Article Index

Chapter V - Commentary on some of the lines in the I
V - 1
Hexagram 31: Hsien - Influence, nine in the fourth place:
It is said in the I: 'Full of anxious thoughts you go and come; only friends will follow you and think with you'.

The master said: 'In all nature, what is there of thinking? what is there of anxious scheming? In nature all comes to the same issue, though by different paths; there is one result though there might be a hundred anxious schemes. What is there of thinking? what is there of anxious scheming'?

V - 2
The sun goes and the moon comes; the moon goes and the sun comes; sun and moon thus take the place each of the other and their shining is the result. The cold goes and the heat comes; the heat goes and the cold comes; it is by this mutual succession of cold and heat that the year is completed. That which goes becomes less and less, and that which comes waxes more and more; it is by the mutual influence of this contraction and expansion that the advantages of the different conditions are produced.

V - 3
When the looper coils itself up, it thereby straightens itself again; when worms and snakes go into the state of hibernation, they thereby keep themselves alive. When we minutely investigate the nature and reasons of things, till we have entered into the inscrutable and spirit-like in them, we attain to the largest practical application of them; when that application becomes the quickest and readiest, and all personal restfulness is secured, our virtue is thereby exalted.

V - 4
Going beyond this comes a point, the nature of which is hardly knowable. We have thoroughly comprehended the unscrutable and spirit-like, and know the processes of transformation; this is the fulness of virtue.

V - 5
Hexagram 47: K'un - Exhaustion, six in the third place:
It is said in the I: 'The third line shows its subject distressed before a rock and trying to lay hold of thorns; entering into his palace and not seeing his wife: there will be evil'.

The master said: 'If one be distressed by what need not distress him, his name is sure to be disgraced; if he lay hold of what he should not touch, his life is sure to be imperilled. In disgrace and danger, his death will soon come: is it possible for him in such circumstances to see his wife'?

V - 6
Hexagram 40: Hsieh - Deliverance, top-most six:
It is said in the I: 'The duke with his bow shoots at the falcon on top of the high wall; he hits it: his every movement will be advantageous'.

The master said: 'The falcon is a bird of prey; the bow and arrow is a weapon; the shooter is a man. The superior man keeps his weapons concealed about his person and waits for the proper time to move; doing this, how should his movement be other than successful? There is nothing to fetter or embarrass his movement; and hence, when he comes forth, he succeeds in his object. The language speaks of movement when the instrument necessary to it is ready and perfect'.

V - 7
Hexagram 21: Shih Ho - Biting through, bottom nine:
'Showing one with his feet in the stocks and deprived of his toes. There will be no error'.

The master said: 'The common man is not ashamed of what is not benevolent, nor does he fear to do what is not righteous. Without the prospect of gain he does not stimulate himself to what is good, nor does he correct himself without being moved. Self-correction in what is small, however, will make him careful in what would be of greater consequence; and this is the happiness of the common man.
It is said in the I: 'His feet are in the stocks, and he is disabled in his toes: there will be no further occasion for blame''.

V - 8
Hexagram 21: Shih Ho - Biting through, top-most nine:
'One wearing the cangue, and deprived of his ears. There will be evil'.

If acts of goodness be not accumulated, they are not sufficient to give its finish to one's name; if acts of evil be not accumulated, they are not sufficient to destroy one's life. The common man thinks that small acts of goodness are of no benefit, and does not do them; and that small deeds of evil do no harm, and does not abstain from them. Thus his wickedness becomes great till it cannot be covered, and his guilt becomes great till it cannot be pardoned.
This is what the I says: 'He wears the cangue and his ears are destroyed: there will be evil'.

V - 9
Hexagram 12: P'i - Stagnation, nine in the fifth place:
'We see him who brings the stagnation to a close, the great man and fortunate! But let him say 'We may perish! We may perish!', so shall the state of things become as if bound to a clump of bushy mulberry trees'.

The master said: 'He who keeps danger in mind is he who will rest safe in his seat; he who keeps ruin in mind is he who will preserve his interests secure; he who sets the danger of disorder before him is he who will maintain the state of order. Therefore the superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come; when in a state of security, he does not forget the possibility of ruin; and when all is in a state of order, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is kept safe, and his states and all their clans can be preserved.
This is according to what the I says: 'Let him say 'Shall I perish? shall I perish?', so shall his state be firm as if bound to a clump of bushy mulberry trees''.

V - 10
Hexagram 50: Ting - The Cauldron, nine in the fourth place:
'A cauldron with its feet broken, and its contents, designed for the ruler's use, overturned and spilt. Its subject will be made to blush for shame. There will be evil'.

The master said: 'Virtue small and office high; wisdom small and plans great; strength small and burden heavy: where such conditions exist, it is seldom that they do not end in evil. As is said in the I: 'The tripod's feet are overthrown, and the ruler's food is overturned. The body of him who is thus indicated is wet: there will be evil''.

V - 11
Hexagram 16: YĆ¼ - Enthusiasm, six in the second place:
'This line shows one who is firm as a rock. He sees a thing without waiting till it has come to pass; with firm correctness there will be good fortune'.

The master said: 'Does not he who knows the spring of things possess spirit-like wisdom? The superior man, in his intercourse with the high, uses no flattery, and, in his intercourse with the low, no coarse freedom: does not this show that he knows the springs of things? Those springs are the slight beginnings of movement, and the earliest idications of good fortune or ill. The superior man sees them and acts accordingly without waiting for the delay of a single day.
As is said in the I: 'He is firm as a rock, and acts without the delay of a single day. With firm goodness there will be good fortune'. Firm as a rock, how should he have to wait a single day to ensure his knowing those springs and his course? The superior man knows the minute and the manifested; he knows what is weak, and what is strong: he is a model to ten thousand'.

V - 12
Hexagram 24: Fu - The Turning Point, bottom nine:
'Showing its subject returning from an error of no great extend, which would not proceed to anything requiring repentance. There will be great good fortune'.

The master said: 'I may venture to say that the son of the Yen family had nearly attained the standard of perfection. If anything that he did was not good, he was sure to become concious of that; and when he knew it, he did not do the same thing again. As is said in the I: 'The first line shows its subject returning from an error that has not led him far astray. There is no occasion for repentance. There will be great good fortune''.

V - 13
Hexagram 41: Sun - Decrease, six in the third place:
'Showing how of three men walking together, the number is diminished by one; and how one, walking, finds his friend'.

The master said: 'There is an intermingling of the genial influences of heaven and earth, and transformation in its various forms abundantly proceeds. There is an intercommunication of seeds between male and female, and transformation in its living forms proceeds. What is said in the I, 'Three individuals are walking together and one is made to disappear; there is but one man walking, and he gets his mate', tells us of nature's effort at oneness of operation'.

V - 14
Hexagram 42: I - Increase, top-most nine:
'We see one to whose increase none will contribute, while many will seek to assail him. He observes no regular rule in his heart. There will be evil'!

The master said: 'The superior man composes himself before he tries to move others; makes his mind restful and easy before he speaks; settles his intercourse with others before he seeks anything from them. The superior man cultivates these three things and so is complete. If he try to move others while he is himself in unrest, the people will not act with him; if he speak while he is himself in a state of apprehension, the people will not respond to him; if without intercommunication he issue his requests, the people will not grant them. When there are none to accord with him, those who work to injure him will make their appearance.
As it is said in the I: 'We see one to whose advantage none will contribute, while some will seek to assail him. He observes no regular rule in the ordening of his heart: there will be evil''.