YI King

Written by probationideadlyi on January 17th, 2015. Posted in Uncategorized



The Upper Canon contains 30 gua, from Qan and Kun to Kan and Li. Qan represents the initiative power of Heaven, Kun represents the responsive power of Earth. Kan represents the darkness of the moon, Li represents the brightness of the sun. The canon begins with the interplay of Heaven and Earth; ends with the ceaseless cycle of darkness to brightness, as in sunset to sunrise; and sheds light upon the yang aspect of natural phenomena, the Tao of Heaven.

Qian Initiating


This gua is made up of two primary qua Heaven = above, Heaven = below.

All six yao are solid. Primary gua are described¬†as “trigrams¬† in most English translations. The structure of six¬†solid yao presents a picture of the perfect yang essence. It is the symbol of¬†the firmest, healthiest, and purest yang energy in the universe.

The Chinese character q is an image of a rising sun radiating its light and energy-chi-and nourishing the whole world. The ancient Chinese ideograph of Qian, shown here, depicts a sun on the left side of the picture. Above the sun, there is a shoot of grass with two tiny leaves sprouting on the left and right. Underneath the sun, the root of the plant penetrates deeply into the ground. On the right side the chi disperses from the sun and spreads out under the sky. In Chinese, Qian possesses
the same sound as the word for health. It denotes health and vitality. In the process of the creation of the world, Qian took an active role as the initiator, providing the purest yang energy, the healthiest action, and the most powerful strength for Kun, the Responding, to receive.

In the I Ching, King Wen placed Qian as the initial gua and Kun as¬†the second. Qan represents Heaven, and Kun represents Earth. It is worth¬†mentioning that King Wen did not name the first pa Heaven; instead he¬†named it Qian, Initiating. According to the ancient sage, Heaven refers to¬†celestial bodies or, to the Chinese, the divine deity, the Heavenly Elderly¬†Father. The purpose of the I Ching is not to expose the nature of the¬†celestial bodies or the divine deities but to offer guidance for favorable action in one’s daily life¬†and at the same time to avoid misconduct that invite misfortune.Thus when Qian is¬†named, its emphasis is upon function rather than on object.

Sequence of Gua:After heaven and Earth have come into existence myriad beings are produced Qian and Kun are the origin and the source of Creation.

Sublime and initiative
Prosperous and smooth
Favorable and beneficial
Steadfast and upright

The dragon lurks: it is no time to act.
The dragon’s in the field: now make thy pact.
Be active, watchful, using care and tact.
The dragon leaps; a bursting cataract.
The dragon ploughs the sky with pace exact.
Exceed not, dragon; Lest thy force react.

(If all this heavenly hosts of dragons lacked
their heads, good fortune would become a fact.)

Qian represents the nature and function of Heaven. It is endowed with the four Chinese characters yuan, heng, li, and zhen, the four attributes of Heaven, symbolizing the virtues of an emperor, a leader, or a superior person. Yuan means sublime and initiative. Heng means prosperous and
smooth. Li means favorable and beneficial. Zhen means steadfast and upright. Throughout the I Ching you will find these four phrases attributed to certain gua, though few are so auspicious as to have all four. These four Chinese characters also indicate the funnctions of the four seasons of
a year: originating, developing, maturing, and declining, referring to spring,summer, autumn, and winter.
These are actually the viewpoints of the Confucian schools expressing the philosophical aspect of the I Ching. Their main purpose in studying the I Ching is to apply the philosophical instruction to life. They expound upon the meaning of the Decisions on the Gua, or the fastening text, to understand the relationships among Heaven, Earth, and human beings. They seek to follow the natural order and live in harmony with Nature. The fastening text, in the original Chinese, indicates the text that
is attached to the pa to explain the significance of the symbol.

Originally, King Wen’s Decision on Qan-yuan, heng, li, and zhen had¬†a different connotation. At the turn of the twentieth century, pieces¬†of animal bone and tortoise shell with incised markings were discovered¬†by a professor named Wang Kuo-wei (1877-1927) at herbal medicine¬†stores in Beijing. Professor Wang recognized that these incised markings¬†were inscriptions from the Shang dynasty. Searching for the orign of¬†these bones and shells led him to the site of Yin, the ancient capital of the
Shang dynasty on the plains of Hunan Province. Eventually, in 1899, a Рcache of oracle bones was uncovered, and, over time, one hundred thou- sand pieces of oracle bone were unearthed. These oracle bones were the royal records of divination of the Shang court. According to the ancient
pictographs of these four characters, yuan denotes the origin, heng denotes the sacrificial offerings, li denotes the harvest of grains with a knife, and zhen denotes the divination.

From these pictographs we know that in ancient times, more an two thousand years before the time of Confucius, when people consulted divination,they first honored their origins. They comprehended that  in looking forward to the future they had to look back as well. In divination, it was necessary to offer sacrifices to Heaven and Earth and to the ancestors.

They cooked foods, burned incense, and offered flowers, allowing the divine spirits to enjoy the fragrance and aroma of their offerings. These acts, they believed, were beneficial to their divinatory consultations. Heng and zhen, the sacrificial offering and the divination, are key words in the
I Ching. Heng appears 44 times and zhen occurs 108 times within the sixty-four pa. From the ancient pictographs of yuan, heng, li, and zhen we comprehend that one needs to prepare for divination by aligning  with the spirit of Heaven and Earth and presenting sincerity and reverence as sacrificial offerings; then one will reap the harvest of the divination to obtain guidance for favorable actions and to avoid misconduct that invites misfortune

Commentary on the Decision

Vast indeed is the greatness of the Initiating.

It is the source of all beings
And regulates all creations under Heaven.
Clouds low  and rain falls.
All beings complete their forms.
Greatly luminous,from beginning to end
Each of the six stages completes its self in its own time,
As mounting on six dragons soaring in the sky.

Th way of the Initiating is change and transformation
So that each being obtains its true nature and destiny
And the union of pat harmony is preserved
This is what is favorable and upright.
The Initiating is high above all beings.
And thus all countries are united in peace

Commentary on the Symbol

Heaven acts with vitality and persistence.
In correspondence with this
The superior person keeps him self  vital without ceasing.

Yao text

1. Initial Nine
Dragon lying low.
Do not use.
Dragon flying low, do not use,
For the yang is in the lowest place.

2. Second Nine
Dragon arising in the field.
Favorable to see a great person.
Dragon arising in the field
His virtue influences extensively.

3. Third Nine
The superior person-
All day long, initiating, initiating.
At night, keeping alert.
Adversity,no fault.

All day long, initiating, initiating.
One is on the proper way over and over again.

4. Fourth Nine
Probably leaping from an abyss.
No fault.

 In advance there will be no fault.

5. Fifth Nine
Dragon flying in the sky.
Favorable to see a great person.
Dragon flying  in the sky,
There arises a great person to be a leader.

6. Top Nine
Haughty dragon.
There is regret.

Haughty dragon, there is regret
A state of abundance cannot last long.

7.All Nines
There appears a group of dragons without a chief.
Good fortune.

Following the virtue of Heaven,
One should not appear as a chief


This accomplished gua is one of the 8 that is constructed by doubling one of the primary gua. Here the accomplished gua is Qian , Initiating, the primary gua is Heaven Qian. Qian expounds the nature of Nature, the principle of Creation. Qian, the Initiating, is the most sublime, the most firm, the most central, and the most upright. It possesses the attributes of initiation, prosperity, harmony, and steadfastness. It moves forward endlessly and inexhaustibly. It is an ideal model of human conduct.
For this reason, Confucius did not tire of explaining it in minute detail.

According to him, Qian and Kun are the gate of I, which means that if¬†one intends to understand the I Ching one should first understand Qian¬†and Kun; then the gate of I opens for understanding the rest of the gua.¬†King Wen’s Decision gives yuan, hew, li, and zhen–the 4¬†attributes¬†of Heaven. Translated into English, they also encompass the meanings¬†of sprouting, growing, blooming, and bearing fruit. Each of these 4¬†attributes gives way to one another according to the change of the seasons,¬†cycling around and starting again. The ancient Chinese believed¬†that humans should follow the way of Heaven, understanding the nature¬†of change and adjusting to the situation, knowing when to advance and¬†when to retreat. When it is not favorable to advance, it is time to gather¬†one’s strength, hold one’s faith, and stand steadfast waiting for the right¬†time and proper situation. When the time is right to progress, one still¬†should guard against arrogance and rashness, making no move without¬†careful thought and always keeping in mind that things that go beyond
their extremes will alternate to their opposites.

The significance¬†of the gua¬†to explore the healthiest movement of ¬†Heaven. In ancient times, the ¬†chinese believed that the Tao of Heaven¬†was also the Tao of Humanity, especially for an emperor, who was regarded¬†as the Son of Heaven and whose duty was to lead and educate his¬†people to practice the Tao of Heaven. King Wen’s father, Ji Li, was a¬†nobleman of the Shang dynasty. He was granted the title of the West¬†Lord and ruled the territory on the west side of the Shang empire. Ji Li
manifested the Tao of Heaven; people from all around were drawn to him. The emperor of Shang felt threatened and killed Ji Li.

King Wen¬†carried on his father’s magnanimous administration with great humility¬†and circumspection for fifty years. He still could not escape the Tyrant of Shang’s suspicion and jealousy, and eventually he was imprisoned. During his 7¬†years of imprisonment King Wen worked with the I and¬†pondered his future duties. He realized that every undertaking or revolutionary¬†cause needed to pass through the¬†4¬†stages of yuan, heng, li, and zhen, or sprouting, growing, blooming, and bearing fruit. He visualized¬†that his sublime initiation (yuan) would be prosperous and smooth (heng),¬†favorable to the people and successful (li), and should be kept steadfast¬†and upright (zhen). At that time he had already worked out an overall plan of how to rescue the people from the Ty;mt of Shang’s brutality. He¬†was deeply attached to the Tap of Heaven and the law of natural development.

He rearranged the four gua and put Qian at the very beginning to serve as the general guideline of the Upper Canon and as the polestar of his revolutionary course.
Heaven’s movement is constant,persistent, and stable; it follows its¬†orbit without deviation, still maintaining its equilibrium. (According to¬†ancient Chinese cosmology, Earth was the center of the universe.)
Confucius said that “with vitality and endurance Heaven acts without¬†ceasing! Heaven’s motion is the healthiest.” Greatly influenced by the significance¬†of this pa, Confucius explored its truth in his Doctrine of the¬†Golden Mean. The nature of Heaven is to follow the central ~atwhi th no¬†excess and no insufficiency. Applied to human lives, all our actions should¬†follow the way of Heaven, maintaining an equilibrium. In other words,¬†every action should be in accord with the proper time and circumstances.

When the time and situation are not suitable for one to move, one should have patience. On the other hand, when the time and circumstances are favorable for one to advance, one should not lose the opportunity. This is what the ancient sage meant: following the way of Nature. It is as simple
as putting on more clothing when the weather gets cold. When your stomach feels empty, take something to eat. Likewise, the ancient sage encourages the diviner to follow the way of a superior person, always vitalizing and advancing oneself. In this way, one will obtain the 4 attributes of
Heaven: initiation, prosperity, favorableness, and steadfastness.

Following the steps of his father, the Duke of Zhou used the image of 6 dragons to expound upon the 6 stages of change represented by the six yao. The dragon was the most revered animal in ancient China. It was believed that the dragon was able to swim in the ocean, walk on the ground,
and fly in the sky. Its constantly changing actions were unpredictable, like changes in the weather.
The host of this $ua is the solid line at the fifth place. Qan represents¬†the Tao of Heaven; thus, the fifth place is the symbolic seat of Heaven.¬†Qan also illustrates the Tao of an emperor, and in that regard the fifth¬†place is also the symbolic seat for an emperor. This place possesses the 4¬†virtues of the yang aspect-firm, strong, central, and correcand is¬†thus the most suitable place for the host of this pa. Confucius’s Commentary¬†on the Decision says, “As mounting on six dragons soaring in the¬†sky. . . . The Initiating is high above all beings.” This is the Tao of the¬†Initiating, the perfect time and position. Beyond this position, things begin¬†to alternate to their opposites. In this yao, a yang element is at a yang¬†place, indicating a perfect situation for a ruler or a leader. One in this¬†position requires the qualities of a superior person: firm, strong, magnanimous,¬†and energetic.

(Confucius’s Commentary on the Words of the Text)
The Wen Yen makes up the seventh of the T en Wings. It comments exclusively on the Decision and the Yao Text of the first and second gua; however, most of the comments are on the first gua.

Confucius believed that Qian and Kun were the gateway of the I Ching, the rest of the gua being developed from them. He never tired of explaining them in detail.
In this commentary Confucius went further, particularly emphasizing the moral content of the text of the I Ching. The authorship is traditionally credited to Confucius, but later studies indicate that it may have been written by scholars of various Cohcian schools at different times.
This piece represents the ideological system of Confucianism and has profound influence in Chinese culture. It is worth mentioning that before the Jin dynasty (265420) this commentary was only a part of the Ten Wings; it was not a part of the I Ching. Wang Pi, one of the most eminent I Ching scholars of the Jin dynasty, and published it, along with Qan and Kun, as an integral part of the I Ching. Almost all later editions of the I Ching followed his initiative.

The commentary is divided into six sections. The first section analyzes yuan, heng, li, and zhen, the 4 qualities and characteristics of Heaven, which is the Chinese concept of God. It indicates that the superior person should comprehend and example the utmost goodness of humanity represented by these four virtues of Heaven: in so doing he is qualified to be a leader.

In the second, third, and fourth sections, Confucous gives detailed explanations of the texts of the six yao. The second section stresses how to¬†advance virtue and improve one’s social conduct. In the third section,¬†emphasis is laid on the importance of doing the right thing, in the right¬†po&ion, at the ‘right time. The central theme of the fourth section shifts ‘- –¬†to the principle of Heaven.

In Chinese, it is called Tian Tao, the Tao of  Heaven. The theme of the fifth section is still Tian Tao. Confucius with his whole heart and mind, praises the magnificence of the principle and the qualities of Heaven, that is, yuan, heng, li, and zhen. Two lines in this section are considered key to studying the I Ching:

Alternations of the six yao unfold the Truth

Transformations of the opposites bring forth the feeling.

In the final section, Coficius summarizes his conclusions, based on the text of the six yao, on how to lead an ethical life.

Yuan, the sublime and initiative,

Is the first and chief quality of goodness.

Heng, the prosperous and smooth,
Is the accumulation of excellence.

Li, the favorable and beneficial,
Is the harmony of all that is just.

Wen, the steadfast and upright,
Is the core of action.

Because the superior person embodies all that is human,
He is able to be the head of men.

Because he presents the assemblage of excellences,
He is able to unite people through courtesy.

Because he is favorable and beneficial to all beings,
He is able to bring them into harmony with justice.

Because he is steadfast and upright
He is able to carry out all kinds of achievements.

The superior person applies these four virtues in actions,
Therefore, it is said Qian is yuan, heng, li, and zhen

It  is one of the 12 tidal gua, representing the 4th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, this month is May.


1. Initial Nine. q alternates to Encountering gou
This line is represented by a dragon lying low. The dragon is in the lowest of the six lines, indicating an initial stage. The time is not suitable and the circumstances are not favorable for action. However, it is a time for preparation.
This was exactly King Wen’s situation when he was¬†imprisoned by the tyrant of the Shang dynasty for seven years, but he¬†conducted himself with remarkable patience and self-restraint.

Initial Nine says:

“Dragon lying low. — Do not use.” – What does it mean?
The Master says:
The dragon holds virtue but conceals his light.
He makes no change with the infuence of the world
He acts on nothing to secure his fame.
Withdrawing from the world, he bears no regret.
Experiencing disapproval, he embraces no sadness.
Acts with joy fhe is able to carry his principles into action.
Casts of  sorrow if his time has not come.

Truly no one can tear yourself  from his roots

This is the hidden dragon


2. Second Nine. q alternates to Seeking Harmony tongren
The second line is symbolized by a dragon arising in the field. This line is in the central place of the lower pa. It means that a great person is on the central path. The time is coming, and the situation is suitable; he is ready to take action, and his virtuous influence will spread extensively.
But before a definite goal and direction have been established, it is advisable to seek guidance from someone who is great in virtue or experience.
This was King Wen’s situation when he was released after seven years of¬†confinement.

Second Nine says:
‘Dragon arising in the field
Favorable to see a great person. ”

What does it mean?
The Master says:

The dragon shows his virtue,
He is properly in the central place.
Truthful in his ordinary word,
And cautious in his usual conduct.
Guarding against degeneracy
And maintaining in his sincerity.
He dedicates himself to the world but without the least boasting,
And his virtue is extensive displayed, having great influence.
Thus the I says,
“Dragon arising in the field
Favorable to see a great person.
This refers to the qualities of a superior person.


3. Third Nine. q alternates to Fulfillment l
The third line represents a situation in which one has gone beyond the¬†central place and reaches the top of the lower gua. This line is a yang¬†element at a yang place-it is not good to become too yang, meaning self willed¬†and arrogant. One who is at this place should be watchful of not¬†straying too far from the central path and thus creating an unfavorable¬†situation. King Wen found himself in this position when he returned from¬†prison to his own state and made determined efforts to prepare himself¬†and influence his people to reestablish his kingdom. The Yao Text says,¬†“The superior person 4 day long, initiating, initiating. At night, keeping¬†alert. Adversity, no fault.”This describes King Wen’s actions precisely

Third Nine says:
“The superior person-

All day long, initiating, initiating.
At night, keeping alert.
Adversity, no fault.”

What does it mean?
The Master says:

The sage advances in virtue
And improves his deed.
With true heart and good faith
He advances in virtue.
With attention to his word and stable sincerity
He improves in deed.

Knowing the utmost point to be reached and reaching it,
He is able to grasp opportunity.
Knowing the end to be rested in, and resting in it,
He is able to comprehend appropriateness.
For this reason, he is able to not be proud in a superior position
And not distressed in a lowly one.
Th, being active and creative as circumstances demand, and watchful,
In this way, even in a situation of adversity,
He will not make any mistake.


