...life can be translucent

Another thought on Hexagram 14

The name of Hexagram 14 is Great Possession, and the character for ‘possessing’ also means ‘offering’ – suggesting that the two ideas are not so far apart as they might seem.

Interpreting this one, I’m often reminded of Molière’s play, The Miser. (Or was this in Plautus’s original, The Pot of Gold?) The miser has kept a pot of gold buried in his garden for years, sneaking off to gloat over it when no-one’s looking. Of course, one day someone is looking, and the hoard is stolen, and he bewails his fate. Some witty character offers the consolation that he still has a dank hole in the ground to gaze down, so what has he really lost?

The same is true for all kinds of great possession, not just the shiny metal kind. Some top sports coach once said that he achieved his great results by going through his teams every year and throwing out all those who had ‘great potential’. Having skills undeveloped or gifts ungiven is a little like having the crock of gold buried at the bottom of the garden.

The Judgement of Great Possession says only,

‘Great Possession.
Creating success from the source.’

‘Source’ and ‘creating success’ – yuan and heng – are the first two words of the Yijing (after the name of the first hexagram, that is). The next two, completing the creative process, are li, ‘harvest’, and zhen, ‘constancy’ or ‘determination’. (It’s interesting to observe the ways the authors use and re-use this formula.) Great Possession represents the beginning of the creative process. Everything needed for success is there – but with no guarantee of how it will be used.

5 responses to Another thought on Hexagram 14

  1. Creating success from the source.
    Harvest through determination.

    Perhaps one of the best translations of yuan heng li zhen I happened to see since many years. Truly a keeper.


  2. I think it’s rubbish. Show me an example where you3 means ‘offering’ in ancient Chinese writing or literature. I’ll bet the farm you can’t find one. Exactly what I’d expect from this site.


  3. As for your ridiculous translation of yuan heng li zhen, “creating” seems to be a key, operant word. Which character is that, exactly? Where are you finding to idea of creation in four characters that do not contain it? Ignorance and muddle as usual.


  4. As before, I would be more impressed if you had the moral courage to give your real name. Perhaps along with a link to a website or book where you share your own work?

    Sometimes more than one English word is necessary to convey the meaning of a single Chinese character. Heng is a case in point. I think that translating it simply as ‘success’ runs the risk of implying that this is success that ‘just happens’, which would be misleading. The sense is much more that this is a good moment to get involved in creating good results.

    Quoting from LiSe’s site:

    “HENG is also the name of a sacrifice, one brought in summer. The crop is growing, and now the gods are implored to make it a big and rich one. There are already enough proceeds to offer to them, so this sacrifice is two-way: offering and receiving.”

  5. and Bob, why so bitter and twisted? Can’t you just say with an open heart ready to share, that you disagree. Methinks thou doth protest too much!! Why should I listen to someone so arrogant and scathing???

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