Xu intimates that, with the sincerity which is declared in it, there will be brilliant success. With firmness there will be good fortune; and it will be advantageous to cross the great stream.彖传: 需, 须也; 险在前也. 刚健而不陷, 其义不困穷矣. 需有孚, 光亨, 贞吉. 位乎天位, 以正中也. 利涉大川, 往有功也. Tuàn zhuàn: Xū, xū yě; xiǎn zài qián yě. gāng jiàn ér bù xiàn, qí yì bù kùn qióng yǐ. xū yǒu fú, guāng hēng, zhēn jí. wèi hū tiān wèi, yǐ zhèng zhōng yě. lì shè dà chuān, wǎng yǒu gōng yě.
Xu denotes waiting. (The figure) shows peril in front; but notwithstanding the firmness and strength (indicated by the inner trigram), its subject does not allow himself to be involved (in the dangerous defile); - it is right he should not be straitened or reduced to extremity. When it is said that, ‘with the sincerity declared in Xu, there will be brilliant success, and with firmness there will be good fortune,’ this is shown by the position (of the fifth line) in the place assigned by Heaven, and its being the correct position for it, and in the center. ‘It will be advantageous to go through the great stream;’ - that is, going forward will be followed by meritorious achievement.象传: 云上于天, 需; 君子以饮食宴乐. Xiàng zhuàn: Yún shǎng yú tiān, xū; jūn zǐ yǐ yǐn shí yàn lè.
(The trigram for) clouds ascending over that for the sky forms Xu. The superior man, in accordance with this, eats and drinks, feasts and enjoys himself (as if there were nothing else to employ him).
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject waiting in the distant border. It will be well for him constantly to maintain (the purpose thus shown), in which case there will be no error.象传: 需于郊, 不犯难行也. 利用恒, 无咎; 未失常也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xū yú jiāo, bù fàn nán háng yě. lì yòng héng, wú jiù; wèi shī cháng yě.
‘He is waiting in the (distant) border:’ - he makes no movement to encounter rashly the difficulties (of the situation). ‘It will be advantageous for him constantly to maintain (the purpose thus shown), in which case there will be no error:’ - he will not fail to pursue that regular course.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject waiting on the sand (of the mountain stream). He will (suffer) the small (injury of) being spoken (against), but in the end there will be good fortune.象传: 需于沙, 衍在中也. 虽小有言, 以终吉也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xū yú shā, yǎn zài zhōng yě. suī xiǎo yǒu yán, yǐ zhōng jí yě.
‘He is waiting on the sand:’ - he occupies his position in the center with a generous forbearance. Though ‘he suffer the small injury of being spoken (against),’ he will bring things to a good issue.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject in the mud (close by the stream). He thereby invites the approach of injury.象传: 需于泥, 灾在外也. 自我致寇, 敬慎不败也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xū yú ní, zāi zài wài yě. Zì wǒ zhì kòu, jìng shèn bù bài yě.
‘He is waiting in the mud:’ - calamity is (close at hand, and as it were) in the outer (trigram). ‘He himself invites the approach of injury:’ - if he be reverent and careful, he will not be worsted.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject waiting in (the place of) blood. But he will get out of the cavern.象传: 需于血, 顺以听也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xū yú xuè, shùn yǐ tīng yě.
‘He is waiting in (the place of) blood:’ - he accommodates himself (to the circumstances of the time), and hearkens to (its requirements).
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject waiting amidst the appliances of a feast. Through his firmness and correctness there will be good fortune.象传酒食贞吉,以中正也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jiǔ shí zhēn jí, yǐ zhōng zhèng yě
‘The appliances of a feast, and the good fortune through being firm and correct,’ are indicated by (the position in) the central and correct place.
The topmost ‘six’, divided, shows its subject entered into the cavern. (But) there are three guests coming, without being urged, (to his help). If he receive them respectfully, there will be good fortune in the end.象传: 不速之客来, 敬之终吉. 虽不当位, 未大失也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bù sù zhī kè lái, jìng zhī zhōng jí. suī bù dàng wèi, wèi dà shī yě.
‘Guests come without prompting (to give their help), and if (the subject of the line) receive them respectfully, there will be good fortune in the end:’ - though the occupant and the place are not suited to each other, there has been no great failure (in what has been done).
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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