Upper trigram: K'un The Receptive, Earth
Lower trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind
Pushing upward has supreme success.
One must see the great man.
Departure toward the south
Brings good fortune.
Within the earth, wood grows:
The image of Pushing Upward.
Thus the superior man of devoted character
Heaps up small things
In order to achieve something high and great.
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:
Pushing upward that meets with confidence
Brings great good fortune.
The 2nd line marked means:
If one is sincere,
It furthers one to bring even a small offering.
The 3rd line marked means:
One pushes upward into an empty city.
The 4th line marked means:
The king offers him Mount Ch'i.
Good fortune. No blame.
The 5th line marked means:
Perseverance brings good fortune.
One pushes upward by steps.
The top line marked means:
Pushing upward in darkness.
It furthers one
to be unremittingly persevering.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
The lower trigram, Sun, represents wood, and the upper, K'un, means the
earth. Linked with this is the idea that wood in the earth grows upward. In
contrast to the meaning of Chin, PROGRESS (35), this pushing upward is
associated with effort, just as a plant needs energy for pushing upward
through the earth. That is why this hexagram, although it is connected with
success, is associated with effort of the will. In PROGRESS the emphasis is on
expansion; PUSHING UPWARD indicates rather a vertical ascent-direct rise
from obscurity and lowliness to power and influence.
The pushing upward of the good elements encounters no obstruction and is
therefore accompanied by great success. The pushing upward is made
possible not by violence but by modesty and adaptability. Since the individual
is borne along by the propitiousness of the time, he advances. He must go to
see authoritative people. He need not be afraid to do this, because success is
assured. But he must set to work, for activity (this is the meaning of "the
south") brings good fortune.
Adapting itself to obstacles and bending around them, wood in the earth
grows upward without haste and without rest. Thus too the superior man is
devoted in character and never pauses in his progress.
The bottom line marked
This situation at the beginning of ascent. Just as wood draws strength for its
upward push from the root, which in itself is in the lowest place, so the
power to rise comes from this low and obscure station. But there is a spiritual
affinity with the rulers above, and this solidarity creates the confidence
needed to accomplish something.
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Here a strong man is presupposed. It is true that he does not fit in with his
environment, inasmuch as he is too brusque and pays too little attention to
form. But as he is upright in character, he meets with response, and his lack
of outward form does no harm. Here uprightness is the outcome of sound
qualities of character, whereas in the corresponding line of the preceding
hexagram it is the result of innate humility.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
All obstructions that generally block progress fall away here. Things proceed
with remarkable ease. Unhesitatingly one follows this road, in order to profit
by one's success. Seen from without, everything seems to be in the best of
order. However, no promise of good fortune is added. It is a question how
long such unobstructed success can last. But it is wise not to yield to such
misgivings, because they only inhibit one's power. Instead, the point is to
profit by the propitiousness of time.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
Mount Ch'i is in the western China, the homeland of King Wên, whose son,
the Duke of Chou, added the words to the individual lines. The
pronouncement takes us back to a time when the Chou dynasty was coming
into power. At that time King Wên introduced his illustrious helpers to the
god of his native mountain, and they received their places in the halls of the
ancestors by the side of the ruler. This indicates a stage in which pushing
upward attains its goal. One acquires fame in the sight of gods and men, is
received into the circle of those who foster the spiritual life of the nation, and
thereby attains a significance that endures beyond time.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
When a man is advancing farther and farther, it is important for him not to
become intoxicated by success. Precisely when he experiences great success it
is necessary to remain sober and not to try to skip any stages; he must go on
slowly, step by step, as though hesitant. Only such calm, steady progress,
overleaping nothing, leads to the goal.
The top line marked
He who pushes upward blindly deludes himself. He knows only advance,
not retreat. But this means exhaustion. In such a case it is important to be
constantly mindful that one must be conscientious and consistent and must
remain so. Only thus does one become free of blind impulse, which is always
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 Wind
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.
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