|Literal meaning||Eight symbols|
|Vietnamese alphabet||Bát quái|
The bagua (pinyin) or pa-kua (Wade-Giles) (八卦) are a set of eight symbols that originated in China, used in Daoist / Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. Each consists of three lines, each line either "broken" or "unbroken", respectively representing yin or yang. Due to their tripartite structure, they are often referred to as Eight Trigrams in English.
The trigrams are related to Yijing and Taiji philosophy, and the Wuxing, or "five elements". The trigrams have correspondences in astronomy, divination, meditation, astrology, geography, geomancy (fengshui), anatomy, decorative arts, the family, martial arts (particularly taijiquan and baguazhang), Chinese medicine and elsewhere.
The bagua can appear singly or in combination, and are commonly encountered in two different arrangements: the Primordial (先天八卦), "Earlier Heaven", or "Fu Xi" bagua (伏羲八卦) and the Manifested (後天八卦), "Later Heaven", or "King Wen" bagua.
In the ancient Chinese classic, I Ching (Pinyin: Yi Jing), two trigrams are stacked together to create a six-line figure known as a hexagram. There are 64 possible permutations. The 64 hexagram figures and their texts make up the book. The trigram symbolism can be used to interprete the hexagram figure and text. An example from Hexagram 19 commentary: "The earth [kun trigram] above the lake [dui trigram]: The image of Approach. Thus the superior man is inexhaustibe in his will to teach, and without limits in his tolerance and protection of the people." The trigrams have been used to organize Yijing charts as seen below.
There are eight possible combinations to render the various trigrams (八卦 bāguà):
|Trigram figure||Possible binary value||Possible decimal sequential number||Name||Translation: Wilhelm||Image in nature (pp.l-li)||Phase||Later Heaven's Direction (p. 269)||Later Heaven's Equinox or Solstice||Earlier Heaven's Direction||Earlier Heaven's Equinox or Solstice||Family relationship (p. 274)||Body part (p. 274)||Attribute (p. 273)||Stage/ state (pp.l-li)||Animal (p. 273)||Obtained Images|
|the Creative, (natural) force||heaven, sky
|metal||northwest||south||Summer Solstice||father||head||strong, persisting||creative||馬
|the Joyous, open (reflection)||lake, marsh
|metal||west||Fall Equinox||southeast||third daughter||mouth||pleasure||tranquil (complete devotion)||羊
|the Clinging, radiance||fire, glow
|fire||south||Summer Solstice||east||Spring Equinox||second daughter||eye||light-giving, humane "dependence"||clinging, clarity, adaptable||雉
|the Arousing, shake||thunder
|wood||east||Spring Equinox||northeast||first son||foot||inciting movement||initiative||龍
|the Gentle, ground||wind, air
|wood||southeast||southwest||first daughter||thigh||penetrating||gentle entrance||雞
|the Abysmal, gorge||water
|water||north||Winter Solstice||west||Fall Equinox||second son||ear||dangerous||in-motion||豕
|Keeping Still, bound||mountain
|earth||northeast||northwest||third son||hand||resting, stand-still||completion||狗
|the Receptive, field||ground, earth
|earth||southwest||north||Winter Solstice||mother||belly||devoted, yielding||receptive||牛
Book of Changes listed two sources for the eight trigrams. The chapter Xì Cí shàng; 'The Great Treatise I' explains the first source thus:
Yì yǒu tàijí ，
shì shēng liǎngyí ，
liǎngyí shēng sìxiàng ，
sìxiàng shēng bāguà ，
This explanation would later be modified to:
The Limitless (Wuji) produces the delimited, and this is the Absolute (Taiji). The Taiji produces two forms, named Yin and Yang.[a] The two forms produce four phenomena, named lesser yang, great yang (tai yang also means the Sun), lesser yin, great yin (tai yin also means the Moon). The four phenomena act on the eight trigrams (ba gua), eight eights are sixty-four hexagrams
Another chapter, 說卦; Shuō Guà; 'Discussing the Trigrams', characterizes the 乾; Qián trigram, which represents Heaven, and 坤; Kūn, which represent earth, as father and mother, respectively, of the six other trigrams, who are their three sons (震; Zhèn, 坎; Kǎn, 艮; Gèn) and three daughters (巽; Xùn, 離; Lí, 兌; Duì).
