比 Bǐ Coherence Union [hexagram 8]
Month 4 ; Host or Controlling line : 2
比: 吉. 原筮元永贞, 无咎. 不宁方来, 后夫凶. Bǐ: jí. yuán shì yuán yǒng zhēn, wú jiù. bù níng fāng lái, hòu fū xiōng.
Bi indicates that (under the conditions which it supposes) there is good fortune. But let (the principal party intended in it) re-examine himself, (as if) by divination, whether his virtue be great, unbroken, and firm. If it be so, there will be no error. Those who have not rest will then come to him; and with those who are (too) late in coming it will be ill.彖传: 比, 吉也, 比, 辅也, 下顺从也. 原筮元永贞, 无咎, 以刚中也. 不宁方来, 上下应也. 后夫凶, 其道穷也. Tuàn zhuàn: bǐ, jí yě, bǐ, fǔ yě, xià shùn cóng yě. yuán shì yuán yǒng zhēn, wú jiù, yǐ gāng zhōng yě. bù níng fāng lái, shàng xià yìng yě. hòu fū xiōng, qí dào qióng yě.
‘Bi indicates that there is good fortune:’ - (the name) Bi denotes help; (and we see in the figure) inferiors docilely following (their superior). ‘Let (the principal party intended in it) reexamine himself, (as if) by divination, whether his virtue be great, unbroken, and firm; - if it be so, there will be no error: - all this follows from the position of the strong line in the center (of the upper trigram). ’Those who have not rest will come to him:‘ - high and low will respond to its subject. ’With those who are (too) late in coming it will be ill:‘ - (for them) the way (of good fortune here indicated) has been exhausted.象传: 地上有水, 比; 先王以建万国, 亲诸侯. Xiàng zhuàn: Dì shang yǒu shuǐ, bǐ; xiān wáng yǐ jiàn wàn guó, qīn zhū hóu.
(The trigram representing) the earth, and over it (that representing) water, form Bi. The ancient kings, in accordance with this, established the various states and maintained an affectionate relation to their princes.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows its subject seeking by his sincerity to win the attachment of his object. There will be no error. Let (the breast) be full of sincerity as an earthenware vessel is of its contents, and it will in the end bring other advantages.象传: 比之初六, 有他吉也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bǐ zhī chū liù, yǒu tā jí yě.
From ‘the seeking union with its object’ shown in the first ‘six’, (divided),there will be other advantages.
In the second ‘six’, divided, we see the movement towards union and attachment proceeding from the inward (mind). With firm correctness there will be good fortune.象传: 比之自内, 不自失也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bǐ zhī zì nèi, bù zì shī yě.
‘The movement towards union and attachment proceeds from the inward (mind):’ - (the party concerned) does not fail in what is proper to himself.
In the third ‘six’, divided, we see its subject seeking for union with such as ought not to be associated with.象传: 比之匪人, 不亦伤乎! Xiàng zhuàn: Bǐ zhī fěi rén, bù yì shāng hū!
‘Union is sought with such as ought not to be associated with:’ - but will not injury be the result?
In the fourth ‘six’, divided, we see its subject seeking for union with the one beyond himself. With firm correctness there will be good fortune.象传: 外比于贤, 以从上也. Xiàng zhuàn: Wài bǐ yú xián, yǐ cóng shǎng yě.
‘Union is sought (by the party intended here) with one beyond himself, and (in this case) with a worthy object:’ - he is following (the ruler) above him.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, affords the most illustrious instance of seeking union and attachment. (We seem to see in it) the king urging his pursuit of the game (only) in three directions, and allowing the escape of all the animals before him, while the people of his towns do not warn one another (to prevent it). There will be good fortune.象传: 显比之吉, 位正中也. 舍逆取顺, 失前禽也. 邑人不诫, 上使中也. Xiàng zhuàn: Xiǎn bǐ zhī jí, wèi zhèng zhōng yě. shè nì qǔ shùn, shī qián qín yě. yì rén bù jiè, shǎng shǐ zhōng yě.
‘The good fortune belonging to the most illustrious instance of seeking union and attachment’ appears in the correct and central position (of the fifth line, undivided). (The king‘s) neglecting (the animals) confronting him (and then fleeing), and (only) taking those who present themselves as it were obediently, is seen in his allowing the escape of those in front of him.’ ‘That the people of his towns do not warn one another (to prevent such escape),’ shows how he, in his high eminence, has made them pursue the due course.
In the topmost ‘six’, divided, we see one seeking union and attachment without having taken the first step (to such an end). There will be evil.象传: 比之无首, 无所终也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bǐ zhī wú shǒu, wú suǒ zhōng yě.
‘He seeks union and attachment without taking the first (step to such an end):’ - there is no possibility of a (good) issue.
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.