 / 
This is part of a commentary on the Tao Te Ching Interpreted
Succinctly (original
order) and (alternative
order)
See also Commentary
on Tao Te Ching Interpretation: and the possibility of higher order patterning
Navigational implications are explored in Hyperspace
Clues to the Psychology of the Pattern that Connects.
Also published
in modified form in Statistics, Visualizations and
Patterns (Vol 5 of the Yearbook
of International Organizations, K G Saur Verlag, 6th edition,
2006/2007, as section 10.2.3). Further developed in 9fold
Magic Square Pattern of Tao Te Ching Insights experimentally associated with
the 81 insights of the T'ai Hsüan Ching
Table 1: The basis for the following table of the 81 insights of the Tao Te Ching is discussed in a separate commentary. The rows of the table provide 9 groups in terms of the conventional ordering in the Tao Te Ching. The columns of the table provide 9 different groups in terms of the alternative ordering represented by those columns.
a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  
I  1: Journeying through unnaming the myriad patterns of the past  2: Engaging without engaging  3: Cultivating nonengagement  4: Having been there; having done that  5: Engendering through complementarity  6: Completing  7: Enduring  8: Easing forward, going wherever, without competition  9: Avoiding excess 
II  10: Centering through learning  11: Benefiting from what is not  12: Sensing the inner  13: Governing others appropriately  14: Living the present  15: Subtly stilling to clarify the troubled  16: Accepting wisely the enduring cycle of beginning and ending  17: Acting simply, enabling others to value their own initiatives  18: Failing to exalt merit 
III  19: Being untroubled through needing little and wanting less  20: Living uncertainty, confusion and strangeness  21: Knowing the strange uncertainties offered in the moment  22: Acting contrarily  23: Being in the moment  24: Avoiding disproportion and selfsatisfaction  25: Following the unnamable  26: Becoming insightful through assiduous handling of obligations  27: Educating the challenged as the inspiration of the wise 
IV  28: Knowing the other, and retaining one's identity and quality  29: Doing "nothing" to the world  30: Leading through inspiration that does not seek to win  31: Using weapons, when there is no choice, with a calm, still mind  32: Knowing when to cease making essential distinctions  33: Applying to oneself the skills developed successfully to deal with others  34: Achieving greatness without great doings  35: Holding fast to the eternal process through the very ordinary  36: Prevailing through weakness 
V  37: Selforganizing of myriad things  38: Abiding in letting go and doing nothing  39: Enwholing to sustain the integrity of the subtle  40: Returning from weakness  41: Understanding appropriateness  42: Losing as the key to the cycle of winning and losing  43: Ensubtling to enliven the impenetrable  44: Selfconstraining fruitfully  45: Remaining calm and clear to ensure that the capacity for appropriateness is renewed 
VI  46: Knowing that enough is enough  47: Understanding the truth and opportunity of the moment  48: Unlearning  49: Enminding the world to see the ordinary through the eyes of children  50: Living in recognition that this implies dying  51: Nurturing life according to natural processes  52: Understanding insignificant beginnings  53: Ensuring modesty  54: Ensuring that rules for oneself are consistent with those for the world 
VII  55: Knowing harmony as knowing the eternal  56: Knowing that discourages talking  57: Avoiding instrumental thinking, initiation of innovative change and regulation of action  58: Bumbling on without forcing  59: Gathering insight to ensure staying power  60: Allowing potentially disruptive forces to have their place  61: Lying low to ensure integrity and continuity  62: Honoring the appropriate as a gift  63: Focusing on the challenge of beginnings 
VIII  64: Attending to what may have been neglected in the achievement of undertakings  65: Being in ignorance of appropriate action  66: Following rather than leading  67: Leading the mightiest by not presuming to do so  68: Avoiding competition  69: Yielding to antagonism  70: Being obscure  71: Knowing without knowing  72: Fearing the dangers of acting inappropriately 
IX  73: Acting silently, noncompetitively, and nondirectively  74: Avoiding the presumptuousness of usurping the judgement on others  75: Living for more than the pursuit of wealth  76: Bending in response to pressure  77: Redistributing from those who have to those who have not  78: Recognizing the counterintuitive, paradoxical nature of appropriate action  79: Fulfilling obligations  80: Enjoying the freedom of movement in relation to what is to hand  81: Doing without outdoing 
Table 2: The basis for the following table of the 81 insights of the Tao Te Ching is discussed in a separate commentary. It is an experiment in the organization of these insights into clusters. The table is made up of 9 nested tables (each of 9 cells). Each nested table corresponds to one of the rows from Table 1 above  each row above being transformed into a nested table of 3x3 cells below. Note that the insight numbers in each row total to 369, as do the insight numbers in each column.
