YiJing sitemap

Yi Jing, Oracle of the Sun
(by LiSe Heyboer)



Your trigrams

The theory

Choose hexagram by number or trigrams
If you are new to this oracle-book
How to begin
The trigrams and their attributes
Structures in the I Ching
History and old Chinese stories and characters
I-Ching stories by a
creative master
Books, links and CD-roms
Yarrow and time out of time
Experiences of Tao in daily life
Images for each line of the hexagrams
Why the moon?
The primal cause of this website
Big Bang
Yi Jing and the Wings in Chinese characters
Chin. texts



The Junzi and the trigrams

  I don't know what came first, the trigrams or the hexagrams, but it does not really matter. They are both from the same fabric, so one was discovered first, but they both existed long before.

  The text about the JunZi, the noble one, in the DaXiang is from someone with a lot of insight. He looked at the trigram images and then tells us what this combination means. Not everyone is able to see this or even less to act according to it, but a really noble person could. This is the JunZi in the text of the Zhou Yi, not someone specific, but anyone who has a noble mind.

"The noble one corrects the situation to solidify fate."
B: "Nobility is the inner fiber which runs parallel with life, not against it." So it is not a question of 'doing good', it is moving with dao.

  'Zi' is the seed, the son. For a Chinese man it was extremely important to live on after his physical death. A son continues the lineage from the ancestors into the future. The JunZi is the heir who is a credit to his ancestors. In extension the mind which is a credit to humanity. Zi is a term of respect, it is added to the names of men of the past who did great things: LaoZi, ZhuangZi, MengZi, KongFuZi (Confucius).

  More about the JunZi see below

Hexagram 1, Qian: Heaven moves: firmness. 
A noble one owing to his own strength never ceases 

  A mind strong and clear like heaven together with actions strong and clear like heaven has a huge power.
  Qian, the name of both hexagram and trigram, means drought, it is the scorching heat of the sun, but also the fertilizing rain which bring the earth back to life.

Hexagram 2, Kun: The great image says:
The basic disposition of earth is female 
The noble man carries everything with great generosity
  Kun, name of both hexagram and trigram, means
passive force of realisation, receptivity, compliance, obedience, female. It is composed of earth with stretch-out or lightning. The space of the earth, and its mysterious nurturing power to make things grow.

Hexagram 3: The great image says:
 Water and thunder: sprouting 
The noble man unravels the warp

  The strength of water is not to fight but to yield. For unraveling one has to yield or it will become an inextricable knot. Together with the power of swift action all knots of life can be disentangled.

Hexagram 4: At the foot of the mountain a spring wells up: Ignorance
A noble man nurtures virtue by reliable conduct

  Obviously water has to do with virtue, bot here and in 29 it is mentioned. Here 'inside', the contents of the package. It reaches others through his 'being like a mountain'. But also the other way, through his conduct he shapes his own virtue.

Hexagram 5: Clouds rise up to heaven: Waiting for the rain to stop
The noble man drinks and eats and reposes relaxed

  His inside cannot be disturbed by anything, he is what he is, like heaven is what it is. Outside he adapts to how the time happens to be, without losing his character, like water can take any form but is always water.

Hexagram 6: Heaven associating with water is incompatible movement: contention.
The noble one, when he sets up affairs, plans ahead

  Water is not the one which acts on a spur. Feelings, apprehension, depth, they can follow a way, like water follows the grooves of the terrain, but not clear one. So the noble one finds the openings first, and then makes his affairs fit into the space and time.

Hexagram 10: The great image says:
Above is Heaven, below is the Marsh: treading
The noble one distinguishes above and below
He gives the ambitions of the people the suitable position
Ze2, marsh, also means luster, sheen. See hexagram 58.
  Heaven is sky, heaven, nature, God, day, season. It is about the universal laws which regulate everything in and below heaven. In human terms about the inescapable inner laws of a strong and noble mind. But that is a modern way to describe it, the ‘individual’ with inner laws. I think 2000 years back they did not see them as inner, but rather as following heaven’s rules.
So the noble one knows human ambitions, and sees heaven’s laws, and makes them fit together.

Hexagram 11: Heaven and Earth unite: Eminence
The ruler fashions and completes the Tao of Heaven and Earth
He supports mutually with Heaven and Earth their order
He stands by the commoners

When heaven expresses itself through the nurturing earth, then law and life are in perfect balance.

Hexagram 12: Heaven and Earth do not interact: obstruction
The noble man holds back his virtue and avoids disaster
He does not allow honor by an official salary

When earth expresses itself through the severe laws of heaven all creatures are taught the limits of what they can do.

Hexagram 13: Heaven associating with fire: union of people
The noble one classifies the clans and reads the trails of creatures 

When discernment is organized, according to universal laws, then one gets an overview of all of creation.

Hexagram 19: Above marsh there is earth, overseeing
The noble one teaches and ponders inexhaustibly, he tolerates and protect the people without limits
  The Junzi knows (or finds out) about human emotions, and uses this insight to carry everything with great generosity.

Hexagram 29, Xi Kan: The great image says:
Flowing waters reach the goal: Repeated Pit
The noble one moves according to principles and virtue, he uses repeating to teach practice

Kan, water, moves according to the space it finds. Adapts and yet cannot be restrained. That makes it invincible and dangerous. Unfathomable.
  "The way of water" is a way to be stronger than any enemy, not by fighting but by yielding. The noble one yields to principles but his essence cannot be changed, not even one second. Nor can his progress. He is the best teacher of all because he stays himself but yet understands his pupil.

