I Ching or Book of Changes     translated by Richard Wilhelm  

1.  Ch'ien  / The Creative

                  above CH'IEN    THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN
                  below CH'IEN    THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

  The first hexagram is made up of six unbroken lines.  These unbroken lines 
  stand for the primal power, which is light-giving, active, strong, and of
  spirit.  The hexagram is consistently strong in character, and since it is 
  without weakness, its essence is power or energy.  Its image is heaven. Its 
  energy is represented as unrestricted by any fixed conditions in space
and is 
  therefore conceived of as motion.  Time is regarded as the basis of this 
  motion.  Thus the hexagram includes also the power of time and the power 
  of persisting in time, that is, duration.
     The power represented by the hexagram is to be interpreted in a dual
  in terms of its action on the universe and of its action on the world of
  In relation to the universe, the hexagram expresses the strong, creative
  of the Deity.  In relation to the human world, it denotes the creative
action of 
  the holy man or sage, of the ruler or leader of men, who through his power 
  awakens and develops their higher nature.


       THE CREATIVE works sublime success,
       Furthering through perseverance.

  According to the original meaning, the attributes [sublimity,
potentiality of 
  success, power to further, perseverance] are paired.  When an individual 
  draws this oracle, it means that success will come to him from the primal 
  depths of the universe and that everything depends upon his seeking his 
  happiness and that of others in one way only, that is, by perseverance in
  is right.
     The specific meanings of the four attributes became the subject of 
  speculation at an early date.  The Chinese word here rendered by "sublime" 
  means literally "head," "origin," "great."  This is why Confucius says in 
  explaining it:  "Great indeed is the generating power of the Creative;
all beings 
  owe their beginning to it.  This power permeates all heaven."  For this 
  attribute inheres in the other three as well.
     The beginning of all things lies still in the beyond in the form of
ideas that 
  have yet to become real.  But the Creative furthermore has power to lend 
  form to these archetypes of ideas.  This is indicated in the word
success, and 
  the process is represented by an image from nature:  "The clouds pass and
  rain does its work, and all individual beings flow into their forms."
     Applies to the human world, these attributes show the great man the
way to 
  notable success:  "Because he sees with great clarity and cause and
effects, he 
  completes the six steps at the right time and mounts toward heaven on them 
  at the right time, as though on sic dragons."  The six steps are the six
  positions given in the hexagram, which are represented later by the dragon 
  symbol.  Here it is shown that the way to success lies in apprehending and 
  giving actuality to the way of the universe [Tao], which, as a law running 
  through end and beginning, brings about all phenomena in time. Thus each 
  step  attained forthwith becomes a preparation for the next.  Time is no
  a hindrance but the means of making actual what is potential.
     The act of creation having found expression in the two attributes
  and success, the work of conservation is shown to be a continuous 
  actualization and differentiation of form.  This is expressed in the two
  "furthering"  (literally, "creating that which accords with the nature of a 
  given being") and "persevering" (literally, "correct and firm").  "The
course of 
  the Creative alters and shapes beings until each attains its true, specific 
  nature, then it keeps them in conformity with the Great Harmony.  Thus 
  does it show itself to further through perseverance."
     In relation to the human sphere, this shows how the great man brings
  and security to the world through his activity in creating order:  "He
  high above the multitude of beings, and all lands are united in peace."
     Another line of speculation goes still further in separating the words 
  "sublime," "success," "furthering," "perseverance," and parallels them with 
  the four cardinal virtues in humanity.  To sublimity, which, as the 
  fundamental principle, embraces all the other attributes, it links love.
To the 
  attribute success are linked the morals, which regulate and organize 
  expressions of love and thereby make them successful.  The attribute 
  furthering is correlated with justice, which creates the conditions in
  each receives that which accords with his being, that which is due him and 
  which constitutes his happiness.  The attribute perseverance is correlated 
  with wisdom, which discerns the immutable laws of all that happens and can 
  therefore bring about enduring conditions.  These speculations, already 
  broached in the commentary called W&ecircn Yen , later formed the bridge 
  connecting the philosophy of the "five stages (elements) of change," as
  down in the Book of History (Shu Ching)  with the philosophy of the Book of 
  Changes, which is based solely on the polarity of positive and negative 
  principles.  In the course of time this combination of the two systems of  
  thought opened the way for an increasingly intricate number symbolism.

