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Memorizing the I Ching. 29. K'an / The Abysmal (Water)

rosada

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29. K'an / The Abysmal (Water)
__ __
______ above K'AN THE ABYSMAL, WATER
__ __
__ __
______ below K'AN THE ABYSMAL, WATER
__ __

This hexagram consists of a doubling of the trigram K'an. It is one of the eight hexagrams in which doubling occurs. The trigram K'an means a PLUNGING IN. A yang line has plunged in between two yin lines and is closed in by them like water in a ravine. The trigram K'an is also the middle son. The Receptive has obtained the middle line of the Creative, and thus K'an develops. As an image it represents water, the water that comes above and is in motion on earth in streams and rivers, giving rise to all life on earth.

In man's world Kan represents the heart, THE SOUL LOCKED UP WITHIN THE BODY, the principle of light enclosed in the dark = that is reason. The name of the hexagram, because the trigram is doubled, has additional meaning,

"REPETITION of danger."

Thus the hexagram is intended to designate

AN OBJECTIVE SITUATION TO WHICH ONE MUST BECOME ACCUSTOMED, NOT A SUBJECTIVE ATTITUDE.

For danger due to to a subjective attitude means either foolhardiness or guile. Hence too a revine is used to symbolize danger, it is a situation in which man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and like the water, he can escape IF HE BEHAVES CORRECTLY.

The rulers of the hexagram are the two yang lines in the second and fifth place. The fifth, however, is ruler in a more marked degree; it represents water, which flows on where it has filled up a given place.

THE SEQUENCE
Things cannot be permanently in an overweighed state. Hence there follows the hexagram of THE ABYSMAL. The Abysmal means a pit.

MISCELLANEOUS NOTES
The Abysmal is directed downwards
-Wilhelm
 
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L

lightofreason

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IC+ 29

29 The Abysmal, Water.
Containing, Control
In a context of containment we utilise control.

"HSI K'AN -

HSI : Practise, rehearse, train, coach; again and again; familiar with, skilled; repeat a lesson, drive, impulse. The ideogram portrays wings and a cap. It suggests thoughts carried forward by repeated movements...

K'AN : dangerous place; hole, cavity, hollow; pit, snare, trap, grave, precipice; critical time, test; risky. The ideogram: earth and pit" ERANOS p344

Trigrams : containment (bottom), control (top) : with/from containment comes control. [water over water]

Some pairs:

In the binary sequence hexagram 29 pairs with hexagram 59.
The overall focus in this pair is on some form of perceived clarity, be it through social acts in the form of rote learning etc (29) or else the act of dispelling illusions (59). Overall, hexagram 29 has focus on integration (and so a comment in the original text on the dangers of rote learning etc) whereas hexagram 59 focuses on differentiations, on a particular 'fact' that emerges once the 'fog' has cleared.

In the binary sequence hexagram 29 opposes hexagram 30.
This pairing is the 'classic' opposition of water (29) and fire (30). In the binary IC the overall focus is on containment where in 29 the emphasis is on socialisation issues (with containment comes control) and so a focus on holding something 'in'. In 30 the focus is more on an ideology (something to cling to) and so a focus on moving outwards (with guidence comes a sense of direction, an ideology). When we map-in the set of human emotions, water reflects issues of rejection, and fire reflects issues of acceptance.

At the LOCAL level we are dealing with an octet of hexagrams with the WATER trigram as base. In this sequence hexagram 29, the focus upon containment and control, opposes hexagram 64, remaining 'open', 'mis-containing'. The issue here is on the degree, where 29 has a 'wide' boundary of yin/yang differentiations, it is clearly 'water', whereas 64 is tighter, more mixed in yin/yang differentiations where we have the opposite of water, fire, present in the top trigram position. As such, the exaggerated sense of avoiding closure/making 'small' errors, is reflected in a more balanced format through the use of containment/control. (this also gets into the issue of 'pure water' - 29 - versus water coming-up against fire (64). As such one would assume that the ordering is 'wrong', surely the exaggeration is in water vs the balanced of 64? no. as we move into the realm of integration so the exaggeration of a quality is in fact an exaggeration of integration and so 29 is correctly mapped to the more 'balancing', if becoming a little over-balancing, agent in this relationship)

