师 Shī Mass action Multitude [hexagram 7]
Month 4 ; Host or Controlling line : 2
师: 贞, 丈人, 吉无咎. Shī: zhēn, zhàng rén, jí wú jiù.
Shi indicates how, in the case which it supposes, with firmness and correctness, and (a leader of) age and experience, there will be good fortune and no error.彖传: 师, 众也, 贞正也, 能以众正, 可以王矣. 刚中而应, 行险而顺, 以此毒天下, 而民从之, 吉又何咎矣. Tuàn zhuàn: Shī, zhòng yě, zhēn zhēng yě, néng yǐ zhòng zhēng, kě yǐ wáng yǐ. gāng zhōng ér yìng, háng xiǎn ér shùn, yǐ cǐ dú tiān xià, ér mín cóng zhī, jí yòu hé jiù yǐ.
(The name) Shi describes the multitude (of the host). The ‘firmness and correctness’ (which the hexagram indicates) refer to (moral) correctness (of aim). When (the mover) is able to use the multitude with such correctness, he may attain to the royal sway. There is (the symbol of) strength in the center (of the trigram below), and it is responded to (by its proper correlate above). The action gives rise to perils, but is in accordance (with the best sentiments of men). (Its mover) may by such action distress all the country, but the people will follow him; - there will be good fortune, and what error should there be?象传: 地中有水, 师; 君子以容民畜众. Xiàng zhuàn: De zhōng yǒu shuǐ, shī; jūn zǐ yǐ róng mín chù zhòng.
(The trigram representing) the earth and in the midst of it that representing water, form Shi. The superior man, in accordance with this, nourishes and educates the people, and collects (from among them) the multitudes (of the hosts).
The first ‘six’, divided, shows the host going forth according to the rules (for such a movement). If these be not good, there will be evil.象传: 师出以律, 失律凶也. Xiàng zhuàn: Shī chū yǐ lù:, shī lù: xiōng yě.
'The host goes forth according to the rules (for) such a movement:' - if those rules be not observed, there will be evil.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows (the leader) in the midst of the host. There will be good fortune and no error. The king has thrice conveyed to him the orders (of his favor).象传: 在师中吉, 承天宠也. 王三锡命, 怀万邦也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zài shī zhōng jí, chéng tiān chǒng yě. wáng sān xī mìng, huái wàn bāng yě.
‘He is in the midst of the host, and there will be good fortune:’ - he has received the favor of Heaven. ‘The king has thrice conveyed to him the orders (of) his favor:’ - (the king) cherishes the myriad regions in his heart.
The third ‘six’, divided, shows how the host may, possibly, have many inefficient leaders. There will be evil.象传: 师或舆尸, 大无功也. Xiàng zhuàn: Shī huò yú shī, dà wú gōng yě.
‘The host with the possibility of its having many idle leaders:’ - great will be its want of success.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows the host in retreat. There is no error.象传: 左次无咎, 未失常也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zuǒ cì wú jiù, wèi shī cháng yě.
‘The host is in retreat; but there is no error:’ - there has been no failure in the regular course.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows birds in the fields, which it will be advantageous to seize (and destroy). In that case there will be no error. If the oldest son leads the host, and younger men (idly occupy offices assigned to them), however firm and correct he may be, there will be evil.象传: 长子帅师, 以中行也. 弟子舆尸, 使不当也. Xiàng zhuàn: Zhǎng zǐ shuài shī, yǐ zhōng háng yě. Dì zǐ yú shī, shǐ bù dàng yě.
‘The oldest son leads the host:’ - its movements are directed by him in accordance with his position in the center. ‘Younger men idly occupy their positions:’ - the employment of such men is improper.
The topmost ‘six’, divided, shows the great ruler delivering his charges, (appointing some) to be rulers of states, and others to undertake the headship of clans; but small men should not be employed (in such positions).象传: 大君有命, 以正功也. 小人勿用, 必乱邦也. Xiàng zhuàn: Dà jūn yǒu mìng, yǐ zhēng gōng yě. xiǎo rén wù yòng, bì luàn bāng yě.
‘The great ruler delivers his charges:’ - thereby he rightly apportions merit. ‘Small men should not be employed:’ - they are sure to throw the states into confusion.
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.