Hexagram 30, Li: The great image says:
Brightness doubled brings the Bright Bird
The great man illumines the four regions by his continuous brightness

  Li is not just fire, but rather the effect of fire, brightness, discerning, 'catching' something. Inner brightness which brings brightness is illuminating.

Hexagram 38: The great image says:
above is the fire, below is the marsh, askance
The noble one is similar and yet different
  When emotions come to light, they come in lots of colors. Sometimes one finds likeminded people, other times there are huge differences. A noble mind accepts them all, he will not reject one or embrace the other, he sees of all of them their uniqueness and appreciates them – even especially for that.

Hexagram 40: Thunder and rain at work: release
The noble one pardons transgressions and is lenient towards crimes

  Water is the dark dangerous depth. The noble one is anxious for something, not himself, it is for something bigger or stronger than himself. Thunder is the voice of heaven or, according to the Chinese, of earth. From out this awe he moves according to heaven's principles. This is the base of fair judgment, the base of good laws. But at the same time it is freedom from personal judgment and emotions.

Hexagram 51, Zhen: The great image says:
Repeated thunder: shocks
The noble one through anxiousness and fear sets in order and examines

  Zhen  means to shake, tremble, as an earthquake; excite, shock, scared, terrified, awe inspiring, thunder, thunderclap, to quicken, to become pregnant.
  When life is entirely without shocks, it will slowly deteriorate. Shocks are necessary for keeping everyone alert.

Hexagram 52, Gen: The great image says:
Joined mountains: stability
The noble one does not permit his thoughts to go beyond his situation
  Gen, mountain, means simply mountain. But as a symbol it is solidity, dignity, abiding in virtue. When one is both inside and outside solid and dignified, then nothing can affect him.

Hexagram 53: The great image says:
On the mountain is wind: Gradualness
The noble one stays in dignity and virtue and improves the common people

  Lower trigram mountain indicates someone solid, with dignity and virtue. This is the inside. Upper trigram wind is influence. So this combination is about the influence thereof.

Hexagram 57, Xun: The great image says:
Following winds: seal-assignment
The noble one delegates orders to accomplish affairs

  Xun is literally wind, but also common practice, custom, general mood, style, news, information, winnow. Also the 'wind' of a time, or rumours. The wind penetrates everywhere and blows over the entire earth. If one influences like this, one can make things happen.

Hexagram 58, Dui: The great image says:
Interdependent lakes: exchange
The noble one comes together with friends for discussion and rehearsing
  Dui: marsh, swamp, lustre, sheen. It is about the emotions of people, human ambitions, joy, the need for exchange, everything they need for their mental health and their way of functioning properly in their life. The things which make them shine.
  For exchange one has to shine, but that has to come from inside, a shining heart or mind.

Hexagram 63, The great image says:
Water above fire, already across
The noble one takes thought of misfortune and guards against it

Inside clarity, outside wise yielding, it is the way to make things enduring and yet reckon with unexpected changes.

Hexagram 64, The great image says:
Fire above water: not yet across
The noble one is cautious when differentiating things so that each finds its place

Inside yielding, not holding unto any rigid form, outside clarity. Making a clear order without imposing any direction on things.

I think to be a noble one is not especially a quality he has, it is a choice, every day anew, or rather every moment. A small man can suddenly do something which makes him a JunZi in that moment.
Sometimes the choice is not very hard. When it is very clear what your ethic says you should do, you can do that without much doubt. But other times it can be extremely hard. Making a choice which goes against a big fear, against your survival instinct, against your hopes for your future. Then you are not only a JunZi but a hero as well.

All the other figures, the king, the big man, the small man, the child, the prince, the wife, they are much more defined by qualities or position. You cannot switch from small man to king just like that. The other way might be possible though. But any king, wife, big man can be JunZi. Or not. Or one moment and not the next.

For the JunZi in the ZhouYi itself, not the DaXiang, I guess it is a bit in between. Still an ideal but more concrete, closer to a person. The one who knows what to do in certain circumstances, clever, experienced. He is the good hunter, the good advisor, the good teacher, leader. Anyone who does something which needs skill or authority, has to refer to his JunZi. Unlike the businessman who ruins his marriage when he is still businessman in bed, a JunZi in bed is the ideal of any woman. And a wife who is a JunZi the ideal of any man.

Heaven Qian, drought, the severe laws of universe

Earth Kun, space of the earth. Receptivity, nurturing power

Thunder Zhen, shake, quake. Thunderclap or earthquake, to shock, terrify, or shocked, terrified.

Wind Xun, to elect, to choose. Two seals of officials, placed upon a table, to be committed to those who were elected, chosen. Yield, mild, submissive, insinuating.

Water Kan, depression, pit, hole, snare, danger, crisis. Water moves according to the space it finds. Adapts and yet cannot be restrained. That makes it invincible and dangerous. Unfathomable.

Fire Li, separate. Brightness, discerning, 'catching' something.

Mountain Gen, tough. Hard to chew, straightforward, blunt, forthright. Mountain, solidity, dignity.

Lake exchange, and all emotions which have to do with that. Convert.