In 2011, I wrote about the 1000+ years mystery of “middle-heaven bagua” that is supposedly the human level of bagua.

A German reader wrote me about this middle-heaven bagua.  But I have a policy of not answering emails from people that I do not know (except placing course orders).  But he is so persistent, so I post his questions here for anyone interested to answer.  Other than correcting some minor misspellings, the following is taken verbatim from his email.

Dear Master Lai,

I am a private researcher of yjing the last 20 years. Because of studying a variety of books with contrary views and theories – I am lost and frustrated over the years.

When I read your blog and statements on the web, I got the impression, that you really have the fundamental plain true basics.

I would be pleased and thankful  for your help.

My main questions are:

1.  Is the houtian superpositioned on the xiantian bagua or the other way round to generate the 64 hexagrams?

2. How come the sixiang into being ? Through the middle line of a trigram, combined from earlier and later bagua, or through luoshu / hetu number grid.  Is sixiang a combination from both arrangements? You spoke of a middle gua?! Or is sixiang build from the other /uppermost bagua?

Does young yang stand in the east with lower line yin and upper yang or is it the other way round. Same for young yin in the west?

3. How does the nine palaces (eight houses) are connected in generating the 64 hexagrams?

I would be so happy to get your reply and support.

Best regards from Germany,


PS:  Ken’s comment:  These are profound questions good enough for a few PhD dissertations.

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My previous blog has discussed the source of the Bagua or 8-trigrams.  Now comes to the core of the discussion.

Middle Heaven Bagua (MHB) is also called “Yellow Emperor Bagua” because it is based on  Lian Shan Yi which was attributed to the Yellow Emperor.  The first version of MHB that I introduce here is based on Yuan-bao Jing (元包經)– a classic written in Northern Chou Dynasty (557- 581 CE ).  It is regarded as an elaboration of  Gui Cang Yi (歸藏).

At first glance, this bagua is clear yin-yang division or sex-segregation.  The gua (trigram) order in this version are as follows:

  • Kun to Qian
  • Dui to Gen
  • Li to Kan
  • Xun to Zhen

Yuan-bao Jing model starts with Kun (female/ yin) and ends with Zhen (male/ yang). Females are on the left side and also on top of males. It shows “Yin first and Yang second” or matriarchy ideology. The word “Cang 藏” as in “Gui Cang 歸藏”, stands for Kun or the receptive/ storage.   However, the ordering of trigrams still reflects yin-yang balance concept.


Click over picture to enlarge

This looks like a “gay bagua” because both 90 and 180 degree paths of each trigram always reaches trigram of the same gender.  However, if you look at the neighboring trigram in terms of the yin trigram (e.g, Kun/ Qian, Dui/ Gen and so on),  you will find each “yao” of the trigram pair (the straight and broken lines) is yin-yang balanced.  

There is no accurate information except speculations on the gua order of this MHB.  All we know is it starts of Kun trigram with a right moving track.

Until one day a copy of Gui Cang Yi is discovered or unearthed, we cannot ascertain the validity of existing MHB creations.  This is one major reason that most Feng Shui books do not bother to include or discuss about MHB.  But it does not stop some marketers from boasting about their trove of  “MHB secrets”.

Anyway, all the bagua models (pre-, post- and Middle) reflect the rules of “yin-yang theory” like confrontation, mutual dependency and balancing.  Bagua models are also the original sources of 5-element theory. Pre-heaven bagua reflects the mutual-controlling aspect of 5-element theory.  Post-heaven bagua shows the nurturing aspect of the same theory.   Middle heaven bagua, if proven, points to the combination aspects of 5-element theory.

The Pre-heaven Bagua diagram that we have today actually shows up LATER than the Post-heaven one.  It was put together by Shao Yong (1011–1077 CE) based on the following entry from Confucian classic Shuo-guo Chuan (說卦傳, Commentaries on Trigrams):

This entry specifies the location and pairing of each trigrams.  It shows the spatial and original aspects of the system.  Trigrams also represent gender locations and relationship, so this Post-heaven bagua also reflects the human aspects of the system, especially in terms of power-relationship.

Shao Yong was probably one of the most talented Chinese cosmologists and Yi-Jing scholars.  He had created Huangji Jingshi (皇極經世, Book of supreme world ordering principles) and the Plum Blossom Divination method.  A logical question will arise:  If Shao was smart enough to figure out the Pre-heaven Bagua sequence from the classics, why did he not reconstruct one for the “Human or Middle Heaven Bagua”?  Did he feel the human aspects are already embedded in the Pre- and Post-heaven bagua?

We do not know if MHB exists or not, so is there such thing as a “MHB secret“?  Anyway, someone claims “Turning Qian over to Kun” (扭轉乾坤, reverse the course of events ) is one of the MHB big secrets. I will give you a hint to crack it.

There are more than one way to do  “Turning Qian over to Kun“.  Many people in the motivation, life-coaching and destiny-changing (or luck changing) business use similar technique. But people do not call it a MHB secret. It is just one of the basic yin-yang principles.

Here is the hint:  go to my website and click the link for “Destiny & Luck Management: Advanced Bazi Therapy & Enhancement” course.  Look for the DVD box cover image. It is one of the possible answers for  “Turning Qian over to Kun“.

Ken Lai

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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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“Practical Imperial Qi-Men-Dun-Jia” w/ 11 hr. video
“Advanced Practical Imperial Qi-Men-Dun-Jia” w/ 18 hr. video
“Daoist Talismans for Feng Shui & Blessing” v.2 w/ 24 hr video
“Practical Door Feng Shui for Wealth” w/ 3 hr. video
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