剥 Bō Dispersion Peeling off [hexagram 23]
Month 9 ; Host or Controlling line : 6
剥: 不利有攸往. Bō: bù lì yǒu yōu wǎng.
Bo indicates that (in the state which it symbolizes) it will not be advantageous to make a movement in any direction whatever.彖传: 剥, 剥也, 柔变刚也. 不利有攸往, 小人长也. 顺而止之, 观象也. 君子尚消息盈虚, 天行也. Tuàn zhuàn: Bō, bō yě, róu biàn gāng yě. Bù lì yǒu yōu wǎng, xiǎo rén zhǎng yě. shùn ér zhǐ zhī, guān xiàng yě. Jūn zǐ shàng xiāo xi yíng xū, tiān xíng yě.
Bo denotes overthrowing or being overthrown. We see (in the figure) the weak lines (threatening to) change the (last) strong line (into one of themselves). That 'it will not be advantageous to make a movement in any direction whatever' appears from the fact that the small men are (now) growing and increasing. The superior man acts according to (the exigency of the time), and stops all forward movement, looking at the (significance of the) symbolic figures (in the hexagram). He values the processes of decrease and increase, of fulness and decadence, (as seen) in the movements of the heavenly bodies.象传: 山附地上, 剥; 上以厚下, 安宅. Xiàng zhuàn: Shān fù dì shang, bō; shàng yǐ hòu xià, ān zhái.
(The trigrams representing) the earth, and (above it) that for a mountain, which adheres to the earth, form Bo. Superiors, in accordance with this, seek to strengthen those below them, to secure the peace and stability of their own position.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows one overturning the couch by injuring its legs. (The injury will go on to) the destruction of (all) firm correctness, and there will be evil.象传: 剥床以足, 以灭下也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bō chuáng yǐ zú, yǐ miè xià yě.
'He overthrows the couch by injuring its legs:' - thus (he commences) his work of ruin with what is lowest (in the superior man).
The second ‘six’, divided, shows one overthrowing the couch by injuring its frame. (The injury will go on to) the destruction of (all) firm correctness, and there will be evil.象传: 剥床以辨, 未有与也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bō chuáng yǐ biàn, wèi yǒu yǔ yě.
'He destroys the couch by injuring its frame:' - (the superior man) has as yet no associates.
The third ‘six’, divided, shows its subject among the rebels; but there will be no error.象传: 剥之无咎, 失上下也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bō zhī wú jiù, shī shàng xià yě.
That 'there will be no error on the part of this one among the rebels' arises from the difference between him and the others above and below.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject having overthrown the couch, and (going to injure) the skin (of him who lies on it). There will be evil.象传: 剥床以肤, 切近灾也. Xiàng zhuàn: Bō chuáng yǐ fū, qiè jìn zāi yě.
'He has overthrown the couch, and (proceeds to injure) the skin (of him who lies on it):' - calamity is very near at hand.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows (its subject leading on the others like) a string of fishes, and (obtaining for them) the favor that lights on the inmates of the palace. There will be advantage in every way.象传: 以宫人宠, 终无尤也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yǐ gōng rén chǒng, zhōng wú yóu yě.
'He obtains for them the favor that lights on the inmates of the palace:' - in the end there will be no grudge against him.
The topmost ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject (as) a great fruit which has not been eaten. The superior man finds (the people again) as a chariot carrying him. The small men (by their course) overthrow their own dwellings.象传: 君子得舆, 民所载也. 小人剥庐, 终不可用也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jūn zǐ dé yú, mín suǒ zài yě. Xiǎo rén bō lú, zhōng bù kě yòng yě.
'The superior man finds himself in a carriage:' - he is carried along by the people. 'The small men (by their course) overthrow their own dwellings:' - they can. never again be of use to them.
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.