Upper trigram: Tui The Joyous, Lake
Lower trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind, Wood
Preponderance of the Great.
The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
The lake rises above the trees:
The image of Preponderance of the Great.
Thus the superior man, when he stands alone,
And if he has to renounce the world,
He is undaunted.
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:
To spread white rushes underneath.
The 2nd line marked means:
A dry poplar sprouts at the root.
An older man takes a young wife.
The 3rd line marked means:
The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
The 4th line marked means:
The ridgepole is braced. Good fortune.
If there are ulterior motives, it is humiliating.
The 5th line marked means:
A withered poplar puts forth flowers.
An older woman takes a husband.
No blame. No praise.
The top line marked means:
One must go through the water.
It goes over one's head.
Misfortune. No blame.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
This hexagram consists of four strong lines inside and two weak lines outside.
When the strong are outside and the weak inside, all is well and there is
nothing out of balance, nothing extraordinary in the situation. Here,
however, the opposite is the case. The hexagram represents a beam that is
thick and heavy in the middle but too weak at the ends. This is a condition
that cannot last; it must be changed, must pass, or misfortune will result.
The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy for the strength of
the supports. The ridgepole on which the whole roof rests, sags to the
breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the load they
bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore extraordinary measures
are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible,
and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is
in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the center of gravity, so that a
revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures.
The problem must be solved by gently penetration to the meaning of the
situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the
change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real
superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous
Extraordinary times when the great preponderates are like flood times when
the lake rises over the treetops. But such conditions are temporary. The two
trigrams indicate the attitude proper to such exceptional times: the symbol of
the trigram Sun is the tree, which stands firm even though it stands alone,
and the attribute of Tui is joyousness, which remains undaunted even if it
must renounce the world.
The bottom line marked
When a man wishes to undertake an enterprise in extraordinary times, he
must be extraordinarily cautious, just as when setting a heavy thing down on
the floor, one takes care to put rushes under it, so that nothing will break.
This caution, though it may seem exaggerated, is not a mistake. Exceptional
enterprises cannot succeed unless utmost caution is observed in their
beginnings and in the laying of their foundations.
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Wood is near water; hence the image of an old poplar sprouting at the root.
This means an extraordinary situation arises when an older man marries a
young girl who suits him. Despite the unusualness of the situation, all goes
From the point of view of politics, the meaning is that in exceptional times
one does well to join with the lowly, for this affords a possibility of renewal.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
This indicates a type of man who in times of preponderance of the great
insists on pushing ahead. He accepts no advice from others, and therefore
they in turn are not willing to lend him support. Because of this the burden
grows, until the structure of things bends or breaks. Plunging willfully ahead
in times of danger only hastens the catastrophe.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
Through friendly relations with people of lower rank, a responsible man
succeeds in becoming master of the situation. But if, instead of working for
the rescue of the whole, he were to misuse his connections to obtain personal
power and success, it would lead to humiliation.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
A withered poplar that flowers exhausts its energies thereby and only hastens
its end. An older woman may marry once more, but no renewal takes place.
Everything remains barren. Thus, though all the amenities are observed, the
net result is only the anomaly of the situation.
Applied to politics, the metaphor means that if in times of insecurity we
give up alliance with those below us and keep up only the relationships we
have with people of higher rank, an unstable situation is created.
The top line marked
Here is a situation in which the unusual has reached a climax. One is
courageous and wishes to accomplish one's task, no matter what happens.
This leads into danger. The water rises over one's head. This is the
misfortune. But one incurs no blame in giving up one's life that the good
and the right may prevail. There are things that are more important than
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:
Lake 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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