71: Knowing without knowing  64: Attending to what may have been neglected in the achievement of undertakings  69: Yielding to antagonism  8: Easing forward, going wherever, without competition  1: Journeying through unnaming the myriad patterns of the past  6: Completing  53: Ensuring modesty  46: Knowing that enough is enough  51: Nurturing life according to natural processes  
66: Following rather than leading  68: Avoiding competition  70: Being obscure  3: Cultivating nonengagement  5: Engendering through complementarity  7: Enduring  48: Unlearning  50: Living in recognition that this implies dying  52: Understanding insignificant beginnings  
67: Leading the mightiest by not presuming to do so  72: Fearing the dangers of acting inappropriately  65: Being in ignorance of appropriate action  4: Having been there; having done that  9: Avoiding excess  2: Engaging without engaging  49: Enminding the world to see the ordinary through the eyes of children  54: Ensuring that rules for oneself are consistent with those for the world  47: Understanding the truth and opportunity of the moment  
8:204 
1:15 
6:150 

26: Becoming insightful through assiduous handling of obligations  19: Being untroubled through needing little and wanting less  24: Avoiding disproportion and selfsatisfaction  44: Selfconstraining fruitfully  37: Selforganizing of myriad things  42: Losing as the key to the cycle of winning and losing  62: Honoring the appropriate as a gift  55: Knowing harmony as knowing the eternal  60: Allowing potentially disruptive forces to have their place  
21: Knowing the strange uncertainties offered in the moment  23: Being in the moment  25: Following the unnamable  39: Enwholing to sustain the integrity of the subtle  41: Understanding appropriateness  43: Ensubtling to enliven the impenetrable  57: Avoiding instrumental thinking, initiation of innovative change and regulation of action  59: Gathering insight to ensure staying power  61: Lying low to ensure integrity and continuity  
22: Acting contrarily  27: Educating the challenged as the inspiration of the wise  20: Living uncertainty, confusion and strangeness  40: Returning from weakness  45: Remaining calm and clear to ensure that the capacity for appropriateness is renewed  38: Abiding in letting go and doing nothing  58: Bumbling on without forcing  63: Focusing on the challenge of beginnings  56: Knowing that discourages talking  
3:69 
5:123 
7:177 

35: Holding fast to the eternal process through the very ordinary  28: Knowing the other, and retaining one's identity and quality  33: Applying to oneself the skills developed successfully to deal with others  80: Enjoying the freedom of movement in relation to what is to hand  73: Acting silently, noncompetitively, and nondirectively  78: Recognizing the counterintuitive, paradoxical nature of appropriate action  17: Acting simply, enabling others to value their own initiatives 
10: Centering through learning 
15: Subtly stilling to clarify the troubled  
30: Lading through inspiration that does not seek to win  32: Knowing when to cease making essential distinctions  34: Achieving greatness without great doings  75: Living for more than the pursuit of wealth  77: Redistributing from those who have to those who have not  79: Fulfilling obligations  12: Sensing the inner  14: Living the present  16: Accepting wisely the enduring cycle of beginning and ending  
31: Using weapons, when there is no choice, with a calm, still mind  36: Prevailing through weakness  29: Doing "nothing" to the world  76: Bending in response to pressure  81: Doing without outdoing  74: Avoiding the presumptuousness of usurping the judgement on others  13: Governing others appropriately  18: Failing to exalt merit  11: Benefiting from what is not  
4:96 
9:231 
2:42 
As a further experiment in organization, the insights were clustered according to the mathematical principle of the magic square (see Table 2). The structure of Table 2 is best understood by considering the first row of 9 insights (1 to 9) in Table 1. These 9 appear as the central nested table in the top row of 3 nested tables in Table 2. The 9 in that nested table are however presented in an order based on the structure of what is known in mathematics as a magic square   namely the numbers of the insights (of the conventional ordering in the Tao Te Ching), whatever the direction of addition, whether vertically (8+3+4; 1+5+9; 6+7+2), horizontally (8+1+6; 3+5+7; 4+9+2), or diagonally (8+5+2; 4+5+6), total in each case to 15 (as indicated there as 1:15). Similarly if the numbers of each row are multiplied (8x1x6; 3x5x7; 4x9x2) they together total to 225  as do those of the columns (8x3x4; 1x5x9; 6x7x2).