4.  Fourth Nine. q alternates to Little Accumulation xia
The fourth line symbolizes a dragon getting ready to leap out of the abyss¬†and fly into the sky. Since this is the first line of the upper gua, the time¬†and the circumstances have reached a new level, but only at the initial¬†stage. Before taking action, one should wait for the best timing. In both¬†advancing and retreating, it is important to wait for favorable timing. It is¬†worth mentioning that in this yao, the Duke of Zhou uses the word huo,¬†meaning “if” or “probably.” The dragon can either leap or take no action.¬†One should be extremely cautious. The Duke of Zhou reminds us that in¬†a difficult or dangerous situation one should act cautiously; then there¬†will be “no fault.”This yao is exemplified by the actions of King Wu, son¬†of Wen, who, under the instruction of King Wen, sent troops against
the Shang dynasty and then retreated, making only an exploratory attack.
He was testing his capability for success.

Fourth Nine says:
Probably leaping from an abyss.
No fault.”
What does it mean?
The Master says:
Ascending or descending,
There is no constant ride
But not to commit mi].
Advancing or retreating,
Them is no permanent measure
But not to desert others.
The superior person advances his virtue and improves his deed
In order to seize the opportune time

Thus, no fault can be made.


5. Fifth Nine. q alternates to Great Harvest dayou
The fifth line is the central line of the upper gua. It is a yang element a yang place-central, correct, and most auspicious. It indicates that the  time and situation are ripe for taking action. The dragon is already flying man of great virtue is ready to be a leader. Everything is in its proper place. However, even in this context a wise leader still needs to seek assistance from worthy people. It is said that this pa represents how King Wu, under the instruction of his father, sent armed forces to suppress
the tyrant of the Shang dynasty, gaining the love and esteem of the people.

Fifth Nine says:
Dragon flying in the sky.
Favorable to see a great person.”

What does it mean?

The Master says:
Notes of the same key respond to one another;
Odors of the same nature merge together.
Water flows toward what is wet,
Fire rises toward what is dry.
Clouds follow dragons;
Wind follow tigers.
Whatever the superior person does, it can be perceived by all beings.
Those who draw their origin from Heaven move toward what is above;
Those who draw their origin from Earth cleave to what is below.
All beings follow their own kind


6  Top Nine. q alternates to Eliminating guai
The sixth line is in the uppermost place. The haughty dragon reaches its limit. One in this place should be cautious of not going too far and afterward  having regrets. The I Ching always reminds us that extreme joy begets sorrow. How can one expect a state of abundance to be everlasting?
Always remember that one loses by pride and gains by modesty. The Yao¬†Text says, “Haughty dragon“. There is regret.”The haughty dragon represents¬†the Tyrant of Shang. He had committed countless evil deeds and¬†was heading for his doom.

Top Nine says:
There is regret.”

What does it mean?
The Master says:

Being noble yet no corresponding position;
Dwelling high, yet no following of people.
A talented and virtuous person in the position below gives no support,
Should he move in such a situation, there will be no excuse for regret.


7. All nines.q alternates to Responding k

All nines indicates that all yang lines alternate to yin lines. Among the¬†sixty-four pa, only this one and Responding have an extra Yao Text applied¬†40 the situation when all six lines move. When all six lines change,¬†one should read the Decision on the approached pa. The ancient Chinese¬†believed that, although dragons were the strongest and most powerful¬†creatures, they never fought for leadership. Only the most magnanimous¬†and humble, the one who is able to manifest the will of Heaven and¬†6 represent Heaven, would be selected by Heaven. Thus Confucius says in¬†his commentary, “Following the virtue of Heaven, one should not appear ¬†as a chief.” An emperor or a leader is an initiator, but at the same time he¬†is responsive. He is responsive to the will of Heaven. Thus, the next qua,¬†Responding, expounds the Tao of the Subordinate. In this way, Initiating
and Responding, the yang and the yin, merge into one. This yao indicates that the subordinates of the Shang dynasty did not regard the tyrant as their leader. It was time for a true leader to be ordained by Heaven. Thus good fortune follows.


Dragon lying low, do not use.
Position is low.

Dragon arising in the field
A time for action is arriving.

The superior person, all day long initiating, initiating.
Proceeding according to plan.
Probably leaping from an abyss.
Making a trail of his strength.

Dragon flying in the sky.
In a superior position leading and administering.

Haughty dragon. There is regret
Extremity brings calamity.

When all firmschange to yielding,
Great order is achieved across the land


Dragon lying lbw, do not use.
Your energy is lying deeply low.

Dragon arising in the
All under Heaven is illuminated

The superior person, all day long initiating, initiating.
He is acting, proceeding in harmony with good timing.

Probably leaping from an abyss.
The Tao of Qian is transforming.

Dragon flying in the sky.
Heavenly virtue is being bestowed on this position.

Haughty dragon, there is regret.
Completion and ending correspond with timing.

When all forms change to yielding,
The model of Heaven is perceived


What is Qian yuan?
It refers to Qian’s initiation and heng.
And heng means that whatever he does and wherever he goes
He will find that things are prosperous and smooth.

What is li zhen?
It refers to Qian’s nature and feeling.
Qian creates the world
With his magnificent grace
He benefits all under Heaven,
But never mentions his effects

How great he is!
How great is Qian?
Firm and strong, central and correct.

He is the purest and the most unadulterated. – Alternations of the six yao unfold the truth;
Transformations of the opposites bring forth the feeling.
Harnessing the six dragons on time,
Drive upon the principle of Heaven.
Clouds flowing and rain falling,
All under Heaven enjoy equality in peace.


The superior person acts for the completion of virtue;
His virtuous action may be seen in his daily course.
Wht is hiding?
It is withdrawing and not appearing,
Proceeding yet not completing.
This is not the time for the superior person to be active.

The superior person learns to accumulate knowledge

he questions, to distinguish true from false.
Magnanimous in life
Benevolent in action.
The I says, “Dragon arising in the field
Favorable to see a great person.”
It refers to the virtuous quality of a ruler.

Third Nine says:
Firmness is doubled and not central.
Above, it is not in the position referring to Heaven.
Below, it is not in the place relating to the ground
Therefore, initiating and initiating as time demand
And still thoroughly keeping alert.
Then, despite the adversity, no fault.

Fourth Nine says:

Firmness is doubled and not central

It is not in the position referring to Heaven above,
Nor at the place relating to the ground below,
Nor at the post associated with humans in the middle.
Then it is in perplexity.
And being so, it hesitates to make a decision.
No fault can be made.
The superior person is in harmony:
In virtue, with Heaven and Earth,.
In brightness, with the sun and moon;
In orderly procedure, with the four seasons;
In good fortune and bad fortune, with the gods and spirits.
He may precede Heaven, but not opposite the principles of Heaven
He may follow Heaven by aligning with the timing of Heaven.
IfHeaven will not act in opposition to him,
How much less will men?
And how much less will god and spirits?

The word haughty indicates
Knowing to advance but not to retreat,
Knowing to maintain existence but not to let perish,
And knowing to gain but not to lose.

It is only the holy person who knows
When to advance and when to retreat,
And how to maintain existence and how to let perish,
And does not lose appropriateness.
The holy person alone can do this!

Additional Reference Information for This Gua:

Image: Heaven above, Heaven below
Recite as: Qian represents Heaven
Element: Metal – Structure: Six yang
Month: The 4th month of the lunar year, or May
Host of the Gua: Fifth Nine
Opposite Gua: k
Inverse Gua: q
Mutual Gua: q


Kun Responding



kmeans extension and submission. In Wilhelm’s text, Kun is translated¬†as The Receptive. Blofeld translates Kun as The Passive Principle. In this¬†book, the term Responding is adopted. The ancient Chinese ideograph¬†Kun is depicted here. The Chinese character Tu-Earth stands on the¬†left side, and a p0werful vertical right. The vertical¬†stroke cuts through the middle of extension.
In the I Ching, Kun represents the quality of Earth-submission. When these two meanings are put together, the ideograph represents the extension of submission.
In the I Ching, King Wen considered Qan to be the first of the sixty four gua and Kun to be the second. Qan and Kun together act as an introduction to the whole book. Qan also operates as a guiding principle of the first 30  gua of the Upper Canon and Kun as a guiding principle of the next 32 gua in the Lower Canon.
The significance of Qian is to explore natural phenomena, the Tao of Heaven. The significance of Kun is to explore the social phenomena, the Tao of Humanity. The Tao of Heaven is initiation; the Tao of Humanity is submission. As a human being, one has to be submissive to Heaven and
be responsive to Heaven’s will. Thus King Wen’s Decision says “Sublimely¬†prosperous and smooth.’Favorable with a mare’s steadfastness.”
Creation and reception, initiation and submission, yang and yin, should¬†unite into one and complement each other–this is the Tao of I.

Qian is the image of heat and light, yang energy, radiating from Heaven.
Kun is the image of yin energy extending over Earth. Qian represents the kingdom of Heaven, initiating the Creation of the world. Kun represents  the firm action of Earth, submitting and responding to Qan. Kun acts harmoniously with Qian for the completion of Creation; thus, Kun is responsive to Qian creative action.

It is worth mentioning that King Wen¬†did not name this gua Earth,instead he named it Kun. Earth refers to the¬†celestial bodies and the Chinese deity Earth Mother. The purpose of the¬†I Ching is not to expose the nature of the celestial bodies nor the divine¬†deities but to offer guidance for favorable action in one’s daily life and at¬†the same time to avoid misconduct that invites misfortune. For this reason,¬†King Wen named the second gua Kun. is the yin energy, responsive¬†to Qian’s creative action. Responsiveness, flexibility, devotion, and¬†humility are its feminine qualities. Kun is made up of 2¬†primary gua,¬†both Earth. The six yao are all yielding lines. This picture presents an
image of the purest yin, the most responsive, flexible, devoted, and humble qualities.

Sequence of the Gua: After Heaven and Earth have come into existence,myriad beings are produced

 Kun takes the image of Earth. According to its nature, Kun can neither create nor develop. Although it has the potential, it cannot accomplish anything alone. Its accomplishment quires acceptance of the purest yang energy from Qian and action in accordance with perfect timing. Then it is able to produce myriad beings between Heaven and Earth. Qian sows the seeds; Kun brings them to birth-a perfect complement of Heaven and Earth.
The Decision in Kun begins just as the Decision in Qian does, except¬†the steadfastness in Kun is “a mare’s steadfastness.” The ancient Chinese¬†originated in northern China, close to the Yellow Ground Plateau. They¬†lived a nomadic life and were familiar with horses, observing herds living¬†together. Among hundreds of horses there was always a leader, and the¬†leader was always a male. Wherever the leading horse went, the herd of¬†horses, male and female, followed. During war, male horses always ran in¬†the front, all female horses followed behind. The nature of the mare became¬†representative of Kun’s attributes.
Kun’s attributes, however, cannot be beneficial in every situation. They¬†are successful only when Kun is acting like a devoted and submissive female¬†horse following the male horse who is running along the right path.

Therefore, when acting in a predetermined manner, Kun loses, when following¬†a well-chosen leader, Kun does well. It is favorable to have a master,¬†but at the same time to be a master of one’s own nature. In other¬†¬†words, Mother Earth should respond to the function of Heaven and still ¬†be true to herself, then she can grow and nourish myriad beings. ¬†King Wen’s Decision on the gua¬†says,

“Favorable in the southwest:finds friends.

In the northeast: loses friends.”

“The directions in the¬†I Ching¬†are based upon King Wen’s circular arrangement of the eight primary gua.¬†In King Wen’s arrangement, the eight primary gua¬†stand for eight directions.¬†East, west, south, and north are represented, respectively, by Thunder,¬†Lake, Fire, and Water; southwest is Earth, northeast is Mountain,southeast is Wind, and northwest is Heaven. Since southwest is the direction
of Earth, there one will find friends. Northeast is the opposite direction, so there one loses friends.

Another interpretation points out that west is the position of Earth  and Lake and south is the position of Wind and Fire.These 4 gua carry the yin quality (a mother and three daughters). On
the other hand, east is the position of Mountain ¬†and Thunder ,and north is the position of Heaven and Water.These gua carry the yang quality /a father and three sons/.Confucius’s commentary on Words of the text for Qian says

  • Notes of the same key respond to one another
  • Odors of the same nature merge together
  • Water flows toward what is wet
  • Fire rises toward what is dry..
  • All beings follow their own kind.

Like attracts like. Kun will find fiiends in the south and west but will lose friends in the north and east.
Kun is one of the 12 tidal gua, representing the tenth month of the Chinese lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, it is November.

Sublimely prosperous and smooth.
Favorable with a mare’s steadfastness.
Superior person has somewhere to go.
Predetermining loses

Following obtains a master.
Favorable in the southwest:
Finds friends.
In the northeast:
Loses friends.
Be composed and content.
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune

Commentary on the Decision
Perfect is Responding’s greatness;
It brings birth to all beings
And accepts the source from Heaven.
Responding in its richness sustains all beings;
Its virtue is in harmony without limit.
Its capacity is wide, its brightness is great.
Through it, and beings attain their full development.
A mare is a creature of earthly kind
Its moving on Earth is boundless,
Yielding and submissive, advantage us and steadfast.
The superior person comprehends her way of life:
Taking the lead brings confusion,
She loses the way.
Following and responsive,
She find the normal course.
Find friends in the southwest,
Proceed with people of the same kind
Lose friends in the northeast,
In the end congratulations will arrive.
Good fortune comes from resting in steadfastness.
It corresponds with the boundless capacity of Earth.

Commentary on the Symbol
Earth’s nature is to extend and respond
In correspondence with this,

The superior person enriches her virtue
To sustain all beings

Yao text

1. Initial Six
Treading on hoarfrost,
Solid ice will come.

Treading on hoarfrost
A token of solid ice coming-
Yin energy is condensing.
Following this natural sequence,
Solid ice is at hand

2. Second Six
Straight, square, and great.
Not from learning.
Nothing is unfavorable

The movement of the second six is straight,
Because of its uprightness.
It is spontaneous, operating without effort;
Nothing is unfavorable.
The light of Earth is carrying forward

3. Third Six
Hiding excellence,
Appropriate to be steadfast and upright.
Probably serving a king,
Claim no credit,
Carrying things through to the end.

Hiding one’s excellence, appropriate to be steadfast and upright.
She will be discovered when the time is ripe.
Probably serving the king,
Great is the brilliance of this wisdom.

4. Fourth Six
Tie up a bag.
No fault, no praise

Tie up a bag, no fault.
Through caution, there will be no harm

5. Fifth Six
A yellow lower garment.
Supreme good fortune.

A yellow lower garment, supreme good fortune.
There is beauty within.

6. Top Six
Dragons fighting in the wilderness;
Their blood is blue-yellow.
Dragons fighting in the wilderness,
Dead end is reached.

7. All Sixes
Favorable to be perseveingly steadfast and upright.

All six, persevering  steadfast  and upright.
Great will be the end



This gua is one of the eight among the sixty-four accomplished gua that is made up by doubling one of the eight primary gua. Here, the accomplished gua is Kun РResponding, the primary gua is Earth The I Ching describes the relationship of yin and yang, the two primary and  fundamental forces in the universe.They are opposite but mutually complementary.
The ancient Chinese believed that too much yang and too little yin is too hard, without elasticity and likely to be broken. Too much yin and too Me yang is too soft, without spirit and likely to become inert.
Yin and yang must coordinate and support each other. Yan represents the most yang, Kun represents the most yin. In the I Ching all sixty-four gua are derived from the principle of the mutual coordination and complementarity of yin and yang. One of the commentaries says,

Yin is the most gentle and submissive; when put in motion, it is strong and firm.
Yin is the most quiet and still; when taking action, it is able to reach a definite goal.

How can this be? Yin is gentle but not weak. It is submissive, without necessarily giving up its initiative. Yin receives yang qualities from nurturing the yang.

The host of the gua¬†is the yielding line at the second place. Kun represents the Tao of Earth, the second place is the symbolic place for Earth. Kun illustrates the Tao of the subordinate, the second place is the symbolic¬†place for subordinates. This place possesses the four virtues of the¬†yin aspect yielding, submissive, central, and correct. It is thus the most¬†suitable as the host of this gua. The Decision advises that choosing one’s¬†own predetermined path will not work out well, but following another’s¬†wise lead will meet with success.

It indicates the Tao of the subordinate or the responsive.
Generally, in the I Ching, the 5th place is the host of the gua. It is¬†central to the upper gua and represents the position of a king or leader.¬†The fourth place is directly underneath the king, it represents the position¬†of a minister. The second place is also special, because it is central to¬†the lower¬†gua. Because it is far from the king, it is regarded as an official’s¬†position. If one takes this place, then one’s role is as a servant to ones lord.¬†In the lower gua, the second line is a yin element at a yin place, indicating¬†a perfect situation for Responding. It represents all the yin aspects of a¬†sage’s quality by following the Tao of Heaven and establishing the Tao of¬†Humanity.

(Confucius’s Commentary on the Words of the Text)


1.Initial Six. k alternates to Turning Back fu

This line is a yin element at the bottom of the gua. Yin symbolizes cold;bottom symbolizes ground.This gua represents 10th month of¬†the Chinese lunar calendar. In northern China, hoarfrost appears during this month.When people see hoarfrost on the ground, they know that¬†winter is at hand. Thus the Duke of Zhou said, “Treading on hoarfrost,¬†solid ice will come.”The message is that from a small clue one should be¬†aware of what is coming; then one can take preventive measures against¬†possible trouble. This line indicates that King Wu followed the instructions¬†of his father, King Wen, preparing to rescue the people from the¬†brutality of the tyrant of the Shang dynasty. All the signs showed that the¬†right time was at hand.

Kun is most soft;
Yet in action it is firm.
It is most still,
fit in nature, square.
Through following she obtains her lord,
Yet still maintains her nature and thus endures.
She contains all beings
And is brilliant in transforming.
This is the way of Kun-How docile it is,
Bearing Heaven and moving with time!


2.Second Six. k alternates to Multitude sh

The second line is a yin element at a yin place, central and correct. The¬†ancient Chinese believed that Heaven is round while Earth is square. The¬†text suggests that Earth symbolizes a sage’s virtue. Straight forward, square,¬†and great are the features of Earth. In Chinese, square, when it is applied
to morality, tees the connotation of upright. When one follows the way of Heaven as Earth does, one is great. Thus, a superior person should -possess the virtues of straightness, uprightness, and submissiveness, like Earth responding to Heaven; then one is able to carry out the will of  Heaven spontaneously, without effort. This line indicates that the Duke of Zhou assisted his brother, King Wu, in planning an expedition against the tyrant of the Shang dynasty. The Duke of Zhou advised King Wu to cultivate the virtue of Earth. Being straight and square, one would be great. Then the expedition could be conducted with no effort, and nothing would remain unfavorable.


