Upper trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind
Lower trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind
The Gentle. Success through what is small.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
It furthers one to see the great man.
Winds following one upon the other:
The image of the Gently Penetrating.
Thus the superior man
Spreads his commands abroad
And carries out his undertakings.
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:
In advancing and in retreating,
The perseverance of a warrior furthers.
The 2nd line marked means:
Penetration under the bed.
Priests and magicians are used in great number.
Good fortune. No blame.
The 3rd line marked means:
Repeated penetration. Humiliation.
The 4th line marked means:
During the hunt
Three kinds of game are caught.
The 5th line marked means:
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Nothing that does not further.
No beginning, but an end.
Before the change, three days.
After the change, three days.
The top line marked means:
Penetration under the bed.
He loses his property and his ax
Perseverance brings misfortune.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
Sun is one of the eight doubled trigrams. It is the eldest daughter and
symbolizes wind or wood; it has for its attribute gentleness, which
nonetheless penetrates like the wind or like growing wood with its roots.
The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is dissolved by the
penetrating light principle, to which it subordinates itself in gentleness. In
nature, it is the wind that disperses the gathered clouds, leaving the sky clear
and serene. In human life it is penetrating clarity of judgment that thwarts
all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the powerful
influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those intrigues
which shun the light of day.
Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects. It should be effected
not by an act of violation but by influence that never lapses. Results of this
kind are less striking to the eye than those won by surprise attack, but they are
more enduring and more complete. If one would produce such effects, one
must have a clearly defined goal, for only when the penetrating influence
works always in the same direction can the object be attained. Small strength
can achieve its purpose only by subordinating itself to an eminent man who
is capable of creating order.
The penetrating quality of the wind depends upon its ceaselessness. This is
what makes it so powerful; time is its instrument. In the same way the
ruler's thought should penetrate the soul of the people. This too requires a
lasting influence brought about by enlightenment and command. Only when
the command has been assimilated by the people is action in accordance with
it possible. Action without preparation of the ground only frightens and
The bottom line marked
In born gentleness is often carried to the point of indecisiveness. One does
not feel strong enough to advance resolutely. A thousand doubts crop up; one
is, however, not minded to withdraw but drifts indecisively to and fro. In
such a situation, a military decisiveness is the proper thing, so that one
resolutely does what order demands. Resolute discipline is far better than
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
At times one has to deal with hidden enemies, intangible influences that
slink into dark corners and from this hiding affect people by suggestion. In
instances like this, it is necessary to trace these things back to the most secret
recesses, in order to determine the nature of the influences to be dealt with.
This is the task of the priests; removing the influences is the task of the
magicians. The very anonymity of such plotting requires an especially
vigorous and indefatigable effort, but this is well worth while. For when such
elusive influences are brought into the light and branded, they lose their
power over people.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
Penetrating reflection must not be pushed too far, lest it cripple the power of
decision. After a matter has been thoroughly pondered, it is essential to form
a decision and to act. Repeated deliberation brings fresh doubts and scruples,
and thereby humiliation, because one shows oneself unable to act.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
When a responsible position and accumulated experience lead one to
combine innate modesty with energetic action, great success is assured. The
three kinds of animals referred to served for offerings to the gods, for feasting
guests, and for everyday consumption. When the catch answered all three
purposes, the hunt was considered especially successful.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
In the situation described in Ku, WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED
(18), an entirely new point of departure must be set up, whereas here it is only
a question of reforms. The beginning has not been good, but the moment has
been reached when a new direction can be taken. Change and improvement
are called for. Such steps must be undertaken with steadfastness, that is, with
a firm and correct attitude of mind; then they will succeed, and remorse will
disappear. But it must be remembered that such improvements require
careful consideration. Before a change is made, it must be pondered over
again and again. After the change is made, it is necessary to note carefully for
some time after how the improvements bear the test of actuality. Such
careful work is accompanied by good fortune.
The top line marked
A man's understanding is sufficiently penetrating. He follows up injurious
influences into the most secret corners. But he no longer has the strength to
combat them decisively. In this case any attempt to penetrate into the
personal domain of darkness would only bring harm.
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:
Wind 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.
Since these two are identical, it makes more sense to compare with the hexagram that has reversed lines (see below).
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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