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hilary

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Lost and found

Lost property office

A set of three lines​


Something I learned from Scott Davis*: it’s worth taking a second look at anything that shows up in the Yijing in a set of three.



*Though come to think of it, there are about eight reasons why I might’ve got a clue a little earlier…


And it turns out that Yi has three ‘lost and found’ lines: 38.1, 51.2 and 63.2.

‘Regrets vanish.
Lost horse: don’t chase it, it returns of itself.
See hateful people, no mistake.’

Hexagram 38, Opposing, line 1
‘Shock comes, danger.
A hundred thousand coins lost.
Climb the nine hills, don’t give chase.
On the seventh day, gain.’

Hexagram 51, Shock, line 2
‘A wife loses her carriage screen.
Don’t chase it.
On the seventh day, gain.’

Hexagram 63, Aready Across, line 2

All three lines say that something is lost, but 勿逐 – do not give chase. 51.2 and 63.2 also both say that there will be gain on the seventh day – perhaps that’s when we get our coins or carriage-screen back, or some other compensation. In any case, here are three very similar lines, all with a hint of the proverbial about them.

38, line 1​

‘Regrets vanish.
Lost horse: don’t pursue it, it returns of itself.
See hateful people, no mistake.’

This is our first experience of Opposing because the horse (power, agency, communication…) runs away, from safely inside our home space to outside, where it’s lost. I was secure inside my home with my people (Hexagram 37), but now I have to think about what’s outside. (And the people there are foreign, too – hateful people, or rather people I see as hateful.)

Only… the line begins with regrets vanish, and the logic is clear: regrets vanish, like a horse coming back, like finding there is no mistake despite seeing ‘hatefulness’. A lost horse that’s back in the stable is not a lost horse: like regrets, the loss has vanished. (This is different from the next two lines, where you’ll have to wait seven days for gain.)

This line points you to Hexagram 64, Not Yet Across – a reminder of the need for thoughtfulness, not leaping blindly into action. And also, just because this change travels all the way to the end of the book, it’s a reminder of the need for patience and a longer-term perspective, without premature judgement. What you can see now looks all wrong, but time will tell. (In readings, this is often a good moment to remember the story of the old man who lost his horse.)

51, line 2​

‘Shock comes, danger.
A hundred thousand coins lost
Climb the nine hills,
Don’t give chase.
On the seventh day, gain.’

Another disquieting, disconcerting loss. In times of Shock, we are intent on not losing things – the sacred ladle (in the oracle text) or our intention (line 5). But when we lose coins, perhaps the shock has dislodged our sense of security and resourcefulness.

This line specifically shows the danger of shock. I think that’s less the loss of the coins, and more the impulse to chase precipitately after them and get distracted from the important things. (Run back into danger to save your family, yes, but not your wallet.) The reaction would be worse than the problem.

This line joins with Hexagram 54, the Marrying Maiden: literally, a marrying ‘not-yet woman‘, not ready for the situation where she finds herself, and certainly in no position to fix anything.

Instead of chasing after your loss, you need to ‘climb the nine hills’. Again, this is pointing to the need for long-term thinking and planning – long enough, maybe, to forge a marital alliance (51.6). But where are those nine hills?

The nine hills​


I haven’t found any author who identifies those ‘nine hills’. Rutt says this is probably a general way of saying ‘all the hills’, just as Sima Qian said of Yu the Great that he “opened the nine lands, connected the nine roads, embanked the nine lakes, and surveyed the nine mountains.”

Wilhelm says of 51.2, ‘Flight to the hills is suggested by the lower nuclear trigram Ken, mountain.’ Here it is:



That’s good, but it’s only one hill. Where are the other eight? Well…



As you can see, you must climb exactly nine gen trigrams to travel from 51.2 to the next ‘lost and found’ line, 63.2, and so to the end of the book.

So… don’t give chase; instead, set out on this long journey and climb all the way to 63.2, to regain a missing… carriage-screen?

63, line 2​

‘A wife loses her carriage screen.
Don’t chase it.
On the seventh day, gain.’