In the traditional sequence hexagram 29 pairs with hexagram 30.
This pairing reflects the common ground re enclosure, encapsulation, be it through integrating (29 - the boundary holds something 'in', it protects and so rejects the outside), or differentiating (30 - the boundary is designed to expand, as a fire does from a centre, thus the tie to concepts of direction setting and establishing an ideology etc).

The overall focus in 29 is on protection rather than exploitation (more common to 30) but the relation to the emotion of rejection reflects an aspect of differentiation from a moral perspective, as compared to 30 where the expansive nature is generally differentiating and yet within that is the emotion of acceptance and so of integrating. This clearly bounded '50/50' mix of differentiate/integrate reflects the nature of these two hexagrams as 'boundary' setters (as compared to the more tightly-mixed hexagrams of 63 and 64)

SURROUND:

29 : enclosure (surround) - through water, contain/control (keep in, protect); 29 containment/control comes from a context described by hexagram 61 - sympathise, empathise, hard exterior-soft core

30 : enclosure (surround) - through fire, guide/direct (ideology); 30 guide/direct comes from a context described by hexagram 62 - exaggerate tradition, act

In the traditional sequence hexagram 29 opposes hexagram 36.
This pairing reflects an aire of 'containment', be it for social reasons (29) or personal reasons (36).

The generic properties of hexagram 29 reflect the mixing of the generic properties of hexagram 59 mixed with the generic properties of hexagram 61. A combination of 'hard exterior, soft interior' (61 - softening, yielding) with a focus on dispelling illusions (59) is reflected in the control focus of hexagram 29.

In the variations on a theme sequence, hexagram 29 complements hexagram 60.
The common theme is in avoiding 'differences', be it through containment/control (29), or through the introduction of standards (60).

A combination of 'hard exterior, soft interior' (61 - softening, yielding) with a focus on dispelling illusions (59) is reflected in the control focus of hexagram 29.
In the variations on a theme sequence, hexagram 29 complements hexagram 60.

The common theme is in avoiding 'differences', be it through containment/control (29), or through the introduction of standards (60).

Some XOR aspects:

infrastructure (27ness) is described by analogy to generic characteristics of 61, hard exterior, soft interior, yielding issues - the emotion is that of issues covering rejection/rejecting and so issues of protection (61 covers a judge going to bat for someone treated unfairly by the legal system etc)

The beginning (24ness) of 29, or what 29 keeps coming back to, is described by analogy to 60 and so issues covering limitiations, standardisations etc (e.g. 07 and 04 cover socialisation dynamics that serve to integrate/protect the individual as a member of a collective etc). you can see here the root emotion of issues covering rejection etc.

for summary of other XOR aspects see line meaning section in:

http://members.iimetro.com.au/~lofting/myweb/lofting/x010010.html

Chris.
 

Sparhawk

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yicard29.jpg
 

rosada

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I am going to be going out of town tomorrow morning and away from a computer for several days. Chris, can I rely on you again to keep us on course? Thanks in advance. But if that's not possible, then 29. like, we can just all be on our own and go with the flow!
 
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getojack

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So let's jump into this abyss, shall we?

THE JUDGMENT

The Abysmal repeated.
If you are sincere, you have success in your heart,
And whatever you do succeeds.