In such a square the numbers of the first 9 insights (1 to 9) (of the conventional ordering in the Tao Te Ching), whatever the direction of addition, whether vertically (8+3+4; 1+5+9; 6+7+2), horizontally (8+1+6; 3+5+7; 4+9+2), or diagonally (8+5+2; 4+5+6), total in each case to 15 (as indicated there as 1:15). Similarly if the numbers of each row are multiplied (8x1x6; 3x5x7; 4x9x2) they together total to 225  as do those of the columns (8x3x4; 1x5x9; 6x7x2).
This is an adaptation of the LoShu order known in classical China. In the table as a whole, the 9 nested tables have been positioned in a manner corresponding to this same order. Thus the first row of nested tables in Table 2 (above) groups the contents of rows 8, 1 and 6 respectively from Table 1 (namely rows marked there as VIII, I, and VI), the second groups 3, 5 and 7, with the third grouping 4, 9 and 2. The principle of the magic square is discussed elsewhere (notably by Alan Grogono), together with its long history dating back to 2800 BC [more  more  more  more].
The Lo Shu is the only magic square of order 3. Namely there is just one 3x3 magic square  although with rotations and reflections, there are eight variations of what is essentially the same square. An associative magic square of order n is one for which every pair of numbers symmetrically opposite the center sum to n^{2}+1. The Lo Shu square is associative  but is not a panmagic square for which all the diagonals including the broken diagonals obtained by "wrapping around" the edges  total like the rows and columns.
Just as the magic square total for the first 3x3 nested table is 15 (indicated above in Table 2 as 1:15), each other 3x3 nested table gives rise to its own total (indicated beneath it, eg 4:96, 9:231, and 2:42). The 9 such totals from each nested table also constitute a magic square  with a total figure of 369. As might be expected, if the table as a whole is treated as a 9x9 magic square, the total is also 369.
Interesting patterns can be generated from magic squares when the numbers of the squares are replaced by symmetric symbols.
Mathematically a "continuous" ("panmagic", pandiagonal, Nasik or Jaina) square has the additional property that even the broken diagonals add to the same total as those of the magic square. It was long supposed that a 9x9 panmagic square did not exist, but one such based on the 81 numbers 0 to 80 is reported by Alan Grogono [more]. He explains this early belief as probably due to the absence of any obvious pattern to use to create a regular 9x9 square. Constructing a square by expanding a 3x3 square indeed produces a magic square as in Table 2 but not a panmagic one. In addition, amongst oddorder panmagic squares, most interest has been focused on the regular prime number squares. These lent themselves to analysis more readily and to calculation of the number of regular panmagic squares which could be constructed with an underlying pattern.
Grogono argues that the analysis (and construction) of magic squares is more logical, and the results make more sense, when the smallest number is 0  instead of 1. This would imply that a 9x9 square of the Tao Te Ching insights should run from 0 to 80 instead of from 1 to 81. This would not affect the pattern of Table 2, provided that the rows from which it was derived in Table 1 were then renumbered from 0 to 8 (instead of from I to IX).
Of further interest, however, is to use the 9x9 panmagic square order discovered by Grogono to redistribute the 81 insights. There is an interesting clue to the relevance of renumbering the first insight from 1 to 0  in the text of that first insight itself.