It’s not actually completely clear what the wife loses here – some translators think it’s some kind of hair ornament. But when this word appears in the Book of Songs, it’s mostly a carriage screen, one that might be made of bamboo or feathers. I can imagine something like that floating away downstream as we drive our carriage through a deep ford; it’s harder to imagine how that could happen to a hairgrip. (As ever, it helps to look at the context!)

The wife crossing the river might well be on her way to her new home as a bride. Now that part of her carriage has gone downstream, just when everything was supposed to be in perfect order, she might feel quite exposed. She will need to embody the qualities of this line’s zhi gua, Hexagram 5, and have faith.

Seven days?​


Naturally, when I see a reference to gain ‘in seven days’, I start looking for things to count. (Especially since a week was ten days long, so there must be some special reason for an interval of seven.)

And… it turns out there are seven hexagram pairs from 51/52 to 63/64. (And while 38 doesn’t mention seven of anything, from 37/38 to 49/50 is also seven pairs.)

I haven’t wholly convinced myself that this is a real reference. When Hexagram 24 says the return comes in seven days, I count seven hexagrams to reach 30 (full sun) or 31 (starting over with the Lower Canon), not seven pairs. When I count ten pairs forward from 41.5/42.2 to reach their zhi gua, 61, that’s because the text mentions ten pairs of objects used in divination. But I don’t have any very good reason to count in pairs here, except that it comes out nicely.

(The mid-point – seven individual hexagrams away from each line – is 57. That’s actually more ‘found and lost’ than ‘lost and found’: the money and axe gained at 56.4 are lost at 57.6.)

Still… to wander for a moment into the realms of utterly wild speculation, a lost carriage screen on the way to the marital home might prefigure a lost hymen, and according to LiSe the name of Hexagram 51 also means conception and quickening. (A good reason to Wait.) Also, starting at Hexagram 51, people climb up the nine hills towards 63, while anything lost when crossing a river will be swept away downstream.

So it seems to me that there could be a conversation going on between these two lines. I’ll be keeping an eye open for it in readings, anyway.

Lost property office

Find your missing carriage screen here
Join Clarity to get
this article as a pdf​
 

Trojina

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Is there significance in the fact that the shelves in the picture form trigram Zhen ?

Paddington sits on line 2 and he is famously a lost bear. Is there then a connection you're alluding to between Paddington the lost bear and the nine hills in 51.2 ? I mean if there were a line for Paddington it would surely be 51.2. That would have been his advice when he found himself alone with just a case and a marmalade sandwich at Paddington station before the Brown's showed up.


This line joins with Hexagram 54, the Marrying Maiden: literally, a marrying ‘not-yet woman‘, not ready for the situation where she finds herself, and certainly in no position to fix anything.

That was indeed Paddington's situation.



What interesting patterns between the lost and found lines


And it turns out that Yi has three ‘lost and found’ lines: 38.1, 51.2 and 63.2.

I'm sure there's more 'founds' without a 'lost' in Yi and possibly more losings without findings in lines. Those are the 3 with lost and found in one line but are there other losts and founds separately ? I'd have to think about it after some marmalade on toast.
 

hilary

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Excellent points about Paddington.

There are lots of 'lost' lines, yes, starting with the oracle of Hexagram 2 -
  • 2.0 losing partners, north & east
  • 34.5 lost sheep at Yi, no regrets
  • 38.1 lost horse returns
  • 48.0 no loss no gain
  • 51.0 not losing the ladle
  • 51.2 lost coins, 7th day gained
  • 51.5 not losing intention
  • 56.3 lost helper
  • 56.6 lost cattle at Yi
  • 57.6 lost property & axe (gained in 56.4)
  • 63.2 lost carriage curtain, 7th day gained (exactly as 51.2, 七日得)
But just the three that say lost x, do not chase it, and you'll get it back.