The family that heaps goodness upon goodness
Is sure to have an abundance of blessings.
The family that piles mil upon evil
Is sure to have an abundance of misery.

Murder of a ruler by his minister,
Or a father by his son,
Does not result from a single day and night.
Its causes have accumulated bit by bit
Through the absence of early discrimination.
The I says, “Treading on hoarfrost, solid ice will come.”
It shows the natural sequence of cause and effect

“Straight” indicates correctness.
“Square” indicates righteousness.
The superior person respects herself
In keeping her inner is straight.
And rectifies herself
In making her outer action square.
When respecting and rectifaing are established,
Then fulfillment of virtue will be free from isolation.
“Straight, square, and great.
Not from learning.
Nothing is unfavorable.
It shows she has no doubt in what she does

Although yin possesses beauty,
It is concealed
Engaging in a king’s service,
Claims no credit one self:
This is the Tao of Earth,
The Tao of a wife,
And the Tao of one who serves the king.
The Tao of Earth is to make no claim on its own,
But to bring everything to completion.
Changing and transforming of Heaven and Earth
Bring forth all plants flourishing
lf Heaven and Earth restrain their function,
That an able person would withdraw from the light.
The I says, “Tie up a bag. No fault, no praise.”
It counsels caution.
A superior person should hold the qualify of Earth
Yellow is central and moderate,
Understanding and considerate.

Correcting her position and perfecting her action,
Her beauty lies within.
It permeates her whole being
And man fests in all her doing.

This reveal the perfection of beauty.
When yin competes against yang,
A contest is certain.
Since no yang is considered,
Then a dragon is mentioned.
Since no category is changed,
The blood-a yin symbol noted
Blue and yellow is Heaven and Earth in fruition.
Heaven is blue, Earth is yellow


3.Third Six. k alternates to Humbleness qi-an

The third line, “Hiding excellence,” suggests humility. When the yielding¬†line at the third place changes into a solid line, this pa alternates to¬†Humbleness. However, one’s excellence cannot be hidden very long, sooner¬†or later it will be discovered. According to this line, one who has talent
should come forth to serve the people. When the right time presents¬†itself, one should carry things through to the end and not hold any selfish¬†motivation. This line indicates that the Duke of Zhou and King Wu were¬†preparing an expedition against the tyrant of the Shang dynasty. Through¬†the experience of having their grandfather killed by the Emperor of Shang,¬†they realized the importance of hiding one’s excellence and firmly maintaining¬†it.Their strategy was to serve the tyrant with humility while bringing¬†their plan to completion. Confucius praises their wisdom.


4. Fourth Six. k alternates to Delight yu

The fourth line is a yin element at a yin place. It is at the bottom of the¬†upper gua. Although the place is correct, it is not central. In the I Ching,¬†Kun also represents cloth. Thus the text employs the image of a tied-up¬†bag to explain an unfavorable situation. “Tie up a bag vividly suggests¬†that in an unfavorable situation one should restrain oneself. Be cautious¬†in words and actions. Being cautious in an unfavorable situation, how can¬†one be at fault? To be cautious is a preventive stance to avoid harm, but it¬†is not productive. Therefore, there is no praise. This line indicates that in¬†preparing an expedition against the Shang, the Duke of Zhou¬†and King Wu not only humbled themselves but also were cautious in¬†their words and actions, as if tying up a bag.

5. Fifth  Six. kalternates  to Union b

The fifth line is the central place of the upper pa; a yellow garment is used. In the I Ching, Qan represents the upper clothes, and Kun represent, the lower garments. A lower garment symbolizes humility. In the  Chinese system of the five elements, Earth is in the central place, and its color is yellow. For this reason the lower garment is yellow. A yellow garment symbolizes that one in this place is able to walk in the central path and be humble. It is extremely auspicious. In the class-based society of ancient times, the formal attire of a scholar was a black robe with a yellow lower garment. (Scholars were of the social stratum between senior officials and the common people.) The robe was long, and covered the yellow garment. Humility is of an inner beauty, like the beauty of the yellow
garment covered by the black robe. Thus Confucius’s commentary says,¬†“There is beauty within.” This line indicates that the time to send an¬†expedition against the Tyrant of Shang was near. The Duke of Zhou and¬†King Wu realized that humility should not be dealt with as a strategy. It¬†should become one’s nature.

There is a story relating to this line. Then was a lord named Nan Gua¬†who plotted to rebel against the king. He performed a divination and¬†obtained this pa. He was very happy that the text said, “A yellow lower¬†garment. Supreme good fortune.” He was certain that he would meet¬†with success. Nevertheless, a duke admonished him, “Dear Lord, it must¬†be a faithful and true action to be auspicious. Otherwise it will fail.”
His explanation was based on the theory of the five elements. According¬†to this theory, yellow, the color of Earth, represents the Center which¬†guides one to act in accordance with the principle of Confucius’s Golden¬†Mean, that is, to act exactly right without excess or insufficiency.To Rebel is to leave the central path, such as undertaking would be bound to fail.


6. Top Six. k alternates to Faling Awaybo

The top line reaches the extremity of the gua. In this gua all six lines are fin. The yin element approaches closer and closer; the yang element retreats again and again. The yang reaches its end point, it has no place to retreat, and so a struggle with the yin is unavoidable. It is a struggle between
negative and positive, darkness and light. In Chinese tradition, the color of Heaven is blue. Two dragons are yang and the other yin-are fighting. Consequently, the colors of their blood, blue (Heaven) and yellow (Earth), merge. The message of this yao is that when one approaches an extreme, the path comes to an end. If one is ready to change, this is a turning point. Otherwise, one will fall apart.
This line indicates that four years after King Wen had passed away, in¬†the year 1066 B.c., King Wu followed his father’s instruction, sending a¬†punitive expedition against the tyrant of the S hang dynasty. At first, King¬†Wu sent spies to Shang. It was reported that the rulers and administrators
were dissipated and unashamed. King Wu thought that the time was not appropriate. Later, messages were sent back that all the righteous persons had been reproached and dismissed from their posts. King Wu believed that the time was still not mature. At last, the messenger came back and told how the people of Shang dared not speak King Wu considered that the time was ready. At the same time there was a famine; people working in the fields preferred to go on an expedition. King Wu took three hundred chariots, forty-five thousand soldiers, and three thousand troops as a

Soldiers sang and danced, and morale was high. Eight Werent ethnic kingdoms came to join the rebellion. King Wu charged the tyrant with four indictments: that he was licentious and dissolute, indulging himself with concubines; that he did not offer sacrifices to Heaven and his
ancestors; that he did not trust righteous persons, even his own relatives;¬†and that he housed criminals of all kinds and harbored the escaped slaves¬†of neighboring kingdoms a decisive battle, 170,000 troops of the Shang¬†dynasty responded to King Wu’s righteous movement and rose up against¬†the tyrant. The cruel Shang dynasty was brought down.


7. All Sixes.k hatest o Initiating q

All sixes indicates that all yin lines alternate to yang lines. As already¬†mentioned, there are two extra Yao Texts with the first and second gua,¬†Qan and Kun. Qan represents Heaven, pure yang, and Kun represents¬†Earth, pure yin. When one’s divination obtains this yao, one should use¬†the full potential of the Earth quality; then “great will be the end,” meaning¬†that all six yin Lines alternate to yang lines. In the I Ching, yang¬†represents great, and yin represents little. When six yin lines alternate to
six yang lines, that is great. The function of Earth is to respond. Earth responds to the action of Heaven. When one accepts the pure yang energy from Heaven and acts in accordance with perfect timing, then one is able to produce myriad beings between Heaven and Earth.

This is a perfect¬†complement of yin energy with yang energy. This line is a continuation¬†of the preceding gua. King Wu fulfilled the will of his father, King¬†Wen’s¬†responded to the will of Heaven. The Tyrant of Shang was¬†overthrown. All the yin energy turned to yang. The Tao of Heaven was¬†fulfilled, but there remained something not yet Milled. According to¬†the Tao of Heaven, it was favorable to be steadfast and upright

Traditionally, the Chinese attribute the creation of Taoism to Lao Tze, a senior contemporary of Confucius. Confucius heard about Lao Tze and eventually had the opportunity to visit him. He asked for advice and was greatly impressed. Upon his return Confucius described Lao Tze to his students as a mysterious dragon. Quoting a few passages from the Tao Te Ching will demonstrate how their origin comes from the I Ching, a book that existed at least five hundred years before Lao Tze.

Man follows Earth,
Earth follows Heaven.
Heaven follows the Tao.
Yet the Tao follows Nature.
Tao produced one.
One produced two.
Two produced Three.
Three produced ten thousand beings

Ten thousand beings carry yin and embrace yang,
By blending their energies they achieve harmony.
Therefore existence and nonexistence produce each other.
Difficulty and ease complement each other. — Long and contrast with each other.
High and low rely on each other.
Sound and voice harmonize with each other.
Front and back follow each other.
The Tao fulfills its purpose quietly and makes no claim.
When success is achieved, withdrawing. ‘
The highest good is like water.
Water benefits ten thousand beings,
Yet it does not contend.
Nothing under Heaven is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet in attacking the firm and strong,
Nothing is better than water.

It is believed that the concept of the Doctrine of the Mean, one of the¬†four classics of the Confucian school, written by Tze Si, Confucius’s grandson,¬†came from the fifth yao. In Chinese, the Doctrine of the Mean is¬†“Chung Yung.” Chung means central; yung means permanent. Being without¬†inclination to either side is remaining central. Admitting of no change¬†is permanent. In other words, the golden principle of the Doctrine of the¬†Mean is unchangeable; thus it is permanent.
In the last part of the commentary, Confucius explores the negative aspect of the yin quality. The entire I Ching is concerned with the relationship between yin and yang. Yin and yang represent two aspects. In the yang aspect, there are yin features and yang features. Likewise, there are yin features and yang features in a yin aspect. In the yang aspect, yang represents what is firm, and yin represents what is yielding. In the yin aspect, yang represents the good, and yin represents evil. When the fum yang corresponds with the yielding yin, there is perfect opposition because the yin functions harmoniously with the yang. Yin is a positive complement. On the other hand, when yin competes against yang, it reveals the yin as peace then yin represents evil instead of yielding. When
is without yin, it is too firm. It is defeated because it is too easily broken. When yin is without yang, it becomes vicious and leaves a legacy of trouble.

The I Ching demonstrates the opposing relationship of yin and yang.
The quality of yin is positive-yielding, responding, and cooperating. The relationship between yin and yang should be harmonious, creative, and productive. In studying the I Ching, one should keep in mind that

Wien yin competes against yang,
A contest is certain. . . .
Since no category is changed,
Thm blood-a yin symbol’is noted
Blu andyellow is Heaven and Earth infusion.
Heaven is blue, Earth yeIIow.
This is the Tao of Heaven and the Tao of Earth.

Additional  Refference Information for This Gua

Image: Earth above, Earth below
Recite as:Kun is Earth
Element: Earth
Structure:Six yin
Month:The tenth month of the lunar year, or November
Host of the Gua:Second Six
Opposite Gua:q
Inverse Gua:k
Mutual Gua: k

Zhun Beginning


Wilhelrn translatesz as Diffculty at the Beginning. Blofeld translates it as Difficulty. In this book it is called Beginning. The character for the name of the gua has two meanings and is  pronounced in two different ways. In most cases it is pronounced tun, carrying the meaning of gathering, assembling, and filling up with abundance. In ancient China, a warehouse was called tun. In the I Ching, and only in the I Ching, this character bears the meaning of beginning. In this case, it is pronounced zhun.
The ancient Chinese ideograph of this character is a picture of Zhun,which might be the word’s original meaning. The ideograph of Zhun¬†looks like a tiny blade of newly sprouted grass with a root that deeply¬†penetrates the ground. The horizontal line lying across the upper third of¬†the ideograph represents the surface of the ground. Above the ground a¬†tiny sprout is just coming up, and underneath a root penetrates the soil.
This picture symbolizes new life. The structure of the gua presents another picture. The lower gua is Thunder. Two yielding lines mount a firm line. The yang element is stuck under the two yin elements. The upper gua is Water. A fmli ne lies between two yielding lines. The yang element
is bogged down between two yin elements. This picture suggests a rough situation for a newly born being. Nevertheless, the newly born being possesses a strong and healthy root, gathering an abundance of life force for its growth.

Most people think of sprouts growing only in spring, but the ancient Chinese realized that there was a life force latent in seed form the whole winter. In addition, the ancients perceived the difficulties of a plant emerg- El ing fiom the ground. The little plant must overcome the pressure of the -soil. There must be a wholehearted willingness to grow. Thus, this gua is  bestowed with the four outstanding qualities of yuan, heng, li, and zhen,as are Qiam and Kun, the first and second gua. Only six gua in The I Ching possess these four qualities.
According to the layout of the book, the first two gua outline the general principle of the sixty-four gua, and the last two gua serve as the conclusion.
The third gua, then, is actually the first (the beginning) of the . remaining sixty pa. King Wen recalled how his father had been killed by the emperor of the Shang dynasty and he himself was defeated and became a subject, at last being imprisoned. Summing up this historical experience
and looking forward to the future, he gave the following Decision as a guideline for his sons. The Zhou dynasty at the beginning was like a tiny sprout. Supreme and smooth prosperity would prevail, but it was favorable only by being steadfast and upright. Nothing should be taken lightly. The principal achievement of King Wen was to establish feudal lords and to lay the foundation for his sons to overthrow the Shang dynasty. Through establishing feudalism, he gradually came into possession of two-thirds of the region of the Shang dynasty and became its greatest lord.

Sequence of the gua: After Heaven and Earth have come into existence, myriad beings are produced These myriad beings fill up the space between Heaven and Earth Thus, Beginning to flows

After the interaction of Heaven and Earth (Qan and Kun), myriad beings are generated. For this reason, after Qan and Kun, the third gua is Zhun, the beginning of all beings.


  • The beginning of a tiny sprout
  • Sublimely prosperous and smooth
  • Favorable to be steadfast and upright
  • Do not act lightly
  • There is somewhere to go
  • Favorable to establish feudal lords

Commentary on the Decision

The firm and the yielding united at the very beginning;
Dti#iculties come into being.
Moment in the midst of danger;
Great prosperity and smoothness comes through steadfastness and
Tbe action of thunder and rain
Filld things up ewerywhere.
At the beginning of creation,
There was iwegulmty and disorder.
It was favorable to establish feudal lords,
But unstable conditions still might arise.

Commentary on the Symbol
Clouds and thunder fill up.
In correspondence with this,
The superior person plans and sets things in order.

Yao Text

1. Initial Nine
Lingering and considering,
Favorable to abide in being steadfast and upright.
Favorable to establish feudal lords.
Although lingering and considering,
Upright intention still remains.
The superior respecting the inferior
Wins the hearts of all

2. Second Six
Diffculty in advancing, hard to proceed.
Mounting on horses, still not going forward.

Not invading, seeking a marriage.
The maiden is chaste, marries not.
After ten years, she marries.

Hardship of the Second Six
Mounting on the firm.
Married after ten years,
Hardship ends; a normal cycle returns

4. Fourth Six
Mounting on horses, still not going forward.
Seeking a union.
Going forward: good fortune.
Nothing is unfavorable.
Seeking whatyou want. Go ahead
This is light.

5. Fifth Nine
The beginning of one’s abundance.
Little things-
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
Great things-
Being steadfast: misfortune

The beginning of one’s abundance

One’s brilliance is not yet recognized

6. Top Six
Mounting on horses,

Still not going forward.
Weeping grievously,
Shedding tears as if bleeding.
Shed tears as if bleeding.

How long can it endure?


This is an auspicious pa. It expounds the truth that a newly established¬†situation is fill of the potential to develop. On the other hand, it also¬†contains latent difficulties. “Clouds over Thunder symbolizes Beginning this¬†is the Chinese way to remember the structure of the gua. The structure
presents a vivid picture of a tremendous power of energy, represented¬†by thunder, lying at the base of clouds. In the Commentary on the Decision,¬†Confucius says, “The action of thunder and rain filled things up¬†everywhere.” In his Commentary on the Symbol he says, “Clouds and¬†thunder fill up.” In both cases Confucius employs the image of clouds or¬†rain instead of water. Clouds and rain have the same essence as water.¬†Contemplating the symbol, Confucius says, “Clouds and thunder fill
up,” but he doesn’t mention rain. The attribute of Thunder is action, but¬†there is no action. However, the clouds do presage a storm. When dark¬†clouds fill the sky, sooner or later rain will come. This pa holds the potential¬†to create. Confucius advises that “the superior person plans and¬†sets things in order.” It is fime to prepare to do something.
On the other hand, meditating on King Wen’s Decision, Confucius says,¬†“The action of thunder and rain filled things up everywhere.” Eventually¬†the action comes-it is rain. Confucius then says, “At the beginning of creation, there was irregularity and disorder.” When I study this pa, I visualize¬†the Chinese concept of genesis. Before Heaven and Earth were created,¬†they were without form, void. During Creation, there were clouds, rain, and¬†thunder. At first, there was irregularity and disorder. After the world was¬†brought into being (the beginning), regularity and order were gradually established.¬†Based on the idea of the union of yin and yang, Chinese scholars¬†came to employ clouds and rain to suggest the actions of lovemaking. I can¬†see this union appearing in the upper gua, which suggests clouds and¬†rain. The fit of this union is Thunder represents the eldest son. It is significant¬† that this Chinese ideograph¬†was selected to express the beginning of the world. In this ideograph¬†was selected to express the beginning of the world. In this ideograph¬†the root is inscribed as much longer than the sprout. Before sprouting, the¬†root must penetrate deeply The sages learned from nature that before effecting¬†a plan, it is important to set things in order.

