A Western Approximation

A Western Approximation refers to an interpretive model that approaches the hexagrams from a Western perspective influenced by philosophical anthropology.
One of the core concepts of this approach is that we, as human beings, are bound in opposites, such as “relationship to ourselves / relationship to the world”, “individual / society” or “body / psyche”. These pairs of opposites shape our experience, we can never leave them, we are inescapably bound, just as in the interplay of Yin and Yang – which closes the arc to the origin of the I Ching.

The interpretive model is explained in more detail here: Follow the Path of the Dao: A Western Approximation
On the hexagram pages you will find the respective texts and questions in the lower part, under the heading “Follow the Path of the Dao: A Western Approximation”


Acupuncture is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which thin needles are inserted into the body to manipulate its energetic system. The meridians (acupuncture functional circuits) are hereby associated with organ systems. These organ systems in turn represent very specific mental functions. Any dysfunction within an organ system triggers very specific patterns of behavior. To cite just two examples: the functional circuit gallbladder is associated with excessive anger, effusive joy points to the functional circuit heart.

The goal of any acupuncture treatment is to re-establish balance. Both “anger” and “joy” are natural psychological functions of the individual. But they should be in harmony with the overall system; any excessive presence brings imbalance to the entire system.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acupuncture

beginner’s mind

Shoshin or “beginner’s mind” is a concept from Zen Buddhism and refers to an attitude of openness, enthusiasm, and lack of preconceptions, similar to that of a beginner. The practice of Shoshin serves as a counter to the hubris and closed-mindedness often associated with considering oneself an expert.
Shoshin also acts as an antidote to the “Einstellung effect”, which is a predisposition to solve a particular problem in a specific way, even if better or more appropriate methods exist. It is the negative effect of previous experience when approaching new problems.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shoshin
and: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstellung_effect

Bin Hu Mai Xue

Bīn Hú Mài Xué (瀕湖脈學, “Teachings on Pulse Diagnosis”) was written by the Chinese physician and naturalist Li Shizhen (1518-1593) and serve as a basic textbook to the present day.

changing lines

Depending on the divination method (yarrow stalks, coins or electronic oracle as we use it on no2DO), different numerical values result for each individual “throw”:

  • no2DO oracle (electronic): 7 or 8
  • coins or yarrow stalks: 6 or 7 or 8 or 9

The values 6 and 9 are regarded as changing lines, i.e. they change into their respective opposite: 6 (Yin) becomes 7 (Yang), 9 (Yang) becomes 8 (Yin). This transforms the original hexagram into another one of the 64 hexagrams. (More explanations and an example can be found here).

I regularly receive requests if or why not I do consider the changing lines of the I Ching’s hexagrams in no2DO. My perspective on this issue is as follows: My opinion, working with the I Ching means first of all to thoroughly understand the (original) hexagram. This takes time and effort. However, I consider this step essential and an effort worth taking. For this reason I have expanded the individual hexagrams’ interpretation pages step by step and thus given the users a variety of material at hand.

Without tools or if someone shies away from this effort, it is actually tempting to quickly turn to the changing lines. This is, for example, often the case when solely working with the original texts. Let’s be honest: “Perseverance furthers!” does not say much. It is natural to turn to the changing lines in search of more “meat”. Unfortunately, the texts offered in the changing-lines-section are equally cryptic and bring enlightenment only in few cases. An explanation for this could be that the original texts possibly contain political messages from the times of the texts’ origins. Dominique Hertzer investigated this phenomenon in her book “Das Mawangdui- Yijing”.

However, if you still want to consider the changing lines, I’d offer following advice: The changing lines result in a further, a second hexagram. Once you have worked extensively with the first hexagram, you could then do the same with the second hexagram.


Order, connection, pooling, similarity, symmetry


Usually three coin are used for divination. 3 is assigned as a value to the front of each coin, the 2 to the back. By tossing coins, the total value is 6, 7, 8 or 9, with 6 and 8 representing a broken line (yin) and 7 and 9 representing a solid line (yang). This process is repeated six times until the hexagram is complete.
The values 6 and 9 are regarded as changing lines, i.e. they change into their respective opposite: 6 (Yin) becomes 7 (Yang), 9 (Yang) becomes 8 (Yin). This transforms the original hexagram into another of the 64 hexagrams.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Ching_divination#Three-coin_method


The philosophy of Confucius. Emphasizes personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice, kindness, and sincerity. Confucianism, along with Buddhism and Daoism, has shaped Chinese culture and society for many centuries and influences everyday life in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan.

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confucianism

core character

Lines 2, 3 and 4 form a hexagram’s first core character, line 3, 4 and 5 its second core character. Both core characters highlight the hexagram’s internal dynamics by showing how the two trigrams are linked together and interact.

cross the great water

Cross the great water. Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: to finish the old (and take final leave of it) and to address the new.


Dao is traditionally referred to as “the path”. Within Daoist philosophy it describes the eternal and active principle of creation which encompasses both original unity and duality. Dao thus constitute the basic principle of the world’s creation, it is a principle of immanence (= all-pervading) as well as transcendence (= undifferentiated emptiness, mother of the cosmos) and represents the highest state of being. Dao stands for the potentiality of all forms and also for the power that pervades the whole process of creation and creation itself. “Life in harmony with the Dao” refers to a lifestyle where any action is taken spontaneously and in harmony with the general situation, out of a state of inner stillness.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tao


The world view that underlies the I Ching is rooted in Daoism (Chinese: “Teaching the Way”, Taoism). The basic idea is the primordial unity from which all creation emanates: it gives birth to duality (Yin and Yang, light and shadow) and by their changes, movements and interplay creates our environment (the external world).

