损 Sǔn Diminution Reduction [hexagram 41]
Month 7 ; Host or Controlling line : 5
损: 有孚, 元吉, 无咎, 可贞, 利有攸往. 曷之用, 二簋可用享. Sǔn: yǒu fú, yuán jí, wú jiù, kě zhēn, lì yǒu yōu wǎng. hé zhī yòng, èr guǐ kě yòng xiǎng.
In (what is denoted by) Sun, if there be sincerity (in him who employs it), there will be great good fortune:--freedom from error; firmness and correctness that can be maintained; and advantage in every movement that shall be made. In what shall this (sincerity in the exercise of Sun) be employed? (Even) in sacrifice two baskets of grain, (though there be nothing else), may be presented.彖传: 损, 损下益上, 其道上行. 损而有孚, 元吉, 无咎, 可贞, 利有攸往. 曷之用？二簋可用享; 二簋应有时. 损刚益柔有时, 损益盈虚, 与时偕行. Tuàn zhuàn: Sǔn, sǔn xià yì shàng, qí dào shàng xíng. sǔn ér yǒu fú, yuán jí, wú jiù, kě zhēn, lì yǒu yōu wǎng. hé zhī yòng? èr guǐ kě yòng xiǎng; èr guǐ yīng yǒu shí. sǔn gāng yì róu yǒu shí, sǔn yì yíng xū, yǔ shí xié xíng.
In Sun (we see) the lower (trigram) diminished, and the upper added to. (But) the method (of action) implied in this operates also above (or, mounts upwards (also) and operates). 'If there be sincerity in this method of diminution, there will be great good fortune; freedom from error; firmness and correctness that can be maintained; and advantage in every movement that shall be made. In what shall this (sincerity in the exercise of Sun) be employed? (Even) in sacrifice, two baskets of grain, (though there be nothing else), may be presented:' - for these two baskets there ought to be the fitting time. There is a time when the strong should be diminished, and the weak should be strengthened. Diminution and increase, overflowing and emptiness: -these take place in harmony with the conditions of the time.象传: 山下有泽, 损; 君子以惩忿窒欲. Xiàng zhuàn: Shān xià yǒu zé, sǔn; jūn zǐ yǐ chéng fèn zhì yù.
(The trigram representing) a mountain and beneath it that for the waters of a marsh form Sun. The superior man, in accordance with this, restrains his wrath and represses his desires.
The first ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject suspending his own affairs, and hurrying away (to help the subject of the fourth line). He will commit no error, but let him consider how far he should contribute of what is his (for the other).象传: 巳事遄往, 尚合志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Sì shì chuán wǎng, shàng hé zhì yě.
‘He suspends his own affairs and hurries away (to help the subject of the fourth line):’ - the (subject of that) upper (line) mingles his wishes with his.
The second ‘nine’, undivided, shows that it will be advantageous for its subject to maintain a firm correctness, and that action on his part will be evil. He can give increase (to his correlate) without taking from himself.象传: 九二利贞, 中以为志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Jiǔ èr lì zhēn, zhōng yǐ wéi zhì yě.
‘It will be advantageous for (the subject of) the second ‘nine’, (undivided), to maintain his firm correctness:’ - his central position gives its character to his aim.
The third ‘six’, divided, shows how of three men walking together, the number is diminished by one; and how one, walking, finds his friend.象传: 一人行, 三则疑也. Xiàng zhuàn: Yī rén xíng, sān zé yí yě.
‘One man, walking,’ (finds his friend): - when three are together, doubts rise among them.
The fourth ‘six’, divided, shows its subject diminishing the ailment under which he labors by making (the subject of the first line) hasten (to his help), and make him glad. There will be no error.象传: 损其疾, 亦可喜也. Xiàng zhuàn: Sǔn qí jí, yì kě xǐ yě.
‘He diminishes the ailment under which he labors:’ - this is matter for joy.
The fifth ‘six’, divided, shows parties adding to (the stores of) its subject ten pairs of tortoise shells, and accepting no refusal. There will be great good fortune.象传: 六五元吉, 自上佑也. Xiàng zhuàn: Liù wǔ yuán jí, zì shàng yòu yě.
‘The great good fortune attached to the fifth ‘six’, (divided),’ is due to the blessing from above.
The topmost ‘nine’, undivided, shows its subject giving increase to others without taking from himself. There will be no error. With firm correctness there will be good fortune. There will be advantage in every movement that shall be made. He will find ministers more than can be counted by their clans.象传: 弗损益之, 大得志也. Xiàng zhuàn: Fú sǔn yì zhī, dà dé zhì yě.
‘He gives increase to others without taking from what is his own:’ - he obtains his wish on a grand scale.
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.
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