Through repetition of danger we grow accustomed to it. Water sets the example for the right conduct under such circumstances. It flows on and on, and merely fills up all the places through which it flows; it does not shrink from any dangerous spot nor from any plunge, and nothing can make it lose its own essential nature. It remains true to itself under all conditions. Thus likewise, if one is sincere when confronted with difficulties, the heart can penetrate the meaning of the situation. And once we have gained inner mastery of a problem, it will come about naturally that the action we take will succeed. In danger all that counts is really carrying out all that has to be done--thoroughness--and going forward, in order not to perish through tarrying in the danger. Properly used, danger can have an important meaning as a protective measure. Thus heaven has its perilous height protecting it against every attempt at invasion, and earth has its mountains and bodies of water, separating countries by their dangers. Thus also rulers make use of danger to protect themselves against attacks from without and against turmoil within.
 

getojack

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Hexagram Statement

習坎。有孚。維心亨。行有尚。

xi2 kan3 you3 fu2 wei2 xin1 heng1 xing2 you3 shang4
 
B

bruce_g

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29's gonna turn into 58 if we don't get this river flowing. Rosada swims off and the river turns to marshes.

Ok, will try to open it up a little.

What about 29 and danger? Good or bad? Or does it not exist in 29?
 

getojack

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I think it's neither good nor bad... just necessary. In order to see the bright light of 30, first you have to experience the dark pits of 29. In situations that are perilous, the way out is to flow like water and go with your most basic instincts. There's no time to think when you're barreling down that mountain or going over that waterfall. In matters of the heart, danger is always present. But you jump in anyway, even though your head might be saying "What are you doing? Don't you know the danger you're getting yourself into?"
 
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bruce_g

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Jack, I'm with you. Waterfall is the predominant image in my mind for 29.

OK, no good or bad, but is it wise or unwise to jump, even though your logic says it's crazy and dangrous?
 

Trojina

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In practise I find the repetition mentioned in 29 important so I was interested Chris mentioned words like 'rehearse, practise, repeat a lesson, coach' cos they are not words I'd normally associate with 29. In 29 seems like you go under ( the water) again and again - in life I've found it referring to making the same error again and again and so being subject to the same danger over and over till you can manage it.
 

Tohpol

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Jack, I'm with you. Waterfall is the predominant image in my mind for 29.

OK, no good or bad, but is it wise or unwise to jump, even though your logic says it's crazy and dangrous?


29 has changed a lot for me in the last coupla years. I used to quake when I got it before. But now it often seems to show a pit regarding the rising waters of the emotions more than any outside event. 29 can disappear very quickly too once the recognition and resolution has been seen and thought through.

Then again, it can indicate a time where whatever you do and however you think you gonna have get dirty whether you like it or not and you gonna have to use your bare hands to crawl out carefully and methodically - preferably by the light of the moon. And that can be dangerous all right because them thar predators can smell ya....

So, I suppose 29 can feel like hell on earth and can represent real pain as you fight to keep your head above the water and mud busy trying to claim you. Then it can also be a fleeting sign post to watch your step - there's a loose board over the crossing.

It's a fascinating one along with 44 and 51. It doesn't have to be a horror ride it can be an amazing challenge that really builds will and character. The trick is to keep that in mind while the mud oozes through your toes...

Topal
 
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bruce_g

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Agrees with the above.

I have a romantic image of 29, as in flirting with danger and defying fear. In mythology, it is the archetypal hero's journey: foregoing convention, going a road less traveled. "Going with the flow" sounds passive and safe, but the force and momentum of the flow can be crushingly powerful. A trickle merges with a stream, a stream with a river, a river with the ocean.
 

Sparhawk

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What about 29 and danger? Good or bad? Or does it not exist in 29?

Well, whoever painted that card seems to think the guy being carried down stream ain't rafting down the rapids in his vacation... :D

On the other hand perhaps is all part of facing/challenging fast moving situations where change can be swift and unexpected.

L
 

dobro p

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I used to think that 29 was about water. But then I realized that the trigram is about water, not the whole hexagram. The whole hexagram is about a pit. The danger of being in a pit. The remedy for being in the pit is to flow, to keep moving. So water is the remedy for the hexagram, and not the hexagram's main meaning.
 

ewald

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I don't think in 29.0 and 29.1 is about repetition of danger or an abyss at all. Sure, danger can seem repeated, because of it's looming nature. But this is about entering into an abyss, and what one very much needs is getting accustomed to this dangerous new situation, familiarizing with it. That is what means. To deal with an unknown, and thereby dangerous, situation one needs to get to know it.
 
