The Book of Changes
"The Book of Changes" (Yijing, simplified Chinese: 《易经》) is one of the oldest and most important classics in Chinese history. It is the origin of natural Chinese philosophy. Today many people just treat it as a book to predict people's future, but the wisdom within the book goes a lot deeper than that.
There are actually three volumes of the book but the first two were unfortunately lost. The existing one was finished in Zhou Dynasty, thus Yijing is also called "Zhou Yi" Because of the change of language and culture. However, contents of the book written during the Warring Period are difficult to understand and explanations of what these sections could mean have been added into the book.
The whole book is about 64 "Guai". People can use it to see the development of everything; one person's whole life, the future of one person or a nation, the whole universe, the history, the present and the future. The core theory of this book is that man is an integral part of nature. The author also thinks that one's date of birth determines one's life. One person's life is not randomly decided but can actually be "calculated". Yet, the author stresses that it is not simply a question of mathematics. Instead it is about evolvement, the nature of man and the development of nature.
The Meaning of Yi:
There are many explanations of Yi but generally it is believed that there are essentially three layers in the meaning: simplicity, change and constancy. The book details the existing condition of everything in the world which all follows nature and rule. This is defined as "simple". Yet at the same time they are always in the process of changing: change. But despite this they remain in a balanced and constant state: constant.
Also, in Chinese characters, Yi is the combination of the character "sun and "moon". Sun represents the day and moon symbolizes the night. Together they can also show change. The sun and moon are often a representation of yin and yang as the sun is hot and strong and the moon is soft and cold.
The Effect of the Book
In China, the Books of Changes are thought to be the origins of famous classics such as books written by Confucius, Zhuang Zi, and Lao Zi. The books are said to be an influence in many fields of people's life, including the military, politics, culture and even medicine. Research into the book still continues to this day, as there are many questions about the book that still do not have an answer.