Guan shows (how he whom it represents should be like) the worshiper who has washed his hands, but not (yet) presented his offerings - with sincerity and an appearance of dignity (commanding reverent regard).彖传: 大观在上, 顺而巽, 中正以观天下. 观, 盥而不荐, 有孚颙若, 下观而化也. 观天之神道, 而四时不忒, 圣人以神道设教, 而天下服矣. Tuàn zhuàn: Dà guān zài shàng, shùn ér xùn, zhōng zhèng yǐ guān tiān xià. guān, guàn ér bù jiàn, yǒu fú yóng ruò, xià guān ér huà yě. guān tiān zhī shén dào, ér sì shí bù tè, shèng rén yǐ shén dào shè jiào, ér tiān xià fú yǐ.
The great Originator occupies an upper place (in the figure), which consists of (the trigrams whose attributes are) docility and flexibility. He is in the central position and his correct place, and thus exhibits (his lessons) to all under heaven. ‘Guan shows its subject like a worshiper who has washed his hands, but not (yet) presented his offerings; - with sincerity and an appearance of dignity (commanding reverent regard):’ - (all) beneath look to him and are transformed. When we contemplate the spirit-like way of Heaven, we see how the four seasons proceed without error. The sages, in accordance with (this) spirit-like way, laid down their instructions, and all under heaven yield submission to them.象传: 风行地上, 观; 先王以省方, 观民设教. Xiàng zhuàn: Fēng xíng dì shang, guān; xiān wáng yǐ xǐng fāng, guān mín shè jiào.
(The trigram representing) the earth, and that for wind moving above it, form Guan. The ancient kings, in accordance with this, examined the (different) regions (of the kingdom), to see the (ways of the) people, and set forth their instructions.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows the looking of a lad - not blamable in men of inferior rank, but matter for regret in superior men.象传: 初六童观, 小人道也. Xiàng zhuàn: Chū liù tóng guān, xiǎo rén dào yě.
'The looking of a lad shown by the first ‘six’, (divided); indicates the way of the inferior people.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows one peeping out from a door. It would be advantageous if it were (merely) the firm correctness of a female.象传: 窥观女贞, 亦可丑也. Xiàng zhuàn: Kuī guān nǚ zhēn, yì kě chǒu yě.
'The firm correctness of a woman, in peeping out from a door' is also a thing to be ashamed of (in a superior man).
The third ‘six’, divided, shows one looking at (the course of) his own life, to advance or recede (accordingly).象传: 观我生, 进退; 未失道也. Xiàng zhuàn: Guān wǒ shēng, jìn tuì; wèi shī dào yě.
'He looks at (the course of his own life, to advance or recede (accordingly):' - he will not err in the path (to be pursued).
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows one contemplating the glory of the kingdom. It will be advantageous for him, being such as he is, (to seek) to be a guest of the king.象传: 观国之光, 尚宾也. Xiàng zhuàn: Guān guó zhī guāng, shàng bīn yě.
'He contemplates the glory of the kingdom:'(thence) arises the wish to be a guest (at court).
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject contemplating his own life(-course). A superior man, he will (thus) fall into no error.象传: 观我生, 观民也. Xiàng zhuàn: Guān wǒ shēng, guān mín yě.
'He contemplates his own life(-course):' - he should (for this purpose) contemplate (the condition of) the people.
The sixth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject contemplating his character to see if it be indeed that of a superior man. He will not fall into error.象传: 观其生, 志未平也. Xiàng zhuàn: Guān qí shēng, zhì wèi píng yě.
'He contemplates his own character:' - he cannot even yet let his mind be at rest.
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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