明夷 Míng Yí Overshadow Darkening [hexagram 36]
Month 9 ; Host or Controlling line : 5
明夷: 利艰贞. Míng yí: lì jiān zhēn.
Ming Yi indicates that (in the circumstances which it denotes) it will be advantageous to realize the difficulty (of the position), and maintain firm correctness.彖传: 明入地中, 明夷. 内文明而外柔顺, 以蒙大难, 文王以之. 利艰贞, 晦其明也, 内难而能正其志, 箕子以之. Tuàn zhuàn: Míng rù dì zhōng, míng yí. Nèi wén míng ér wài róu shùn, yǐ méng dà nàn, wén wàng yǐ zhī. Lì jiān zhēn, huì qímíng yě, nèi nán ér néng zhèng qí zhì, jī zǐ yǐ zhī.
(The symbol of) the Earth and that of Brightness entering into the midst of it give the idea of Ming Yi (Brightness wounded or obscured). The inner (trigram) denotes being accomplished and bright; the outer, being pliant and submissive. The case of king Wen was that of one who with these qualities was yet involved in great difficulties. 'It will be advantageous to realize the difficulty (of the position), and maintain firm correctness: - that is, (the individual concerned) should obscure his brightness. The case of the count of K? was that of one who, amidst the difficulties of his House, was able (thus) to maintain his aim and mind correct.象传: 明入地中, 明夷; 君子以莅众, 用晦而明. Xiàng zhuàn: Míng rù dì zhōng, míng yí; jūn zǐ yǐ lì zhòng, yòng huì érmíng.
(The trigram representing) the earth and that for the bright (sun) entering within it form Ming Yi. The superior man, in accordance with this, conducts his management of men; - he shows his intelligence by keeping it obscured.
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject, (in the condition indicated by) Ming Yi, flying, but with drooping wings. When the superior man (is revolving) his going away, he may be for three days without eating. Wherever he goes, the people there may speak (derisively of him).象传: 君子于行, 义不食也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jūn zǐ yú xíng, yì bù shí yě.
‘The superior man (is revolving his) going away:’ - (in such a case) he feels it right not to eat.
The second ‘six’, divided, shows its subject, (in the condition indicated by) Ming Yi, wounded in the left thigh. He saves himself by the strength of a (swift) horse; and is fortunate.象传: 六二之吉, 顺以则也. Xiàng zhuàn: Liù èr zhī jí, shùn yǐ zé yě.
‘The good fortune of (the subject of) the second ‘six’, divided,’ is due to the proper fashion of his acting according to his circumstances.
The third ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject, (in the condition indicated by) Ming Yi, hunting in the south, and taking the great chief (of the darkness). He should not be eager to make (all) correct (at once).象传: 南狩之志, 乃大得也. Xiàng zhuàn: Nán shòu zhī zhì, nǎi dà dé yě.
With the aim represented by ‘hunting in the south’ a great achievement is accomplished.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject (just) entered into the left side of the belly (of the dark land). (But) he is able to carry out the mind appropriate (in the condition indicated by) Ming Yi, quitting the gate and courtyard (of the lord of darkness).象传: 入于左腹, 获心意也. Xiàng zhuàn: Rù yú zuǒ fù, huò xīn yì yě.
‘He has (just) entered into the left side of the belly (of the dark land):’ - he is still able to carry out the idea in his (inner) mind.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows how the Count of Ki fulfilled the condition indicated by Ming Yi. It will be advantageous to be firm and correct.象传: 箕子之贞, 明不可息也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jī zǐ zhī zhēn, míng bù kě xī yě.
‘With the firm correctness of the Count of Ki,’ his brightness could not be (quite) extinguished.
The sixth ‘six’, divided, shows the case where there is no light, but (only) obscurity. (Its subject) had at first ascended to (the top of) the sky; his future shall be to go into the earth.象传: 初登于天, 照四国也. 后入于地, 失则也. Xiàng zhuàn: Chū dēng yú tiān, zhào sì guó yě. Hòu rù yú dì, shī zé yě.
‘He had at first ascended to (the top of) the sky:’ - he might have enlightened the four quarters of the kingdom. ‘His future shall be to go into the earth:’ - he has failed to fulfill the model (of a ruler).
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.