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易經
the Hexagrams, Index

In case you like to read a specific hexagram, then use this idex page.

Ancient Chinese coins

易經
het Hexagrammenboek

In case you prefer to ask a question or if you like to read a specific hexagram, then use this idex.






Table 1,

Select a hexagram by combining the trigrams:


Trigrammemindeling
Trigrammemindeling


Table 2,

Select a hexagram from the drop-down list.
The hexagrams are ordered by number:









3. Tun

Difficulty at the Beginning



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上六:乘马班如,泣血涟如。

Six at the top means:

Horse and wagon part.
Bloody tears flow.




The difficulties at the beginning are too great for some persons. They get stuck and never find their way out; they fold their hands and give up the struggle. Such resignation is the saddest of all things. Therefore Confucius says of this line: "Bloody tears flow: one should not persist in this."
the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
九五:屯其膏,小贞吉,大贞凶。

Nine in the fifth place means:

Difficulties in blessing.

A little perseverance brings good fortune.

Great perseverance brings misfortune.




An individual is in a position in which he cannot so express his good intentions that they will actually take shape and be understood. Other people interpose and distort everything he does. He should then be cautious and proceed step by step. He must not try to force the consummation of a great undertaking, because success is possible only when general confidence already prevails. It is only through faithful and conscientious work, unobtrusively carried on, that the situation gradually clears up and the hindrance disappears.
六四:乘马班如,求婚媾,往吉,无不利。

Six in the fourth place means:

Horse and wagon part.
Strive for union.
To go brings good fortune.
Everything acts to further.




We are in a situation in which it is our duty to act, but we lack sufficient power. However, an opportunity to make connections offers itself. It must be seized. Neither false pride nor false reserve should deter us. Bringing oneself to take the first step, even when it involves a certain degree of self-abnegation, is a sign of inner clarity. To accept help in a difficult situation is not a disgrace. If the right helper is found, all goes well.
六三:即鹿无虞,惟入于林中,君子几不如舍,往吝。

Six in the third place means:

Whoever hunts deer without the forester
Only loses his way in the forest.
The superior man understands the signs of the time
And prefers to desist.
To go on brings humiliation.




If a man tries to hunt in a strange forest and has no guide, he loses his way. When he finds himself in difficulties he must not try to steal out of them unthinkingly and without guidance. Fate cannot be duped; premature effort, without the necessary guidance, ends in failure and disgrace. Therefore the superior man, discerning the seeds of coming events, prefers to renounce a wish rather than to provoke failure and humiliation by trying to force its fulfillment.
六二:屯如邅如,乘马班如。匪寇婚媾,女子贞不字,十年乃字。

Six in the second place means:

Difficulties pile up.
Horse and wagon part.
He is not a robber;
He wants to woo when the time comes.
The maiden is chaste,
She does not pledge herself.
Ten years - then she pledges herself.




We find ourselves beset by difficulties and hindrances. Suddenly there is a turn of affairs, as if someone were coming up with a horse and wagon and unhitching them. This event comes so unexpectedly that we assume the newcomer to be a robber. Gradually it becomes clear that he has no evil intentions but seeks to be friendly and to offer help. But this offer is not to be accepted, because it does not come from the right quarter. We must wait until the time is fulfilled; ten years is a fulfilled cycle of time. Then normal conditions return of themselves, and we can join forces with the friend intended for us. Using the image of a betrothed girl who remains true to her lover in face of grave conflicts, the hexagram gives counsel for a special situation. When in times of difficulty a hindrance is encountered and unexpected relief is offered from a source unrelated to us, we must be careful and not take upon ourselves any obligations entailed by such help; otherwise our freedom of decision is impaired. If we bide our time, things will quiet down again, and we shall attain what we have hoped for.
the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
初九:磐桓;利居贞,利建侯。

Nine at the beginning means:

Hesitation and hindrance.
It furthers one to remain persevering.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.