          THE IMAGE

          The movement of heaven is full of power.  
          Thus the superior man makes himself strong and 

  Since there is only one heaven, the doubling of the trigram Ch'ien, of
  heaven is the image, indicates the movement of heaven.  One complete 
  revolution of heaven makes a day, and the repetition of the trigram means 
  that each day is followed by another.  This creates the idea of time.
Since it is 
  the same heaven moving with untiring power, there is also created the idea 
  of duration both in and beyond time, a movement that never stops nor 
  slackens, just as one day follows another in an unending course.  This 
  duration in time is the image of the power inherent in the Creative.  
     With this image as a model, the sage learns how best to develop
himself so 
  that his influence may endure.  He must make himself strong in every way, 
  by consciously casting out all that is inferior and degrading.  Thus he
  that tirelessness which depends upon consciously limiting the fields of his 

          THE LINES

          Nine at the beginning means:
          Hidden dragon.  Do not act.

  In China the dragon has a meaning altogether different from that given it
  the Western world.  The dragon is a symbol of the electrically charged, 
  dynamic, arousing force that manifests itself in the thunderstorm. In
  this energy withdraws into the earth; in the early summer it becomes active 
  again, appearing in the sky as thunder and lightning.  As a result the
  forces on earth begin to stir again.
     Here this creative force is still hidden beneath the earth and
therefore has 
  no effect.  In terms of human affairs, this symbolizes a great man who is
  unrecognized.  Nonetheless he remains true to himself.  He does not allow 
  himself to be influenced by outward success or failure, but confident in
  strength, he bides his time.  Hence it is wise for the man who consults the 
  oracle and draws this line to wait in the calm strength of patience.  The
  will fulfill itself.   One need not fear least strong will should not
prevail; the 
  main thing is not to expend one's powers prematurely in an attempt to
  by force something for which the time is not yet ripe.

          Nine in the second place means:
          Dragon appearing in the field.
          It furthers one to see the great man.

  Here the effects of the light-giving power begin to manifest themselves.
  terms of human affairs, this means that the great man makes his appearance 
  in his chosen field of activity.  As yet he has no commanding position
but is 
  still with his peers.  However, what distinguishes him form the others is
  seriousness of purpose, his unqualified reliability, and the influence he
  on his environment with out conscious effort.  Such a man is destined to 
  gain great  influence and to set the world in order.  Therefore it is
favorable to 
  see him.

          Nine in the third place means:
          All day long the superior man is creatively active.
          At nightfall his mind is still beset with cares.
          Danger.  No blame.

  A sphere of influence opens up for the great man.  His fame begins to
  The masses flock to him. His inner power is adequate to the increased outer 
  activity.  There are all sorts of things to be done, and when others are
at rest in 
  the evening, plans and anxieties press in upon him.  But danger lurks
here at 
  the place of transition from lowliness to the heights.  Many  a great man
  been ruined because the masses flocked to him and swept him into their 
  course.  Ambition has destroyed his integrity.  However, true greatness
is not 
  impaired by temptations. He who remains in touch with the time that is 
  dawning, and with its demands is prudent enough to avoid all pitfalls, and 
  remains blameless.

          Nine in the fourth place means:
          Wavering flight over the depths.
          No blame.

  A place of transition has been reached, and free choice can enter in.  A 
  twofold possibility is presented to the great man:  he can soar to the
  and play an important part in the world, or he can withdraw into solitude 
  and develop himself.  He can go the way of the hero or that of the holy
  who seeks seclusion.  There is no general law  of his being.  If the
  acts consistently and is true to himself, he will find the way that is
  for him.  This way is right for him and without blame.

          O Nine in the fifth place means:
             Flying dragon in the heavens.
             It furthers one to see the great man.

  Here the great man has attained the sphere of the heavenly beings.  His 
  influence spreads and becomes visible throughout the whole world.  
  Everyone who sees him may count himself blessed.  Confucius says about this 

  Things that accord in tone vibrate together.  Things that have affinity
in their 
  inmost natures seek one another. Water flows to what is wet, fire turns to 
  what is dry. Clouds (the breath of heaven) follow the dragon, wind (the
  of earth) follows the tiger.  Thus the sage arises, and all creatures
follow him 
  with their eyes.  What is born of heaven feels related to what is above.
  is born of earth feels related to what is below.  Each follows its kind.

          Nine at the top means:
          Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent.

  When a man seeks to climb so high that he loses touch with the rest of 
  mankind, he becomes isolated, and this necessarily leads to failure.
This line 
  warns against titanic aspirations that exceed one's power.  A precipitous
  would follow. 

          When all the lines  are nines, it means:

          There appears a flight of dragons without heads.
          Good fortune.