The host of the gua is the solid line on the bottom. King Wen’s Decision on the Gua says, “The beginning of a tiny sprout. . . . Favorable to¬†establish feudal lords.” One in this position is able to establish feudal¬†lords to provide security. On the other hand, the solid line on the bottom¬†symbolizes a beginning. Although it is firm and strong, it is on the bottom¬†and carries two yielding lines. This situation indicates that a latent¬†power will sprout, but in a difficult situation. The yang element at the
fifth place lies in a supreme position-firm, central, and correct-and responds to the yin element at the second place. Everything is in order for it to be the host, however, since the name of the gua comes from the solid line at the bottom, that line makes a more suitable host.

Examining the structure, the lower gua is Thunder, indicating action¬†and power. The upper ¬†a is Water, indicating trouble. Thunder confronting¬†Water delivers the message that when one faces difficulty at an¬†initial stage, no matter how powerful one is, nothing should be taken¬†lightly. This is the main theme of the gua. In this pa, the Duke of Zhou¬†rearmed King Wen’s guiding principle that care should be taken at the¬†beginning of an undertaking. The time is favorable only for persevering
in naming feudal lords in order to accumulate strength and laying the foundation for a new dynasty. His strength needed to grow as strong as a rock and as firm as a tree.

In the I Ching, in most cases, marriage refers to a political alliance.
The Duke of Zhou described the process of establishing feudal lords as¬†difficult to advance, likening it to four horses drawing a cart at different¬†paces. Three ferocious minority tribes came to him asking for an alliance.¬†King Wen considered that the time was not auspicious and refused. The¬†Duke of Zhou restated King Wen’s instruction that, without ¬†knowing¬†the situation of the Shang dynasty, launching an expedition would be¬†like chasing deer without a guide in the midst of woods.

With time, the process of establishing feudal lords became like mounting¬†on a horse but still not moving forward. King Wen took the initiative¬†to form an alliance with Shang. As a result King¬†Wen took the initiative¬†to form an alliance with Shang. As a result King Yi¬†gave his younger sister to King Wen in marriage.It was favorable only for small undertakings. In this gua, the¬†Duke of Zhou repeated “Mounting on horses, still not going forward”¬†three times. He grieved deeply, shedding tears as if bleeding


(I) Initial Nine. zBeginning alternates to Unionb

Nine at the beginning is a solid line at the bottom of the lower gua,Thunder . The structure reveals two things. First, this line is at the initial stage of a process. Second, from this place one has great potential to move forward as thunder does. However, this element responds to the yin element
at the fourth place, which is at the bottom of the upper gua, Water .Water has dark depths, suggesting difficulty. This place requires one to linger and consider. The timing is sigdicant. Although there is difficulty ahead, it is a crucial time to start a new enterprise. In this situation, persevering is critical.

The English translation of the Yao Text says, “Lingering and considering.”¬†In Chinese, the words for lingering and considering are pan huan.
Pan is a huge rock, and huan is a big tree. When the Duke of Zhou saw a big tree growing on a huge rock, he realized that if there was sufficient life force then nothing could prevent the tree from growing. In the structure of the gua, there are several yin lines above the yin line, like a huge rock
sitting above a tree. However, the tree eventually grows and stands firm¬†on the rock. In ancient Chinese literature, a single word usually represented¬†several thoughts. Huan meant pillar, and was also the name of the¬†“Ode of Zhou,” one of the pieces in The Book of Songs, a classic collection
of folk songs compiled by Confucius. This ode praises the efforts of King¬†Wu when he launched his expedition and eventually conquered the Tyrant¬†of Shang. Later on, pan huan came to have the sense of lingering and¬†considering. “Favorable to establish feudal lords” is an ancient Chinese¬†expression equivalent to seeking support. If one plans to do something¬†great, seeking support is a necessity.


(2) Second Six.z Beginning alternation to Restricting jie

Here the Duke of Zhou uses the image of the gua to tell a story. There are two yang elements and four yin elements. Six at the second place is a yin element symbolizing a maiden. She is enchanting two men. The one at the fifth place is her true lover; these two have a common interest and mutual affection. Unfortunately, they are not close together. Another man, Nine at the beginning, is her close neighbor. He woos her. Two men woo one woman; the woman has to make a decision. Her decision is to stay faithful to her true love, to remain steadfast. Finally she marries the man
she has truly loved.

The story derived from the structure of the pa. Six at the second place is a vin element at a yin p lace, central and correct. It responds to the yang  element at the fifth place. These two elements, yin and yang, are a perfect match. But another yang element, at the bottom place, carries the second line. This yang element is a close neighbor. This situation makes it difficult for the yin element at the second place to advance. The yang element at the bottom is at a yang place, dominant and tyrannical. He would force 1 the maiden to marry him. The maiden is in a central place; she prefers to walk the middle path. She acts exactly in accordance with the main theme 1 of the gua, that nothing should be taken lightly. She remains firm in her I! will, patiently waiting. Eventually she obtains what she wants.


(3) Third Six. zBeginning alternates to Already Fulfilled jiji

Here again, the Duke of Zhou tells a story. A group of people going 1% hunting found a deer and chased it.The deer ran into the forest. Without f the guidance of a forester, the wise man decided to give up; he let the deer f flee like a bird. He knew that by going on, regret would follow. The Yao
Tact gives advice to one at the third place-at the top of the lower gua. The upper gua is Water, symbolizing a difficult situation. We have here a yin element at a yang place, neither central nor correct. If one at this place does not remain content and intends to proceed, there will be difficulty
ahead. Furthermore, the yin element at this place does not respond to the¬†yin element at the uppermost placethey are both yin. If one at this¬†place proceeds lightly, she will¬†be¬†into dark depths. The text uses “chasing¬†deer, no guide” as an analogy. Proceeding blindly with no guidance,¬†one becomes lost. The message of this yao is that one should be wise¬†enough, by knowing the situation, to make a proper choice of what to¬†-accept and what to avoid. Never act blindly.


(4) Fourts Six.z Beginning alternates to Following su

Here the story of the marrying maiden continues. In this gua the position¬†of the maiden shifts from the second to the fourth place-she is¬†much closer to her true love. The situation is favorable and the time is¬†right. The Duke of Zhou says, “Seeking a union.¬†Going forward: good fortune.
Nothing is unfavorable.” But the maiden still hesitates. The¬†problem is that she responds to the yang element on the bottom. On the¬†other hand, she is much closer to the yang element at the fifth place. It is understandable that when two yang approach one yin, the yin becomes confused. In this situation Confucius encourages the maiden, “Go ahead. There is light.”This decision is based on the structure of the gua. ¬†If one at this place proceeds, there is a yang element waiting. If she . retreats, there are two yin elements behind. When one makes a decision,one should consider the most favorable position. The Chinese say, “A waterfront pavilion gets the moonlight first.” The message of this yao is that when one is in a situation where it is¬†difficult¬†to decide between advancing or retreating, one should adopt a positive attitude in approaching the light.


(5) Fifth Nine.z Beginning alternates to Turning Bad fu

To understand the significance of this yao, we must examine the structure first. The structure usually sheds light on a situation. In general terms, a yang element at the fifth place is usually auspicious because its place is central and correct and in a supreme position. But in this gua, the yang
element at this place is lying in the middle of the upper gua, Water E,¬†the dark depths. Thus, Confucius says, “One’s brilliance is not yet recognized.”¬†Accordingly, it is only favorable for¬†endeavors. Furthermore,¬†the structure ehoes that the yang element at this place is surrounded by
several yin elements. For this reason, the Yao Text recommended “being¬†steadfast and upright,” even in little ways. In the I Ching, where there is¬†an auspicious omen, being steadfast and upright is often a prerequisite.¬†The structure also shows that the yang element at this place responds¬†to the yin element at the second place. However ¬†the yin element at the¬†second place is being cut off and is too weak to give support, because two¬†yin elements lie between. These two yin elements leave the yang element¬†stuck in an isolated position. In this situation, one should retreat and preserve¬†one’s energy, waiting for the right time.


(6) Top Six. zBeginning alternates to Increasing y-i

In this gua, “mounting on horses” appears three times. Here, however, the¬†rider is weeping. Ha grief is so deep that shedding tears is like bleeding.
What is this story  upon? The yielding line on the top has ascended to the uppermost position. It is as if the sun has set beyond the western hills. The day is waning, and the road is ending. There is no way to go forward. In addition, this line does not respond to the yin element at the third place, indicating that there is no way to turn back. In the I Ching, the primary gua Water also signfies blood. The message of this pa is that

since one has already reached the uppermost position, one should not feel sorry about being unable to go forward or turn back. One must realize that when things reach an extreme they will alternate to the opposite. For this reason, the I Ching always calls for restraint before going too far

Additional Reference Information for This Gua
Image:Water above, Thunder below
Recite as:Cloud over Thunder, Beginning
Structure:Two yang with four yin
Month:The twelfth month of the lunar year, or January
Host of the Gua:Initial Nine
Opposite Gua: Establishing the New (50)
Inverse Gua:Childhood 4
Mutual Gua: Falling Away (23)

Meng Childhood



Wielm translates me as Youthful Folly. Blofeld translates it as Immaturity.
In this book, the term Childhood is used. Meng is the inverse of the preceding gua, Zhun, Beginning . They are inverse in position but complementary to each other. Meng has different meanings. Originally,it was the name of a twining plant known as dodder, which grows easily and spreads everywhere. The ancients saw dodder growing and spreading on the roofs of huts and so created the ideograph of Meng to show grasses on the roof of a house. Later on, Meng came to mean covering, because ,dodder grows and covers roofs everywhere.

By the time King Wen wrote the Decision, the meaning of Meng was extended to include wisdom. The ancient Chinese believed that the nature of a child is like uncarved jade; its brilliance is hidden. At that time,an uneducated child was called tong meng. Tong means child, and tong meng indicates that the wisdom of a child is concealed or not yet uncovered.
To educate a child was called qi meng. Literally, qi meng is to lift the cover or to uncover what is concealed. For this reason, in ancient times the place for a child to begin his education was called Meng Hall. Thus,Meng symbolizes the ignorant, the innocent, or the child, because wisdom
is not yet uncovered.
The themes of Meng are highly regarded in Chinese cultur dollowing the beginning of a life, uncovering the hidden brilliance of a child.
The image of Meng is Water underneath Mountain. Water flowing¬†flowing¬†out from a mountain becomes a spring, pure and transparent, symbolizing¬†the pureness of a child’s innocent mind. After the spring flows¬†out of the mountain, it accumulates sediment over time. The ancients ¬†realized from observing this phenomenon that the ignorant should be¬†educated and enlightened.

Sequence of the Gua: Zhun denotes what has just been born. What has just been born is in its childhood Thus, after Beginning, Childhood follows.

Prosperous and smooth.
It is not I who seek the ignorant,
The ignorant seeks me.
On the first divination, I give light.
Repeating again is contemptuous.
Being contemptuous, I give no more instruction.
Favorable to be steadfast and upright.

Commentary on the Decision

unenlightened ignorant.
At the foot of a mountain lies difficulty;
Dzflculty makes him stand still
It is ignorant behior.
The ignorant can be prosperous and smooth
the acts in accordance with the proper time
And follows the principle of the central way.
It is not I who seeks the ignorant.
The ignorant seeks me.
His will respondc to mine.
On the first divination, I give light
He was firm and in a cenral position.
Repeating again is contemptuous.
Being contemptuous, no more instruction.
Showing contempt causes ignorance.

Uncovering the covered is to nourish the correct nature.
It is a hob tad.

Commentary on the Svmbol
A spingfrows out of a mountain.
Tk symbol of an unenlightened ignorant.
In corresponds with  this,
The superior person makes every effort
To cultivate virtue with resolute deed.

Yao Text


Initial Six
Enlightening an ignorant.
Favorable to set examples.
Operating with shackles,
Going forward: humiliation.
Favorable to set examples,
It is to set up a norm.

Second Nine
Being magnanimous to an ignorant:
Good fortune.
Taking a maiden as a wife:
Good fortune.
The son is able to sustain the family.
The son is ablc to sustain the fami&
Thefirm and the yielding interact.

Third Six
Do not engage in taking this woman.
Catching sight of a handsome man,
Losing herseIf.
Nothing is favorable.
Do not engage in taking this woman,
Her behavior is not prudent.

4. Fourth Six
Confining an ignorant:
The humiliation of confining an ignorant
Far from  solid
5. Fith Six
The ignorant is being enlightened.
Good fortune.
Goodfortune to the mIightened.
She correspond to humbleness.
6. Top Nine
Punishing the ignorant.
Not favorable to treat like a foe.
Favorable to prevent further mischief.
Preventing further mischief
Upper and lower go well



The image of the gua is a spring flowing out of a mountain and becoming a murmuring stream. Afterward, the stream grows into a great river, nurturing myriad beings. However, as the river flows over the ground it becomes dirty. This gua takes this image to expound upon the importance
of enlightening and educating the ignorant while in the infant stage.
The host of the gua is the yang element at the second place. It is central¬†and firm, able to revere the teacher and therefor to teach others. The¬†yin element at the fifth place responds’ to this yang element. Two analogies¬†are employed to expound upon the gua. One is about education; the¬†other is about marriage. The yang element at the second place is a firm¬†line at the central place of the lower pa. In the I Ching, the lower gua¬†stands in a position inferior to the upper gua. Here, the yang element at at¬†the second place plays a major role. It represents a teacher who is enlightening¬†and educating the ignorant. Because it is a firm line in the lower¬†gua, it symbolizes the quality of magnanimity. There are four yielding¬†lines surroundrng it, one below and three above. Symbolically,these yielding¬†lines are the ignorant who ire to be enlightened. The Chinese believed ,that every ignorant person is Merent. According to the ancient Chinese
tradition, they should be taught in accordance with their aptitudes. The  unenlightened should be humble and devout and take the initial step to seek enlightenment. In other words, they should be ready and willing to accept education. On the other hand, one acting as a source of enlightenment should also be patient and forgiving.

The image of this gua is Mountain above Water. In the I Ching, Mountain symbolizes a family, and Water represents the middle son. The four yin lines around a yang line can be viewed as four women approaching a man and intending to marry him. The solid line at the second place is a yang element, a man. The yielding line at the fifth place is a yin element, a woman. They respond to each other, because both of them are in a central place and they are yin and yang, a perfect match.
King Wen arranged this gua as a continuation of the preceding one.
The preceding gua pertained to establishing feudal lords; it was a question of foreign affairs. This gua was meant to educate his own people; it had to do with internal affairs. King Wen realized the importance of education in abolishing the old system and establishing a new one. His policy
was to start with those who were humble and devout and willing to accept education. In ancient China, divination was part of the social fabric bringing people together. Through divination the king promulgated decrees.
In accepting an elder’s instruction, one should be as devout as when accepting¬†the instruction of a divination.
In the Yao Text, the Duke of Zhou gives specific social advice; education,for example, should be used to lead the ignorant to the right path.

Punishment should not be employed. A norm of proper behavior should be set up. It is important to be maganimous to docile minority tribes and to educate them in the way to establish harmonious families and help their descendants sustain their families. It is better not to form alliances with half-hearted tribes, because they are not ready. And for isolated minority tribes, it is necessary to help them come into contact with other people.


1. Initial Six. meChildhood alternates to Decreasing sun

The yin element at the bottom place is at a yang place, symbolizing the initial stage of enlightening one who is ignorant. Enlightening cures incorrectness.
It is important and beneficial to start at the very beginning.
The correction should be serious but not harsh; the purpose is to lead the¬†ignorant one’s way to the right path. Correction should not employ punishment¬†as shackles that restrict the ignorant one’s normal development,it is meant to establish a norm. Punishment will lead to regret and sorrow.
According to the Confucian schools, the best moral education is achieved through setting examples.


(2) Second Nine. meChildhood alternates to Falling Away bo

The solid line at the second place is a yang element at a yin place-firm,strong, central. It is the only fm element in the lower gua and is responsible for enlightening and educating all the yin elements in the gua. However,
there are several yin elements in this gua, and each has a different aptitude. One in this place should be magnanimous. The central place dictates that the potential to be magnanimous is there. There is good fortune. On the other hand, the solid line at the second place responds to the yielding line at the ffth place. They are complementary yin and yang, suitable to be husband and wife. If the husband is kind and gentle to his wife, there is good fortune. Applying the gua to a family, the yang element
in the second place represents a son; the yin element at the fifth¬†place is the’father. The father in the fifth place is weak (a yin element); he¬†is not able to carry the burden of the family. However, the son is strong¬†and firm and magnanimous. He is able to establish a home where the¬†family flourishes. The message of this line is that dealing with different¬†persons or situations requires different ways of responding.


3 Third Six.meChildhood alternates to Remedying gu

 The yin element at the third place is at a yang place, neither central nor correct. It matches the yang element at the top, indicating a possible marriage.
This yin element is also attracted to the yang element at the second¬†place-they are much closer together. As soon as one at this place sees the¬†handsome man at the top, she loses herself. The text indicates that she¬†should be prudent in making a choice. It is not advisable to change one’s
mind the moment one sees something new. Here the Yao Text employs marriage to explain the importance of establishing a correct attitude in dealing with different persons or situations. The upper gua, Mountain, also symbolizes gold and husband, and represents the youngest son.
The Chinese text says, literally, “Do not engage in taking this woman,¬†catching sight of a golden man. Loses herself.” Most English versions translate “golden man” as “wealthy man.” But according to the Book of Songs, one of the Confucian five classics, “golden man” means “handsome man.” The Book of Songs was China’s earliest collection of folk . songs, most belonging to the Zhou dynasty.


 (4) Fourth Six.me Childhood alternates to Not Yet Fulfilled weiji

¬†The Yao text says, ”Confining an ignorant: humiliation.” The¬†yang element¬†at the second place is surrounded by two yin elements, one above and¬†the other below. This fourth line is a yin element at a yin place, correct but¬†nm centrat It corresponds with the yin element on the bottom, but they
do not respond to each other. They are both yin, so there is no help. The element at the second place asks this line to help, but it is not close enough. There is another yang element at the top, unfortunately, he is raled. He has no intention of helping. One at this place  is totally isolated,
surrounded by yin elements. He has neither teacher nor friends. He is¬†overwhelmed with ignorance and suffi:rs humiliation. Confucius’s Commentary¬†on the Yao Text says, “The humiliation of confining an ignorant¬†fer from the solid.The “solid” refers¬†to the solid line at the second place.
Solid in Chinese can also mean reality. In this sense, isolation is caused &her by cutting oneself off from people or by losing touch with reality.


