困 Kùn Confinement Exhaustion [hexagram 47]
Month 9 ; Host or Controlling line : 2
困: 亨, 贞, 大人吉, 无咎, 有言不信. Kùn: hēng, zhēn, dà ren jí, wú jiù, yǒu yán bù xìn.
In (the condition denoted by) Kun there may (yet be) progress and success. For the firm and correct, the (really) great man, there will be good fortune. He will fall into no error. If he make speeches, his words cannot be made good.彖传: 困, 刚掩也. 险以说, 困而不失其所, 亨; 其唯君子乎？贞大人吉, 以刚中也. 有言不信, 尚口乃穷也. Tuàn zhuàn: Kùn, gāng yǎn yě. Xiǎn yǐ shuō, kùn ér bù shī qí suǒ, hēng; qí wéi jūn zǐ hū? zhēn dà ren jí, yǐ gāng zhōng yě. Yǒu yán bù xìn, shàng kǒu nǎi qióng yě.
In Kun (we see) the strong (lines) covered and obscured (by the weak). We have in it (the attribute of) peril going on to that of satisfaction. Who is it but the superior man that, though straitened, still does not fail in making progress to his proper end? ‘For the firm and correct, the (really) great man, there will be good fortune:’ - this is shown by the central positions of the strong (lines). ‘If he make speeches, his words cannot be made good:’ - to be fond of arguing or pleading is the way to be reduced to extremity.象传: 泽无水, 困; 君子以致命遂志. Xiàng zhuàn: Zé wú shuǐ, kùn; jūn zǐ yǐ zhì mìng suì zhì.
(The trigram representing) a marsh, and (below it that for a defile, which has drained the other dry so that there is) no water in it, form Kun. The superior man, in accordance with this, will sacrifice his life in order to carry out his purpose.
The first ‘six’, divided, shows its subject with bare buttocks straitened under the stump of a tree. He enters a dark valley, and for three years has no prospect (of deliverance).象传: 入于幽谷, 幽不明也. Xiàng zhuàn: Rù yú yōu gǔ, yōu bù míng yě.
‘He enters a dark valley:’ - so benighted is he, and without clear vision.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject straitened amidst his wine and viands. There come to him anon the red knee-covers (of the ruler). It will be well for him (to maintain his sincerity as) in sacrificing. Active operations (on his part) will lead to evil, but he will be free from blame.象传: 困于酒食, 中有庆也. Xiàng zhuàn: Kùn yú jiǔ shí, zhōng yǒu qìng yě.
‘He is straitened amidst his wine and viands:’ - (but) his position is central, and there will be ground for congratulation.
The third ‘six’, divided, shows its subject straitened before a (frowning) rock. He lays hold of thorns. He enters his palace, and does not see his wife. There will be evil.象传: 据于蒺蔾, 乘刚也. 入于其宫, 不见其妻, 不祥也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jù yú jí lí, chéng gāng yě. rù yú qí gōng, bù jiàn qí qī, bù xiáng yě.
‘He lays hold of thorns:’ - (this is suggested by the position of the line) above the strong (line). ‘He enters his palace, and does not see his wife:’ - this is inauspicious.
The fourth ‘nine’, undivided shows its subject proceeding very slowly (to help the subject of the first line), who is straitened by the carriage adorned with metal in front of him. There will be occasion for regret, but the end will be good.象传: 来徐徐, 志在下也. 虽不当位, 有与也. Xiàng zhuàn: Lái xú xú, zhì zài xià yě. suī bù dàng wèi, yǒu yǔ yě.
‘He proceeds very slowly (to help the subject of the first line):’ - his aim is directed to (help) that lower (line). Although he is not in his appropriate place, he and that other will (in the end) be together.
The fifth ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject with his nose and feet cut off. He is straitened by (his ministers in their) scarlet aprons. He is leisurely in his movements, however, and is satisfied. It will be well for him to be (as sincere) as in sacrificing (to spiritual beings).象传: 劓刖, 志未得也. 乃徐有说, 以中直也. 利用祭祀, 受福也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yì yuè, zhì wèi dé yě. nǎi xú yǒu shuō, yǐ zhōng zhí yě. lì yòng jì sì, shòu fú yě.
‘His nose and feet are cut off:’ - his aim has not yet been gained. ‘He is leisurely, however, in his movements, and is satisfied:’ - his position is central and (his virtue) is correct. ‘It will be well for him to be (as sincere as) in sacrificing:’ - so shall he receive blessing.
The sixth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject straitened, as if bound with creepers; or n a high and dangerous position, and saying (to himself), 'If I move, I shall repent it.' If he do repent of former errors, there will be good fortune in his going forward.象传: 困于葛藟, 未当也. 动悔, 有悔吉, 行也. Xiàng zhuàn: Kùn yú gé lěi, wèi dāng yě. dòng huǐ, yǒu huǐ jí, xíng yě.
‘He is straitened as if bound with creepers: (his spirit and action) are unsuitable.’ (He says), “If I move, I shall repent of it.” And he does repent (of former errors), which leads to good fortune:‘ - so he (now) goes on.
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.