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2 6 The Tao Of I-Ching
Chapter One Raising The Veil Of Mystery

use great care to maintain things, for otherwise decline will come rapidly. of the wild west wind and the cruel winter changes it is bringing. Then, 

Finally in Lesser Yin we find a person or nation that has passed its after developing this image through his whole poem, he concludes: 

peak of development and has begun to decline. Since this is like the "Oh Wind, if winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"

fall of the year, its major quality is that it must harvest its riches from Thus, if some event or emotion happens to bring with it great distress 

the past with good judgment in order to endure the coming winter.
and unhappiness for us, we need not be like the unknowing child who 

In this kind of investigation we can see clearly what part of the cycle
thinks "Oh, everything is all over for me!" We can look to the changing 

We can look at ourselves this way and a person or society occupies.
cycle that must occur in every event, and see that even bad feelings 

decide how to be. A person who has high standards and wants good
cannot last forever. New opportunities will be coming for us, which we 

Oh, everything is fine now, things from life, for example, never says,
may develop successfully.

' " , even when he achieves success. 
I dont have to worry or pay attention All of these philosophical and other observations can be seen in the 

If he s tys and believes such things, he immediately leads himself into a
simple foundation of the Tai Chi model. That model comes from 

decline. Instead, he will say, "I want to do better." Thus he is always Wu Chi and splits into Yin and Yang, and then the four symbols. But 

learning something new, always taking himself back to the stage of to learn about the sixty-four hexagrams of the I Ching we must 

Greater Yin to start anew and recreate himself.
understand the final derivation of the eight trigrams.

We can see this simple cycle in still another way: the cycle of our The Eight Trigrams: Heaven, 

day. When a man is asleep, he is Greater Yin. Then he awakes and gets Earth and Humanity

going with the morning preparations. This is Lesser Yang. Finally, he 

gets to work and is using his full powers. This is Greater Yang. Then he I Ching history tells us that the evolution of the trigrams comes from 

goes home and relaxes, resting from serious things, and doing less the first Emperor, Fu Hsi ( 2953-2838 B.C. see figure 1-4a) It is 

demanding things. Here he is at Lesser Yin. Finally, he goes to bed
said that Fu Hsi set out to study all of heaven and earth. He turned his 

and the cycle begins again.
eyes to the heavens and studied astronomy as well as the movements of 

The Yin-Yang balance is crucial to understanding. In some situations,
the sun, the stars, the moon, and the planets. He turned back to earth 

Yin may be more desirable. In others, Yang may be more desirable. and observed the flat, the rolling, and the mountainous land. How some

We must seek one and avoid the other. But even this we must do by soil 
was good for tilling and other soil was not. He studied the weather, 

following the observation in the I Ching that Yin always begets Yang and the tides, the storms, and the regular changes of the seasons. Natural

Yang always begets Yin. We must study this movement and reciprocity 

and follow it wisely.

We can see from these simple examples how people seriously using 

the I Ching can greatly enhance their understanding of themselves or 

the world. A person who has not considered this need of personal 

initiative might say, "This is too simple! A child can understand it." 

But a child lacks the breadth of knowledge and maturity of an adult. 

And adults vary in the amount of maturity and ability they have 

developed. These traits are derived directly from the initiative they 

have taken to develop themselves. Those who have interest and initiative 

in their lives can use the I Ching to great benefit.

One of the most important philosophical uses of the I Ching is in 

developing our emotions. The poet Shelley speaks with foreboding
Figure l-4a

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