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frank_r

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When you are in this pit and look to the nucleur trigrams there is thunder(wood) a new beginning, a new cycle from the inside and there is trigram mountain(earth), something to cling on from a personal perspective on the outside.

So I would say there is a possibilty in this pit/danger to get out if you are turning to your inner being.
 
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bruce_g

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I don't think in 29.0 and 29.1 is about repetition of danger or an abyss at all. Sure, danger can seem repeated, because of it's looming nature. But this is about entering into an abyss, and what one very much needs is getting accustomed to this dangerous new situation, familiarizing with it. That is what means. To deal with an unknown, and thereby dangerous, situation one needs to get to know it.

Howdy Ewald,

Do you use trigrams at all in your work to derive meanings?
 

ewald

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Howdy Ewald,

Do you use trigrams at all in your work to derive meanings?
No.

I get the impression this instance here is about the only one where people drag in trigrams to explain a Zhouyi text. Is it?
 
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bruce_g

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No.

I get the impression this instance here is about the only one where people drag in trigrams to explain a Zhouyi text. Is it?

Can't say about Zhouyi text, but I use trigrams a great deal. So when you say 29 doesn't at all mean water, or 57 doesn't mean wind, etc, it doesn't work for me.
 

ewald

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I'm not saying such things, Bruce.
I'm just not using them to explain the Zhouyi text, as I see no need to do so, and I don't see how that is going to add accuracy.

I had a variation on "repetition" here when I started out with my translation, but I found it didn't work. An abyss, or a new dangerous situation simply isn't always repeated. There may be instances where it is, but it is not a characteristic. Familiarizing oneself with a new dangerous situation is however always needed. Which of the two is the more correct translation is not a very hard question to answer, if you accept these premises.
 

frank_r

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I'm just not using them to explain the Zhouyi text, as I see no need to do so, and I don't see how that is going to add accuracy.

The trigrams bring in a different perspective, they bring in a new angle. For me the hexagrams have many dimensions. So in that way there is never enough accuracy.
Don't you think so?
 

ewald

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I don't think that the trigrams have a very precisely defined meaning. Perhaps enough to bring in another dimension, but not to decide between one translation decision and another.

In this particular case, assuming that the character refers to the repetition of the trigrams would lead to the translation decision that it means "repetition." However there is no guarantee whatsoever that it is. It is however certain that it has a meaning that supports the actual situation that is described: here a new and dangerous situation, which has lack of familiarity as a characteristic. The intent is to familiarize oneself with it, and as the Yi describes intent in situations, is familiarization what refers to.
 
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bruce_g

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I'm not saying such things, Bruce.
I'm just not using them to explain the Zhouyi text, as I see no need to do so, and I don't see how that is going to add accuracy.

I had a variation on "repetition" here when I started out with my translation, but I found it didn't work. An abyss, or a new dangerous situation simply isn't always repeated. There may be instances where it is, but it is not a characteristic. Familiarizing oneself with a new dangerous situation is however always needed. Which of the two is the more correct translation is not a very hard question to answer, if you accept these premises.

I guess I don't understand then. You only use the Zhouyi text, which says nothing about water, but you're not saying that 29 has nothing to do with water. (?)
 

ewald

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Trying to put words into my mouth, Bruce?
I'm not interested in making statements about hexagrams in terms of the trigrams.
 
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getojack

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THE IMAGE

Water flows on uninterruptedly and reaches its goal:

The image of the Abysmal repeated.

Thus the superior man walks in lasting virtue
And carries on the business of teaching.

Water reaches its goal by flowing continually. It fills up every depression before it flows on. The superior man follows its example; he is concerned that goodness should be an established attribute of character rather than an accidental and isolated occurrence. So likewise in teaching others everything depends on consistency, for it is only through repetition that the pupil makes the material his own.
 

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