谦 Qiān Modesty Humility [hexagram 15]
Month 12 ; Host or Controlling line : 3
谦: 亨, 君子有终. Qiān: hēng, jūn zǐ yǒu zhōng.
Qian indicates progress and success. The superior man, (being humble as it implies), will have a (good) issue (to his undertakings).彖传: 谦, 亨, 天道下济而光明, 地道卑而上行. 天道亏盈而益谦, 地道变盈而流谦, 鬼神害盈而福谦, 人道恶盈而好谦. 谦尊而光, 卑而不可逾, 君子之终也. Tuàn zhuàn: Qiān, hēng, tiān dào xià jì ér guāng míng, dì dao bēi ér shàng xíng. tiān dào kuī yíng ér yìqiān, dì dao biàn yíng ér liúqiān, guǐ shén hài yíng ér fúqiān, rén dào è yíng ér hǎoqiān. Qiān zūn ér guāng, bēi ér bù kě yú, jūn zǐ zhī zhōng yě.
Qian indicates progress and success. It is the way of heaven to send down its beneficial influences below, where they are brilliantly displayed. It is the way of earth, lying low, to send its influences upwards and (there) to act. It is the way of heaven to diminish the full and augment the humble. It is the way of earth to overthrow the full and replenish the humble. Spiritual Beings inflict calamity on the full and bless the humble. It is the way of men to hate the full and love the humble. Humility in a position of honor makes that still more brilliant; and in a low position men will not (seek to) pass beyond it. Thus it is that 'the superior man will have a (good) issue (to his undertakings).'象传: 地中有山, 谦; 君子以裒多益寡, 称物平施. Xiàng zhuàn: Dì zhōng yǒu shān, qiān; jūn zǐ yǐ póu duō yì guǎ, chēng wù píng shī.
(The trigram for) the earth and (that of) a mountain in the midst of it form Qian. The superior man, in accordance with this, diminishes what is excessive (in himself), and increases where there is any defect, bringing about an equality, according to the nature of the case, in his treatment (of himself and others).
The first ‘six’, divided, shows us the superior man who adds humility to humility. (Even) the great stream may be crossed with this, and there will be good fortune.象传: 谦谦君子, 卑以自牧也. Xiàng zhuàn: Qiānqiān jūn zǐ, bēi yǐ zì mù yě.
'The superior man who adds humility to humility' is one who nourishes his (virtue) in lowliness.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows us humility that has made itself recognized. With firm correctness there will be good fortune.象传: 鸣谦贞吉, 中心得也. Xiàng zhuàn: Míng qiān zhēn jí, zhōng xīn dé yě.
'The good fortune consequent on being firm and correct, where the humility has made itself recognized, is owing to the possessor's having (the virtue) in the core of his heart.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows the superior man of (acknowledged) merit. He will maintain his success to the end, and have good fortune.象传: 劳谦君子, 万民服也. Xiàng zhuàn: Láo qiān jūn zǐ, wàn mín fú yě.
'The superior man of (acknowledged) merit, and yet humble:' - the myriads of the people will submit to him.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows one, whose action would be in every way advantageous, stirring up (the more) his humility.象传: 无不利, 㧑谦; 不违则也. Xiàng zhuàn: Wú bù lì, huī qiān; bù wéi zé yě.
'One, whose action would be in every way advantageous, stirs up his humility the more:'(but in doing so) he does not act contrary to the (proper) rule.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows one who, without being rich, is able to employ his neighbors. He may advantageously use the force of arms. All his movements will be advantageous.象传: 利用侵伐, 征不服也. Xiàng zhuàn: Lì yòng qīn fá, zhēng bù fú yě.
'He may advantageously use the force of arms:' - correcting, that is, those who do not submit.
The sixth ‘six’, divided, shows us humility that has made itself recognized. The subject of it will with advantage put his hosts in motion; but (he will only) punish his own towns and state.象传: 鸣谦, 志未得也. 可用行师, 征邑国也. Xiàng zhuàn: Míng qiān, zhì wèi dé yě. kě yòng xíng shī, zhēng yì guó yě.
'His humility has made itself recognized:' - (but) all his aims have not yet been attained. He may employ the force of arms, (but only) in correcting (his own) towns and state.'
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.