Upper trigram: K'un The Receptive, Earth
Lower trigram: Tui The Joyous, Lake
Approach has supreme success.
When the eight month comes,
There will be misfortune.
The earth above the lake:
The image of Approach.
Thus the superior man is inexhaustible
In his will to teach,
And without limits
In his tolerance and protection of the people.
These texts apply only for the lines that were marked, when the hexagram was cast. Note that the lines are counted from the bottom up.
The bottom line marked means:
Perseverance brings good fortune.
The 2nd line marked means:
The 3rd line marked means:
Nothing that would not further.
If one is induced to grieve over it,
One becomes free of blame.
The 4th line marked means:
The 5th line marked means:
This is right for a great prince.
The top line marked means:
Good fortune. No blame.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
The Chinese word lin has a range of meanings that is not exhausted by any
single word of another language. The ancient explanations in the Book of
Changes give as its first meaning, "becoming great." What becomes great are
the two strong lines growing into the hexagram from below; the light-giving
power expands with them. The meaning is then further extended to include
the concept of approach, especially the approach of what is lower. Finally the
meaning includes the attitude of condescension of a man in high position
toward the people, and in general the setting to work on affairs. This
hexagram is linked with the twelfth month (January-February), when after
the winter solstice, the light power begins to ascend again.
The hexagram as a whole points to a time of joyous, hopeful progress. Spring
is approaching. Joy and forbearance bring high and low nearer together.
Success is certain. But we must work with determination and perseverance
to make full use of the propitiousness of the time. And on thing more:
spring does not last forever. In the eighth month the aspects are reversed.
Then only two strong, light lines are left; these do not advance but are in
retreat (see next hexagram). We must take heed of this change in good time.
If we meet evil before it becomes reality-before it has even begun to stir-we
can master it.
The earth borders upon the lake from above. This symbolizes the approach
and condescension of the man of higher position to those beneath him. The
two parts of the image indicate what his attitude toward these people will be.
Just as the lake is inexhaustible in depth, so the sage is inexhaustible in his
readiness to teach mankind, and just as the earth is boundlessly wide,
sustaining and caring for all creatures on it, so the sage sustains and cares for
all people and excludes no part of humanity.
The bottom line marked
The good begins to prevail and to find response in influential circles. This in
turn is an incentive to men of ability. IT is well to join this upward trend, but
we must not let ourselves be carried away by the current of the time; we must
adhere perseveringly to what is right. This brings good fortune.
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
When the stimulus to approach comes from a high place, and when a man
has the inner strength and consistency that need no admonition, good
fortune will ensue. Nor need the future cause any concern. He is well aware
that everything earthly is transitory, and that a descent follows upon every
rise, but need not be confused by this universal law of fate. Everything serves
to further. Therefore he will travel the paths of life swiftly, honestly, and
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
Things are going well for a man: he achieves power and influence. But in
this lies the danger that he may relax, and confident of his position, allow the
easygoing, careless mood to show itself in his dealings with other people.
This would inevitably be harmful. But there is possibility of a change of
mood. If he regrets his mistaken attitude and feels the responsibility of an
influential position, he frees himself of faults.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
While the three lower lines indicate rise to power and influence, the three
upper lines show the attitude of persons in higher position toward those of
lower rank for whom they procure influence. Here is shown the open-
minded approach of a person of high rank to a man of ability whom he draws
in to his own circle, regardless of class prejudice. This is very favorable.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
A prince, or anyone in a leading position, must have the wisdom to attract to
himself people of ability who are expert in directing affairs. His wisdom
consists both in selecting the right people and in allowing those chosen to
have a free hand without interference from him. For only through such self-
restraint will he find the experts needed to satisfy all of his requirements.
The top line marked
A sage who has put the world behind him and who in spirit has already
withdrawn from life may, under certain circumstances, decide to return once
more to the here and now and to approach other men. This means great
good fortune for the men whom he teaches and helps. And for him this great
hearted humbling of himself is blameless.
Here I add some perspectives on this hexagram, as well as other methods to read its meaning, in additon to what Richard Wilhelm derives from it above.
Meaning of the Trigrams Combined
Each hexagram combines two trigrams, making one the upper and the other the lower. The meaning of the hexagram is mainly derived from that combination. Here's what it means for this hexagram:
Earth upon Lake
This part of the text is being edited. It will be added shortly.
Compare to the Reversed Trigrams
It's common to compare a hexagram to the one where the lines are the opposite: a full line is broken and a broken line full. But I find it much more interesting to compare hexagrams with the trigrams reversed: the upper trigram becomes the lower, and the lower trigram becomes the upper. That deepens the understanding of the trigrams at work - when they're not identical. Click the image to see what it means for the two trigrams of this hexagram:
The hexagram with the trigrams reversed
Compare to the Reversed Lines
You can also compare this hexagram to its opposite according to the six lines, where each broken line is full, and vice versa. In some cases it leads to the same hexagram as the one where the trigrams are switched. Here is the hexagram with reversed lines (click it to get to its webpage):
Hexagram with opposite lines
Click the header to read more about the eight trigrams that are combined into the 64 hexagrams.
The 64 I Ching Hexagrams
An I Ching hexagram is composed of two trigrams. Each of the 64 hexagrams has its own name, meaning, and divinatory text. Here they all are, in the traditional order. Click on the image of an I Ching hexagram to get to its webpage.
Use the Facebook field on some of these web pages to comment the I Ching or this website.