PO Box 6945,
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).
and Wang Bi’s commentary on this:
I find that an interesting idea: it seems to suggest that these hexagrams are about planning and intervening to stave off calamity. That’s certainly not how Wilhelm sees it: his commentary makes this the voice of doom-laden resignation:‘If they had not become concerned about calamities, then it would have been sufficient for them to deal with things through non-purposeful action.’
Thoroughly glum – and, I think, not the idea. Surely the problems of the Zhou people were to do first with surviving an oppressive, degenerate regime and then with rising to the challenge of the Mandate of Heaven to create their own kingdom. So I agree with Wang Bi: this is about channelling de to good effect, averting disaster and renewing civilisation.‘The writer [of the Dazhuan] … feels himself in sympathy with them [the authors of the Yi] in this respect, for he too can do nothing more than preserve for posterity the framework of a perishing civilisation.’
‘Character’ translates de – approximately. De covers a spectrum of meanings, from spiritual power and charisma to virtue. Legge and Lynn translate ‘virtue’, Rutt translates ‘powers’ and Wilhelm/Baynes has ‘character’. ‘Virtue’ works well if you can think of its meaning to a herbalist: the ‘virtue’ of a plant being its unique healing properties, its particular strength and goodness. With ‘character’, you need to think of expressions like ‘strength of character’ and ‘she has character’.Treading, character’s foundation. It is responsive and attains its goals. It can be used to act responsively.
The dictionary also gives the meanings ‘to join in singing’ and ‘to compose a poem in reply’.‘Calling crane in the shadows,
Her young respond in harmony.
I have a good wine vessel,
I will share with you, pouring it all out.’
Hexagram 61, line 2
How can you act responsively, but still stay in control of your own direction, not be pushed hither and yon by circumstances? You’ll need the qualities of Hexagram 10, treading the tail of the tiger: recognising the great powers, having the courage to engage and the skill to align with them.‘To practice harmony yet fail to reach the goal is a matter of just following where things lead one, but Lu means to practice harmony and yet manage to reach the goal. Thus it constitutes a way upon which one may tread.’
All the translators agree that Hexagram 15 is the handle of de. It means, I think, that this is how you access and use your strength of character, how it can be applied. (The same word also means lever.)Integrity is character’s handle. It is honoured and shines out. It can be used to create the rituals.
Returning is character’s root. It is small and distinguishes between things. It provides the means of self-knowledge.
As you can almost see there, each of the three parts follows its own formula. The first follows the pattern, [hexagram name] de‘s [quality]. The second, [hexagram], [x] and also [y] – often with a marked contrast between x and y that creates something close to a paradox, or maybe a riddle. And the third says [hexagram] 以 [action]. 以, yi, is a tricky one: ‘using for’ or ‘so as to’. Legge has it as ‘the use of [hexagram] appears in…’ while Lynn translates each one as ‘provides the means to’.
The first follows the pattern, [hexagram name] de‘s [quality]. The second, [hexagram], [x] and also [y] – often with a marked contrast between x and y that creates something close to a paradox, or maybe a riddle. And the third says [hexagram] 以 [action]. 以, yi, is a tricky one: ‘using for’ or ‘so as to’. Legge has it as ‘the use of [hexagram] appears in…’ while Lynn translates each one as ‘provides the means to’
Hi,The ‘character’ hexagrams
No-one seems to know why these nine hexagrams were chosen, and – despite my best efforts to find a pattern – nor do I. The hexagrams are given in Sequence order, but they’re not regularly distributed and don’t mark any pivotal Sequence moments that I know of. There’s no distinctive pattern of trigrams.
Chapter VII. 49. Was it not in the middle period of antiquity that the Yî began to flourish? Was not he who made it familiar with anxiety and calamity?
50. Therefore (the 10th diagram), Lî, shows us the foundation of virtue; (the 15th), Hsien, its handle; (the 24th), Fû, its root; (the 32nd), Hăng, its solidity; (the 41st), Sun, its cultivation; (the 42nd), Yî, its abundance; (the 47th), Khwăn, its exercise of discrimination; (the 48th), Žing, its field and (the 57th), Sun, its regulation.
51. In Lî we have the perfection of harmony; in Hsien, we have the giving honour to others,
and the distinction thence arising; in Fû we have what is small (at first), but there is in it a (nice) discrimination of (the qualities of) things; in Ming we have a mixed experience, but without any weariness; in Sun we have difficulty in the beginning and ease in the end; in Yî we have abundance of growth without any contrivance; in Khwăn we have the pressure of extreme difficulty, ending in a free course,; in Žing we have abiding in one's place and at the same time removal (to meet the movement of others); and in Sun we have the weighing of things (and action accordingly), but secretly and unobserved.
52. (The use of) Lî appears in the harmony of the conduct; of Hsien, in the regulation of ceremonies; of Fû, in self-knowledge; of Hăng, in uniformity of virtue; of Sun, in keeping what is harmful at a distance; of Yî, in the promotion of what is advantageous; of Khwăn, in the diminution of resentments; of Žing, in the discrimination of what is righteous; and of Sun, in the doing of what is appropriate to time and to circumstances.
If they had no need of Yi they didn't know suffering or calamity presumably.The first Section shows how the sages were themselves independent of the Yî, and had no need of it; the second goes on to tell how they devised and constructed it, to make all men equal to themselves in a knowledge of phenomena and human events, and of their indications of, and issues in, the future.
Oh, right, sorry. I do tend to forget that people exist who are not on this website every day and rely on Twitter etc. to tell them about things.Oh, the Gods of Internet Presence, especially the ones responsible for social media. It's on a stone tablet handed down on some mountain-top or other.
I've thought 'yes I might come to your workshop but why have you sent me another mountain picture ?'
Don’t believe it for a minute. The whole world is here.I do tend to forget that people exist who are not on this website every day
PO Box 6945,
+44 (0)20 3287 3053 (UK)
+1 (561) 459-4758 (US).