Given the properties of the panmagic square, in this case the row containing 0 (the insight traditionally numbered 1) in his case was shifted to the central position (and checked in the online facility he provides to ensure that it remained a panmagic square). This gives the following (Table 3a) from which the ordering in Table 3b was then produced  retaining the numbering of the insights in Table 1 (namely 0 in Table 3a is 1 in Table 3b, in order to correspond to Table 1).
In 1999 Dan Washburn made the point that "The vastupurushamandala is a square of 81 subsquares with 9 subsquares on each side. Take a Lo Shu magic sqaure of 3 and place a Lo Shu magic square of 3 in each of its 9 subsquares and you have a 9 x 9 square of 81 subsquares. So the vastupurushamandala is the Lo Shu square squared, or seen in more detail." According to Vini Nathan (Vastu Purusha Mandala: Beyond Building Codes, Nexus Network Journal, vol. 4, no. 3, Summer 2002), The Vastu purusha mandala has been defined as "a collection of rules which attempt to facilitate the translation of theological concepts into architectural form." This law of proportions and rhythmic ordering of elements not only found full expression in temples, but extended to residential and urban planning as well. He argues that the influence of the Vastu purusha mandala extended beyond building activity to encompass the cultural milieu as well.
Table 3a: Distribution of 81 numbers according to 9x9 panmagic pattern (as discovered by Alan Grogono)
Note that the insight numbers in each row now total to 360 (instead of 369, as in Table 2), as do the insight numbers in each column.
36  51  30  65  80  59  10  25  4 
64  79  58  9  24  3  38  53  32 
23  2  17  49  28  43  75  54  69 
48  27  42  77  56  71  22  1  16 
76  55  70  21  0  15  50  29  44 
8  14  20  34  40  46  60  66  72 
33  39  45  62  68  74  7  13  19 
61  67  73  6  12  18  35  41  47 
11  26  5  37  52  31  63  78  57 
Table 3b: Application of panmagic pattern to order
81 insights of Tao Te Ching
Note that the insight numbers in each row now total to 369 (as in Table
2, and in contrast to the 360 of Table
3a), as do the insight numbers in each column). In addition the total of
the insight numbers in any 3x3 nested square (even across highlighting)
also total to 369  whereas those of the 3x3 nested squares (even those highlighted)
in Table
2 are not equal (although those of the central 3x3 square only do
indeed total to 369). Note that the difference of 9 between 360 and 369 derives
from the difference in insight numbering from 080 against 181 (giving a difference
of 9, whether in row or column totals). (NB: Versions in drafts dated prior
to 15 November contained two errors in the following table).
37: Selforganizing of myriad things  52: Understanding insignificant beginnings  31: Using weapons, when there is no choice, with a calm, still mind  66: Following rather than leading  81: Doing without outdoing  60: Allowing potentially disruptive forces to have their place  11: Benefiting from what is not  26: Becoming insightful through assiduous handling of obligations  5: Engendering through complementarity 
65: Being in ignorance of appropriate action  80: Enjoying the freedom of movement in relation to what is to hand  59: Gathering insight to ensure staying power  10: Centering through learning  25: Following the unnamable  4: Having been there; having done that  39: Enwholing to sustain the integrity of the subtle  54: Ensuring that rules for oneself are consistent with those for the world  33: Applying to oneself the skills developed successfully to deal with others 
24: Avoiding disproportion and selfsatisfaction  3: Cultivating nonengagement  18: Failing to exalt merit  50: Living in recognition that this implies dying  29: Doing "nothing" to the world  44: Selfconstraining fruitfully  76: Bending in response to pressure  55: Knowing harmony as knowing the eternal  70: Being obscure 
49: Enminding the world to see the ordinary through the eyes of children  28: Knowing the other, and retaining one's identity and quality  43: Ensubtling to enliven the impenetrable  78: Recognizing the counterintuitive, paradoxical nature of appropriate action  57: Avoiding instrumental thinking, initiation of innovative change and regulation of action  72: Fearing the dangers of acting inappropriately  23: Being in the moment  2: Engaging without engaging  17: Acting simply, enabling others to value their own initiatives 
77: Redistributing from those who have to those who have not  56: Knowing that discourages talking  71: Knowing without knowing  22: Acting contrarily  1: Journeying through unnaming the myriad patterns of the past  16: Accepting wisely the enduring cycle of beginning and ending  51: Nurturing life according to natural processes  30: Leading through inspiration that does not seek to win  45: Remaining calm and clear to ensure that the capacity for appropriateness is renewed 
