Xiao Guo indicates that (in the circumstances which it implies) there will be progress and attainment. But it will be advantageous to be firm and correct. (What the name denotes) may be done in small affairs, but not in great affairs. (It is like) the notes that come down from a bird on the wing - to descend is better than to ascend. There will (in this way) be great good fortune.彖传: 小过, 小者过而亨也. 过以利贞, 与时行也. 柔得中, 是以小事吉也. 刚失位而不中, 是以不可大事也. 有飞鸟之象焉, 有飞鸟遗之音, 不宜上宜下, 大吉; 上逆而下顺也. Tuàn zhuàn: Xiǎo guò, xiǎo zhě guò ér hēng yě. guò yǐ lì zhēn, yú shí háng yě. róu dé zhòng, shì yǐ xiǎo shì jí yě. gāng shī wèi ér bù zhōng, shì yǐ bù kě dà shì yě. yǒu fēi niǎo zhī xiàng yān, yǒu fēi niǎo yí zhī yīn, bù yí shǎng yí xià, dà jí; shǎng nì ér xià shùn yě.
In Xiao Guo (we see) the small (lines) exceeding the others, and (giving the intimation of) progress and attainment. Such ‘exceeding, in order to its being advantageous, must be associated with firmness and correctness:’ - that is, it must take place (only) according to (the requirements of) the time. The weak (lines) are in the central places, and hence (it is said that what the name denotes) may be done in small affairs, and there will be good fortune. Of the strong (lines one) is not in its proper place, and (the other) is not central, hence it is said that (what the name denotes) ‘should not be done in great affairs.’ (In the hexagram) we have ‘the symbol of a bird on the wing, and of the notes that come down from such a bird, for which it is better to descend than to ascend, thereby leading to great good fortune:’ - to ascend is contrary to what is reasonable in the case, while to descend is natural and right.象传: 山上有雷, 小过; 君子以行过乎恭, 丧过乎哀, 用过乎俭. Xiàng zhuàn: Shān shàng yǒu léi, xiǎo guò; jūn zǐ yǐ háng guò hū gōng, sāng guò hū āi, yòng guò hū jiǎn.
(The trigram representing) a hill and that for thunder above it form Xiao Guo. The superior man, in accordance with this, in his conduct exceeds in humility, in mourning exceeds in sorrow, and in his expenditure exceeds in economy.
The first ‘six’, divided, suggests (the idea of) a bird flying, (and ascending) till the issue is evil.象传: 飞鸟以凶, 不可如何也. Xiàng zhuàn: Fēi niǎo yǐ xiōng, bù kě rú hé yě.
‘There is a bird flying (and ascending) till the result is evil:’ - nothing can be done to avoid this issue.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows its subject passing by his grandfather, and meeting with his grandmother; not attempting anything against his ruler, but meeting him as his minister. There will be no error.象传: 不及其君, 臣不可过也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bù jí qí jūn, chén bù kě guò yě.
‘He does not attempt to reach his ruler:’ - a minister should not overpass the distance (between his ruler and himself).
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject taking no extraordinary precautions against danger; and some in consequence finding opportunity to assail and injure him. There will be evil.象传: 从或戕之, 凶如何也. Xiàng zhuàn: Cóng huò qiāng zhī, xiōng rú hé yě.
‘Some in consequence find opportunity to assail and injure him. There will be evil:’ - how great will it be!
The fourth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject falling into no error, but meeting (the exigency of his situation), without exceeding (in his natural. course). If he go forward, there will be peril, and he must be cautious. There is no occasion to be using firmness perpetually.象传: 弗过遇之, 位不当也. 往厉必戒, 终不可长也. Xiàng zhuàn: Fú guò yù zhī, wèi bù dàng yě. wǎng lì bì jiè, zhōng bù kě cháng yě.
‘He meets the exigency (of his situation), without exceeding (the proper course):’ - (he does so), the position being inappropriate (for a strong line). ‘If he go forward, there will be peril, and he must be cautious:’ - the result would be that his course would not be long pursued.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, (suggests the idea) of dense clouds, but no rain, coming from our borders in the west. It also (shows) the prince shooting his arrow, and taking the bird in a cave.象传: 密云不雨, 已上也. Xiàng zhuàn: Mì yún bù yǔ, yǐ shǎng yě.
‘There are dense clouds, but no rain:’ - (the line) is in too high a place.
The sixth ‘six’, divided, shows. its subject not meeting (the exigency of his situation), and exceeding (his proper course). (It suggests the idea of) a bird flying far aloft. There will be evil. The case is what is called one of calamity and self-produced injury.象传: 弗遇过之, 已亢也. Xiàng zhuàn: Fú yù guò zhī, yǐ kàng yě.
‘He does not meet the exigency (of his situation), and exceeds (his proper course):’ - (the position indicates) the habit of domineering.
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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