Sunday, June 15, 2008

I-ching 45-49

45. Ts'ui / Gathering Together [Massing]

Ts'ui / Gathering Together [Massing] above TUI THE JOYOUS, LAKEbelow K'UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTH
This hexagram is related in form and meaning to Pi, HOLDING TOGETHER (8). In the latter, water is over the earth; here a lake is over the earth. But since the lake is a place where water collects, the idea of gathering together is even more strongly expressed here than in the other hexagram. The same idea also arises from the fact that in the present case it is two strong lines (the fourth and the fifth) that bring about the gather together, whereas in the former case one strong line (the fifth) stands in the midst of weak lines.

The king approaches his temple. It furthers one to see the great man. This brings success. Perseverance furthers. To bring great offerings creates good fortune. It furthers one to undertake something.
The gathering together of people in large communities is either a natural occurrence, as in the case of the family, or an artificial one, as in the case of the state. The family gathers about the father as its head. The perpetuation of this gathering in groups is achieved through the sacrifice to the ancestors, at which the whole clan is gathered together. Through the collective piety of the living members of the family, the ancestors become so integrated in the spiritual life of the family that it cannot be dispersed or dissolved.
Where men are to be gathered together, religious forces are needed. But there must also be a human leader to serve as the center of the group. In order to be able to bring others together, this leader must first of all be collected within himself. Only collective moral force can unite the world. Such great times of unification will leave great achievements behind them. This is the significance of the great offerings that are made. In the secular sphere likewise there is need of great deeds in the time of GATHERING TOGETHER.

46. Shêng / Pushing Upward
Shêng / Pushing Upward above K'UN THE RECEPTIVE, EARTHbelow SUN THE GENTLE, WIND, WOOD
The lower trigram, Sun, represents wood, and the upper, K'un, means the earth. Linked with this is the idea that wood in the earth grows upward. In contrast to the meaning of Chin, PROGRESS (35), this pushing upward is associated with effort, just as a plant needs energy for pushing upward through the earth. That is why this hexagram, although it is connected with success, is associated with effort of the will. In PROGRESS the emphasis is on expansion; PUSHING UPWARD indicates rather a vertical ascent–direct rise from obscurity and lowliness to power and influence.

PUSHING UPWARD has supreme success. One must see the great man. Fear not. Departure toward the southBrings good fortune.
The pushing upward of the good elements encounters no obstruction and is therefore accompanied by great success. The pushing upward is made possible not by violence but by modesty and adaptability. Since the individual is borne along by the propitiousness of the time, he advances. He must go to see authoritative people. He need not be afraid to do this, because success is assured. But he must set to work, for activity (this is the meaning of "the south") brings good fortune.

47. K'un / Oppression (Exhaustion)

K'un / Oppression (Exhaustion) above TUI THE JOYOUS, LAKEbelow K'AN THE ABYSMAL, WATER
The lake is above, water below; the lake is empty, dried up. Exhaustion is expressed in yet another way: at the top, a dark line is holding down two light lines; below, a light line is hemmed in between two dark ones. The upper trigram belongs to the principle of darkness, the lower to the principle of light. Thus everywhere superior men are oppressed and held in restraint by inferior men.

OPPRESSION. Success. Perseverance. The great man brings about good fortune. No blame. When one has something to say,It is not believed.
Times of adversity are the reverse of times of success, but they can lead to success if they befall the right man. When a strong man meets with adversity, he remains cheerful despite all danger, and this cheerfulness is the source of later successes; it is that stability which is stronger than fate. He who lets his spirit be broken by exhaustion certainly has no success. But if adversity only bends a man, it creates in him a power to react that is bound in time to manifest itself. No inferior man is capable of this. Only the great man brings about good fortune and remains blameless. It is true that for the time being outward influence is denied him, because his words have no effect. Therefore in times of adversity it is important to be strong within and sparing of words.

48. Ching / The Well
Wood is below, water above. The wood goes down into the earth to bring up water. The image derives from the pole-and-bucket well of ancient China. The wood represents not the buckets, which in ancient times were made of clay, but rather the wooden poles by which the water is hauled up from the well. The image also refers to the world of plants, which lift water out of the earth by means of their fibers.
The well from which water is drawn conveys the further idea of an inexhaustible dispensing of nourishment.

THE WELL. The town may be changed,But the well cannot be changed. It neither decreases nor increases. They come and go and draw from the well. If one gets down almost to the waterAnd the rope does not go all the way,Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.
In ancient China the capital cities were sometimes moved, partly for the sake of more favorable location, partly because of a change in dynasties. The style of architecture changed in the course of centuries, but the shape of the well has remained the same from ancient times to this day. Thus the well is the symbol of that social structure which, evolved by mankind in meeting its most primitive needs, is independent of all political forms. Political structures change, as do nations, but the life of man with its needs remains eternally the same–this cannot be changed. Life is also inexhaustible. It grows neither less nor more; it exists for one and for all. The generations come and go, and all enjoy life in its inexhaustible abundance.

49. Ko / Revolution (Molting)

Ko / Revolution (Molting) Above TUI THE JOYOUS, LAKEBelow LI THE CLINGING, FIRE
The Chinese character for this hexagram means in its original sense an animal's pelt, which is changed in the course of the year by molting. From this word is carried over to apply to the "moltings" in political life, the great revolutions connected with changes of governments.
The two trigrams making up the hexagram are the same two that appear in K'uei, OPPOSITION (38 ), that is, the two younger daughters, Li and Tui. But while there the elder of the two daughters is above, and what results is essentially only an opposition of tendencies, here the younger daughter is above. The influences are in actual conflict, and the forces combat each other like fire and water (lake), each trying to destroy the other. Hence the idea of revolution.

REVOLUTION. On your own dayYou are believed. Supreme success,Furthering through perseverance. Remorse disappears.
Political revolutions are extremely grave matters. They should be undertaken only under stress of direst necessity, when there is no other way out. Not everyone is called to this task, but only the man who has the confidence of the people, and even he only when the time is ripe. He must then proceed in the right way, so that he gladdens the people and, by enlightening them, prevents excesses. Furthermore, he must be quite free of selfish aims and must really relieve the need of the people. Only then does he have nothing to regret.
Times change, and with them their demands. Thus the seasons change in the course of the year. In the world cycle also there are spring and autumn in the life of peoples and nations, and these call for social transformations.

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