9: Avoiding excess  15: Subtly stilling to clarify the troubled  21: Knowing the strange uncertainties offered in the moment  35: Holding fast to the eternal process through the very ordinary  41: Understanding appropriateness  47: Understanding the truth and opportunity of the moment  61: Lying low to ensure integrity and continuity  67: Leading the mightiest by not presuming to do so  73: Acting silently, noncompetitively, and nondirectively 
34: Achieving greatness without great doings  40: Returning from weakness  46: Knowing that enough is enough  63: Focusing on the challenge of beginnings  69: Yielding to antagonism  75: Living for more than the pursuit of wealth  8: Easing forward, going wherever, without competition  14: Living the present  20: Living uncertainty, confusion and strangeness 
62: Honoring the appropriate as a gift  68: Avoiding competition  74: Avoiding the presumptuousness of usurping the judgement on others  7: Enduring  13: Governing others appropriately  19: Being untroubled through needing little and wanting less  36: Prevailing through weakness  42: Losing as the key to the cycle of winning and losing  48: Unlearning 
12: Sensing the inner  27: Educating the challenged as the inspiration of the wise  6: Completing  38: Abiding in letting go and doing nothing  53: Ensuring modesty  32: Knowing when to cease making essential distinctions  64: Attending to what may have been neglected in the achievement of undertakings  79: Fulfilling obligations  58: Bumbling on without forcing 
Mathematically a magic square is bimagic (or 2multimagic) if it remains "magic" after each of its numbers have been squared  a bimagic square thus has the additional property that if each number in the square is multiplied by itself (squared, or raised to the second power) the resulting row, column, and diagonal sums are also magic. Bimagic squares are a subset of the class of multimagic squares; it is believed that no bimagic squares of order less than 8 exists (Benson and Jacoby 1976). The original 3x3 Lo Shu square is far from being bimagic, since the sums of the squared numbers (of the rows or columns) vary between 77 and 107. The discoverer of the first bimagic square, G. Pfeffermann later published in Les Tablettes du Chercheur (15 July 1891) the first 9thorder bimagic square. In the case of the examples of bimagic squares based on 9x9 in Table 4 (below), the rows and columns sum to 369 as before. But if each number is squared, the sum is then 20,049.
Table 4: Magic squares from which bimagic squares can be generated  




G. Pfeffermann: the first 9thorder bimagic square (Les Tablettes du Chercheur, 15 July 1891)  J. R. Hendricks (Bimagic Squares: Order 9, Dec. 1999).  David M. Collison (1991) 
A special type of pandiagonal magic square is characterized as mostperfect [more]. An example of a 12x12 mostperfect magic square is provided by Ian Stewart [more]. The numbers in every 2x2 square sum to 286. More generally every 2 x 2 block of cells (including wraparound) sum to 2T (where T= n^{2} + 1). Any pair of integers distant ** along a diagonal sum to T.
There are extensive resources on magic cubes and hypercubes [notably Harvey Heinz and Marián Trenkler] that may offer even more powerful ways of organizing the 81 insights. A magic cube is a threedimensional version of the magic square in which the rows, columns, pillars (or "files"), and four space diagonals each sum to a single number known as the magic constant. If the cross section diagonals also sum to that constant, the magic cube is called a perfect magic cube; if they do not, the cube is called a semiperfect magic cube, or sometimes an Andrews cube (Gardner 1988). A pandiagonal cube is a perfect or semiperfect magic cube which is magic not only along the main space diagonals, but also on the broken space diagonals [more]. In a panmagic square, in addition to the main diagonals, the broken diagonals also sum to the magic constant.
Harvey Heinz (Magic Cubes  Introduction, 2003) has reviewed the variety of, often confusing, definitions and features of "magic cubes" (see also his Magic Cubes Definitions, which includes a discussion of cube features) and has allocated them to distinct classes according to the types of parts that must sum correctly for the more advanced cubes. His classes may be summarized here as:
Heinz notes that a magic cube is called normal if it consists of the numbers 1 to m^{3} (or 0 to m^{3}  1). A magic cube is called associated if all pairs of two numbers diametrically equidistant from the center of the cube equal the sum of the first and last number in the series. If the associated cube (or other dimension of hypercube) is an odd order, then the center of the cube is a cell containing one half the sum of the first and last number in the series.