 5 Fifth Six.meChildhood alternates to Dispersing weiji

The yin element at the fifth place is central and at the supreme place. It is  the ying element at the top and responds to the yang element at the second place. In this situation, one can get help from above and below.
It is a favorable condition for one who is about to undergo change. After this line moves and alternates to a solid line, then the approached gua will be Wind over Water, Dispersing (59) %.Then Wind and Rain will work together harmoniously, resulting in propitious weather and good fortune.
Conficius’s Commentary on the Yao Text says, “Good fortune to the enlightened.
She corresponds to humbleness.” In the I Ching, Sun is the¬†Chinese character for Wind. After this line moves, the upper pa, Mountain,alternates to Wind. In the I Ching, the character Sun also represents¬†humbleness.


(6) Top Nine. meChildhood  alternates to Multitudesh

The yang element at the top is at the uppermost place. In this place one reaches¬†the extreme and becomes self-willed and opinionated. The ignorant one is too firm and fiery tempered. The upper gua is Mountain. In the I Ching, the character for Mountain also represents hands; thus Duke of Zhou refers to punishing an unenlightened child. The ancient way of correcting a child rarely employed punishment. Only when then no alternative was punishment employed. This gua gives warning that one should not treat the ignorant as a foe. The purpose of ment is to prevent further mischief. This gua expounds upon a way of ¬†correcting¬†mischief. The attitude should be firm, but the means should be ¬†gentle. Even punishment should contain gentleness within and express firmness without. The commentary says, “Preventing further mischief.

Upper and lower go well.” The upper is the teacher, the lower is the student.
The student should be humble and open-minded and the teacher should be patient and forgiving. Then, upper and lower, teacher and student, will do well


Additional Reference Information for This Gua

Image:Mountain above, Water below
Recite as:Stream flows out of a Mountain, Childhood
Structure:Two yang with four yin
Month:The first month of the lunar year, or February
Host of the Gua:Second Nine
Opposite Gua:Abolishing the Old (49)
Inverse Gua:Beginning (3)
Mutual Gua:Turning Back (24)

X√ľ Needing



Wielhelm translates x as Waiting. Blofeld uses the term Calculated Inaction. I use Needing.
Sequence of the Gun: When things are in their childhood, they should not be¬†neglected without nourishing. The Childhood, Needing follows. X√ľ is¬†the Tao of eating and drinking.
The Tao indicates that we need food to nourish the body and spirit. The primary concern of the earliest agricultural societies was growing crops.
Peasants did not worry about the sunshine, the air, and the soil; these were always abundant. Their major concern was water. The water they relied on depended largely upon rainfall. Without rain, they would have nothing to eat and drink.
The ancient ideograph of X√ľ shows this need for rain. There are two¬†ways to interpret the picture. The first interpretation is that it is simply a¬†picture of rain. The ideograph shows raindrops descending from clouds.¬†The horizontal line at the top symbolizes Heaven. Two vertical lines on
the left and the right indicate the boundary of the clouds. There are four raindrops within the clouds. The vertical line in the middle and four curved lines in the lower part of the ideograph represent the downward motion of the raindrops. This image reminded ancient people that the primary
need of the Tao of eating and drinking is rain.
The second interpretation is that this is a picture of a man praying and waiting for rain. The upper part of the ideograph represents rain within the clouds not yet falling. The lower part symbolizes a man. Four curved vertical lines represent the mustache and beard of an elderly man, who
might be the priest of the tribe, praying for rain.When one needs something and cannot acquire it immediately, waiting is necessary. In this way, the meaning of needing extends to waiting. It¬†is really the need for waiting. But “waiting” is not the primary meaning of¬†Xii. The symbol of this gua shows that clouds are gathering in the sky, but¬†the rain has not yet come down. This situation demands patience. When¬†the symbol is placed on a horizontal plane, then its meaning becomes¬†clear. On the vertical plane, the image is Rain above Heaven; however, on¬†the horizontal plane the symbol is Heaven confronting Water. The attribute¬†of Heaven is strength, and that of Water is danger. When strength¬†is obstructed, then patience is demanded. If one has faith and remains
steadfast, one’s future¬†will be bright.

Being sincere and faithful,
Brilliantly prosperous and smooth.
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
Favorable to cross great rivers.

Commentary on the Decision 
Requiring faith and con$dence to wait;
Danger lies ahead
Being firm and strong,
One does not allow one to be involved in dang
The conduct is right;
One will not fall into straits.
Needing, being sincere and faithful.
There will be brilliant success.
Be sfeadfast and upright
Good fortune.

Being in the place assigned by Heaven;
It is central and correct.
Favorable to cross great rivers.
Going forward, your work will be accomplished

Commentary on the Symbol
Clouds ascending in tin sky.
An image of Needing.
In correspondence with this,
The superior person eats  and drinks,feasting with joy.

 Yao Text
1. Initial Nine
One in need waits on the outskirts.
Favorable to engage in perseverance.
No fault.
One in need waits in the outskirts.
Do not take risks and enhance trouble.
Maintaining perseverance is benrfiiaal.
No fault.
Doing nothing ahomaI, as usual.
2. Second Nine
One in need waits on the sand.
A little gossip
Ends in good fortune.
One in need waits on the sand
A stream extend between.
Although there is a little gossip,
In the end it turns to good fortune.
3. Third Nine
One in need waits in the mud.
Result: great trouble to come.
One in need waits in the mud
Misfmtune is outside

It is you your self causing  the invader to come.
Be cautious; you will not be beaten.
4. Fourth Six
One in need waits in the ditch.
Get out of the pit.
One in need waits in the ditch.
Following the principle of yielding,
Accommodate the situation.
5. Fifth Nine
One in need waits with wine and food.
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
One in need waits with wine andfood
Tbe position is central and cowect.
6. Top Six
Falling into a pit.
There are three unexpected guests coming.
Showing respect
Ends in good fortune.
Unexpectedguests are comming;
Showing respect brings good fortune.
Although the position is not proper
No great loss



Needing, coming after Beginning and Childhood, represents an initial stage of achievement. In an initial and uncertain stage, Needing calls for patience. Before taking action, nourish the body and accumulate strength. In this situation, waiting is absolutely demanded, yet it does not mean
giving up. Wait for the proper time ‘to accomplish the things one has¬†planned. During the period of waiting, it is necessary to cultivate selfconfidence,steadfastness, and uprightness and to be cautious in every¬†step; then the outcome will bring good fortune.
The symbol of this pa is Water ahead of Heaven. Heaven¬†symbolizes strength; Water symbolizes danger. The picture is of strength¬†confronting danger. In ancient times crossing a river was difficult and¬†dangerous work. For this reason, Water symbolizes danger. However,¬†Heaven is the purest yang energy, full of strength and power. As long as¬†one’s confidence remains strong, success awaits. The message of this gua¬†is that faithfulness and steadfastness bring good fortune. Needing, together
with Beginning and Childhood, are constituted of Water; that is, one of their primary gua is Water. Because Water symbolizes danger or difficult, these gua all call for patience, confidence, faithfulness, and steadfastness, but they also have great potential for success. They are all auspicious gua

¬†There are four solid lines in this gua. The solid line at the fifth place is¬†the host. Confucius’s Commentary on the Decision says, “Being in the¬†place assigned by Heaven; it is central and correct.” This commentary¬†refers to the fifth¬†line. The solid line at the fifth place is firm and strong in
the center of the upper pa. It symbolizes that a right person is in a correct position, but he is in the midst of Water, an unfavorable circumstance.
He is waiting for the support of the three solid lines in the lower gua. The three solid lines in the lower gua are strong and energetic, yet
they confront the upper gua, Water, a difficult situation. They are waiting for the guidance and support of the host who is central in the upper gua.
This gua suggests that under tyrannical administration people need a change, but the situation does not allow action. King Wen said that needing requires faith and confidence to achieve brilliant success. The Duke of Zhou gave examples of this need traced back to as early as when his
grandfather was looking for a suitable place to establish the capital. In the Yao Text, the Duke of Zhou listed different possible places. In some places, there were troubles such as gossips. In other places they were confronted by invasions of the Rong and Di tribes. Eventually King Wen
chose Feng, a name meaning “safe place,” where they were able to wait¬†with wine and food in a calm and unhurried manner until the time was¬†right to overthrow the Shang. King Wen was made an official at the¬†court. He opposed the Tyrant of Shang’s brutal system of punishment¬†and was imprisoned. During his imprisonment, three former officials of¬†the Shang dynasty came to Zhou for shelter and were greatly respected.¬†They offered suggestions to rescue King Wen and became his advisers.


 (1) Initial Nine. xNeeding alternates to Replenishing (48)

The bottom line is the farthest line from the upper gua; it represents the¬†outskirts, a place at a distance. There is danger, but not too near. This line¬†is a yang element at a yang place. In this situation one should not take any¬†risks to cause any further difficulty. he key is to persevere, to do normal¬†things as usual. Doing otherwise might result in trouble. This line sends a warning that when a situation demands waiting, one must keep one’s distance¬†from the danger.


2 Second Nine.x Needing alternates to Already Fulfilled (63)

The second line moves closer to the upper gua, Danger. There is trouble,but only a little gossip. The second line is a yang element in a central place. One in this place is able to wait at ease. Although there is a little gossip, one must deal with it calmly and with equanimity. It is like a narrow
strip of water extending on the sand that will shortly disappear. Patience is necessary; the end will be good.


(3) Third Nine. xNeeding alternates Restricting 6 0

The third line moves closer to the upper gua, beyond the central line. The situation is worsening. When the third line changes from yang to yin, the lower gua changes from Heaven to Lake. One becomes stuck in the mud and cannot walk easily. The discussion of the gua says that water symbolizes a robber or invader. Three yang elements in the lower gua are headstrong,
they move closer and closer to the dangerous situation. Confucius’s¬†Commentary on the Yao Text says, “Misfortune is outside. It is you yourself¬†causing the invader to come. Be cautious; you will not be beaten.”¬†This line warns that when one moves closer to a dangerous situation,¬†extra caution should be exercised


 (4) Fourth Six. xNeeding alternates to Eliminating (43)

The fourth line is positioned in the upper gua. The situation is difficult,even dangerous. It is possible to get hurt. The Decision of the gua says¬†that water is related to blood, a symbol of being hurt. Most English translations¬†followed e Chinese text literally and translate the Chinese character¬†me as blood. However, there is another opinion that a component of¬†the character representing water was left out on the left side of the Chinese¬†character me. With this radical, the character is pronounced xii, a¬†ditch eight feet wide and deep. Here my translation conforms to the second¬†meaning of “ditch,” matching the situation suggested by the other¬†three lines/ that one approaches¬†the¬†sand from the outskirts, the mud¬†from the sand, and the ditch from the mud. The situation keeps getting
worse. This line is a yin element at a yin place, a correct position.

One in this place may not act lightly. The commentary advises, “Follow the¬†¬†the principle of yielding, accommodate the situation.” In so doing,one will climb out of the ditch.


(5) Fifth Nine.x Needing alternates to Advance (11)

The fifth line is the host of the gua. It is a yang element at a yang place, correct and also central and supreme. One in this situation is most safe.
For this reason, he is able to wait with wine and food. Waiting with wine and food symbolizes self-confidence, waiting in a calm and unhurried manner. This is the best attitude with which to deal with unfavorable situations. This line tells us that even in the safest situation, one should
still hold on to the principle of the Golden Mean, that is, walking the central path.


(6) Top Six. xNeeding alternates to Little Accumulation (9)

The upperm0st line is a yin element at a yin place. Doubling the yin symbolizes weakness. This place is the height of difficulty. There is no way to wait. Eventually one falls into the pit. However, the yielding line on the top responds to the solid line at the third place. Three yang elements in the
lower gua represent three unexpected guests. They have waited for a long time without a chance to advance. When they reach the end, the one at the uppermost place honors them. At last, all of them receive good fortune. This gua suggests that with a positive attitude there is no problem that cannot be solved, and the end will always be good.

Additional Reference Information for This Gua

Image: Water above, Heaven below
Recite as:Clouds ascend to Heaven, Needing
Structure:Four yang with two yin
Month:The second month of the lunar year, or March
Host of the Gua:Fifth Nine
Opposite Gua:Proceeding Forward (35)
Inverse Gua:Contention (6)
Mutual Gua:Diversity (38)

Song Contention



In Chinese, Song means to dispute, to demand justice, or to bring a case to the court because there is contention. Both Wielhelm and Blofeld translate Song as Conflict. In this book it is termed contention. This gua is the inverse of the preceding gua Needing.

Sequence of the Gua: Needing, scrambling for food, contention is certain to arise. Thus fer Needing, Contention follows

The ideograph of Song is a unification of two characters, speech and public.
The left side of the ideograph is a picture of a person’s face with an¬†open mouth at the bottom, representing the act of speaking bluntly. The¬†right side consists of two parts.The upper part is made up of two strokes¬†one to the left and the other to the right-resenting a picture of going in¬†opposite directions and being equally divided. The lower part of the ideograph¬†is the ancient character for SELF¬†When the upper part and the lower¬†part are put together, the symbol represents the act of opposing selfishness¬†and being fair. Joining the parts of the ideograph creates a vivid picture
of someone bringing a case to a public place and speaking out bluntly, asking for justice.
The upper gua is Heaven, air ascending upward; the lower gua is Water, liquid flowing downward. The image is of conflict and contention.
Water symbolizes dangerous and mean intention, and Heaven symbolizes a strong and firm character

A person with these two characteristics inevitably will become involved¬†in conflict and contention with other people. For these reasons, Contention is adopted as the name of the gua. The intention of the ancients was ¬†not to encourage contention, but rather to settle disputes with compromise. According to their experience, no perfectly satisfyig result could be obtained at the end of any ¬†contention. Thus the Decision says, Midpoint:good fortune. End: misfortune.” The middle ground is the key for¬†settling contention.”

Be sincere and truthfid,
Truth is blocked.
Be cautious.
Midpoint: good fortune.
End: misfortune.
Favorable to see a great person,
Unfavorable to cross great rivers.

Commentary on the Decision
Strength is above, danger below.
Danger with, strength produces contention.
Facing contention
Be faithful and confident.
Truth is blocked Be cautious.
Midpoint: good fortune.
The firm comes and attains the central place.
End mifortune.
It is better not to let contention happen.
Favorable to see-a great person;
The central and correct is honored
Unfavorable to cross great rivers;
This would lead one to the abyss.

Commentary on the Symbol
Heaven and Water move in opposite directions.
There is contention.
In correspondence with this,
The superior person begins to make plans
Before he takes action.

Yao Text
1. Initial Six
Do not persist in the case.
A little dispute
Ends in good fortune.
Do notpersist in the case.
Contention should not be long. ,
A little dispute;
Truc or false will be distinguished
2. Second Nine
Unable to contend.
Return and escape.
His county of three hundred households:
No trouble.
Unable to contend
Retreat and hide.
In an inf&or position, contending against a superior one
Causes your own trouble.
3. Third Six
Living off ancestors inheritance.
Being steadfast: adversity;
Ends in good fortune.
Probably serving a king, I
Claim no credit.
Living off ancestors’ inheritance.
Following the one at the top brings good fortune.

4. Fourth Nine
Unable to contend.
Turn back submit to the truth.

Changing one’s opinion


Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
Turn back; submit to the truth.
Brings peace.
Be content with the truth;
One will not lose.
5. Fifth Nine
Dealing with contention.
Supreme good fortune.
Dealing with contention; supreme good fwtune.
One is in tbe central and correct position.
6. Top Nine
Probably a leather belt is given with honor.
By the end of the morning
Thrice taken away.
To obtain distinction though contention
Is not worthy of respect



The theme of the gua expounds the truth of avoiding contention. In human life conflict between differing opinions or interests arises everywhere.
According to the ancient Chinese, contention, whether one wins or loses,is not enjoyable. It is better to solve the problem rather than let it develop¬†to the point of contention. If one knows how to stop a fight before it goes¬†too far, one would be able to remain in a trouble-free position in any¬†situation. Generally, dispute arises from one’s mean intention and overly¬†self’-willed conduct-lacking flexibility in considering other people’s situations.
The ancient sages advocate seeking common ground, not voicing differences. This is the way to avoid contention.
The host of the gua is the solid line at the fifth place, representing an arbitrator appointed by two parties to settle a dispute. The fifth line is solid, firm, and strong and also in the central place of the upper pa. It indicates that an honest person is in a position to be honored and is able
to maintain a neutral stand in solving the problem. The other five lines, either yielding or solid, represent persons involved in the disagreement. Confucius’s Commentary on the Decision here says, ‘Favorable to see a¬†great person; the central and correct is honored.”

This gua tells us that, as the strength and population of the state of Zhou grew respectively stronger and larger, contentions arose among the people. King Wen gave instructions that in facing contention one should remain sincere and faithful. When truth is blocked, one should be cautious.
Solving the dispute at the midpoint would bring good fortune.
Holding on to the contention through to the end would invite bad fortune.
In the Yao Text, the Duke of Zhou wrote about the struggle between King Wen and the Shang. King Wen served at the court of Shang but was greatly dissatisfied with the tyrannical administration
of the Shang dynasty. He pleaded with the tyrant to stop the cruel punishment of the people, but his pleas went unheeded. King Wen pleaded again. This time he upset the tyrant and stirred up trouble. He retreated and hid without trouble in his little state of only three hundred households.
Later on, King Wen was asked to serve at the court again, but he¬†could still do nothing to stop the tyrant’s brutality. Making peace with¬†the reality of the situation, he kept quiet while accumulating his strength¬†and preparing to overthrow the tyrant. In this way he brought peace and¬†gained supreme good fortune. At last, a leather belt was given to him with¬†honor, but the Tyrant of Shang was still suspicious of King Wen, changed¬†his mind, and took the honor away three times


(1) Initial Six. Contention alternates to Fulfillment(10)

The first line is a yin element at a yang place–incorrect and on the bottom.
The one in this position is weak Although the line responds to the yang element at the fourth place, thar is another yang element at the second place lying between and, fortunately, blocking them. They are not able to support each other to solve the problem. The one at thc fourth place is firm
and strong, willing to support from beginning to end. The advice is to lay low. Then, with a little assertion at the right time, the end will be good.