If a person encounters a hindrance at the beginning of an enterprise, he must not try to force advance but must pause and take thought. However, nothing should put him off his course; he must persevere and constantly keep the goal in sight. It is important to seek out the right assistants, but he can find them only if he avoids arrogance and associated with his fellows in a spirit of humility. Only then will he attract those with whose help he can combat the difficulties.
the Sign of hexagram Difficulty at the Beginning Yis:

the primary trigrams:
   above Trigram Kan , the Abysmal, the water
   below Trigram Zhen , the Arousing, the thunder

the nuclear trigrams:
   above Trigram Gen , Keeping Still, the mountain
   below Trigram Kun , the Receptive, the earth

the enveloping trigrams:
   above Trigram Dui , Trigram Dui, the Joyous, the lake
   below Trigram Zhen , the Arousing, the thunder

The name of the hexagram, Chun, really connotes a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth - hence the meaning, "difficulty at the beginning." The hexagram indicates the way in which heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. It is their first meeting, which is beset with difficulties. The lower trigram Zhen is the Arousing; its motion is upward and its image is thunder. The upper trigram Kan stands for the Abysmal, the dangerous. Its motion is downward and its image is rain. The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; thunder and rain fill the air. But the chaos clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement eventually passes beyond the danger. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, and all things breathe freely again.

The sequence of the Hexagrams:
After heaven and earth have come into existence, individual beings develop. It is these individual beings that fill the space between heaven and earth. Hence there follows the hexagram of Difficulty at the Beginning. Difficulty at the beginning is the same as filling up.

Tun does not really mean filling up. What is meant is the difficulty that arises when heaven and earth, the light and the shadowy principle, have united for the first time, and all beings are begotten and brought to birth. This produces a chaos that fills up everything, hence the idea of filling up is associated with the hexagram Tun.

Miscellaneous notes:
Tun is visible but has not yet lost its dwelling.

The grass has already pushed its tips out of the earth, that is, it is visible but still within the earth, its original dwelling place. The upper nuclear trigram, mountain, indicates visibility; the lower, earth, means dwelling.
the Judgement for hexagram Difficulty at the Beginning Yis:

屯:元亨,利贞,勿用有攸往,利建侯。

Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success,
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertaken.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.




Times of growth are beset with difficulties. They resemble a first birth. But these difficulties arise from the very profusion of all that is struggling to attain form . Everything is in motion: therefore if one perseveres there is a prospect of great success, in spite of the existing danger. When it is a man's fate to undertake such new beginnings, everything is still unformed, dark. Hence he must hold back, because any premature move might bring disaster. Likewise, it is very important not to remain alone; in order to overcome the chaos he needs helpers. This is not to say, however, that he himself should look on passively at what is happening. He must lend his hand and participate with inspiration and guidance.

Commentary on the Decision:

屯,刚柔始交而难生,动乎险中,大亨贞。雷雨之动满盈,天造草昧,宜建侯而不宁。

Difficulty at the Beginning: the firm and the yielding unite for the first time, and the birth is difficult.
Movement in the midst of danger brings great success and perseverance.
The movement of thunder and rain fills the atmosphere. If chaos and darkness prevail while heaven is creating, it is fitting to appoint helpers, without being oneself thereby lulled to rest.




The lower primary trigram is Zhen, the eldest son, who comes into being when the light power and the dark power first draw together. This indicates the first union. Kan, the upper primary trigram, means difficulty, danger. This indicates the difficulty of the birth.
The lower trigram, Zhen, is movement; the upper, Kan, is danger. Hence we have movement in the midst of danger. By movement one gets out of the danger. This explains the words of the text: “Supreme success, furthering through perseverance.”
This too describes the filling up of the atmosphere with the difficulties that prevail up to the point when a thunderstorm breaks. The final effect, however, is presaged in the fact that the two images are not instanced in the sequence [predicated by the structure of the hexagram] of Kan (clouds) above and Zhen (thunder) below; instead, thunder is mentioned first and then the clouds, dissolved, are spoken of as rain.
Just as in a storm, thunder and darkening clouds precede release, so in the affairs of men a chaotic time precedes a period of order. At such a time a ruler entrusted with bringing order out of chaos needs efficient people. At first, however, the situation remains serious and difficult, and he must not try to rely wholly on others. This saying is suggested by the two rulers of the hexagram. The nine at the beginning indicates the efficient helper who should be appointed in such dangerous times; the nine in the fifth place means that there are still difficulties that preclude yielding to inaction. Because of the precarious conditions, the nine in the fifth place must still await the proper solution and may not yet rest.
the Image going with hexagram Difficulty at the Beginning Yis:

云,雷,屯;君子以经纶。

Clouds and thunder:
The image of Difficulty at the Beginning.
Thus the superior man
Brings order out of confusion.