The trigrams are related to the five elements of Wu Xing, used by Feng Shui practitioners and in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Those five elements are Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal. The Water (Kan) and Fire (Li) trigrams correspond directly with the Water and Fire elements. The element of Earth corresponds with both the trigrams of Earth (Kun) and Mountain (Gen). The element of Wood corresponds with the trigrams of Wind (Xun) (as a gentle but inexorable force that can erode and penetrate stone) and Thunder (Zhen). The element of Metal corresponds with the trigrams of Heaven (Qian) and Lake (Dui).
|Heaven||Force||Displacement||Great Possessing||Great Invigorating||Small Harvest||Attending||Great Accumulating||Pervading|
|Lake||Treading||Open||Polarising||Converting the Maiden||Inner Truth||Articulating||Diminishing||Nearing|
|Flame||Concording People||Skinning||Radiance||Abounding||Dwelling People||Already Fording||Adorning||Intelligence Hidden|
|乾 Qián||天 Sky (Heaven)||Summer||Creative||父 Father||南 South||健 Expansive energy, the sky. For further information, see tiān.|
|巽 Xùn||風 Wind||Summer||Gentle||長女 Eldest Daughter||西南 Southwest||入 Gentle penetration, flexibility.|
|坎 Kǎn||水 Water||Autumn||Abysmal||中男 Middle Son||西 West||陷 Danger, rapid rivers, the abyss, the moon.|
|艮 Gèn||山 Mountain||Autumn||Still||少男 Youngest Son||西北 Northwest||止 Stillness, immovability.|
|坤 Kūn||地 Earth||Winter||Receptive||母 Mother||北 North||順 Receptive energy, that which yields. For further information, see dì.|
|震 Zhèn||雷 Thunder||Winter||Arousing||長男 Eldest Son||東北 Northeast||動 Excitation, revolution, division.|
|離 Lí||火 Fire||Spring||Clinging||中女 Middle Daughter||東 East||麗 Rapid movement, radiance, the sun.|
|兌 Duì||澤 Lake||Spring||Joyous||少女 Youngest Daughter||東南 Southeast||悅 Joy, satisfaction, stagnation.|
|離 Li||火 Fire||Summer||Clinging||中女 Middle Daughter||南 South||麗 Pulsing motion, radiance, the luminaries.|
|坤 Kun||地 Earth||Summer||Receptive||母 Mother||西南 Southwest||順 Receptive energy, that which yields.|
|兌 Dui||澤 Lake||Autumn||Joyous||少女 Youngest Daughter||西 West||悅 Joy, satisfaction, stagnation.|
|乾 Qian||天 Heaven||Autumn||Creative||父 Father||西北 Northwest||健 Expansive energy, the sky.|
|坎 Kan||水 Water||Winter||Abysmal||中男 Middle Son||北 North||陷 Danger, rapid rivers, the abyss, the moon.|
|艮 Gen||山 Mountain||Winter||Still||少男 Youngest Son||東北 Northeast||止 Stillness, immovability.|
|震 Zhen||雷 Thunder||Spring||Arousing||長男 Eldest Son||東 East||動 Excitation, revolution, division.|
|巽 Xun||風 Wind||Spring||Gentle||長女 Eldest Daughter||東南 Southeast||入 Gentle penetration, flexibility.|
The Bagua is an essential tool in the majority of Feng Shui schools. The Bagua used in Feng shui can appear in two different versions: the Earlier Heaven Bagua, used for burial sites, and the Later Heaven Bagua, used for the residences.
