The I Ching is a compilation of texts and commentaries from the twelfth century B.C.E in China It consists of 65 hexagrams (groups of six lines): each hexagram has a statement, comments about each of the six lines, and an image. Deng Ming-Dao is the author of nine books including Everyday Tao. His translation of this text is open-ended and imaginative. It can be used as a tool of divination or to strengthen your moral and ethical convictions.
The I Ching deals with the changes that are at the heart of reality. Ming-Dao describes the philosophy behind this Chinese vision of the world:
1. "Nature, society, and individuals all act through cyclical change.
2. "Cycles of change are driven by polar opposites named yin and yang.
3. "A cycle reaching its zenith descends toward its nadir. Likewise, the only path from nadir is ascent.
4. "A cultivated person and an enlightened society act in accord with these cyclical movements, remaining aware of the numerous cycles they instigate each day. Ethical acts reinforce community and maintain beneficial cycles. Selfish acts increase isolation and generate destructive cycles.
5. "A wise person engages in constant self-cultivation to become more sensitive to change.
6. "Cultivated persons are not sad when misfortune occurs. They use the occasion to seek errors within themselves. By cultivating humility, they fend off further misfortune. They are modest and careful in times of great fortune. They are grateful and reverent. They will also consolidate their gains, search for nascent seeds of misfortune, and prepare for the future.
7. "A person who can discern the cycles of life can learn to utilize them for his or her own ends. The Changes advocate spirituality, humility, reverence, and service to others as the highest standards.
8. "All endings are only transitions."
The author also presents an enlightening overview of the four images and the eight principles to describe change: heaven and earth, water and fire, thunder and wind, mountain and lake. Ming-Dao does a fine job conveying the imaginal richness and flexibility of the oracular texts.