Master Ni’s Comment on Hexagram 1 of the I Ching


The I Ching or Book of Changes is the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. A symbol system designed to identify order in what appear to be chance events, it describes an ancient system of cosmology and philosophy that is at the heart of Chinese cultural beliefs. It is based on the alternation of complementary energies called yin and yang, which are developmental poles that by their alternation trigger inevitable change. It is also based on the old integrative philosophy of the five elements that is part of many other esoteric science traditions. The philosophy centers on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a process, and acceptance of the inevitability of change.

The I Ching consists of 64 hexagrams. Each hexagram or kua is an energy pattern that is a unique mix of the two base energies, yin and yang, represented symbolically by lines. Yang is represented by a solid line, yin by a dotted line. Each hexagram is composed of six lines, and two trigrams consisting of three lines each. The lower trigram deals with matters that are in their beginning stage, from the start of a project until about half of its realization. The upper trigram deals with the culmination and the end of processes or projects, positively or negatively.

The I Ching has been a book for divination and relief, and for spiritual learning for many great and famous people such as Confucius, Hermann Hesse, John Lennon, Carl Gustav Jung, and many others. I personally consult the I Ching on a regular basis since 1990.

This hexagram is important as it symbolizes the creator force, pure yang energy—six unbroken lines. Master Ni entitled his comment ‘Primal Chi’ and it is indeed one of the most substantial in the book.

Hua-Ching Ni
How can the universe be alive? Because it is the continual transformation of primal chi, the pivotal energy and living soul of the universe. Primal chi functions as the subtle connection of the universe in the same way that the nervous system functions in the human body. It extends itself primordially as the self-nature of the universe. It then extends itself further as the main spheres of reality, the manifest and the unmanifest. / In the unmanifest sphere, called pre-Heaven, there is nothing describable nor discernible; there is only absolute, undivided oneness. In the manifest sphere of post-Heaven three-dimensions developments are revealed as spirit, matter and life. The diversification or primal chi becomes the multiplicity of individual things and beings. Although the manifestations of primal chi are many, the reality is one. Expressing the oneness of the universe, it is given the name ‘Tao’. Expressing flexible and transformable reality, it is given the name ‘chu’. When primal chi is unexpressed and untransformed, it is the essence of the universe with inexhaustible potential. When it is expressed, it takes the form of a mother giving birth to her child. By understanding that all things in the universe are just different expressions of chi, one can see why the sages have always said, ‘All things are one, and the one is all things.’ Without the outreach and withdrawal, the giving and returning of chi, the transformation of all things would be impossible. According to spiritual thought, Heaven is not separate from the material sphere as it is in most Western religions. The natural heaven has many energy levels that include all spheres of manifestation. In other words, everything in the universe is a manifestation of Heaven, and everyone is potentially a heavenly being. The four great realms of Heaven include: chi as the first, spirit as the second, matter as third and life as the fourth. The pure and light chi develops into spirits. The impure and heavy chi develops into matter. From the integration of both comes life, thus chi is spirit, chi is matter, and chi is life. Chi is the basic essence of the universe. Nothing that exists can be without it, though it is not everything itself. When regarded as the invisible, untouchable, inaudible, insubstantial substance of the universe, primal chi is the Universal Way itself. All things manifest or develop from it. In this same way, chi as life can also be differentiated. A well-trained Kung Fu expert can break stones with his hands as easily as one can cut through a watermelon, and in numerous other ways he can demonstrate his truly unusual powers. It is the chi he has gathered and cultivated which enables him to do these things. Look at the person who can walk on glowing coals. It is chi which enables him to do so. Look at a psychic who moves a chair from one side of a room to the other by either gazing at it or thinking of it. It is chi which makes this possible. Or the woman who gives birth to a dozen children and still looks young and healthy. Again, it is chi which makes this possible. And look at the exceptionally long life of a developed one who lives in the mountains. It is chi which makes this possible. In an integral or holistic life, the word ‘chi’ has many usages. There is chi in spiritual cultivation, chi in integral natural medicine, chi in philosophical discussions and chi in everyday use, as in the atmosphere and one’s general condition. The usage of the word corresponds corresponds to its particular application. Similarly, the discovery and understanding of chi corresponds to the level of one’s personal development. Spiritual cultivation is profoundly involved with the knowledge and technique of nurturing and managing chi. After thoroughly understanding chi, one’s perception of universal reality becomes deepened, and with it comes the possibility of high spiritual achievement. The summoning of a spirit becomes as sure and trustworthy as extending an invitation to a good friend. Ordinary religions believe that God can do things that are impossible for human beings to accomplish. This is not completely accurate, unless one thoroughly understands that God is chi and, at the same time, spirit. By understanding chi it becomes clear in one’s mind that all things are possible by managing chi. What you beseech God to do for you does indeed happen, but what actually makes it happen? It is chi. How does chi make it happen? Since one’s personal cultivation corresponds to the chi, it responds. This activity goes on, not only on the spiritual level, but at the everyday level of life as well. To become ‘pure chi’ is the goal of this immortal tradition. When one’s chi becomes purified, one’s spirit becomes complete. Then a new immortal is born in the Immortal Realm. Is this not an important and serious matter for everyone? /221-223

Bibliography

Hua-Ching Ni
The Taoist Inner View of the Universe and the Immortal Realm
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1979, 1996

Hua-Ching Ni
The Power of Natural Healing
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1991, 1995

Hua-Ching Ni
The Complete Works of Lao Tzu
Tao Teh Ching & Hua Hu Ching
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1991, 1995

Hua-Ching Ni
Life and Teaching of Two Immortals
Volume I, Kou Hong
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1992

Hua-Ching Ni
Life and Teaching of Two Immortals
Volume II, Chen Tuan
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1993

Hua-Ching Ni
Internal Alchemy
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1992

Hua-Ching Ni
Nurture Your Spirits
Santa Monica: Seven Stars Communications, 1990

Hua-Ching Ni
I Ching, The Book of Changes and the Unchanging Truth
Revised First Edition
Santa Barbara: Seven Star Communications, 1990

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