A student asks these questions:  What is “Middle Heaven Bagua“? How come it is rarely seen or mentioned in traditional Feng Shui books?

Bagua or “8-trigrams” was created by the mythical ruler Fu Xi (伏羲, around 2800 BC).  It is the oldest binary symbol system in the world.  It started with “void” or nothingness to tai-ji or the “yin-yang fish” symbol.  The tai-ji evoles to “yin” and “yang” as represented by one line and two broken lines.  After 2 more iterations, the system of 8-trigrams or “bagua” emerges:   QIAN乾 ☰,  KUN坤 ☷,  LI离 ☲,  KAN坎 ☵,  ZHEN震 ☳,  XUN巽 ☴,  DUI兌 ☱ and  GEN艮 ☶   (Color stands for the elemental nature of the trigram).  

“Bagua” becomes the building blocks of Chinese civilization including metaphysics.  It is also probably the first creation model using binary symbols.  Yi-Jing or “Book of Changes” elaborates the functions and interactions of bagua elements.

The Yi-Jing or Zhou-yi (周易) that we have today is part of a trilogy of:

  1. Lian Shan Yi (連山易)–  Lian Shan means  “continuous mountains” in Chinese.  Pre-heaven Bagua is based on this classic.  The initiating trigram is Gen(艮).
  2. Gui Cang Yi (歸藏易) Gui Cang means “return and in storage” in Chinese.   The initiating trigram is Kun (坤).
  3. Zhou-yi (周易)– Zhou stands for King Wen of Zhou Dynasty.  Post-heaven Bagua is based on this classic. The initiating trigram is Qian (乾).

Unfortunately, Lian Shan Yi and Gui Cang Yi had been lost though part of their texts were quoted in Zhou-yi and other classics.

Chinese metaphysics always talks about the “Three components” or “San Cai” (三材)– “Heaven,  Human and Earth” (some people translated it as “holy trinity” or “cosmic trinity”, too religious and value-laden for me).  In terms of Feng Shui applications, Pre-heaven bagua stands for the heaven aspects and Post-heaven bagua for the earth aspects. Logically some people will look for  the “human bagua” or the “Middle Heaven Bagua” because human beings stand between heaven and earth.

There are numerous versions of “Middle Heaven Bagua” created by the curious souls or metaphysics marketers over the centuries.  Here I will show you two versions that are more “reasonable” because they are based on the bits and pieces of  Lian Shan Yi and Gui Cang Yi as quoted in Zhou-yi or other ancient texts.

Time for a nap.  If you come back next time, I will show you a top middle-heaven bagua secret– no affinity or money needed.

Ken Lai

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