(2) Second Nine. Contention alternates to Hindrance 12

The second line is solid and firm. Being in the midst of the lower gua,Water (which symbolizes danger), it hints that the one in this place is self-willed and fond of contention. Although the line is fm and central,
it is in the lower gua, an inferior condition. While this yang element represents the principal force of the conflict, it is surrounded by yin elements ¬†above and below. This is a troublesome situation (in the midst of Water) and not conducive to winning the dispute. Thus, Confucius says, “Retreat and hide.”The superior one is the yang element at the fifth place, who is¬†firm and strong, central and correct. A self-willed person cannot win the¬†fight against a central and correct person in a superior position.


(3) Third  Six. Contention alternates to Encountering (44)

The third line is a yin element at a yang place, neither central nor correct.
It lies between two solid lines suggesting there is no way to win a dispute¬†in this situation. It is better to bear the situation with patience and rely for¬†one’s living on the place gained and handed down by one’s ancestors owing¬†to their virtue and merit. In ancient times, a high official obtained a¬†manor from the court. The manor was a hereditary property. In the I¬†Ching, the third line sometimes symbolizes one of the three dukes of¬†ancient times who acted as a cabinet of advisers to the king. The Yao Text¬†thus says, “Living off ancestors’ inheritance.” There is also a chance to¬†serve the king.


(4) Fourth Nine. Contention alternates to Dispersing (59)

The fourth line is a yang element at a yin place, the bottom of the upper gua. Its place is neither central nor correct. At this place, it is not favorable to be involved in contention. Because this yang element is at a yin place, it is able to neutralize its usually firm and strong attributes. There is the
potential to turn back and change one’s original opinion. So doing will¬†bring peace.


(5) Fifth  Nine. Contention alternates  to Not Yet Fulfilled (64)

The fifth line is in the superior place. It is a yang element at a yang place,central and correct. In the I Ching, a central place represents a position of impartiality and justice. One at this place bears the qualities of fairness, justice, and reasonableness, qualities that are crucially important in dealing
with contention. Consequently, these qualities bring supreme good fortune.


(6) Top Nine. Contention alternates to Exhausting (47)

The uppermost line of the upper gua, Qian, represents Heaven. The¬†ancient Chinese believed Heaven to be round; thus, Qan is at times¬†represented by a circle. The Yao Text says, “Probably a leather belt [circle]¬†is given with honor. By the end of the morning-thrice taken away.” “By¬†the end of the morning” derives from the lower mutual gua, Fire, which¬†to the third line, “Probably serving a king, claim no credit.”
Symbolizes the time of day from morning till noon. This line responds¬†A possible explanation of “thrice” derives from the upper mutual gua,¬†Li. According to Fu Xi’s arrangement of the eight primary pa, Li is in¬†the third position, after Qian and Kun, thus “thrice” is used. On the other¬†hand, the yang element at this place has already approached the extreme.
If one at this place thinks he is firm and strong and forgets the present situation, he will win the contention with skill, but it cannot last long.
The main theme of the gua is to explore the disadvantage of contention.
Most of t$e lines show that a dispute should be carried out only if it is worthwhile. If one is fond of contention, evil awaits.

Additional Reference Information for This Gua
Image: Heaven above, Water below
Recite as: Heaven and Water oppose, Contention
Element: Metal
Structure: Four yang with two yin
Month: The third month of the lunar year, or April
Host of the Gua: Fifth Nine
Opposite Gua: Brilliance Injured (36)
Inverse Gua: Needing (5)

Mutual Gua: Household (37)

Shi Multitude



Originally Shi meant multitude. At present, it means teacher as well as¬†troops or army. Both Wielm and Blofeld translate Shi as the Army. In¬†this book, I follow the character’s original meaning of Multitude.
Sequence of the Gua: Where there is contention, a multitude is sure to arise.Thus, appear Contention, Multitude follows.

The ideograph of this gua consists of two parts. On the left is dui, signifying¬†a multitude or pile. The right part is¬†za,which denotes a circle or¬†can mean “to go around.” When the two parts join together, a new character¬†is formed, presenting the picture of a multitude of people gathered¬†together and circling a pivot. When the pivot is emphasized, shi indicates¬†a teacher, a master or a person who deserves respect from society.¬†When the multitude is emphasized, it means a multitude of people, not
a military force. In ancient dictionaries shi denotes a group of 2,500 people.

In ancient China there was no special group of people maintained as an army, nor a specific class called soldiers. At that time, peasants and soldiers were combined into one group. In ordinary times, peasants worked the fields, and in the slack farming season they were given military training.
Only during wartime were they called to defend their country. The ancients thought that keeping an army would cause trouble. An army carried the potential of danger; like running water, sometimes it could rage out of control. Peasants were docile, as stable as the ground. Thus, water under earth is the symbol of this gua, indicating that military strength should not be stored in the army but in the multitude of people, as water F!! is stored in the earth. To the ancients, war was evil. It should not be undertaken lightly, but only when absolutely necessary. And the purpose of  military affairs should be righteous. Only a person of noble character and high prestige could take charge of military affairs.

Be steadfast and upright.
For a person of noble spirit,
Good fortune.
No fault.

Commentary on the Decision
Shi is a multitude.
Persistence is for righteousness.
One who is able to lead the multitude
To persist for righteousness
Is able to bring peace to the world
Firm and central,
He obtains a reponse.
Taking the risk of dangerous action,
He confronts  no hindrance.
Relying on this,
He maintains public order;
And people follow him.
Good fortune.
What mistake should there be ?

Commentary on the Symbol
Water contained under Earth.
An image of Multitude.
In correspondence with this

The superior person embraces people
And cares for the multitude.

Yao text

1. Initial Six
Sending out a multitude,
It should be kept under control.
Otherwise, no gdod:
Sending out a multitude,
It should be kept under control
Losing control brings disaster

2. Second Nine
In the midst of the multitude,
Good fortune.
No fault.
The king bestows thrice.
In the mi& of the multitude, good fortune,
Gracefiom Heaven.
The king bestows thrice,
Thinking of all countries.

3. Third Six
The multitude perhaps takes charge:
The multitude perhaps takes charge,
They crave greatness and success.
No merit

4. Fourth Six
The multitude retreats.
No fault.
The multitude retreats.
It does not deviate the normal course.

5. Fifth Six
In the field there are birds

Favorable for capture.
No fault.
The elder should command the multitude.
The followers taking charge,
Being steadfast: misfortune.
The elder should command the multitude;
He is walking in the central path.
The followers taking charge,
The appointment is not handle properly.

6. Top Six
The great prince issues commands:
Establish states and hereditary families;
Inferior persons should not be employed.
The great prince issues command;
It is to bestow merit properly.
Inferior persons should not be employed
They are certain to cause trouble to the country



Most English translations call this gua the Army. However, in ancient China, soldiers were not differentiated from peasants; there was no specific class termed an army. For this reason, I adopt the original meaning,Multitude. The gua does not encourage military actions. To the contrary,it indicates that if contention is not resolved properly, it might lead to the use of force. The ancients considered that using force was evil and taught that involvement in military affairs should be approached with caution and that the purpose of war should be righteous. In their opinion only

two kinds of war could be considered righteous: overthrowing a tyrant or protecting the country from invasion.

The host of the gua is the solid line at the second place; it is the only solid line in this gua and occupies the central position of the lower gua.
Thus, it becomes the host of the multitude. The Duke of Zhou says, “In¬†the midst of the multitude, good fortune. No fault.” Normally the host of¬†the gua lies at the fifth place, central within the upper gua. It is a superior¬†position for a king. The king is usually the person who takes charge of a
general, but not of the multitude. Thus, he cannot be the host of this gua,Multitude. On the other hand, the solid line at the second place is surrounded by five yielding lines symbolizing the multitude. They are harmoniously acting with one accord. The second line is firm and solid in
the lower gua; he is the right person to take charge of the multitude

This pa is a continuation of the preceding one, the fourth line of¬†¬†which says, “Unable to contend. Turn back; submit to the truth. Changing¬†one’s opinion: Peace. Being steadfast and upright: Good fortune.”
King Wen saw that he could not win a dispute with the tyrant. He¬†changed his tactics, realizing that the only way to rescue the people¬†from the abyss of suffering was to overthrow the tyrant. He was preparing¬†for war, but he held fast that military action should move forward in¬†a righteous course. There was no fault if a person of noble spirit led the¬†multitude. The Duke of Zhou described King Wen’s military action,¬†carried out for the tyrant against minorities such as the Mi clan and the
Shu clan. King Wen’s policy was to meet them with goodwill, educating¬†rather than punishing them. Before launching the multitude on a path¬†of war, he kept them under strict control and expected that no disaster¬†would result. Because King Wen insisted that only a person of noble¬†spirit should take charge of military affairs, the tyrant acknowledged his¬†leadership. King Wen created a strategic deployment, then explained to¬†the Mi and Shu that his military action was only defensive, because
they had invaded Shang’s territory like birds trespassing on a field. He¬†told them only the elders should lead the multitude. If the followers¬†took control, disaster would follow. He instructed the leaders of the Mi¬†and Shu clans that inferior persons should never be employed in positions
of authority.


(1) Initial Six.Multitude alternates to Approaching(19)

The bottom line denotes the beginning of a military engagement. The multitude is setting out, it should be kept under control. The text offers a warning that at the very beginning of any situation caution and discipline should not be neglected.


2 Second Nine.Multitude alternates to Responding (2)

The second line is a yang element in the central place of the lower gua; it represents the host of the multitude. A yang element at a yin place is firm and strong. As part of the lower gua, he is not reckless, but kind. The yang element at the second place responds to the yin element at the fifth place.The relationship symbolizes that the commander gains confidence from the commander in chief. Because the host of the multitude is responsive m to his superior, the king bestows thrice. According to the rituals of the Zhou dynasty, the first bestowing was a post; the second, a garment; and  the third, a title. The color of the garment matched the post and the title.


(3) Third Six. Multitude alternates to Growing Upward (46)

The third line is a yin element at a yang place. The place is not correct,symbolizing that one at this place is self-willed and opinionated. Failure certainly lies in wait. According to the structure, the lower gua is Water,representing corpses. The lower mutual gua is Thunder, representing a¬†wagon. Thus, the Yao Text might be interpreted as “The multitude returns¬†with wagon loads of corpses.” However, in ancient times the character¬†for wagon yo also meant multitude. Likewise, the character for¬†corpse–shi–also meant to take charge of. By following the ancient meaning,the text is translated as “The multitude perhaps takes charge: misfortune.” Misfortune is the consequence of improper people taking charge of¬†serious matters.


(4) Fourts Six. Multitude alternates to Relief(40)

The yielding line at the fourth place is not central. To be yielding and not central indicates a situation where there is no chance of winning a conflict.
The yin element at a yin place also suggests that one at this place¬†knows her own limitation. She led the multitude in retreat. When one¬†knows that a conflict cannot be won, retreat is the wisest strategy. It conserves¬†strength for a final victory. Confucius commentary says, “The multitude¬†retreats. It does not deviate from the normal course.”


(5) Fifth Six. Multitude alternates to Darkness(2 9)

The Yao Tart consists of two parts. The first part indicates that the yin element at the fifth place represents a true leader. The yin attribute and central position gives the element a noble quality. In dealing with a conflict she is not aggressive. She takes only defensive action. The Duke of Zhou uses the analogy of birds trespassing on a field to indicate that someone has invaded her territory. Her defensive action has a just ground.
There is no fault. The second part of the Yao Text says that the one who is experienced and senior should lead the multitude. If the multitude takes control, the consequence would be misfortune


(6)Sixt Six. Multitude alternates to Childhood (4)

The top line denotes the end of a conflict by using forces; victory is obtained.
The king dispenses rewards and honors according to merit. The tact warns that inferior persons should never be employed in any position in the government. Their meanness is sure to cause trouble to the country. Of course, since there is no actual military conflict in our daily lives, this pa is a metaphor. We should search for the ancient wisdom between the lines and beyond the words.

Additional Reference Information for This Gua

Image:Earth above, Water below
Recite as:Water contained under Earth, Multitude
Structure:One yang with five yin
Month:One yang with five yin
Host of the Gua:Second Nine
Opposite Gua:Seeking Harmony (13)
Inverse Gua:Union  (8)
Mutual Gua:Turning Back  (24)

Bi Union



Bi is the inverse of the preceding gua, Shi, Multitude. Bi suggests intimacy and closeness. People living together should love and care about each other; then they will become intimate and close. Wilhelm translates this gua as Holding Together (Union); Blofeld as Unity, Coordination. In
this book, Bi is called Union.
Sequence of the Gua: In a multitude, there must be a bond of union. Thus after Multitude, Union follows

In ancient times, Bi was the fundamental unit of the Chinese household registry system. Every five households formed one unit, called Bi. In every Bi a head was appointed, to take care of the neighborhood. Thus, Bi also means neighborhood and symbolizes a close bond of the people in a
community. The ancient ideograph of Bi is simple; it shows two persons standing close together. The structure of the pa is Water above, Earth below. When earth contains water, it becomes soft. When water is on the earth, it flows. The ancient king gained insight from the close relationship between water and earth; he established numerous states and maintained a close relationship with his subordinate lords.

Seeking union.
Good fortune.

Examine the divination:
Sublimely persevering, steadfast and upright.
No fault.
Restless factions just coming.
Lagging behind: misfortune.

Commentary on the Decision

Seeking union. Good fortune.
It is for mutual help.
The lower follows the upper.
Examine the divination:
Sublimely persevering, steadfast and upright.
No fault.
Due to it firmness and central position.
Restless factions just coming
The upper and the lower correspond
Lagging behind misfortune.
There is no way out.

Commentary on the Symbol

On tbe Earth, there is Water
Flowing together, an image of  Union.
In correspondence with this,
Tbr ancient king established myriad states
And kept a close relationship with the lord.

Yao Text
1. Initial Six
With sincerity and truthfulness, seeking union.
No fault.
Be sincere and truthful,
As an earthen vessel that is fl.
End coming, there is something.
Good fortune.
Initial Six of Seeking Union
Encounters unexpected good fortune.

2. Second Six
Seeking union from within.
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
Seeking union from within,
One would not fail.
3. Third Six
Seeking union with wrong people.
Seeking union with wrong people.
How can it not be hurt?
4. Fourth Six
From without, seeking union.
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
From without, seeking union.
Follow the one above.

5. Fifth Nine
An illustration of seeking union:
– The king drives game on three sides,
Loses those running out the front.
Citizens need no admonition.
Good fortune.
Good fortune of an illustration of seeking union,
Due to its correct central position.
Discard those who are adverse;
Accept those who are submissive.
Lose those running out thepunt.
Citizens need no admonition,
The one above makes them central and harmonious.
6. Top Six
Seeking union.
Those not having taken the first step:
Seeking union with the not having taken the first step.
Nothing can be completed



This gua expounds the importance of loving and caring in a union. People¬†living close together must love and care about each other. In our daily¬†lives, nothing is more harmful than successive conflict, and nothing is¬†more auspicious than the harmonious relationships between people. In¬†this pa, Union, most lines are auspicious. The structure of the gua is¬†Water above Earth. Here Water symbolizes a restless mind; thus, King¬†Wen’s Decision says, “Restless factions just coming.” Confucius’s Commentary¬†on the Decision says, “The upper and the lower correspond.”
The “upper” refers to the upper gua and the “lower” to the lower gua. In¬†the I Ching, the uppermost line symbolizes the end of a cycle. In this gua,¬†the uppermost line is yin, and the fifth line is yang. A yin line mounting a¬†yang line symbolizes an adverse attitude. Thus King Wen’s Decision says,
“Lagging behind: misfortune.”

The solid line at the fifth place is the only solid line in this gua. It is the host of the gua. Its quality is firm and strong, and its place is central and correct. It symbolizes a right person in a right place who is sure to have great influence upon his surroundings. There are five yielding lines. All yielding lines submit to the solid line at the fifth place, except the yielding line at the top. This line represents one who goes beyond the proper limit.
King Wen’s Decision says, “Seeking union. Good fortune. Examine¬†the divination: sublimely persevering, steadfast and upright. No fault.”To¬†examine the oracle, in Chinese, is yuan shi. Yuan originally meant the¬†source of a river. Later on, the character also came to mean “to examine”
and “a beginning.” Shi means to divine with yarrow stalks. Some translations¬†skip this line. Others say ‘inquire further,” “furrher consultation,” or¬†“inquire again.” In ancient times, only in rare cases did yuan mean “again.”¬†Considering the Decision as a whole, there is no need to inquire of the
oracle once again. It is more appropriate to translate yuan shi as ‘examine¬†the divination.” “Sublimely persevering, steadfast and upright” indicate¬†the quality of the host of the gua, the solid line at the fifth position.¬†This gua tells us that King Wen was successful in an expedition. He
brought goodwill to the minority clans, and they became allies. King Wen claims that it was auspicious to seek union. Only those whose minds were restless and who had just arrived or lagged behind might bring misfortune.
The Duke of Zhou told how King Wen sought union with sincerity. He was as full of sincerity as an earthen well bucket filled with water. He began by seeking union within his own clan and then extended it to other clans. He sought union with wrong persons, but he followed in the steps
of King Tang, a brilliant king of the Shang dynasty, driving game on three¬†sides. Those who were willing to come, he welcomed. Those who did not ¬†wont to join, he let go.Later on , those minority clans¬†joined King Wen’s¬†revolution against the Tyrant of Shang


(1) Initial Six. Union alternates to Beginning (3)

This line indicates that seeking union in a community should start with sincerity. Be close to people. Pour your sincerity into the community as when filling an empty vessel with wine or a well bucket with water. People will join the union. The lower gua is Earth, here taken to be an earthen


(2) Second Six. Union alternates to Darkness (29)

The second line is a yin element at a yin place, in the middle of the lower¬†gua. Its place is central and correct. In the I Ching, the lower gua is also¬†known as the inner gua; it represents one’s inner world. In other words,¬†sincerity should come from one’s heart. Thus the Yao Text says, “Seeking¬†union from within. Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.” The yin¬†element at this place responds to the yang element at the fifth place. These¬†two lines echo and respond to each other. They are loving, caring, coordinating,¬†and supportive. Their inner sincerity creates a very auspicious situation.