In Primordial Bagua, also known as Fu Xi Bagua or Earlier Heaven Bagua, the Heaven is in the higher part and the Earth is in the lower part. The trigram Qian (Heaven) is at the top, the trigram Kun (Earth) is at the bottom (in the past, the South was located at the top in Chinese maps). The trigram Li (Fire) is located on the left and opposite to it is the trigram Kan (Water). Zhen (Thunder) and Xun (Wind) form another pair, while being one opposite the other, the first on the bottom left next to Li while the second is next to Qian on the top right of the Bagua. Gen (Mountain) and Dui (Lake) form the last pair, one opposite the other, both in balance and harmony. The adjustment of the trigrams is symmetrical by forming exact contrary pairs. They symbolize the opposite forces of Yin and Yang and represent an ideal state, when everything is in balance.
The sequence of the trigrams in Manifested Bagua, also known as the Bagua of King Wen or Later Heaven Bagua, describes the patterns of the environmental changes. Kan is placed downwards and Li at the top, Zhen in the East and Dui in the West. Contrary to the Earlier Heaven Bagua, this one is a dynamic Bagua where energies and the aspects of each trigram flow towards the following. It is the sequence used by the Luo Pan compass which is used in Feng Shui to analyze the movement of the Qi that practitioners believe affect them.
Feng shui was made very popular in the West thanks to the Bagua of the eight aspirations. Each trigram corresponds to an aspect of life which, in its turn, corresponds to one of the cardinal directions. Applying feng shui using the Bagua of the eight aspirations (or Bagua map for short) made it possible to simplify feng shui and to bring it within the reach of everyone. Western Bagua focuses more heavily on the power of intention than the traditional forms of feng shui.
Masters of traditional feng shui disregard this approach, for its simplicity, because it does not take into account the forms of the landscape or the temporal influence or the annual cycles. The Bagua of the eight aspirations is divided into two branches: the first, which uses the compass and cardinal directions, and the second, which uses the Bagua by using the main door. It is clear that, not taking into account the cardinal directions, the second is even more simplified.
A bagua map is a tool used in Western forms of feng shui to map a room or location and see how the different sections correspond to different aspects in one's life. These sections are believed to relate to every area or aspect of life and are divided into such categories as: fame, relationships/marriage, children/creativity, helpful people/travel, career, inner knowledge, family/ancestors/health, and wealth/blessings.
In this system, the map is intended to be used over the land, one's home, office or desk to find areas lacking good chi, and to show where there are negative or missing spaces that may need rectifying or enhancing in life or the environment.
For example, if the bagua grid is placed over the entire house plan and it shows the toilet, bathroom, laundry, or kitchen in the wealth/blessings area it would be considered that the money coming into that particular environment would disappear very fast, as if to be 'going down the drain.'
The bagua symbols are in the Miscellaneous Symbols block of Unicode:
|Official Name||Glyph||Unicode #||HTML||Element|
|Trigram for Heaven||☰||U+2630||☰||Metal|
|Trigram for Lake||☱||U+2631||☱|
|Trigram for Fire||☲||U+2632||☲||Fire|
|Trigram for Thunder||☳||U+2633||☳||Wood|
|Trigram for Wind||☴||U+2634||☴|
|Trigram for Water||☵||U+2635||☵||Water|
|Trigram for Mountain||☶||U+2636||☶||Earth|
|Trigram for Earth||☷||U+2637||☷|
The constituent ⚋ yin and ⚊ yang bars that form them are also encoded in the Miscellaneous Symbols block, as are the digrams ⚌, ⚏, ⚍, and ⚎.
The hexagrams they form are separately encoded as the Yijing Hexagram Symbols Unicode block.
A LaTeX package TikZ-Bagua can be used to draw the symbols.
In Peking Opera, a role that has Daoist technique or military strategy wears a costume decorated with Taiji and Bagua.
Baguazhang and taijiquan are two Chinese martial arts based on principles derived from bagua.
The principles of Bagua are used in a form of traditional acupuncture where the prenatal, early heaven arrangements and the postnatal, later heaven arrangements are used to select points specifically related or tailored to the patients constitution to treat illness or disease.
The 2004 Philippine horror film Feng Shui and its 2014 sequel, Feng Shui 2, revolves around a cursed bagua mirror that kills those who stare into it.