Clouds and thunder are represented by definite decorative lines; this means that in the chaos of difficulty at the beginning, order is already implicit. So too the superior man has to arrange and organize the inchoate profusion of such times of beginning, just as one sorts out silk threads from a knotted tangle and binds them into skeins. In order to find one's place in the infinity of being, one must be able both to separate and to unite.




the nuclear hexagram:

23. Bo
Splitting Apart

!
the Sign:

the primary trigrams:
   above Trigram Kan , the Abysmal, the water
   below Trigram Zhen , the Arousing, the thunder

the nuclear trigrams:
   above Trigram Gen , Keeping Still, the mountain
   below Trigram Kun , the Receptive, the earth

the enveloping trigrams:
   above Trigram Dui , Trigram Dui, the Joyous, the lake
   below Trigram Zhen , the Arousing, the thunder

The name of the hexagram, Chun, really connotes a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth - hence the meaning, "difficulty at the beginning." The hexagram indicates the way in which heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. It is their first meeting, which is beset with difficulties. The lower trigram Zhen is the Arousing; its motion is upward and its image is thunder. The upper trigram Kan stands for the Abysmal, the dangerous. Its motion is downward and its image is rain. The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; thunder and rain fill the air. But the chaos clears up. While the Abysmal sinks, the upward movement eventually passes beyond the danger. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, and all things breathe freely again.

The sequence of the Hexagrams:
After heaven and earth have come into existence, individual beings develop. It is these individual beings that fill the space between heaven and earth. Hence there follows the hexagram of Difficulty at the Beginning. Difficulty at the beginning is the same as filling up.

Tun does not really mean filling up. What is meant is the difficulty that arises when heaven and earth, the light and the shadowy principle, have united for the first time, and all beings are begotten and brought to birth. This produces a chaos that fills up everything, hence the idea of filling up is associated with the hexagram Tun.

Miscellaneous notes:
Tun is visible but has not yet lost its dwelling.
 
The grass has already pushed its tips out of the earth, that is, it is visible but still within the earth, its original dwelling place. The upper nuclear trigram, mountain, indicates visibility; the lower, earth, means dwelling.


the Judgement:

屯:元亨,利贞,勿用有攸往,利建侯。

Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success,
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertaken.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.




Times of growth are beset with difficulties. They resemble a first birth. But these difficulties arise from the very profusion of all that is struggling to attain form . Everything is in motion: therefore if one perseveres there is a prospect of great success, in spite of the existing danger. When it is a man's fate to undertake such new beginnings, everything is still unformed, dark. Hence he must hold back, because any premature move might bring disaster. Likewise, it is very important not to remain alone; in order to overcome the chaos he needs helpers. This is not to say, however, that he himself should look on passively at what is happening. He must lend his hand and participate with inspiration and guidance.

Commentary on the Decision:

屯,刚柔始交而难生,动乎险中,大亨贞。雷雨之动满盈,天造草昧,宜建侯而不宁。

Difficulty at the Beginning: the firm and the yielding unite for the first time, and the birth is difficult.
Movement in the midst of danger brings great success and perseverance.
The movement of thunder and rain fills the atmosphere. If chaos and darkness prevail while heaven is creating, it is fitting to appoint helpers, without being oneself thereby lulled to rest.
 



The lower primary trigram is Zhen, the eldest son, who comes into being when the light power and the dark power first draw together. This indicates the first union. Kan, the upper primary trigram, means difficulty, danger. This indicates the difficulty of the birth.
The lower trigram, Zhen, is movement; the upper, Kan, is danger. Hence we have movement in the midst of danger. By movement one gets out of the danger. This explains the words of the text: “Supreme success, furthering through perseverance.”
This too describes the filling up of the atmosphere with the difficulties that prevail up to the point when a thunderstorm breaks. The final effect, however, is presaged in the fact that the two images are not instanced in the sequence [predicated by the structure of the hexagram] of Kan (clouds) above and Zhen (thunder) below; instead, thunder is mentioned first and then the clouds, dissolved, are spoken of as rain.
Just as in a storm, thunder and darkening clouds precede release, so in the affairs of men a chaotic time precedes a period of order. At such a time a ruler entrusted with bringing order out of chaos needs efficient people. At first, however, the situation remains serious and difficult, and he must not try to rely wholly on others. This saying is suggested by the two rulers of the hexagram. The nine at the beginning indicates the efficient helper who should be appointed in such dangerous times; the nine in the fifth place means that there are still difficulties that preclude yielding to inaction. Because of the precarious conditions, the nine in the fifth place must still await the proper solution and may not yet rest.


the Image:

云,雷,屯;君子以经纶。

Clouds and thunder:
The image of Difficulty at the Beginning.
Thus the superior man
Brings order out of confusion.