  When all the lines are nines, it means that the whole hexagram is in motion 
  and changes into the hexagram K'un, THE RECEPTIVE, whose character is 
  devotion.  The strength of the Creative and the mildness of the Receptive 
  unite.  Strength is indicated by the flight of dragons, mildness by the
fact that 
  their heads are hidden.  This means that mildness in action joined to
  of decision brings good fortune.

          2.  K'un / The Receptive

                  above K'UN      THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
                  below K'UN      THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH

  This hexagram is made up of broken lines only.  The broken lines represents 
  the dark, yielding, receptive primal power of yin.  The attribute of the 
  hexagram is devotion; its image is the earth.   It is the perfect
complement of 
  THE CREATIVE--the complement, not the opposite, for the Receptive does 
  not combat the Creative but completes it .  It represents nature in
contrast to 
  spirit, earth in contrast to heaven, space as against time, the
  as against the male-paternal.  However, as applied to human affairs, the 
  principle of this complementary relationship is found not only in the
  between man and woman, but also in that between prince and minister and 
  between father and son.  Indeed, even in the individual this duality
  in the coexistence of the spiritual world and the world of the senses.
     But strictly speaking there is no real dualism here, because there is
a clearly 
  defined hierarchic relationship between the two principles.  In itself of
  the Receptive is just as important as the Creative, but the attribute of 
  devotion defines the place occupied by this primal power in relation to the 
  Creative.  For the Receptive must be activated and led by the Creative;
then it 
  is productive of good.  Only when it abandons this position and tries to
  as an equal side by side with the Creative, does it become evil.   The
  then is opposition to and struggle against the Creative, which is
productive of 
  evil to both.

          THE JUDGMENT

          THE RECEPTIVE brings about sublime success,
              Furthering through the perseverance of a mare.
          If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead,
          He goes astray;
          But if he follows, he finds guidance.
          It is favorable to find friends in the west and south,
          To forego friends in the east and north.
          Quiet perseverance brings good fortune.

  The four fundamental aspects of the Creative--"sublime success, furthering 
  through perseverance"--are also attributed to the Receptive.   Here,
  the perseverance is more closely defined:  it is that of a mare.  The
  connotes spatial reality in contrast to the spiritual potentiality of the
  The potential becomes real and the spiritual becomes spatial through a 
  specifically qualifying definition.  Thus the qualification, "of a mare,"
is here 
  added to the idea of perseverance.  The horse belongs to earth just as the 
  dragon belongs to heaven.  Its tireless roaming over the plains is taken
as a 
  symbol of the vast expanse of the earth.  This is the symbol chosen because 
  the mare combines the strength and swiftness of the horse with the 
  gentleness and devotion of the cow.
     Only because nature in its myriad forms corresponds with the myriad 
  impulses of the Creative can it make these impulses real.  Nature's
  lies in its  power to nourish all living things; its greatness lies in
its power to 
  give then beauty and splendor.  Thus it prospers all that lives.  IT is the 
  Creative that begets things, but they are brought to birth by the
  Applied to human affairs, therefore, what the hexagram indicated is
action in 
  conformity with the situation.  The person in questions not in an 
  independent position, but is acting as an assistant.  This means that he
  achieve something.  It is not his task to try to lead--that would only
make him 
  lose the way-but to let himself be led.  If he knows how to meet fate
with an 
  attitude of acceptance, he is sure to find the right guidance.  The
superior man 
  lets himself be guided; he does not go ahead blindly, but learns from the 
  situation what is demanded of him and then follows this intimation from 
     Since there is something to be accomplished, we need friends and
helpers in 
  the hour of toil and effort, once the ideas to be realized are firmly
set.  The 
  time of toil and effort is indicated by the west and  south, for west and
  symbolize the place where the Receptive works for the Creative, as nature 
  does in summer and autumn.  If in that situation one does not mobilize all 
  one's powers, the work to be accomplished will not be done.  Hence to find 
  friends there means to find guidance.  But in addition to the time of
toil and 
  effort, there is also a time of planning, and for this we need this
solitude.  The 
  east symbolized the place where a man receives  orders from his master, and 
  the north the place where he reports on what he has done.  At that time he 
  must be alone and objective.  In this sacred hour he must do without 
  companions. So that the purity of the moment may not be spoiled by
  hates and favoritism.

          THE IMAGE

          The earth's condition is receptive devotion.
          Thus the superior man who has breadth of character
          Carries the outer world.

  Just as there is only one heaven, so too there is only one earth.  In the 
  hexagram of heaven the doubling of the trigram implies duration in time, 
  but in the hexagram of earth the doubling connotes the solidity and
  in space by virtue of which the earth is able to carry and preserve all
  that live and move upon it.  The earth in its devotion carries all
things, good 
  and evil,, without exception.  In the same way the superior man gives to
  character breadth, purity, and sustaining power, so that he is able both to 
  support and to bear with people and things.

