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Definition: The I Ching or Classic of Changes or Chou I is considered an ancient system of divination from China. Its authorship and age are uncertain. The I Ching contains 64 hexagrams that can be used for divination and advice. The 64 are based on 8 trigrams that can be dichotomized as a continuous (firm) bar (yang) or a broken (yielding) bar (yin). Three of these bars make up a trigram and there are 8 possible arrangements. The trigrams are the mathematical possibilities:
  1. Chi'en
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  2. Sun
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  3. Ken
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  4. K'un
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  5. Chen
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  6. Tui
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  7. K'an
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  8. Li
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Two of these trigrams together make up a hexagram. For example Hexagram Pi (Ken + Li):
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The I Ching has a divinatory and a philosophical component, the former very ancient. Tradition attributes the I Ching to the legendary king Fu Hsi (2953-2838 B.C.). The commentaries, known as the 10 Wings, are traditionally ascribed to the philosopher Confucius (551-479 B.C.).

The origin of the symbols is debated. It has been claimed that the lines are simplified characters or are based on the appearance of milfoil stalks used in early divination.

Sources:
"Some Reflections on the Authorship of the I Ching," by J. Y. Lee Numen, Vol. 17, Fasc. 3 (Dec., 1970), pp. 200-210.
"Oracle and Symbol in the Redaction of the I Ching," by F. M. Doeringer. Philosophy East and West, Vol. 30, No. 2 (Apr., 1980), pp. 195-209.

Also Known As: Book of Changes
Alternate Spellings: Yì Jīng
Examples:
The I Ching provides both oracular sayings and practical advice.

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