(3) Third Six. Union alternates to Hardship (39)

The yin element at the third place is neither central nor correct. It is a yin¬†element at a yang place. Above and below are more yin elements. And its¬†correspondent line at the very top is yin as well. The situation shows that¬†no one is ready for union. Thus Confucius’s Commentary on the Yao Text
says, “Seeking union with wrong people. How can it not be hurtful?”


(4) Fourth Six. Union alternates to Bringing Together (45)

This line lies at the fourth position, corresponding to the bottom line.
However, the elements in these two places are both yin. They cannot echo from afar; they cannot seek a union. For this reason, one in this position approaches the yang element at the fifth place, which is firm and upright. They are complementary yin and yang and are able to work in concert with each other. Being steadfast and upright brings good fortune.
Confucius’s Commentary on the Yao Text says, “From without, seeking¬†union. Follow the one above. “Without” refers to the upper gua or outer gua. “Above” indicates the fdth line; it is positioned outward and above¬†the fourth line


(5) Fifth  Nine. Union alternates to Responding (2)

The fdth line is the host of the gua. It is a yang element at a yang place firm, strong, central, and correct. It is the only yang element in this gua and is also located in the supreme position. For this reason, all the yin elements cling to the yang influence and seek union.
Once when King Tang of the Shang dynasty was hunting, he heard¬†people spreading nets all around the wood and praying, “May the game of¬†four directions enter into my nets!” King Tang considered this and said,¬†“In this way, would not all the game be killed without any being left?” He¬†ordered the people to take away the nets in three directions, leaving only¬†the one in the front. Then he prayed: “May those that want to go to the¬†left, go left; those that want to go to the right, go right. Only those that¬†are willing to be my game, come and enter my net.” Later on, a system of¬†hunting was established that required that when the king hunts, nets could¬†be spread only on one side in the woods. In this way the strongest and the¬†fastest animals were able to escape and reproduce. This system was known¬†as “driving game on three sides.”
In this pa, the Yao Text says that the king orders the game keepers to drive game on three sides and let the game run off in the front. Thus he welcomed those who came and did not chase those who ran off. It shows the magnanimity of the king. Seeking union by using force never works.
Only with sincerity, with love and caring, will people come around of their own volition


(6) Top Six.Union alternates to Watching (20)

The yielding line at the top has reached the extremity. According to its attribute and position, one at this place is not qualified to be a leader. On the other hand, she refuses to seek union with the influential person who is at the fifth place. In the end there is danger. In the I Ching, Water, the
upper gua, also represents a leader. The leader is at the fifth place. The¬†one at the top has gone beyond the fifth place. Thus the Yao Text says,¬†“Seeking union. Those not having taken the first step: misfortune.” In¬†this position nothing can be completed.

Additional Reference Information for This Gua

Image: Water above, Earth below
Recite as: Water above Earth, Union
Element: Water
Structure: One yang with five yin
Month: The fourth month of the lunar year, or May
Host of the Gua: Second Nine
Opposite Gua: Great Harvest (14)
Inverse Gua: Multitude (7)
Mutual Gua: Falling Away 23

Xia X√ľ Little Accumulation



Wielm translates Xiao X√ľ as the Taming Power of the Small; Blofeld¬†calls it the Lesser Nourisher. In this book it is termed Little Accumulation.¬†The name of this gua consists of two Chinese characters. The first¬†character, xiao, means little. The second character means to raise livestock¬†or to store up something. Xu can be applied to storing up nourishment,¬†strength, or even virtue.

There are two ideographs that demonstrate the meaning of this gua.
The first ideograph denotes “little.” It is made up of three strokes, one to¬†the left and one to the right, with the third vertical stroke going all the¬†way from top to bottom between the left and right strokes. This character¬†symbolizes an act of dividing. To the ancient sages, things become little¬†after¬†division. The second ideograph consists of two parts. The lower one ¬†represents a field, and the upper part represents two piles of grass stored¬†one upon the other with a cover on the top. The whole ideograph is a¬†picture of storing up or accumulating.

Sequence of the Gua: Multitude in a harmonious union surely results in something to be stored up. Thus, after Union, the Little Accumulation follows.

The structure of the gua is Wind = above, Heaven = below. There is¬†only one yin line with five yang lines. Obviously, the yang element is stronger¬†than the yin. Kmg Wen saw a storm gathering and clouding over the¬†western sky, yet no rain came down. He realized that the moisture in the¬†doud was not abundant enough to form rain. There was only a little accumulation.¬†Sooner or later rain would fill. He also realized that when five¬†yang lines rely on one yin for nourishment, it becomes difficult for the yin.The yin needs time to accumulate energy and strength. When one’s energy¬†and strength are not adequate to a task, one should take a break to gather¬†one’s forces for further accomplishment. The break should be temporary, yet¬†the achievement is continuous. This is the main theme of the gua.

In the I Ching, among the sixty-four gua there are two representing accumulation. One is Little Accumulation,and the other is Great Accumulation. Little Accumulation emphasizes the accumulation of nourishment; Great Accumulation emphasizes the accumulation of virtues.

Little Accumulation.
Prosperous and smooth.
Clouds condense, yet no rain
At my west side.

Commentary on the Decision
Little Accumulation.
The little obtains the ruling position.
The above and those below correspond it.
This is called Little Accumulation.
Strong and gentle.
The firm are in the central places;
In the end their will will be fulfilled
Therefore, smooth and favorable.
Clouds condense, yet no rain.
Thy are still moving forward
At my west side.
His aspiration have not yet been obtained

Commentary on the Symbol
Wind blows in the sky.

An image of accumulating nourishment by the little.
In correspondence with this,
The superior person polishes and beautifies his cultured qualities

Yao Text

1. Initial Nine
Return to one’s proper way.
How could that be faulty?
Good fortune.
Return to onekproper way.
It is appropriate for good fortune.

2. Second Nine
Hand in hand, return.
Good fortune.
Hand in hand, return in the central way,
He does not lose himself

3. Third Nine
Spokes fall off the cart wheels.
Husband and wife fall out.
Husband and w fe faall out.
He is unable to take good care of his wife.

4. Fourth Six
Being sincere and truthful,
Anxiety goes away;
Fear gives out.
No fault.
Be sincere and truthful
Anxiety goes away.
Those above agree with you.

5. Fifth Nine
Be sincere and truthful.
Arm in arm, build relationships.
Establish prosperity with neighbors.

Be sincere and truthful.
Arm in arm, build relationships.
It is not good to be wealthy alone.

6. Top Nine
Rain falls. Rain stops.
Regard the virtue fully accumulated.
Being steadfast: adversity.
The moon is almost full.
Superior person keeps going forward:
Rain falls. Rain stops.
Regard the virtue fub accumulated.
Superior person keeps going forward:
Worry about being hurt.



This gua employs “Clouds condense, yet no rain” as an image to express¬†the situation when the accumulation of one’s latent energy and strength is¬†not enough. A little break is required. It is not the time for one to carry¬†out his purpose. During the process of development, progress frequently
comes to a standstill. There might be a little obstruction owing to one’s¬†lack of experience or insufficiency of strength. In this situation, one should¬†store up energy, preparing for the next move. The main teaching of the¬†gua is to be sincere and truthful. This is the key to nurturing the multitude
with little.

The structure of the gua is a yielding line at the fourth place surrounded by five solid lines. The fourth position is at the bottom of the upper gua,Wind. It gives us a picture that the yielding line has strength to stir up the clouds, yet it is not able to bring the rain. It obtains support from all the
solid lines. Thus Confucius’s Commentary on the Decision says, “Clouds¬†condense, yet no rain. They are still moving forward.” And he says, “The¬†little obtains the ruling position. Those above and those below correspond¬†to it.”

First there should be an accumulation, and then bestowal is possible.
Accumulation means to store up, and bestowal is to pass over smoothly.
The fact that the clouds condense, yet the rain does not come, displays a¬†twofold truth. On the one hand, before helping others one must store up¬†one’s own knowledge, strength, and virtue. On the other hand, in order to¬†re help and support each other, people must be sincere and truthful. The
ancients taught that “working together with one heart and one mind,¬†— grains of sand piled up will make a pagoda.”

The host of the pa is the yielding line at the fourth place. It is a yin element at a yin place, which is correct. There are five yang elements that echo the yin, but it is not the right time for the yin to advance owing to its weakness as a yin element. In the I Ching, as has been mentioned, the first, third, and fifth places are yang, and the second, fourth, and sixth are yin. When a yang element is at a yang place or a yin element at a yin place, they are correctly positioned. When an element is in a correct place, it symbolizes that the right person is in the right place. In this gua the yin element in the fourth place is correct.

This gua tell us that King Wen returned to his homeland after seven¬†years of imprisonment. He began to accumulate his strength, preparing¬†to overthrow the Tyrant of Shang. He understood that in the meantime¬†accumulation little by little would be favorable.King Wen’s homeland,Zhou, was to the west of Shang; thus, the Decision says, “Clouds condense,yet no rain at my west side.”The Duke of Zhou recalls how King¬†Wen accumulated the strength of the Zhou. At first King Wen returned
to his usual path, as before his imprisonment. Then he began to work hand in hand with those who were willing to accumulate strength with him. There were different opinions, represented by spokes falling off the wheels of a cart and the husband and wife falling out. King Wen reminded his people that only by gathering strength little by little could they avoid a tragedy like that of his father, who was killed by the Shang. With sincerity and truthfulness, King Wen built union arm in arm with his people as well as his neighboring clans. At last, rain fell and then stopped. The moon was almost full. King Wen gave warning that overacting would cause misfortune.


(1) Initial Nine. Little Accumulation alternates to Proceeding Humbly (5 7)

Nine at the beginning is at the bottom of the lower pa, Heaven. The¬†proper place of Heaven is at the top. Thus the Yao Text says, “Return to¬†one’s proper way. How could that be faulty?”The proper way can be interpreted¬†as the Tao of Heaven. The bottom line is a yang element at a yang¬†place; its place is correct. It also responds to the yin element at the fourth¬†lace. There is no problem in returning to one’s proper way. Therefore,things look auspicious.


(2) Second Nine. Little Accumulation alternates to Household (37)

The second line is central in the lower gua. One in this place has the same goal of returning to the proper path. The Yao Text says, “Hand in hand,return.” In Chinese it is qian fu. Fu means to return and qian means to¬†pull. Thus, in some translations qian fu is given as “allowing oneself to be¬†drawn into returning” or “compelling oneself to go back.” However, qian¬†also means hand in hand. It indicates that to do something with someone¬†sharing a common goal brings good fortune. According to the Yao Text,there is no negative sense, as in being pulled back, drawn back, or compelled¬†to return. There is the positive connotation of returning hand in¬†hand.


(3) Third Nine. Little Accumulation alternates to Innermost Sincerity (61)

The solid line at the third place represents a person with a firm and strong character. He has made a decision to return. However, he has already formed a union with the yin element at the fourth place as husband and wife. In the I Ching, Heaven also represents the husband, and Wind represents
the eldest daughter or sometimes the wife. According to the ancients, husband and wife were united together as spokes on a wheel; they formed one unit. Meanwhile, one at the third place is stubborn and self willed. He cannot take good care of his wife and obtain her support. He insists upon returning by himself. The result is obvious: the husband and wife will fall out of the cart and the house will not be kept in order. The line indicates that in a process of growing and developing, it is better to have a companion of the same mind and with similar goals


(4) Fourth Six. Little Accumulation alternates to Initiating (1)

Six at the fourth place is the only yin element in this gua. In general¬†terms, a yin element might be an obstruction to the advancement of the¬†yang elements. In this gua the yin element is at yin place, which is correct.¬†One in this place is able to be humble and is willing to accept support¬†from the two yang elements on the top. Thus, the Yao Text says, “Anxiety¬†goes away; fear gives out,” which in Chinese is xue qu ti chu. Literally, it¬†means “blood vanishes; fear leaves.” The yielding line at the fourth place¬†together with the solid line at the third place and the solid line at the fifth place form the upper mutual gua, Water. Water symbolizes blood; thus Wilhelm translates it as “Blood vanishes and fear gives way,” and Blofeld as “Bloody and terrible deeds are avoided.” However, in ancient times, xue, blood, was a simple form of xu, anxiety. On this ground, the proper understanding is that anxiety vanishes, and fear gives way.


(5) Fifth Nine. Little Accumulation alternates to Great Accumulation (26)

The fifth place is the place for a king or a place of superiority and prosperity.
In this gua it is a yang element at a yang place, central and correct.¬†Generally, this line should be the host of the gua. However, the one at this¬†place has innermost sincerity; he is willing to build a relationship with the¬†yin element at the fourth place. They are corresponding yin and yang¬†elements and are able to be harmonious. The solid line at the fifth place is¬†a yang element in an auspicious place. He has already accumulated some¬†wealth. He comprehends the Tao of Heaven, that is, that one who helps¬†others in the end helps himself. So he is willing to establish prosperity¬†with his neighbors. This is the key to success. Confucius’s Commentary¬†on the Yao Text says, “It is not good to be wealthy alone.” Sharing wealth¬†with others will bring more wealth to oneself. It is the Tao of Heaven


(6) Top Nine. Little Accumulation alternates to Needing (5)

The uppermost line indicates that Little Accumulation has already reached the limit. The rain has fallen; one should be content. Wealth has been accumulated as the moon waxes full. It is time for one to rest and give serious attention to accumulating virtue. Normally, the yin element should be submissive to the yang. In this pa, the yin has already nourished the five yang; it is better to stop before going too far.Otherwise, if one keeps advancing without break, there will be misfortune

Additional Reference Information for This Gua

Image: Wind above, Heaven below
Recite as:Storm wind darkens the sky, Little Accumulation
Structure:Five yang with one yin
Month:The fourth month of the lunar year, or May
Host of the Gua:Fourth Six
Opposite Gua:Delightful (16)
Inverse Gua:Fulfillment (10)
Mutual Gua:Diversity 38

L√ľ Fulfillment



Lu is the inverse of the preceding pa, Little Accumulation, which indicates¬†a situation where it is better for one to take a break during a course¬†of advancement. This gua, fulfillment, represents carrying out one’s duty.
The ideograph of Lii is a complicated, four-part picture of a person walking in shoes. At the top of the ideograph, there is one horizontal line that extends from left to right and then from right to left and all the way down to the bottom of the left side. The curved horizontal line represents the head of a person, while the long vertical stroke represents a human body standing upright. The rest of the ideograph is divided into two parts. On the left there are three curved strokes, symbolizing the footprints of three small steps. At the top right, there is a picture of a shoe. Underneath the
shoe, there is another ideograph symbolizing the action of walking.

The original meaning of Lu is a pair of shoes. From shoes, the meaning¬†was extended to include treading upon something and then carrying¬†out one’s duty or fulfilling one’s agreement. In Chinese, fulfillment is made¬†of two characters: lu xing. Literally, lu means shoes, and xing means walking.
To the Chinese, walking with shoes symbolizes moving forward with firm steps, advancing to fulfillment. Both Wilhelm and Blofeld translate Lu as Treading, Conduct. In this book, it is translated as Fulfillment.

Sequence of the Gua: After things have been accumulated, courtesy and righteousness should be fulfilled. Thus, after Little Accumulation, Fulfillment follows.

An ancient saying goes, “Courtesy is the obedience of principle to what is¬†proper. Righteousness is the accordance of actions with what is right.”
Courtesy and righteousness are duties everyone should fulfill.

The structure of the gua is Heaven = above, Lake = below. The¬†attributes of Heaven are strength and energy; the attributes of Lake are =meekness and gentleness. This image gave King Wen the inspiration that¬†a cautious person handles a dangerous situation as if treading upon a tiger’s
tail. This was exactly the situation King Wen found himself in when he¬†was fulfilling his obligation of rescuing people from suffering under the¬†tyrannical administration of the Shang dynasty. He treaded upon the¬†tyrant’s trusted minister instead of upon the tyrant. This pa, Fulfillment,
establishes the foundation of moral conduct. The main theme is that a¬†wise man fulfills his duty as cautiously as he would tread upon a tiger’s¬†tail; then good fortune can be expected.

Treading upon a tiger’s tail,
Does not bite.
Prosperous and smooth.

Commentary on the Decision
Fulfill one duty.
The yielding treads upon the firm.
Gentle and joyous
Corresponds with Qian.
Thereupon treading upon a tiger tail,
The tiger does not bite.
Prosrperous and smooth.
The firm is central and correct
Fulfill one’s duty in the place of a ruler and feel no guilt.
His brilliance shines.

Commentary on the Symbol
Above is Heaven; below is Lake.
An image of Fulfillment.
In correspondence with this,

The superior person discriminates as to duty between high and low,
And sets people) minds at rest.

Yao Text
1. Initial Nine
Plainly fulfill one’s duty.
Going forward: no fault.
Plainly fulfill one? duty.
Going forward alone is to carry out one ideal.
2. Second Nine
Fulfill one’s duty,
The path is smooth, smooth.
The recluse,
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
Being steadfast and upright
Brings good fortune to the recluse;
He is walking on the central path and is not confused.

3. Third Six
One-eyed person is still able to see,
Lame person is still able to walk.
Treading upon a tiger’s tail,
as king a tiger bite.
The warrior works for the great king.
A one-eyed person is still able to see,
But not with enough clarity.
A lame person is still able to walk,
But not fast enough as to walk with others.
The misfortune of being bitten
Is due to an inappropriate place.
Like a warrior works for the great king,
Because of his firm and strong will.
4. Fourth Nine
Treading upon a tiger’s tail
With heed, heed,

Ends in good fortune.
Heed, heed, ends in good fortune;
One keeps on fulfilling one’s will.

5. Fifth Nine
Decisively fulfill one’s duty.
Being steadfast: adversity.
Decisively fuFll oneic duty.
Being steadfast: adversity,
Owing to his correct and appropriate position.
6. Top Nine
Review the past.
Summarize the journey.
Everything is fulfilled.
Supreme good fortune.
Supreme good fortune at the topmost position.
One deserves great congratulations.



