yuán hēng lì zhēn 元亨利贞
This is a term used in The Book of Changes to explain the meaning of diagrams. It may be understood in two ways. First, when used in divination, it is a judgment predicting good fortune. Yuanheng (元亨) means a wide, smooth path or a grand sacrificial rite. Lizhen (利贞) refers to a favorable reading by a diviner and an auspicious prospect. Second, from the point of view of morality, it is believed to stand for four virtues associated with the qian (乾) hexagram. One view is that the four virtues are benevolence, rites, righteousness, and integrity; other views are that they represent four stages of life from birth to maturity, or four forms of moral conduct dictated by the way of heaven and adhered to by the sage in caring for all creatures.
A man of virtue, embodying benevolence, is able to preside over others. Bringing together everything good, he is able to conform with the rites. Bringing benefits to all, he is able to conform with righteousness. Being steadfast and firm, he is able to manage affairs. A man of virtue acts in accordance with these four virtues, and hence it is said: Qian is yuan (primal) and heng (prosperous), li (beneficial) and zhen (steadfast). (The Book of Changes)
Yuan symbolizes the beginning of all things, heng their growth, li their further development, and zhen their maturity. (Cheng Yi: Cheng Yi’s Commentary on The Book of Changes)