Yi indicates that (in the state which it denotes) there will be advantage in every movement which shall be undertaken, that it will be advantageous (even) to cross the great stream.彖传: 益, 损上益下, 民说无疆, 自上下下, 其道大光. 利有攸往, 中正有庆. 利涉大川, 木道乃行. 益动而巽, 日进无疆. 天施地生, 其益无方. 凡益之道, 与时偕行. Tuàn zhuàn: Yì, sǔn shàngyì xià, mín shuō wú jiāng, zì shàng xià xià, qí dào dà guāng. Lì yǒu yōu wǎng, zhōng zhèng yǒu qìng. Lì shè dà chuān, mù dào nǎi xíng. Yì dòng ér xùn, rì jìn wú jiāng. Tiān shī dì shēng, qíyì wú fāng. Fányì zhī dào, yǔ shí xié xíng.
In Yi we see the upper (trigram) diminished, and the lower added to. The satisfaction of the people (in consequence of this) is without limit. What descends from above reaches to all below, so great and brilliant is the course (of its operation). That 'there will be advantage in every movement which shall be undertaken' appears from the central and correct (positions of the second and fifth lines), and the (general) blessing (the dispensing of which they imply). That 'it will be advantageous (even) to cross the great stream' appears from the action of wood (shown in the figure). Yi is made up of (the trigrams expressive of) movement and docility, (through which) there is daily advancement to an unlimited extent. We have (also) in it heaven dispensing and earth producing, leading to an increase without restriction of place. Everything in the method of this increase proceeds according to the requirements of the time.象传: 风雷, 益; 君子以见善则迁, 有过则改. Xiàng zhuàn: Fēng léi, yì; jūn zǐ yǐ jiàn shàn zé qiān, yǒu guò zé gǎi.
(The trigram representing) wind and that for thunder form Yi. The superior man, in accordance with this, when he sees what is good, moves towards it; and when he sees his errors, he turns from them.
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows that it will be advantageous for its subject in his position to make a great movement. If it be greatly fortunate, no blame will be imputed to him.象传: 元吉无咎, 下不厚事也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yuán jí wú jiù, xià bù hòu shì yě.
‘If the movement be greatly fortunate, no blame will be imputed to him:’ - though it is not for one in so low a position to have to do with great affairs.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows parties adding to the stores of its subject ten pairs of tortoise shells whose oracles cannot be opposed. Let him persevere in being firm and correct, and there will be good fortune. Let the king, (having the virtues thus distinguished), employ them in presenting his offerings to God, and there will be good fortune.象传: 或益之, 自外来也. Xiàng zhuàn: Huò yì zhī, zì wài lái yě.
‘Parties add to his stores:’ - they come from beyond (his immediate circle) to do so.
The third ‘six’, divided, shows increase given to its subject by means of what is evil, so that he shall (be led to good), and be without blame. Let him be sincere and pursue the path of the Mean, (so shall he secure the recognition of the ruler, like) an officer who announces himself to his prince by the symbol of his rank.象传: 益用凶事, 固有之也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yì yòng xiōng shì, gù yǒu zhī yě.
‘Increase is given by means of what is evil and difficult:’ - as he has in himself (the qualities called forth).
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject pursuing the due course. His advice to his prince is followed. He can with advantage be relied on in such a movement as that of removing the capital.象传: 告公从, 以益志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Gào gōng cóng, yǐ yì zhì yě.
‘His advice to his prince is followed:’ - his (only) object in it being the increase (of the general good).
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject with sincere heart seeking to benefit (all below). There need be no question about it; the result will be great good fortune. (All below) will with sincere heart acknowledge his goodness.象传: 有孚惠心, 勿问之矣. 惠我德, 大得志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yǒu fú huì xīn, wù wèn zhī yǐ. huì wǒ dé, dà dé zhì yě.
‘(The ruler) with sincere heart seeks to benefit (all below):’ - there need be no question (about the result). ‘(All below) with sincere heart acknowledge (his goodness):’ - he gets what he desires on a great scale.
In the sixth ‘nine’, undivided, we see one to whose increase none will contribute, while many will seek to assail him. He observes no regular rule in the ordering of his heart. There will be evil.象传: 莫益之, 偏辞也. 或击之, 自外来也. Xiàng zhuàn: Mò yì zhī, piān cí yě. Huò jī zhī, zì wài lái yě.
‘To his increase none will contribute:’ - this expresses but half the result. ‘Many will seek to assail him:’ - they will come from beyond (his immediate circle) to do so.
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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