This pa expounds upon the principle of carrying out one’s ideal, or fulfilling¬†one’s duty, in a difficult situation. One should act appropriately¬†according to what is suitable in that situation. The image of treading upon¬†a tiger’s tail is meant to advise one to take precautions beforehand and¬†guard against the latent difficulty and danger. The host of this gua is the¬†yielding line at the third place. It is the only yielding line in this gua. A¬†yielding line treading upon two solid lines gives a stable image of one¬†stepping on solid ground. However, the yielding line is in the midst of¬†five solid lines, which suggests a tough situation. Psychologically, one in¬†this place would be very uncomfortable. On the other hand, because of¬†the yielding quality, she is able to overcome the firm and the solid. The
idea that the soft can overcome the firm is part of the wisdom permeating the I Ching and permeating Chinese culture as well.

In ancient times, the Chinese characters for “fulfillment” and “courtesy”¬†shared the same sound. Thus, Confucius interprets Lu as courtesy.
In ancient feudal society, an ethical code was established to provide that¬†people of different classes treated each other with proper manners. To Confucian scholars, fulfilling the ethical code was everyone’s moral duty Thus, the Sequence of the Gua says, “After things have been accumulated,courtesy and righteousness should be fulfilled.”

This gua tells us that after being successful in his expeditions and alliances with the neighboring ¬†minority clans, King Wen thought it was time¬†to his duty to rescue the people from the tyrannical administration¬†of the Shang dynasty. This time King Wen’s policy was to tread upon the¬†tail of the tiger, but not the tiger itself. In other words, he began by removing¬†the trusted minister of the tyrant. In this way the tiger (tyrant)¬†would not bite him, and the results were prosperous. The Duke of Zhou
recounted how his father King Wen reviewed his past journey and treaded¬†upon the tiger’s tail with utmost heed. King Wen adopted a low-key approach,speaking and acting simply, like a recluse. In this way his path was¬†smooth, and his plans prospered. The Duke of Zhou also narrated how¬†his grandfather acted like a reckless, bold warrior and made decisions¬†promptly but impetuously. Working with the tyrant in that way was to¬†invite the tiger to bite. A warrior with reckless courage could neither see¬†clearly, like a one-eyed person, nor act appropriately, like a lame man.


(1) Initial Nine. Fulfillment alternates to Contention (6)

The bottom line is solid, symbolizing that one at this place is able and¬†content to stay in the lower position. This is the initial stage of fulfilling¬†one’s duty. The yang element on the bottom does not respond with the¬†yang element at the fourth place, since both of them are yang. So he walks¬†alone with a plain heart to carry out his ideal.


(2) Second Nine. Fulfillment alternates to Without Falsehood (25)

The second line is a yang element in the central place of the lower gua. Its character is strong; its temper moderate. It does not respond to the yang element at the fifth place, since they are both yang. The image of a recluse illustrates the situation here. He walks in the central path with a pure
heart and is content and happy.


(3) Third Six. Fulfillment alternates to Initiating (1)

The lower mutual gua is Li =, or Fire. The upper mutual gua is Xun¬†or Wind. In the I Ching, Xun also represents leg and Li, eye, which is¬†why the Yao Text of this line mentions legs and eyes. Because this line is neither central nor correct, the Yao Text refers to a “one-eyed person” and a “lame person.” As a yin element, it confronts the most extreme yang situation, Initiating; like a one-eyed or lame person, she cannot see clearly ¬†or walk fast enough. Moreover, this line is on top of the lower gua, Dui, or Lake. The structure of Dui — looks like an open mouth-one in this =place may quite possibly be bitten by the tiger. Misfortune ensues.

Confucius’s commentary says, “The misfortune of being bitten is due to¬†an inappropriate place.” On the other hand, the yielding line corresponds¬†with the solid line at the top. The upper gua, Heaven, represents a king.¬†When the third line alternates from yin to yang, the lower gua becomes¬†Heaven, symbolizing a warrior. Thus, Confucius’s commentary says, “a¬†warrior works for the great king, because of his firm and strong will.”


(4) Fourth Nine. Fulfillment alternates to Innermost Sincerity (61)

The fourth line is yang. A yang element at a yin place is not correct.¬†However, a yang element at a yin place is better than a yin element at a¬†yang place. One in this place is strong but able to be humble. So he treads¬†upon a tiger’s tail with utmost heed. This is the proper attitude to adopt¬†when dealing with a troublesome situation. In this way the end will be¬†turned from evil to good. On the other hand, a yin line at a yang place¬†means that one is weak; the problem is that she likes to pose as strong, but
lacks self- knowledge


(5) Fifth Nine. Fulfillment alternates to Diversity (38)

The fifth line is a yang element at a yang place. The place is correct and central and in the upper pa. Here one is able to make a prompt decision. Because he is in the most favorable position, all the favorable conditions can work together for the good. In the end, he will escape the adversity safely.


(6) Top Nine. Fulfillment alternates to Joyful (58)

The uppermost line has reached the final stage of fulfilling one’s duty.¬†Whether one reaps good fortune or misfortune depends upon how one’s¬†work has been accomplished. If everything has been well done, there is¬†good fortune. It is important to review the past and summarize the journey¬†from time to time. This is the only way to accumulate one’s wisdom¬†and achieve success.

Additional Reference Information for This Gua

Image: Heaven above, Lake below
Recite as: Heaven above Lake, Fulfillment

 Element: Metal

Structure: Five yang with one yin
Month: The sixth month of the lunar year, or July
Host of the Gua: Third Six
Opposite Gua: Humbleness (15)
Inverse Gua: Little Accumulation (9)
Mutual Gua: Household (37)

Tai Advance

tai id


Tai is one of the most auspicious words in the Chinese language. Originally¬†it meant “more than or “most.” It generally indicates a condition of¬†being more than great. Tai also means peace, safety, security, good health;¬†or it suggests progression, proceeding, advancing. Both Wilhelm and
Blofeld translate Tai as Peace. In this book, the word Advance is adopted.
The ideograph of Tai consists of two parts. The upper portion represents greatness. The ancient Chinese believed that Heaven and Earth -were great, and that human beings were also great. Thus, the ideograph looks like a person standing with arms and legs wide open. Underneath the two legs, there is the ideograph of water, sui. It looks exactly like the primary gua Kan =, or Water, standing upright. This ideograph presents the picture of running water proceeding forward smoothly with great ease. This is the primary meaning of Tai in the I Ching.

Sequence of the Gua: After fulfilling ones duty with composure, one feels peaceful and safe. Thus, after Fulfillment, Advance follows.

Heaven is above and Earth below-that is the natural phenomenon we find in our daily life. However, in this pa, Qan (Heaven) descends to the lower pa, and Kun (Earth) ascends to the upper gua. The situation seems inappropriate. Naturally, Heaven stands above and moves downward, and
Earth stands below and moves upward. Yet in Tai, Heaven and Earth are moving together in communion. In this way they fulfill their duality.

There is a mountain named Tai that stands on the eastern coast of China. Mount Tai was regarded as a sacred mountain that connected Heaven and Earth. Each spring, the emperor would climb the mountain peak, making offerings there with great reverence. The purpose was to ask for harmony between human beings and their natural surroundings.
The Chinese believed that when harmony between people and their surroundings was established then, in peace, safety, security, and good health, they would progress, proceed, and advance with great ease.Thus the meaning of Tai embraces all these auspicious meanings. Through thousands of
years, the Chinese have sought guo tai ming and a prosperous country and people at peace.
Traditionally, this gua represents the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. It carries the message that spring is coming round to Earth once again. Heaven and Earth bring peace and blessing to all living beings.
Myriad beings will renew their lives and move forward again. This concept represents the actual meaning of Tai. It is an auspicious time of prosperity and peace. There is an ancient Chinese saying that out of the depth of misfortune comes bliss. This bliss is Tai.
King Wen’s Decision on the Gua says, “The little is departing, the¬†great is arriving.” The little denotes Earth, which is the most yin. The¬†great denotes Heaven, which is the most yang. In the I Ching, the inner¬†gua (the lower pa) moving to the outer gua (the upper gua) represents¬†departing. In the reversed movement, the outer pa alternating to the ¬†inner pa indicates arriving. “The little is departing” indicates that Earth¬†moves upward from the lower gua to the upper gua. ‘The great is arriving”¬†indicates that Heaven moves downward from the upper pa to the¬†lower gua.

The little is departing,
The great is arriving.
Good fortune.
Prosperous and smooth.

Commentary on the Decision

The little is departing;
The great is arriving.
Good fortune.
Prosperous and smooth.
Heaven and Earth unite;
All beings come into union.
The upper and the lower link;
Their wills are the same.
The inner is the yang; the outer is the yin.
The inner is the strong; the outer is the gentle.
The inner is the superior; the outer is the inferior.
The way of the superior is expanding;
The way of the inferior is shrinking

Commentary on the Symbol
Heaven and Earth are moving together.
An image of Advance.
In correspondence with this,
The ruler gives fulplay to his abiliiy and wisdom
To complete the Tao of Heaven and Earth,
And assists their suitable arrangement,
to infuence people.

Yao Text
1. Initial Nine
Pulling out a reed,
Other roots come with it.
Moving forward: good fortune.
Pulling out a reed
Going forward, good fortune.
His will is carried outward
2. Second Nine
Embracing great rivers.
Fighting a tiger with bare hands.

Crossing a river with bare feet.
Abandon not the remote;
Cliques dissolve.
Obtain esteem by walking the central path.
– Embracing all the wasteland,
Act in accordance with the central path.
He is shining with glorious andgreat radiance.

3. Third Nine
No plain without undulation,
No past without return.
In hardship,
Being steadfast and upright: no fault.
Grieve not over your sincerity and truthfulness.
In inheritance there is happiness.
No past without return.
It is the law of Heaven and Earth.

4. Fourth Six
Fluttering, fluttering.
Not affluent.
With your neighbors,
No admonishing,
Be sincere and truthful.
Flutteringj Puttering,
Not afluence;
Solidarity has been lost.
No admonishing.
Be sincere and truthfu$
Wishes come from the core of their hearts.
5. Fifth Six
King Yi married off his younger sister.
This brought blessing.
Supreme good fortune.
This brought blessing and supreme good fortune.
He is in the centralposition,
Being able to fulfl what he wishes.

6. Top Six
Castle wall returns into the moat.
Use no multitude.
To your own county, make your self-blame known.
Being steadfast: humiliation.
Castle %aN returns into the moat
Sign@es a disordered destiny.


In this gua, the significance of the union of Heaven and Earth is employed to display the importance of union among people. When people communicate sincerely and truthfully, harmony is created, and things will be achieved easily and smoothly. In Chinese, this situation is called Tai, Advance. The Yao Text of this gua is extremely difficult to understand.
Different scholars have varying ideas. To the Chinese, the opposite of Tai¬†is Pi. To go from Tai (Advance) to Pi (Hindrance) or vice versa is a natural¬†law, as is the waxing and waning of the moon. The wise prefer to live in¬†harmony with the laws of Nature. Be content with one’s fate, and never
blame Heaven or others. This gua also displays the wisdom of keeping a state of prosperity and
preserving a period of bliss. In human society, starting any undertaking is difficult, but maintaining the achievement is even harder. One should not sleep on the accomplishment and feel complacent, but instead be aware that when the achievement reaches a climax, it begins to decline. The
interconnection between Heaven and Earth sets the example for mutual communication between human beings. People with the same faith and goals should maintain their mutual love and care and support each other; then the blissful situation can last longer.
Two lines in this gua are qualified to be the host, either the yang at the second place or the yin at the fifth place. Because of its yang quality, the yang at the second place is more suitable to be the host. This gua gives the image of that which is above, Heaven, coming down and that which is
below, Earth, rising up. They unite in great compassion. This yang element and the yin element at the fifth place respond and support each other, suggesting a blissful condition in the natural environment. It is also applicable to social life.

This gua tells us that King Wen was ready to overthrow the Tyrant of¬†Shang. Before taking action, King Wen recalled the rising and declining¬†of the Shang dynasty. In his Decision, he felt that the Shang dynasty had already grown small and was about to end and the Kingdom¬†— of Zhou had gradually become great and was about to arrive. The situation¬†was auspicious; progress and success awaited. The D&e of Zhou¬†summarized the process of the rise and fall of the Shang dynasty. Before
King Tang, the originator of the Shang dynasty, overthrew the Xia dynasty in 1766 B.c., he launched eleven expeditions to exterminate the alliances of the Xia dynasty. It was like pulling out a reed-other roots came with it; their roots were connected. The ancestors of the Shang embraced the wasteland as if fighting a tiger with bare hands and crossing a river with bare feet. They feared not the remote time and places and they eliminated selfishness in relationships and acted in accordance with the central path. But the descendants of the Shang disregarded the course of history, suggested by no plain without undulation and no past without return. They acted lightly, as a bird flutters, and lost their solidarity.
After the Kingdom of Zhou became strong, King Yi of the Shang married off his younger sister to King Wen. This brought blessing and supreme good fortune to Zhou. However, it did not help the Shang dynasty stop the castle wall from returning to the moat. Even while his self-blame was known to his people, the divination shows that the humiliation of the tyrant was close at hand. Advance is one of the twelve tidal gua, representing the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar. In the solar calendar, it is February.

(1) Initial Nine. Advance alternates to Growing Upward (46)

The bottom line is the first line of the lower pa: ascending begins. When¬†one starts an undertaking, it is better to have supportive coworkers. The¬†three yang elements of the lower pa cherish the same ideals and follow¬†the same path. Thus the Yao Text says, “Pulling out a reed, other roots¬†come with it. Moving forward: good fortune.”

(2) Second Nine. Advance alternates to Briliance Injured (36)

This line is the host of the pa. The Yao Tat employs a classic allusion to¬†demonstrate the quality of Advance that ends with good fortune. It says,¬†“Fighting a tiger with bare hands. Crossing a river with bare feet.” Thisgusion was so well known that it was adopted in the Book of Confucian

Once Conhcius’s disciple Zi-lu asked, “If Master had the¬†conduct of the three armed services of a great state, whom¬†would you have to act with you?”
Conhcius said, “I would not have him act with me who will¬†fight a tiger with his bare hands or cross a river with bare feet,¬†dying without any regret. My associate must be the one who¬†proceeds to action full of watchful attention, who is good in¬†stratagems and then carries them into execution.”
Advancing with watchful attention and stratagems is the true message of this line.
Concerning the structure, this line is central, but it is a yang element at a yin place. The yang quality gives one at this place the disposition to be resolute and steadfast. The yin place bestows temperament of kindness and generosity. In this way, one is capable of bearing with the uncultured
and relying on great courage-to fight a tiger with bare hands, cross a river with bare feet, and advance without fear of remote places. One is able to eliminate selfishness in relationships and to act in accordance with the central way. He is the one who gives full play of his ability and wisdom
to complete the Tao of Heaven and Earth.

(3) Third Nine. Advance alternates to Approaching (1 9)

The solid line at the third place has reached the uppermost position of the lower gua. According to the law of Nature, after things proceed to the upper limit they begin to decline. Thus the Yao Text gives warning that there is no plain without undulation, there is no past without returning.
Be upright in hardship; prosperity comes through sustaining.

(4) Fourth Six. Advance alternates to Great Strength (34)

This line has already passed through the lower pa. It is a yin element at¬†a correct yin place, and it responds to the yang element at the bottom¬†place. Thus the Yao Text tells us that one at this place is able to be trustful¬†and sincere with neighbors without being reminded. Furthermore, the¬†yin element obtains the help and support of the yang element at the third¬†place. The third line and the fourth line are the junction of the lower gua¬†and the upper pa-Earth and Heaven. Their mutual relationship comes¬†from the core of their hearts, because they are complementary yin and¬†yang, reflecting the Tao of Heaven and Earth. In the I Ching, “not affluent”¬†indicates a yielding line. Because a yielding line is a broken line,¬†Confucius’s commentary says, “solidarity has been lost.” The fourth line together with the fifth and sixth lines form the upper mutual gua, which is Zhen, or Thunder. In certain cases Zhen symbolizes fluttering or means neighbor. The Yao Text thus says, “Fluttering, fluttering. . . . With your ¬†neighbors, no admonishing, be sincere and truth.”The message of this line warns that one who lives in a peaceful and safe situation still needs to be aware of an unfavorable potential. Always be kind and cooperative with neighbors and do not act lightly, as a fluttering bird

(5) Fifth Six. Advance alternates to Needing (5)

The theme of this line is that King Yi of the Shang dynasty married off¬†his younger sister to King Wen. This theme also appears in the Yao Text¬†of the fifth line of Marrying Maiden . Before King Wen’s son¬†King Wu overthrew the Tyrant of Shang, King Wen had been a duke of¬†the Shang dynasty. The basis for “King Yi married off his younger sister”¬†comes from the structure of this gua¬†. This line is at the fifth place-a¬†place for the king. It responds to the yang element at the second place
place for a supportive subordinate. The yin quality of this line suggests a generous king who is gentle, kind, and humble. The corresponding yang element at the second place suggests a powerful and virtuous subordinate of the king. The upper mutual pa, Zhen (Thunder), represents an eldest
son. The lower mutual gua, Dui (Lake), represents a youngest daughter.
Because of the king’s generosity and humbleness, he gives his youngest¬†sister as a wife to his virtuous subordinate; from this act the blessing of¬†supreme good fortune will come. “King Yi married off his younger sister”¬†serves as a metaphor. The true message is that one should choose only¬†able and virtuous persons with whom to work.

(6) Top Six. Advance alternates to Great Accumulation (26)

The yielding line at the top reaches the final stage of Advance. A turning¬†point from Advance to Hindrance is waiting ahead. The Decision¬†gives warning: the castle wall returned into the moat. It is the law of¬†Nature: when things have proceeded to an extreme, they return to their¬†opposite. It is wise for one to know one’s predestined fate. One should¬†not try to alter natural law by using force. Recognize the situation. In¬†ancient times when there were serious calamities an emperor often issued¬†a self-blame decree,” a mea culpa, to calm people’s indignation.
Through self-examination and by being central and steadfast, wait for another cycle from Hindrance to Advance. Out of the depths of misfortune comes bliss. Be patient; there is always hope.

Additional Reference Information for This Gua
Image:Earth above, Heaven below
Recite as:Earth and Heaven unite, Advance
Structure:Three yang with three yin
Month:The first month of the lunar year, or February
Host of the Gua:Second Nine
Opposite Gua:Hindrance (12)
Inverse Gua:Hindrance (12)
Mutual Gua:Marrying Maiden (54)

Pi Hindrance

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