Looking at Jing, (we think of) how (the site of) a town may be changed, while (the fashion of) its wells undergoes no change. (The water of a well) never disappears and never receives (any great) increase, and those who come and those who go can draw and enjoy the benefit. If (the drawing) have nearly been accomplished, but, before the rope has quite reached the water, the bucket is broken, this is evil.彖传: 巽乎水而上水, 井; 井养而不穷也. 改邑不改井, 乃以刚中也. 汔至亦未繘井, 未有功也. 羸其瓶, 是以凶也. Tuàn zhuàn: Xùn hū shuǐ ér shàng shuǐ, jǐng; jǐng yǎng ér bù qióng yě. gǎi yì bù gǎi jǐng, nǎi yǐ gāng zhōng yě. qì zhì yì wèi yù jǐng, wèi yǒu gōng yě. léi qí píng, shì yǐ xiōng yě.
(We have the symbol of) wood in the water and the raising of the water; which (gives us the idea of) a well. A well supplies nourishment and is not (itself) exhausted. ‘The site of a town may be changed, while the fashion of its wells undergoes no change:’ - this is indicated by the central position of the strong lines (in the second and fifth places). ‘The drawing is nearly accomplished, but the rope has not yet reached the water of the well:’ - its service has not yet been accomplished. ‘The bucket is broken:’ - it is this that occasions evil.象传: 木上有水, 井; 君子以劳民劝相. Xiàng zhuàn: Mù shàng yǒu shuǐ, jǐng; jūn zǐ yǐ láo mín quàn xiāng.
(The trigram representing) wood and above it that for water form Jing. The superior man, in accordance with this, comforts the people, and. stimulates them to mutual helpfulness.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows a well so muddy that men will not drink of it; or an old well to which neither birds (nor other creatures) resort.象传: 井泥不食, 下也. 旧井无禽, 时舍也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jǐng ní bù shí, xià yě. jiùjǐng wú qín, shí shè yě.
‘A well so muddy that men will not drink of it:’ - this is indicated by the low position (of the line). ‘An old well to which the birds do not come:’ - it has been forsaken in the course of time.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows a well from which by a hole the water escapes and flows away to the shrimps (and such small creatures among the grass), or one the water of which leaks away from a broken basket.象传: 井谷射鲋, 无与也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jǐng gǔ shè fù, wú yǔ yě.
‘A well from which by a hole the water escapes, and flows away to the shrimps:’ - (the subject of this second line has) none co-operating with him (above).
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows a well, which has been cleared out, but is not used. Our hearts are sorry for this, for the water might be drawn out and used. If the king were (only) intelligent, both he and we might receive the benefit of it.象传: 井渫不食, 行恻也. 求王明, 受福也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jǐng xiè bù shí, xíng cè yě. qiú wáng míng, shòu fú yě.
‘The well has been cleared out, but is not used:’ - (even) passers-by would be sorry for this. A prayer is made ‘that the king were intelligent:’ - for then blessing would be received.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows a well, the lining of which is well laid. There will be no error.井甃无咎, 修井也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jǐng zhòu wú jiù, xiūjǐng yě.
‘A well the lining of which is well laid. There will be no error:’ - the well has been put in good repair.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows a clear, limpid well, (the waters from) whose cold spring are (freely) drunk.寒泉之食, 中正也. Xiàng zhuàn: Hán quán zhī shí, zhōng zhèng yě.
‘The waters from the cold spring are (freely) drunk:’ - this is indicated by the central and correct position (of the line).
The topmost ‘six’, divided, shows (the water from) the well brought to the top, which is not allowed to be covered. This suggests the idea of sincerity. There will be great good fortune.元吉在上, 大成也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yuán jí zài shàng, dà chéng yě.
'The great good fortune' at the topmost place indicates the grand accomplishment (of the idea in the hexagram).
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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