          THE  LINES

          Six at the beginning means:
          When there is hoarfrost underfoot,
          Solid ice is not far off.

  Just as the light-giving power represents life, so the dark power, the
  represents death.  When the first hoarfrost comes in the autumn, the power 
  of darkness and cold is just at its beginning.  After these first
warnings, signs 
  of death will gradually multiply, until, in obedience to immutable laws,
  winter with its ice is here.
     In life it is the same.  After certain scarcely noticeable signs of
decay have 
  appeared, they go on increasing until final dissolution comes.  But in life 
  precautions can be taken by heeding the first signs of decay and checking
  in time.

          °six in the second place means:
            Straight, square, great.
            Without purpose,
            Yet nothing remains unfurthered.

  The symbol of heaven is the circle, and that of earth is the square.  Thus 
  squareness is a primary quality of the earth.  On the other hand, movement 
  in a straight line, as well as magnitude, is a primary quality of the
  But all square things have their origin in a straight line and into turn
  solid bodies.  In mathematics, when we discriminate between lines, planes 
  and solids, we find that rectangular planes result from  straight lines,
  cubic magnitudes from rectangular planes.  The Receptive accommodates 
  itself to the qualities of the Creative and makes them its own.  Thus a
  develops out of a straight line and a cube out of a square.  This is
  with the laws of the Creative; nothing is taken away, nothing  added.  
  Therefore the Receptive has no need of a special purpose of its own, nor of 
  any effort' yet everything turns out as it should.
     Nature creates all beings without erring:  this is its foursquareness.
  tolerates all creatures equally:  this is its greatness.  Therefore it
attains what is 
  right for all without artifice or special intentions.  Man achieves the
height of 
  wisdom when all that he does is as self-evident as what nature does.

          Six in the third place means:
          Hidden lines.
          One is able to remain persevering.
          If by chance you are in the service of a king,
          Seek not works, but bring to completion.

  If a man is free of vanity he is able to conceal his abilities and keep
them from 
  attracting attention too soon; thus he can mature undisturbed.   If
  demand it, he can also enter public life, but that too he does with
  The wise man gladly leaves fame to others.  He does not seek to have
  to himself things that stand accomplished, but hopes to release active
  that is, he completes his works in such a manner that they may bear fruit
  the future.

          Six in the fourth place means:
          A tied-up sack.  No blame, no praise.

  The dark element opens when it moves and closes when at rest.  The
  reticence is indicated here.  The time is dangerous , because any degree of 
  prominence leads either to the enmity of irresistible antagonists if one 
  challenges them or to misconceived recognition if one is complaisant.  
  Therefore a man ought to maintain reserve, be it in solitude or in the
  of the world, for there too he can hide himself so well that no one knows 

          Six in the fifth place means:
          A yellow lower garment brings supreme good fortune.

  Yellow is the color of the earth and of the middle; it is the symbol of
  which is reliable and genuine.  The lower garment is inconspicuously 
  decorated--the symbol of aristocratic reserve.  When anyone is called
upon to 
  work in a prominent but not independent position, true success depends on 
  the utmost discretion.  A man's genuineness and refinement should not 
  reveal themselves directly; they should express themselves only
indirectly as 
  an effect from within.

          Six at the top means:
          Dragons fight in the meadow.
          Their blood is black and yellow.

  In the top place the dark element should yield to the light.  If it
attempts to 
  maintain a position to which it is not entitled and to rule instead of
  it draws down upon itself the anger of the strong.  A struggle ensues in
  it is overthrown, with injury, however, to both sides.  The dragon,
symbol of 
  heaven, comes to fight the false dragon that symbolized the inflation of
  earth principle.  Midnight blue is the color of heaven; yellow is the
color of 
  earth.  Therefore, when black and yellow blood flow, it is a sign that in
  unnatural contest both primal powers suffer injury.
          When all the lines are sixes, it means:
          Lasting perseverance furthers.

  When nothing but sixes appears, the hexagram of THE RECEPTIVE changes 
  into the hexagram of THE CREATIVE.  By holding fast to what is right, it 
  gains the power of enduring.  There is indeed no advance, but neither is

Ron Epstein

Research Professor                       Lecturer
Institute for World Religions        Philosophy Department
2304 McKinley Avenue                San Francisco State University
Berkeley, CA 94703                     1600 Holloway Avenue
(510) 848-3440                            (415) 338-3140
namofo@jps.net                            epstein@athena.sfsu.edu

"Genetic Engineering and Its Dangers":