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The explanation of King Wen’s order of the 64 hexagrams.

by D.H.Van den Berghe


The I Ching is a mysterious book . Numerous researchers have tried to figure out why the 64 hexagrams
are arranged in their particular order . Up to now, no satisfying solution has been found .

In this article, will be shown some basic keys for explaining the order of the I Ching hexagrams .

In King Wen's order the hexagrams are clearly arranged in pairs.
So, explaining the order involves two steps:

� Explaining the order of the 32 hexagram pairs.

� Explaining the order of the hexagrams within each pair.

The problem of the order of the 32 pairs has to be tackled first:

The basic structure.

The hexagrams are arranged in 32 pairs
Most hexagrams are coupled with their inverse hexagram (the inverse hexagram is obtained by turning it
upside down) .
Eight hexagrams (1,2,27,28,29,30,61,62) don't change by turning them upside down because they are
symmetric . These hexagrams are coupled with their counter hexagram (the counter hexagram is found
by changing all the lines) .
This means that most pairs have a counter pair. For example the counter pair of hex 3 and hex 4 is the
pair hex 49 and hex 50 :

Besides the symmetric hexagrams (1,2,27,28,29,30,61,62) there are four more pairs that have no counter
pair (11/12,17/18,53/54,63/64) because for these hexagrams inverse and counter hexagram are the same.

This means that we have 8 special pairs which have no counter pair:

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