Shi He indicates successful progress (in the condition of things which it supposes). It will be advantageous to use legal constraints.彖传: 颐中有物, 曰噬嗑, 噬嗑而亨. 刚柔分, 动而明, 雷电合而章. 柔得中而上行, 虽不当位, 利用狱也. Tuàn zhuàn: Yí zhōng yǒu wù, yuē shì kè, shì kè ér hēng. gāng róu fēn, dòng ér míng, léi diàn hé ér zhāng. róu dé zhòng ér shàng xíng, suī bù dàng wèi, lì yòng yù yě.
The existence of something between the jaws gives rise to the name Shi He (Union by means of biting through the intervening article). The Union by means of biting through the intervening article indicates 'the successful progress (denoted by the hexagram).' The strong and weak (lines) are equally divided (in the figure). Movement is denoted (by the lower trigram), and bright intelligence (by the upper); thunder and lightning uniting in them, and having brilliant manifestation. The weak (fifth) line is in the center, and acts in its high position. Although it is not in its proper position, this is advantageous for the use of legal constraints.象传: 雷电噬嗑; 先王以明罚敕法. Xiàng zhuàn: Léi diàn shì kè; xiān wáng yǐ míng fá chì fǎ.
(The trigrams representing) thunder and lightning form Shi He. The ancient kings, in accordance with this, framed their penalties with intelligence, and promulgated their laws.
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows one with his feet in the stocks and deprived of his toes. There will be no error.象传: 屦校灭趾, 不行也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jù xiào miè zhǐ, bù xíng yě.
'His feet are in the stocks, and he is deprived of his toes:' - there is no walking (to do evil).
The second ‘six’, divided, shows one biting through the soft flesh, and (going on to) bite off the nose. There will be no error.象传: 噬肤灭鼻, 乘刚也. Xiàng zhuàn: Shì fū miè bí, chéng gāng yě.
'He bites through the soft flesh, and (goes on) to bite off the nose:' - (the subject of the line) is mounted on the strong (first line).
The third ‘six’, divided, shows one gnawing dried flesh, and meeting with what is disagreeable. There will be occasion for some small regret, but no (great) error.象传: 遇毒, 位不当也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yù dú, wèi bù dàng yě.
'He meets with what is disagreeable and hurtful:' - his position is not the proper one for him.
The fourth ‘nine’, undivided, shows one gnawing the flesh dried on the bone, and getting the pledges of money and arrows. It will be advantageous to him to realize the difficulty of his task and be firm,- in which case there will be good fortune.象传: 利艰贞吉, 未光也. Xiàng zhuàn: Lì jiān zhēn jí, wèi guāng yě.
'It will be advantageous to him to realize the difficulty of his task and be firm, in which case there will be good fortune:' - his light has not yet been sufficiently displayed.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows one gnawing at dried flesh, and finding the yellow gold. Let him be firm and correct, realizing the peril (of his position). There will be no error.象传: 贞厉无咎, 得当也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zhēn lì wú jiù, dé dàng yě.
'Let him be firm and correct, realizing the peril (of his position), and there will be no error:' - he will possess every quality appropriate (to his position and task).
The sixth ‘nine’, undivided, shows one wearing the instrument of punishment, and deprived of his ears. There will be evil.象传: 何校灭耳, 聪不明也. Xiàng zhuàn: Hé xiào miè ěr, cōng bù míng yě.
‘He wears the instrument of punishment and is deprived of his ears:’ - he hears, but will not understand.
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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