Xiao Xu indicates that (under its conditions) there will be progress and success. (We see) dense clouds, but no rain coming from our borders in the west.彖传: 小畜; 柔得位, 而上下应之, 曰小畜. 健而巽, 刚中而志行, 乃亨. 密云不雨, 尚往也. 自我西郊, 施未行也. Tuàn zhuàn: Xiǎo xù; róu de wèi, ér shàng xià yīng zhī, yuēxiǎo xù. Jiàn ér xùn, gāng zhōng ér zhì xíng, nǎi hēng. Mì yún bù yù, shàng wǎng yě. Zì wǒ xī jiāo, shī wèi xíng yě.
In Xiao Xu the weak line occupies its (proper) position, and (the lines) above and below respond to it. Hence comes the name of Xiao Xu (Small Restraint). (It presents the symbols of) strength and flexibility. Strong lines are in the central places, and the will (of their subjects) will have free course. Thus it indicates that there will be progress and success. ‘Dense clouds but no rain’ indicate the movement (of the strong lines) still going forward. The ‘Commencing at our western border’ indicates that the (beneficial) influence has not yet been widely displayed.象传: 风行天上, 小畜; 君子以懿文德. Xiàng zhuàn: Fēng xíng tiān shàng, xiǎo xù; jūn zǐ yǐ yì wén dé.
(The trigram representing) the sky, and that representing wind moving above it, form Xiao Xu The superior man, in accordance with this, adorns the outward manifestation of his virtue.
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject returning and pursuing his own course. What mistake should he fall into? There will be good fortune.象传: 复自道, 其义吉也. Xiàng zhuàn: Fù zì dào, qí yì jí yě.
‘He returns and pursues his own path:’ - it is right that there should be good fortune.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject, by the attraction (of the former line), returning (to the proper course). There will be good fortune.象传: 牵复在中, 亦不自失也. Xiàng zhuàn: Qiān fù zài zhōng, yì bù zì shī yě.
‘By the attraction (of the subject of the former line) he returns (to its own course),’ and is in the central place: - neither will he err in what is due from him.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, suggests the idea of a carriage, the strap beneath which has been removed, or of a husband and wife looking on each other with averted eyes.象传: 夫妻反目, 不能正室也. Xiàng zhuàn: Fū qī fǎn mù, bù néng zhèng shì yě
‘Husband and wife look on each other with averted eyes:’ - (the subject of line three is like a husband who) cannot maintain correctly his relations with his wife.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject possessed of sincerity. The danger of bloodshed is thereby averted, and his (ground for) apprehension dismissed. There will be no mistake.象传: 有孚惕出, 上合志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yǒu fú tì chū, shàng hé zhì yě.
‘He is possessed of sincerity; his (ground for) apprehension is dismissed:’ - (the subjects of the lines) above agree in aim with him.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject possessed of sincerity, and drawing others to unite with him. Rich in resources, he employs his neighbors (in the same cause with himself).象传: 有孚挛如, 不独富也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yǒu fú luán rú, bù dú fù yě.
‘He is possessed of sincerity, and draws others to unite with him:’ - he does not use only his own rich resources.
The topmost ‘nine’, undivided, shows how the rain has fallen, and the (onward progress) is stayed - (so) must we value the full accumulation of the virtue (represented by the upper trigram). But a wife (exercising restraint), however firm and correct she may be, is in a position of peril, (and like) the moon approaching to the full. If the superior man prosecute his measures (in such circumstances), there will be evil.象传: 既雨既处, 德积载也. 君子征凶, 有所疑也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jì yùjì chù, dé jī zài yě. Jūn zǐ zhēng xiōng, yǒu suǒ yí yě.
‘The rain has fallen and (the onward progress) is stayed:’ - the power (denoted in the figure) has accumulated to the full. ‘If the superior man prosecute his measures, there will be evil:’ - he will find himself obstructed.
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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