The ethical teachings of Daoism advise that people should learn about this basic principle through their own observation and realize the Dao by harmoniously adapting to the continuously changing, phenomenal forms.

Daoism is a philosophy, but it is also seen as China’s sole and authentic religion. Its secured historical origins are in the 4th Century BC, when the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching, Tao te Ching) of Laozi (Lao Tzu, Lao-tzu) was created.

Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism


The I Ching oracle is traditionally determined by using coins or yarrow sticks. At no2DO.com we go a different way and use a mixture of human factor and a computer generated random number.

The main difference – besides convenience and speed – are the numerical values that are generated by the different oracle methods:

  • no2DO oracle: 7 or 8.
  • coin or yarrow oracle: 6 or 7 or 8 or 9

6 or 9 are changing lines. This means that the hexagram may transform into another hexagram. Example:

On no2DO we do not consider changing lines (a reason is given here), but of course it is open to everyone to consider the transforming hexagram as well. This is possible on no2DO at any time, just go to the corresponding interpretation page: Overview Hexagrams

Here are some further details how the oracle number is calculated on no2DO: As long as you move the mouse within the playing field, the mouse movement’s x and y coordinates are added up; the longer you move the mouse, the greater the numerical value.
If you finally click the mouse a random number is generated and multiplied twice with the previously calculated sum of x and y coordinates. Subsequently, the respective next integer is determined (through eliminating decimal places) and, depending on whether it is odd or even, a solid (Yang) or a broken (Yin) line is drawn.
Thus, as long as the querist moves the mouse, he actively influences the numeric value. Just like with coins or yarrow sticks the result is determined by the querist – and no a “random number” as with most online oracles.

Dui, the Lake

Modern Interpretation: Openness, touch, acceptance; humility; connectedness, inspiration; individuation; rhythm

Dui crosses the natural boundary of our self in two ways: from the inside outwardly and from the outside inwardly. From the outside inwardly means that we open ourselves to the outside, to our environment, let us be inspired and ultimately accept and integrate what we encounter. From the inside outwardly invites us to express our innermost to the outside and let it come alive within the world. Both movements are tightly interconnected, just like the rhythm of our breathing: inhaling, exhaling. In the classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine we find the following descriptions for the functional circuit lung (see King Wen’s Later Heaven: lung is associated with Dui):

Phase Element: Metal
Functional Circuit: Lung (LU)

Read more: I Ching Study Guide: Dui, the Lake

empty heart

A Daoist term that describes a state of mind that is absolutely clear; a pure, empty heart is the prerequisite for perceiving the Dao and for (non-)acting (wu wei) in accordance with it.

five elements

The teachings of the five elements and the five phases of transformation (wǔxíng) is a Daoist theory for describing nature. It searches for regularities according to which dynamic transformation processes take place within the realm of the living. The five elements Wood, Earth, Water, Fire and Metal are derived from nature and stand for abstract properties.

How the trigrams of the I Ching are assigned to the five phases of transformation in the present interpretation model is explained in more detail here: Trigrams, Elements, Functional Circuits


Good fortune. Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: positive outcome, because all action happens in accordance with the Dao.

functional circuit

Meridian, pathway or channel through which, according to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the life energy (Qi) flows.

There are twelve main channels, each of which is assigned to one organ system. On the meridians themselves, there are special points where – e.g. through needles (acupuncture) or finger pressure (acupressure) – the energy balance can be influenced.

ElementFunctional CircuitTimeQualityEmotionSense
MetalLung (LU)03-05YinSorrowNose
MetalLarge Intestine (LI)05-07YangSorrowNose
EarthStomach (ST)07-09YangWorryLips
EarthSpleen (SP)09-11YinWorryLips
FireHeart (HT)11-13YinJoyTongue
FireSmall Intestine (SI)13-15YangJoyTongue
WaterBladder (BL)15-17YangFearEar
WaterKidney (KI)17-19YinFearEar
FirePericardium (PE)19-21YinJoyTongue
FireTriple Warmer (Sanjiao, SJ)21-23YangJoyTongue
WoodGallbladder (GB)23-01YangAngerEye
WoodLiver (LIV)01-03YinAngerEye

Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meridian_(Chinese_medicine)


Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: good for everybody/everything.

Gen, the Mountain

Modern Interpretation: Disengagement; transformation; harmonization

Gen stands for our ability to disengage. Through letting go of what has become obsolete we can focus on what is essential, concentrate our energies and make room for the new. Disengagement harmonizes and focuses our actions and results in reorientation and new beginnings. Gen invites us to honestly examine our possessions, feelings and/or thoughts regarding their validity, and to permanently let go of what is old or outdated.

Phase Element: Metal
Functional Circuit: Large Intestine (LI)

Read more: I Ching Study Guide: Gen, the Mountain

great man

Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: A man living in harmony with the Dao, acting out of a state of inner calm, spontaneously and in accordance with the overall situation. Within the hexagram the great man often refers to the fifth line (if this is a Yang line). It indicates an action from center outward. Ideally, it corresponds with its counterpart, the second line (= the middle line in the lower trigram), which is often regarded as will.

Heart (HT)

In no2DO trigram Qian, the heaven, is associated with the functional circuit Heart (HE). The heart is the seat of Shen, the creative force that transmits the celestial Dao to man, making him a unique individual, giving him presence and coherence of thought. In order for the divine to work within us, for us to feel the miracle of life, the heart must be empty, i.e., filled with serenity and childlike innocence, free from worries, desires, prejudices and evaluations.

Read more: Citations regarding the Functional Circuit Heart
Read more: Trigrams, Elements, Functional Circuits