The Changes: What do they do?
1. The Master said: The Changes, what do they do? The Changes disclose things, complete affairs, and encompass all ways on earth-this and nothing else. For this reason, the holy sages used them to penetrate all wills on earth and to determine all fields of action on earth, and to settle all doubts on earth.
2. Therefore the nature of the yarrow stalks is round and spiritual. The nature of the hexagrams is square and wise. The meaning of the six lines changes, in order to furnish information.
In this way the holy sages purified their hearts, withdrew, and hid themselves in the secret. They concerned themselves with good fortune and misfortune in common with other men. They were divine; hence they knew the future; they were wise, hence they stored up the past. Who is it that can do all this? Only the reason and clear mindedness of the ancients, their knowledge and wisdom, their unremitting divine power.
3. Therefore they fathomed the tao of heaven and understood the situations of men. Thus they invented these divine things in order to meet the need of men. The holy sages fasted for this reason, in order to make their natures divinely clear.
4. Therefore they called the closing of the gates the Receptive, and the opening of the gate the Creative. The alternation between closing and opening they called change. The going forward and backward without ceasing they called penetration. What manifests itself visibly they called an image; what has bodily form they called a tool. What is established in usage, they called a pattern. That which furthers on going out and coming in, that which all men live by, they called the divine.
5. Therefore there is in the Changes the Great Primal Beginning. This generates the two primary forces. The two primary forces generate the four images. The four images generate the eight trigrams.
6. The eight trigrams determine good fortune and misfortune. Good fortune and misfortune create the great field of action.
7. Therefore: There are no greater primal images than heaven and earth. There is nothing that has more movement or greater cohesion than the four seasons. Of the images suspended in the heavens, there is none more light giving than the sun and the moon. Of the honored and highly placed, there is none greater than he who possesses wealth and rank. With respect to creating things for use and making tools helpful to the whole world, there is no one greater than the holy sages. For comprehending the chaotic diversity of things and exploring what is hidden, for penetrating the depths and extending influence afar, thereby determining good fortune and misfortune on earth and consummating all efforts on earth, there is nothing greater than the oracle.
8. Therefore: Heaven creates divine things; the holy sage takes them as models. Heaven and earth change and transform; the holy sage imitates them. In the heavens hang images that reveal good fortune and misfortune; the holy sage reproduces these. The Yellow River brought forth a map and the Lo River brought forth a writing; the holy men took these as models.
9. In the Changes there are images, in order to reveal; there are judgements appended, in order to interpret; good fortune and misfortune are determined, in order to decide.