I haven't counted the 'gains' yet...
 

hilary

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'Gain' 得 turns out to be a very common verb:
  • 2.0 gains partners in south & west
  • 11.2 gains honour in the centre
  • 16.4 great possessions gained
  • 17.3 seeking, gaining
  • 21.4.5 gaining the arrow and the yellow metal
  • 23.6 noble one gains a cart
  • 25.3 travellers gain the cow
  • 28.2.5 gaining a wife/ husband
  • 29.2 seek small gains
  • 29.6 3 years no gain
  • 35.5: lose, gain, no worries
  • 36.3 getting the great leader
  • 40.2 gaining a yellow arrow
  • 41.3.6 gaining a friend, gaining servants
  • 48.0 no loss, no gain
  • 50.1 getting a concubine
  • 51.2 gain on day 7
  • 53.4 gaining a flat branch
  • 55.2 going gains doubts [how odd...]
  • 56.2.4 gaining a young helper, money and an axe
  • 61.3 gaining a partner/equal/counterpart
  • 63.2 gain on day 7
I need marmalade.
 

Trojina

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I should think so, how do you amass them so quickly ?
 

Trojina

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48.0 no loss, no gain

48 unchanging says 'no loss no gain ?'

I think gain of some kind is implicit in 2.4 though the word is not there.
 

hilary

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I should think so, how do you amass them so quickly ?
Open the Chinese text in Wenlin, paste the relevant character into the search box, hit CTRL+F and take a note of each instance.
48 unchanging says 'no loss no gain ?'

'The Well. Moving the city, not moving the well.
Without loss, without gain,
They come and go, the well wells.
Almost drawn the water, but the rope does not quite reach the water,
Or breaking one's clay jug,
Pitfall.'

Four characters, 无喪无得 , no loss no gain - very blunt. After going through all the other lines about losing and gaining, this feels more significant. Maybe something koan-like: what is the experience of not losing, not gaining?
 

Trojina

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Wilhelm has for 48

'It neither decreases nor increases'

which is quite a different thing to my mind to losing or gaining. Surely they are quite different meanings. The well neither increasing nor decreasing does not amount to gain or loss on the part of any individual, it's not about losing or finding at all it's just saying the level remains constant in the well.

You've got 'without loss without gain' but the overall meaning is the water in the well doesn't change.


There's also quite a difference between finding and gaining in English. Finding doesn't always imply gain.
 

Liselle

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Not sure this is relevant to the point of this article, but I think Bradford always stressed that the last phrase of 51.2 and 63.2 doesn't really mean that after 7 days you'll find anything, that it mostly meant saving time.

I had a little discussion once with him about it, starting here. Do you have any comments? ("No" is a perfectly good answer; it might not be an important distinction.)

I suppose part of my confusion might be what does saving time imply? Saving an unspecified amount of time might imply the thing you're trying to do or find is hopeless. ("Oh don't waste your time" often has that sort of tone.) Specifying a particular amount of time seems to have some outcome in mind, though, doesn't it? That after 7 days something will happen?
 

hilary

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Wilhelm has for 48

'It neither decreases nor increases'

which is quite a different thing to my mind to losing or gaining. Surely they are quite different meanings. The well neither increasing nor decreasing does not amount to gain or loss on the part of any individual, it's not about losing or finding at all it's just saying the level remains constant in the well.

You've got 'without loss without gain' but the overall meaning is the water in the well doesn't change.


There's also quite a difference between finding and gaining in English. Finding doesn't always imply gain.
Yes, it does seem likely to be saying that the level of the water doesn't change - which is a bit odd, as surely the level of water in a normal well does change? But the words used are the same 'loss' and 'gain' as in all those other lines, and not (for instance) the names of 41 and 42.

Brad's idea makes perfect and seductive sense, especially the idea that you gain 7 days by not chasing whatever-it-is. But I'm sure I've met examples where it did mean (re-)gaining something after a while, like a lost wallet that was handed in.
 

Trojina

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I saw a discussion one time where Brad was saying the nine hills were like saying what a huge fuss about nothing really, running hither and thither, running to the hills.

In my experience the losses you may have incurred are returned to you in time in their actual value to you aside from money. So even if you lost money you haven't in the end lost whatever it was that the money bought or the meaning or feeling of what the money bought. I think it's a bit of a shape shifter line.


BTW what's this with the gigantic diagrams again under the heading. I mean we aren't that short sighted you know.
 

hilary

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It was a nice, small diagram in the original post. However, if you back away from the screen, perhaps this can be used for eye tests.
 

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