Upper trigram: Tui The Joyous, Lake
Lower trigram: Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
Break-through. One must resolutely make the matter known
At the court of the king.
It must be announced truthfully. Danger.
It is necessary to notify one's own city.
It does not further to resort to arms.
It furthers one to undertake something.
The lake has risen up to heaven:
The image of Break-through.
Thus the superior man
Dispenses riches downward
And refrains from resting on his virtue.
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:
Mighty in the forward-striding toes.
When one goes and is not equal to the task,
One makes a mistake.
The 2nd line marked means:
A cry of alarm. Arms at evening and at night.
The 3rd line marked means:
To be powerful in the cheekbones
The superior man is firmly resolved.
He walks alone and is caught in the rain.
He is bespattered,
And people murmur against him.
The 4th line marked means:
There is no skin on his thighs,
And walking comes hard.
If a man were to let himself be led like a sheep,
Remorse would disappear.
But if these words are heard
They will not be believed.
The 5th line marked means:
In dealing with weeds,
Firm resolution is necessary.
Walking in the middle
Remains free of blame.
The top line marked means:
In the end misfortune comes.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
This hexagram signifies on the one hand a break-through after a long
accumulation of tension, as a swollen river breaks through its dikes, or in the
manner of a cloudburst. On the other hand, applied to human conditions, it
refers to the time when inferior people gradually begin to disappear. Their
influence is on the wane; as a result of resolute action, a change in conditions
occurs, a break-through. The hexagram is linked with the third month
Even if only one inferior man is occupying a ruling position in a city, he is
able to oppress superior men. Even a single passion still lurking in the heart
has power to obscure reason. Passion and reason cannot exist side by side-
therefore fight without quarter is necessary if the good is to prevail.
In a resolute struggle of the good against evil, there are, however, definite
rules that must not be disregarded, if it is to succeed. First, resolution must be
based on a union of strength and friendliness. Second, a compromise with
evil is not possible; evil must under all circumstances be openly discredited.
Nor must our own passions and shortcomings be glossed over. Third, the
struggle must not be carried on directly by force. If evil is branded, it thinks of
weapons, and if we do it the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose
in the end because thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion.
Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons
against the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the
sharp edges of the weapons of evil becomes dulled. For the same reasons we
should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with them,
they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make
energetic progress in the good.
When the water of a lake has risen up to heaven, there is reason to fear a
cloudburst. Taking this as a warning, the superior man forestalls a violent
collapse. If a man were to pile up riches for himself alone, without
considering others, he would certainly experience a collapse. If a man were to
pile up riches for himself alone, without considering others, he would
certainly experience a collapse. For all gathering is followed by dispersion.
Therefore the superior man begins to distribute while he is accumulating. In
the same way, in developing his character he takes care not to become
hardened in obstinacy but to remain receptive to impressions by help of strict
and continuous self-examination.
The bottom line marked
In times of resolute advance, the beginning is especially difficult. We feel
inspired to press forward but resistance is still strong; therefore we ought to
gauge our own strength and venture only so far as we can go with certainty of
success. To plunge blindly ahead is wrong, because it is precisely at the
beginning that an unexpected setback can have the most disastrous results.
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Readiness is everything. Resolution is indissolubly bound up with caution.
If an individual is careful and keeps his wits about him, he need not become
excited or alarmed. If he is watchful at all times, even before danger is present,
he is armed when danger approaches and need not be afraid. The superior
man is on his guard against what is not yet in sight and on the alert for what
is not yet within hearing; therefore he dwells in the midst of difficulties as
thought hey did not exist. If a man develops his character, people submit to
him of their own accord. If reason triumphs, the passions withdraw of
themselves. To be circumspect and not to forget one's armor is the right way
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
Here we have a man in an ambiguous situation. While all others are
engaged in a resolute fight against all that is inferior, he alone has a certain
relationship with an inferior man. If he were to show strength outwardly
and turn against this man before the time is ripe, he would only endanger the
entire situation, because the inferior man would too quickly have recourse to
countermeasures. The task of the superior man becomes extremely difficult
here. He must be firmly resolved within himself and, while maintaining
association with the inferior man, avoid any participation in his evilness. He
will of course be misjudged. It will be thought that he belong to the party of
the inferior man. He will be lonely because no one will understand him. His
relations with the inferior man will sully him in the eyes of the multitude,
and they will turn against him, grumbling. But he can endure this lack of
appreciation and makes no mistake, because he remains true to himself.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
Here a man is suffering from inner restlessness and cannot abide in his place.
He would like to push forward under any circumstances, but encounters
insuperable obstacles. Thus his situation entails an inner conflict. This is due
to the obstinacy with which he seeks to enforce his will. If he would desist
from this obstinacy, everything would go well. But this advice, like so much
other good counsel, will be ignored. For obstinacy makes a man unable to
hear, for all that he has ears.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
Weeds always grow back again and are difficult to exterminate. So too the
struggle against an inferior man in a high position demands firm resolution.
One has certain relations with him, hence there is danger that one may give
up the struggle as hopeless. But this must not be. One must go on resolutely
and not allow himself to be deflected from him course. Only in this way does
one remain free of blame.
The top line marked
Victory seems to have been achieved. There remains merely a remnant of
the evil resolutely to be eradicated as the time demands. Everything looks
easy. Just there, however, lies the danger. If we are not on guard, evil will
succeed in escaping by means of concealment, and when it has eluded us new
misfortunes will develop from the remaining seeds, for evil does not die
easily. So too in dealing with the evil in own's own character, one must go to
work with thoroughness. If out of carelessness anything were to be
overlooked, new evil would arise from it.
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 Heaven
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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