Kun (represents) what is great and originating, penetrating, advantageous, correct and having the firmness of a mare. When the superior man (here intended) has to make any movement, if he take the initiative, he will go astray; if he follow, he will find his (proper) lord. The advantage will be seen in his getting friends in the south-west, and losing friends in the north-east. If he rest in correctness and firmness, there will be good fortune.彖传: 至哉坤元, 万物资生, 乃顺承天. 坤厚载物, 德合无疆. 含弘光大, 品物咸亨. 牝马地类, 行地无疆, 柔顺利贞. 君子攸行, 先迷失道, 后顺得常. 西南得朋, 乃与类行; 东北丧朋, 乃终有庆. 安贞之吉, 应地无疆. Tuàn zhuàn: Zhì zāi kūn yuán, wàn wù zī shēng, nǎi shùn chéng tiān. Kūn hòu zǎi wù, dé gě wú jiāng. Hán hóng guāng dà, pǐn wù xián hēng. Pìn mǎ de lèi, háng de wú jiāng, róu shùn lì zhēn. Jūn zǐ yōu háng, xiān mí shī dào, hòu shùn dé cháng. Xī nán dé péng, nǎi yú lèi háng; dōng běi sāng péng, nǎi zhōng yǒu qìng. Ān zhēn zhī jí, yìng de wú jiāng.
Complete is the ‘great and originating (capacity)’ indicated by Kun! All things owe to it their birth; - it receives obediently the influences of Heaven. Kun, in its largeness, supports and contains all things. Its excellent capacity matches the unlimited power (of Qian). Its comprehension is wide, and its brightness great. The various things obtain (by it) their full development. The mare is a creature of earthly kind. Its (power of) moving on the earth is without limit; it is mild and docile, advantageous and firm: - such is the course of the superior man. ‘If he take the initiative, he goes astray:’ - he misses, that is, his proper course. ‘If he follow,’ he is docile, and gets into his regular (course). ‘In the south-west he will get friends:’ - he will be walking with those of his own class. ‘In the north-east he will lose friends:’ - but in the end there will be ground for congratulation. ‘The good fortune arising from resting in firmness’ corresponds to the unlimited capacity of the earth.象传: 地势坤, 君子以厚德载物. Xiàng zhuàn: Dì shì kūn, jūn zǐ yǐ hòu dé zǎi wù.
The (capacity and sustaining) power of the earth is what is denoted by Kun. The superior man, in accordance with this, with his large virtue supports (men and) things.
In the first ‘six’, divided, (we see its subject) treading on hoarfrost. The strong ice will come (by and by).象传: 履霜坚冰, 阴始凝也. 驯致其道, 至坚冰也. Xiàng zhuàn: Lǔ: shuāng jiān bīng, yīn shǐ níng yě. xùn zhì qí dào, zhì jiān bīng yě.
‘He is treading on hoarfrost; - the strong ice will come (by and by):’ - the cold (air) has begun to take form. Allow it to go on quietly according to its nature, and (the hoarfrost) will come to strong ice.
The second ‘six’, divided, (shows the attribute of) being straight, square, and great. (Its operation), without repeated efforts, will be in every respect advantageous.象传: 六二之动, 直以方也. 不习无不利, 地道光也. Xiàng zhuàn: Liù èr zhī dòng, zhí yǐ fāng yě. bù xí wú bù lì, dì dào guāng yě.
The movement indicated by the second ‘six’, (divided),is ‘from the straight (line) to the square.’ ‘(Its operation), without repeated effort, in every way advantageous,’ shows the brilliant result of the way of earth.
The third ‘six’, divided, (shows its subject) keeping his excellence under restraint, but firmly maintaining it. If he should have occasion to engage in the king's service, though he will not claim the success (for himself), he will bring affairs to a good issue.象传: 含章可贞; 以时发也. 或从王事, 知光大也. Xiàng zhuàn: Hán zhāng kě zhēn; yǐ shí fā yě. huò cóng wáng shì, zhī guāng dà yě.
‘He keeps his excellence tinder restraint, but firmly maintains it:’ - at the proper time he will manifest it. ‘He may have occasion to engage in the king’s service: - great is the glory of his wisdom.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, (shows the symbol of) a sack tied up. There will be no ground for blame or for praise.象传: 括囊无咎, 慎不害也. Xiàng zhuàn: Kuò náng wú jiù, shèn bù hài yě.
‘A sack tied up; - there will be no error:’ - this shows how, through carefulness, no injury will be received.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, (shows) the yellow lower garment. There will be great good fortune.象传: 黄裳元吉, 文在中也. Xiàng zhuàn: Huáng cháng yuán jí, wén zài zhōng yě.
‘The Yellow lower-garment; - there will be great good fortune:’ - this follows from that ornamental (color’s) being in the right and central place.
The sixth ‘six’, divided (shows) dragons fighting in the wild. Their blood is purple and yellow.象传: 战龙于野, 其道穷也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zhàn lóng yú yě, qí dào qióng yě.
'The dragons fight in the wild: - the (onward) course (indicated by Kun) is pursued to extremity.用六: 利永贞. Yòng liù: lì yǒng zhēn.
(The lines of this hexagram are all weak and divided, as appears from) the use of the number six. If those (who are thus represented) be perpetually correct and firm, advantage will arise.象传: 用六永贞, 以大终也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yòng liù yǒng zhēn, yǐ dà zhōng yě. 《文言》曰: 《坤》至柔而动也刚, 至静而德方, 后得主而有常, 含万物而化光. 坤道其顺乎, 承天而时行. ? wén yán? yuē: ? kūn? zhì róu ér dòng yě gāng, zhì jìng ér dé fāng, hòu dé zhǔ ér yǒu cháng, hán wàn wù ér huā guāng. kūn dào qí shùn hū, chéng tiān ér shí háng.
