom, love, and justice is shown in the first proposition. On the basis of all-embracing wisdom, the regulations springing from a love of the world can be so shaped that all goes well for everyone and no mistakes are made. This is what furthers. The second proposition pictures wisdom and love, excluding no person or thing; these are regulated by the mores, which do not allow one to be carried away into anything improper or one-sided, and therefore have success. The third proposition shows the harmony of mind, perfect in wisdom, that rejoices in heaven and understands its dispensations. This provides the basis for perseverance. Finally, the last proposition shows the love that acquiesces trustingly in every situation and, out of its store of inner kindness, manifests itself in good will toward all men, thereby attaining sublimity, the root of all good.

4. In it are included the forms and the scope of everything in the heavens and on earth, so that nothing escapes it. In it all things everywhere are completed, so that none is missing. Therefore by means of it we can penetrate the tao of day and night, and so understand it. Therefore the spirit is bound to no one place, nor the Book of Changes to any one form.

We are shown here how the individual can attain mastery over fate by means of the Book of Changes. Its principles contain the categories of all that is--literally, the molds and the scope of all transformations. These categories are in the mind of man; everything, all that happens and everything that undergoes transformation, must obey the laws prescribed by the mind of man. Not until these categories become operative do things become things. These categories are laid down in the Book of Changes; hence it enables us to penetrate and understand the movements of the light and the dark, of life and death, of gods and demons. This knowledge makes possible mastery over fate, because fate can be shaped if its laws are known. The reason why we can oppose fate is that reality is always conditioned, and these conditions of time and space limit and determine it. The spirit, however, is not bound by these determinants and can bring them about as its own purposes require. The Book of Changes is so widely applicable because it contains only these purely spiritual relationships, which are so abstract that they can find expression within every framework of reality. They contain only the tao that underlies events. Therefore all chance contingencies can be shaped according to this tao. The conscious application of these possibilities assures mastery over fate.

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