否 Pǐ Stagnation Hindrance [hexagram 12]
Month 7 ; Host or Controlling line : 5
否之匪人, 不利君子贞, 大往小来. Fǒu zhī fěi rén, bù lì jūn zǐ zhēn, dà wǎng xiǎo lái.
In Pi there is the want of good understanding between the (different classes of) men, and its indication is unfavorable to the firm and correct course of the superior man. We see in it the great gone and the little come.彖传: 否之匪人, 不利君子贞. 大往小来, 则是天地不交, 而万物不通也; 上下不交, 而天下无邦也. 内阴而外阳, 内柔而外刚, 内小人而外君子. 小人道长, 君子道消也. Tuàn zhuàn: Fǒu zhī fěi rén, bù lì jūn zǐ zhēn. Dà wǎng xiǎo lái, zé shì tiān dì bù jiāo, ér wàn wù bù tōng yě; shàng xià bù jiāo, ér tiān xià wú bāng yě. nèi yīn ér wài yáng, nèi róu ér wài gāng, nèi xiǎo rén ér wài jūn zǐ. xiǎo rén dào zhǎng, jūn zǐ dào xiāo yě.
'The want of good understanding between the (different classes of) men in Pi, and its indication as unfavorable to the firm and correct course of the superior man; with the intimation that the great are gone and the little come:' - all this springs from the fact that in it heaven and earth are not in communication with each other, and all things in consequence do not have free course; and that the high and the low (superiors and inferiors) are not in communication with one another, and there are no (well-regulated) states under the sky. The inner (trigram) is made up of the weak and divided lines, and the outer of the strong and undivided: the inner is (the symbol of) weakness, and the outer of strength; the inner (represents) the small man, and the outer the superior man. Thus the way of the small man appears increasing, and that of the superior man decreasing.象传: 天地不交, 否; 君子以俭德辟难, 不可荣以禄. Xiàng zhuàn: Tiān dì bù jiāo, fǒu; jūn zǐ yǐ jiǎn dé bì nàn, bù kě róng yǐ lù.
(The trigrams of) heaven and earth, not in intercommunication, form Pi. The superior man, in accordance with this, restrains (the manifestation) of) his virtue, and avoids the calamities (that threaten him). There is no opportunity of conferring on him the glory of emolument.
The first ‘six’, divided, suggests the idea of grass pulled up, and bringing with it other stalks with whose roots it is connected. With firm correctness (on the part of its subject), there will be good fortune and progress.象传: 拔茅贞吉, 志在君也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bá máo zhēn jí, zhì zài jūn yě.
'The good fortune through firm goodness, (suggested by) the pulling up of the grass,' arises from the will (of the parties intended) being bent on (serving) the ruler.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows its subject patient and obedient. To the small man (comporting himself so) there will be good fortune. If the great man (comport himself) as the distress and obstruction require, he will have success.象传: 大人否亨, 不乱群也. Xiàng zhuàn: Dà ren fǒu hēng, bù luàn qún yě.
'The great man, comporting himself as the distress and obstruction require, will have success: - 'he does not allow himself to be disordered by the herd (of small men).
The third ‘six’, divided, shows its subject ashamed of the purpose folded (in his breast).象传: 包羞, 位不当也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bāo xiū, wèi bù dàng yě.
That 'his shame is folded in his breast' is owing to the inappropriateness of his position.
The fourth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject acting in accordance with the ordination (of Heaven), and committing no error. His companions will come and share in his happiness.象传: 有命无咎, 志行也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yǒu mìng wú jiù, zhì xíng yě.
'He acts in accordance with the ordination (of Heaven), and commits no error:' - the purpose of his mind can be carried into effect.
In the fifth ‘nine’, undivided, we see him who brings the distress and obstruction to a close,--the great man and fortunate. (But let him say), 'We may perish! We may perish!' (so shall the state of things become firm, as if) bound to a clump of bushy mulberry trees.象传: 大人之吉, 位正当也. Xiàng zhuàn: Dà ren zhī jí, wèi zhèng dàng yě.
The good fortune of the great man' arises from the correctness of his position.
The sixth ‘nine’, undivided, shows the overthrow (and removal of) the condition of distress and obstruction. Before this there was that condition. Hereafter there will be joy.象传: 否终则倾, 何可长 Xiàng zhuàn: Fǒu zhōng zé qīng, hé kě cháng
'The distress and obstruction having reached its end, it is overthrown and removed:' - how could it be prolonged?
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.