What is indicated by Kun is most gentle and weak, but, when put in motion, is hard and strong; it is most still, but is able to give every definite form. ‘By following, it obtains its (proper) lord,’ and pursues its regular (course). It contains all things in itself, and its transforming (power) is glorious. Yes, what docility marks the way of Kun! It receives the influences of heaven, and acts at the proper time.积善之家, 必有余庆; 积不善之家, 必有余殃. 臣弑其君, 子弑其父, 非一朝一夕之故, 其所由来者渐矣, 由辩之不早辩也. 《易》曰「履霜、坚冰至」, 盖言顺也. Jī shàn zhī jiā, bì yǒu yú qìng; jī bù shàn zhī jiā, bì yǒu yú yāng. chén shì qí jūn, zǐ shì qí fù, fēi yī zhāo yī xī zhī gù, qí suǒ yóu lái zhě jiān yǐ, yóu biàn zhī bù zǎo biàn yě. ? yì? yuē? lǚ shuāng? jiān bīng zhì?, gě yán shùn yě.
The family that accumulates goodness is sure to have superabundant happiness, and the family that accumulates evil is sure to have superabundant misery. The murder of a ruler by his minister, or of his father by a son, is not the result of the events of one morning or one evening. The causes of it have gradually accumulated, -through the absence of early discrimination. The words of the Yi, ‘He treads on the hoar-frost; the strong ice will come (by and by),’ show the natural (issue and growth of things).‘直’其正也, ‘方’其义也. 君子敬以直内, 义以方外, 敬义立而德不孤. ‘直,方,大,不习无不利’, 则不疑其所行也. ‘ zhí’ qí zhēng yě, ‘ fāng’ qí yì yě. Jūn zǐ jìng yǐ zhí nèi, yì yǐ fāng wài, jìng yì lì ér dé bù gū. ‘Zhí, fāng, dà, bù xí wú bù lì’, zé bù yí qí suǒ háng yě.
'Straight' indicates the correctness (of the internal principle), and 'square,' the righteousness (of the external act). The superior man, (thus represented), by his self-reverence maintains the inward (correctness), and in righteousness adjusts his external acts. His reverence and righteousness being (thus) established, his virtues are not solitary instances or of a single class. 'Straight, square, and great, working his operations, without repeated efforts, in every respect advantageous:'--this shows how (such a one) has no doubts as to what he does.阴虽有美‘含’之以从王事, 弗敢成也. 地道也, 妻道也, 臣道也. 地道‘无成’而代‘有终’也. 天地变化, 草木蕃. 天地闭, 贤人隐. “易”曰‘括囊,无咎无誉’, 盖言谨也. Yīn suī yǒu měi‘ hán’ zhī yǐ cóng wáng shì, fú gǎn chéng yě. Dì dào yě, qī dào yě, chén dào yě. Dì dào‘ wú chéng’ ér dài‘ yǒu zhōng’ yě. Tiān dì biàn huà, cǎo mù bō. Tiān dì bì, xián rén yǐn. “Yì” yuē‘ kuò náng, wú jiù wú yù’, gě yán jǐn yě.
Although (the subject of) this divided line has excellent qualities, he (does not display them, but) keeps them under restraint. ‘If he engage with them in the service of the king, and be successful, he will not claim that success for himself:’--this is the way of the earth, of a wife, of a minister. The way of the earth is-‘not to claim the merit of achievement,’ but on behalf (of heaven) to bring things to their proper issue. Through the changes and transformations produced by heaven and earth, plants and trees grow luxuriantly. If (the reciprocal influence of) heaven and earth were shut up and restrained, we should have (a state that might suggest to us) the case of men of virtue and ability lying in obscurity. The words of the Yi, ‘A sack tied up:--there will be no ground for blame or for praise,’ are in reality a lesson of caution.君子‘黄’中通理, 正位居体, 美在其中而畅于四支, 发于事业, 美之至也. Jūn zǐ‘ huáng’ zhōng tōng lǐ, zhēng wèi jū tǐ, měi zài qí zhōng ér chàng yú sì zhī, fā yú shì yè, měi zhī zhì yě.
The superior man (indicated here) by the yellow and correct (color), is possessed of comprehension and discrimination. He occupies the correct position (of supremacy), but (that emblem) is on (the lower part of) his person. His excellence is in the center (of his being), but it diffuses a complacency over his four limbs, and is manifested in his (conduct of) affairs:--this is the perfection of excellence.阴疑于阳必‘战’, 为其嫌于无阳也, 故称‘龙’焉. 犹未离其类也, 故称‘血’焉. 夫‘玄黄’者,天地之杂也. 天玄而地黄. Yīn yí yú yáng bì‘ zhàn’, wéi qí xián yú wú yáng yě, gù chèn‘ lóng’ yān. Yóu wèi lí qí lèi yě, gù chèn‘ xuè’ yān. Fū ‘ xuán huáng’ zhě, tiān dì zhī zá yě. Tiān xuán ér dì huáng.
(The subject of) the yin (or divided line) thinking himself equal to the (subject of the) yang, or undivided line, there is sure to be ‘a contest.’ As if indignant at there being no acknowledgment of the (superiority of the subject of the) yang line, (the text) uses the term ‘dragons.’ But still the (subject of neither line) can leave his class, and hence we have ‘the blood’ mentioned. The mention of that as being (both) ‘azure and yellow’ indicates the mixture of heaven and earth. Heaven‘s (color) is azure and earth’s is yellow.
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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