Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ancient Asian Science

[Path to Mastery 2/18/10 – Wk23 D4 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]

Sang’s World

Taoism is the oriental equivalent of Western Science.

Taoism is often considered a religion. There is a religious element to Taoism. But Taoism at its purest is the study and observation of the laws of nature in order to achieve harmony and oneness with it.

If Western science is based on analysis, the breaking down of things into smaller parts in order to understand the make up of things, Taoism observes the similarities between things and how they came together.

For instance, in medicine, the west observed how to get rid of a physical symptom. The disease is seen as a foreign invasion on the body as a separate entity. The absence of the disease would mean health. In the east, the presence of a disease was seen as an indication that the body and mind was out of balance. One observed how to bring the body back to balance and when the body is in balance the symptoms would disappear. The disease would not necessarily be seen as a foreign entity, but just as an expression of the body being out of harmony.

Like all great things, truth is a lot more complex than either model. In reality, we are nowadays witnessing both models merging because in reality they are the same thing. My hope is that these readings will help you merge these different modalities of ideas in your own mind to bring about meaningful change in your own life.

Hope you enjoy these readings.

Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:

We have covered the following:

8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11)
San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
Ba-Gua.(Covering from 2/16 ~ )
             Part1: Explanation of Ba-Gua (Covered on 2/16)
             Part2: Yin-Yang Theory (Covered on 2/17)

Today we will continue on Ba-Gua and cover the concept of Eight Trigram.

Ba-Gua Part 3: Eight Trigram
According to some, the Chinese went digital more than 3000 years ago, which is when the I-Ching was written. I-Ching is translated roughly as the Book of Changes.

If Yin-Yang is used to describe the opposing nature of things in the universe, than the Eight Trigram is used to show the eight fundamental transitions as Yin and Yang interact with each other.

As in the Yin-Yang symbol, Yang fills into Yin, and Yin recedes into Yang, and the universe is in a constant flux of this interchange. Now, this shows a fluid transformation from one state to another. This is analog.

Now here comes digital. If we say that Yang is a solid line, and Yin is a broken line, then you can say that Yang is 1 and Yin is 0. This is one digit. Now, if you have 2 digits, in probability, this would be 2 to the power of 2, resulting in 2 x 2, which allows for 4 possibilities. The following would be the possible combinations: 11, 10, 01, and 00. In short, you have 2 slots for the lines, which allow for 2 solid lines, a solid line and a broken line, a broken line and a solid line, and 2 broken lines. Now, these show 4 distinct phases in the transition from a fully Yang state to a Yin state and vice versa. It’s like taking a shot of the moon when it is at New Moon, First Quarter, Full Moon, and Last Quarter.

So Eight Trigram is when there are 3 digits. This would be 2 to the power of 3, which would be 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. The following would be the 8 possible combinations: 111, 110, 101, 011, 100, 010, 001, 000. Again, this would be like taking the picture of the moon, at 8 distinct phases: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full Moon, Waning Gibbous, Last Quarter, and Waning Crescent. The 8 trigram is the most popular because it is considered to contain the basic key elemental phases of change in any phenomenon such as the different phases of the moon.

As explained above, change is considered the interchange of yin and yang. The eight images used to depict the characteristics of the 8 different combination of yin and yang are:

Heaven, Earth, Mountain, Lake, Thunder, Wind, Fire, Water.

This concept of I-Ching, the study of change is to break down the flow and fluidity of change into clear phases so one can understand change better. It is like creating distinctions of direction. There are 4 distinct directions, North, South, East and West. The corresponding images in the Eight Trigram would be Heaven (3 bars) and Earth (3 broken bars), Fire (1 bar, 1broken bar, 1 bar) and Water (1 broken bar, 1 bar and 1 broken bar). Then there are the 4 corners, SW, NE, SE and NW, which would be Mountain (2 broken bars and 1 bar) and Lake (2 bars and 1 broken bar), Thunder (1 bar, 2 broken bars) and Wind (1 broken bar, 2 bars). By studying these changes, one learns how to understand changes better, and how to respond to them better. As one's understanding of these changes gets more intricate, these digits get greater. The most popular combination of changes that are looked at is the 8 trigrams and the 64 Hexagrams.

It is believed that by studying these changes one learns to adapt to change better and furthermore one learns to predict the next phase of the change so one can make a better choice.

Ba-Gua is the Chinese word for 8 Trigram. So, Ba-Gua is a martial art that studies the different phases of change in order adapt and predict movements better.


  1. A humorous thought came to me after reading this blog:

    when trying to understand change, it is tempting to find a method to define it which can then keep you from seeing it, yet we need methods.

    It seems to me that the yin and yang of life is that we must dance with the structured and the non-structured (opposite extremes)and freely transition from one to the other. In music, the spaces between the notes are as important as the notes itself.

    It takes planning to be spontaneous.
    It takes discipline to be free.

  2. I absolutely loved it when you wrote that truth is not that simple and melding eastern and western views brings a more real outlook, that is so true.

    8 trigrams and binary code as you have pointed out are the same basic concept. Now I hate math so I did get your calculations but I did get the moral that Ba Gua brings awareness to changes (how energy is transacted) to give one a better perspective on life.

    Finally after reading your e-mail this morning my response was positive, I was so encouraged! The enemy (Satan) tried trapping me with thoughts that maybe I was not good enough to get it and then truth one out! I realized that inherent skill is not potent enough to decide success, more accurately my innate skill level was enough to master the 30 so that was the end of the internal dialogue. Positivity is here to stay.