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Chapter One Raising The Veil Of Mystery 
18 The Tao Of I-Ching
1 9

Finally, consider a light that grows bright and then dims to darkness of the I Ching, we have to follow a logical progression, first

and then brightens again in an endless cycle.
understanding the meaning of Tai Chi and then how this meaning pro- 

gresses to Liung Yi, Ssu Hsiang, and Pa Kua.
Now the repetition of the contrasting parts of light and darkness 

has become a constant cycle. Because it moves and shows detail of If we simply read the judgments and images of the hexagrams, we 

shadow and light, we have perceptions. Because it goes through the are like a person who tries to learn about the nature of a large forest 

without studying its surroundings. This person sees a profusion of 
same cycle again and again, the perceptions follow patterns that we 
meanings, first one thing, then another, but he never looks beyond the 
come to learn, until finally the whole richness and complexity of our 

world and our lives appears.
forest. He comes away with vague impressions. He never knows that 

Thus the constancy of cycles that repeat themselves faithfully
through the thick cover of leaves overhead there is the sky, or that in 

one direction the edge of the forest is a short distance away, while in 
makes possible all that we experience and do. These cycles always 

bring us change and the freedom to change, and at the same time create
another direction are dense thickets.

the unchanging foundation of our life and world.
So we must first know the Tai Chi. But here the I Ching is reticent, 

Out of this, we analyze the word I to have three distinct qualities:
for it does not state where the Tai Chi comes from. Its origin, however, 

discussed in ancient Chinese philosophy, and given the name Wu Chi
Chien I ( ) or easy and simple, reflects on how easy and simple is 

our world is in its make-up; Pien I ( ) refers to its aspect of ( ) or Hsien Tien (
). Wu Chi means "what there is before 
continuous change; and Pu I (TT ) refers to its constancy.
the universe comes into being.
Can we imagine this? We can begin by

considering smaller examples of Wu Chi in everyday life. For in Chinese 
Thus the book I starts with this precise observation of universal 

phenomena and of our daily life. These primary data of life are simple
philosophy, we say that every part of life operates the same as the Tao 

or universe as a whole. The microcosm faithfully follows the and easy to understand. As it is said in Ta Chuan (


First we need to know what the concept of is, as defined by Chien ( ) knows through the easy
Kun ( ) does things simply
Wu Chi. If there is no change, then nothing came out of Wu Chi. If 
What is easy is easy to know
there is change or even the possibility of change, we say then that the 

situation of Tai Chi is beginning. That is why the I Ching is also referred
What is simple is simple to follow

He who is easy to know makes friends
to by another name: "The Book of Changes."
He who is simple to follow attains good works 
We can see the change from Wu Chi to Tai Chi in an apple. Imagine
He who possesses friends can endure forever
that the apple is in a state of Wu Chi. It simply is there. But then 

bacteria develop in the apple and it starts to spoil. At first there is only He who performs good works can become great.

a tiny part spoiling, too small to be seen. Then it becomes visible, the 
1-2 Ancient Chinese Wisdom
size of a pinhead. By stages it grows larger and progresses until finally — ~ E l

the whole apple is gone.

As long as it was an apple, it was Wu Chi. But the moment the A specific description of how the I Ching was created is given in the 

bacteria began spoiling it, the stage of Tai Chi began.
Ta Chuan ( ) or Great Treatise:

The same is seen in the formation of a tornado. At first there are
4i ), 
"In the I Ching there is the Tai Chi or Grand Terminus ( 
only gentle breezes, no tornado, or Wu Chi. Then there is an acceleration 
which generates the two forms or Liung Yi ( ). Those two forms 

of the breezes, and they begin to travel in circular motions instead of generate the four symbols of Ssu Hsiang ( Y9' ), and those four create 

just randomly flowing. This is now the Tai Chi of the tornado. The the eight trigrams or Pa Kua (A )."

breezes grow stronger and a definite circular wind is created that picks
This passage obviously tells us that if we intend to study the book

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