Heinz provides a generalized definition as follows: A hypercube of dimension n is perfect if all pannagonals sum correctly, and all lower dimension hypercubes contained in it are perfect! He also provides spreadsheets for testing them. Heinz has collaborated with J. R. Hendricks to produce a A Unified Classification system for Magic Cubes (Journal of Recreational Mathematics, 2002).
The relationship of the 81 tetragrams of the Taoist classic Tai Hsuan Ching (or Tài Xuán Jïng) and the Tao Te Ching has most recently been explored in relationship to modern physics by Tony Smith (I Ching (Ho Tu and Lo Shu), Genetic Code, Tai Hsuan Ching, and the D4D5E6E7E8 VoDou Physics Model ). According to Smith:
To construct the Tai Hsuan Ching, consider the Magic Square sequence as a line 3 8 4 9 5 1 6 2 7 with central 5 and opposite pairs at equal distances. If you try to make that, or a multiple of it, into a 9x9 Magic Square whose central number is the central number 41 of 9x9 = 81 = 40+1+40, you will fail because 41 is not a multiple of 5.
However, since 365 = 5x73 is the central number of 729 = 364+1+364, you can make a 9x9x9 Magic Cube with 9x9x9 = 729 entries, each 9x9 square of which is a Magic Square. The Magic Cube of the Tai Hsaun Ching gives the same sum for all lines parallel to an edge, and for all diagonals containing the central entry. The central number of the Magic Cube, 365....
The total number for each line is 3,285 = 219 x 15. The total of all numbers is 266,085 = 5,913 x 45.
Since 729 is the smallest odd number greater than 1 that is both a cubic number and a square number, the 729 entries of the 9x9x9 Magic Cube with central entry 365 can be rearranged to form a 27x27 Magic Square with 729 entries and central entry 365. 27 = 3x3x3 = 13+1+13 is a cubic number with central number 14, and there is a 3x3x3 Magic Cube with central entry 14 (14 is the dimension of the exceptional Lie algebra G2) and sum 42...
The I Ching is based on hexagrams of binary lines. Tony Smith, in his discussion of the Tai Hsuan Ching of ternary line tetragrams "arranged in T'ien" (as in the table below), the ternary numbers are given "plus 1", since the ternary numbers go from 0 to 80 (as indicated by Grogono above) instead of from 1 to 81 (see further discussion in 9fold Magic Square Pattern of Tao Te Ching Insights experimentally associated with the 81 insights of the T'ai Hsüan Ching).
73  64  55  46  37  28  19  10  1 
74  65  56  47  38  29  20  11  2 
75  66  57  48  39  30  21  12  3 
76  67  58  49  40  31  22  13  4 
77  68  59  50  41  32  23  14  5 
78  69  60  51  42  33  24  15  6 
79  70  61  52  43  34  25  16  7 
80  71  62  53  44  35  26  17  8 
81  72  63  54  45  36  27  18  9 
This ternary number arrangement, according to Tony Smith, is similar to the Fu Xi binary number arrangement of the I Ching. This is not a magic square arrangement.
Magic hypercubes
A magic tesseract is a fourdimensional generalization of the twodimensional magic square and the threedimensional magic cube. Harvey Heinz defines a 4dimensional hypercube (or tesseract) as perfect if all panquadragonals are correct, and all the magic squares and magic cubes within it are perfect. This means that the magic squares are all pandiagonal and the magic cubes are all pantriagonal and pandiagonal. There are 40m^{2} lines that sum correctly. They are m^{3} rows, m^{3} columns, m^{3} pillars, m^{3} files, 8m^{3} quadragonals, 16m^{3} triagonals, and 12m^{3} diagonals. Furthermore, a magic hypercube of any dimension n is perfect if all pannagonals sum correctly, and all lower dimension hypercubes contained in it are perfect!
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