Bi indicates that there should be free course (in what it denotes). There will be little advantage (however) if it be allowed to advance (and take the lead).彖传: 贲, 亨; 柔来而文刚, 故亨. 分刚上而文柔, 故小利有攸往. 天文也; 文明以止, 人文也. 观乎天文, 以察时变; 观乎人文, 以化成天下. Tuàn zhuàn: Bì, hēng; róu lái ér wén gāng, gù hēng. fēn gāng shàng ér wén róu, gù xiǎo lì yǒu yōu wǎng. tiān wén yě; wén míng yǐ zhǐ, rén wén yě. guān hū tiān wén, yǐ chá shí biàn; guān hū rén wén, yǐ huà chéng tiān xià.
(When it is said that) Bi indicates that there should be free course (in what it denotes): - (We see) the weak line coming and ornamenting the strong lines (of the lower trigram), and hence (it is said that ornament) ‘should have free course.’ On the other hand, the strong line above ornaments the weak ones (of the upper trigram), and hence (it is said) that ‘there will be little advantage, if (ornament) be allowed to advance (and take the lead).’ (This is illustrated in the) appearances that ornament the sky. Elegance and intelligence (denoted by the lower trigram) regulated by the arrest (denoted by the upper) suggest the observances that adorn human (society). We look at the ornamental figures of the sky, and thereby ascertain the changes of the seasons. We look at the ornamental observances of society, and understand how the processes of transformation are accomplished all under heaven.象传: 山下有火, 贲; 君子以明庶政, 无敢折狱. Xiàng zhuàn: Shān xià yǒu huǒ, bì; jūn zǐ yǐ míng shù zhèng, wú gǎn zhé yù.
(The trigram representing) a mountain and that for fire under it form Bi. The superior man, in accordance with this, throws a brilliancy around his various processes of government, but does not dare (in a similar way) to decide cases of criminal litigation.
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows one adorning (the way of) his feet. He can discard a carriage and walk on foot.象传: 舍车而徒, 义弗乘也. Xiàng zhuàn: Shè chē ér tú, yì fú chéng yě.
'He can discard a carriage and walk on foot:' - righteousness requires that he should not ride.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows one adorning his beard.象传: 贲其须, 与上兴也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bì qí xū, yǔ shàng xīng yě.
'He adorns his beard:' - he rouses himself to action (only) along with the (subject of the) line above.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject with the appearance of being adorned and sprinkled (with rich favors). But let him ever maintain his firm correctness, and there will be good fortune.象传: 永贞之吉, 终莫之陵也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yǒng zhēn zhī jí, zhōng mò zhī líng yě.
'The good fortune consequent on his ever maintaining firm correctness' is due to this, - that to the end no one will insult him.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows one looking as if adorned, but only in white. As if (mounted on) a white horse, and furnished with wings, (he seeks union with the subject of the first line), while (the intervening third pursues), not as a robber, but intent on a matrimonial alliance.象传: 六四, 当位疑也. 匪寇婚媾, 终无尤也. Xiàng zhuàn: Liù sì, dàng wèi yí yě. fěi kòu hūn gòu, zhōng wú yóu yě.
'The place occupied by the fourth ‘six’, (divided),' affords ground for doubt (as to its subject); but '(as the subject of the third pursues) not as a robber, but as intent on a matrimonial alliance,' he will in the end have no grudge against him.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject adorned by (the occupants of) the heights and gardens. He bears his roll of silk, small and slight. He may appear stingy; but there will be good fortune in the end.象传: 六五之吉, 有喜也. Xiàng zhuàn: Liù wǔ zhī jí, yǒu xǐ yě.
'The good fortune falling to the fifth ‘six’, (divided); affords occasion for joy.
The sixth ‘nine’, undivided, shows one with white as his (only) ornament. There will be no error.象传: 白贲无咎, 上得志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bái bì wú jiù, shàng dé zhì yě.
'The freedom from error attached to (the subject of) the topmost line, with no ornament but the (simple white),' shows how he has attained his aim.
This translation of the YiJing classic text uses the original Chinese including the 象传 Xiàng zhuàn commentary converted to modern simplified characters and pinyin.
The English translation is based on William Legge (1899) ➚ which is now out of copyright. We have changed some wording and converted to American spelling.
We hope to replace this with a more modern translation.
In the first few paragraphs each gua is described. The name of the gua (hexagram) is followed by the two trigrams that make it up (lake, mountain, fire, water, earth, heaven, thunder and wind). Each gua has a controlling element (earth, fire, water, metal and wood). After this information there are three related guas. The Opposite gua is the one where all yang is changed to yin and yin to yang - it is usually opposite in meaning. The Inverse gua is the gua with the order inverted so first is last and vice versa. The mutual gua is a more complex combination and re-ordering of the internal trigrams making up the gua. Then the association of the gua to the annual cycle is shown - this is the Chinese lunar month number (not Western month). The controlling or host yao is considered the most important line in the gua and is highlighted in the hexagram.
The main description for the hexagram is then followed by a section for each of the six possible changing lines which indicate the transformation into another, related gua. The text uses ‘nine’ to refer to a yang line and ‘six’ for a yin line. The pure yin and yang hexagrams have, however, a different text structure as they are so important.
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