Da Guo suggests to us a beam that is weak. There will be advantage in moving (under its conditions) in any direction whatever; there will be success.彖传: 大过, 大者过也. 栋桡, 本末弱也. 刚过而中, 巽而说行, 利有攸往, 乃亨. 大过之时大矣哉! Tuàn zhuàn: Dà guò, dà zhě guò yě. dòng ráo, běn mò ruò yě. gāng guò ér zhōng, xùn ér shuō xíng, lì yǒu yōu wǎng, nǎi hēng. dà guò zhī shí dà yǐ zāi!
Da Guo shows the great ones (the undivided lines) in excess. In ‘the beam that is weak’ we see weakness both in the lowest and the topmost (lines). The strong lines are in excess, but (two of them) are in the central positions. The action (of the hexagram is represented by the symbols of) flexibility and satisfaction. (Hence it is said), ‘There will be advantage in moving in any direction whatever; yea, there will be success’. Great indeed is (the work to be done in) this very extraordinary time.象传: 泽灭木, 大过; 君子以独立不惧, 遁世无闷. Xiàng zhuàn: Zé miè mù, dà guò; jūn zǐ yǐ dú lì bù jù, dùn shì wú mēn.
(The trigram representing) trees hidden beneath that for the waters of a marsh forms Da Guo. The superior man, in accordance with this, stands up alone and has no fear, and keeps retired from the world without regret.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows one placing mats of the white mao grass under things set on the ground. There will be no error.象传: 藉用白茅, 柔在下也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jiè yòng bái máo, róu zài xià yě.
‘He places mats of the white mao grass under things set on the ground:’ - he feels his weakness and his being in the lowest place, (and uses extraordinary care).
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows a decayed willow producing shoots, or an old husband in possession of his young wife. There will be advantage in every way.象传: 老夫女妻, 过以相与也. Xiàng zhuàn: Lǎo fū nǚ qī, guò yǐ xiàng yǔ yě.
‘An old husband and a young wife:’ - such association is extraordinary.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows a beam that is weak. There will be evil.象传: 栋桡之凶, 不可以有辅也. Xiàng zhuàn: Dòng ráo zhī xiōng, bù kě yǐ yǒu fǔ yě.
'The evil connected with the beam that is weak' arises from this, that no help can be given (to the condition thus represented).
The fourth ‘nine’, undivided, shows a beam curving upwards. There will be good fortune. If (the subject of it) looks for other (help but that of line one), there will be cause for regret.象传: 栋隆之吉, 不桡乎下也. Xiàng zhuàn: Dòng lóng zhī jí, bù ráo hū xià yě.
‘The good fortune connected with the beam curving upwards’ arises from this, that it does not bend towards what is below.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows a decayed willow producing flowers, or an old wife in possession of her young husband. There will be occasion neither for blame nor for praise.象传: 枯杨生华, 何可久也. 老妇士夫, 亦可丑也. Xiàng zhuàn: Kū yáng shēng huā, hé kě jiǔ yě. lǎo fù shì fū, yì kě chǒu yě.
‘A decayed willow produces flowers:’ - but how can this secure its long continuance? ‘An old wife and a young husband:’ - this also is a thing to be ashamed of.
The topmost ‘six’, divided, shows its subject with extraordinary (boldness) wading through a stream, till the water hides the crown of his head. There will be evil, but no ground for blame.象传: 过涉之凶, 不可咎也. Xiàng zhuàn: Guò shè zhī xiōng, bù kě jiù yě.
‘Evil follows wading with (extraordinary) boldness (through the stream):’ - but (the act) affords no ground for blame.
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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