Clouds and thunder are represented by definite decorative lines; this means that in the chaos of difficulty at the beginning, order is already implicit. So too the superior man has to arrange and organize the inchoate profusion of such times of beginning, just as one sorts out silk threads from a knotted tangle and binds them into skeins. In order to find one's place in the infinity of being, one must be able both to separate and to unite.


the Lines:


上六:乘马班如,泣血涟如。

Six at the top means:

Horse and wagon part.
Bloody tears flow.




The difficulties at the beginning are too great for some persons. They get stuck and never find their way out; they fold their hands and give up the struggle. Such resignation is the saddest of all things. Therefore Confucius says of this line: "Bloody tears flow: one should not persist in this."


the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
九五:屯其膏,小贞吉,大贞凶。

Nine in the fifth place means:

Difficulties in blessing.

A little perseverance brings good fortune.

Great perseverance brings misfortune.




An individual is in a position in which he cannot so express his good intentions that they will actually take shape and be understood. Other people interpose and distort everything he does. He should then be cautious and proceed step by step. He must not try to force the consummation of a great undertaking, because success is possible only when general confidence already prevails. It is only through faithful and conscientious work, unobtrusively carried on, that the situation gradually clears up and the hindrance disappears.


六四:乘马班如,求婚媾,往吉,无不利。

Six in the fourth place means:

Horse and wagon part.
Strive for union.
To go brings good fortune.
Everything acts to further.




We are in a situation in which it is our duty to act, but we lack sufficient power. However, an opportunity to make connections offers itself. It must be seized. Neither false pride nor false reserve should deter us. Bringing oneself to take the first step, even when it involves a certain degree of self-abnegation, is a sign of inner clarity. To accept help in a difficult situation is not a disgrace. If the right helper is found, all goes well.


六三:即鹿无虞,惟入于林中,君子几不如舍,往吝。

Six in the third place means:

Whoever hunts deer without the forester
Only loses his way in the forest.
The superior man understands the signs of the time
And prefers to desist.
To go on brings humiliation.




If a man tries to hunt in a strange forest and has no guide, he loses his way. When he finds himself in difficulties he must not try to steal out of them unthinkingly and without guidance. Fate cannot be duped; premature effort, without the necessary guidance, ends in failure and disgrace. Therefore the superior man, discerning the seeds of coming events, prefers to renounce a wish rather than to provoke failure and humiliation by trying to force its fulfillment.


六二:屯如邅如,乘马班如。匪寇婚媾,女子贞不字,十年乃字。

Six in the second place means:

Difficulties pile up.
Horse and wagon part.
He is not a robber;
He wants to woo when the time comes.
The maiden is chaste,
She does not pledge herself.
Ten years - then she pledges herself.




We find ourselves beset by difficulties and hindrances. Suddenly there is a turn of affairs, as if someone were coming up with a horse and wagon and unhitching them. This event comes so unexpectedly that we assume the newcomer to be a robber. Gradually it becomes clear that he has no evil intentions but seeks to be friendly and to offer help. But this offer is not to be accepted, because it does not come from the right quarter. We must wait until the time is fulfilled; ten years is a fulfilled cycle of time. Then normal conditions return of themselves, and we can join forces with the friend intended for us. Using the image of a betrothed girl who remains true to her lover in face of grave conflicts, the hexagram gives counsel for a special situation. When in times of difficulty a hindrance is encountered and unexpected relief is offered from a source unrelated to us, we must be careful and not take upon ourselves any obligations entailed by such help; otherwise our freedom of decision is impaired. If we bide our time, things will quiet down again, and we shall attain what we have hoped for.


the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
初九:磐桓;利居贞,利建侯。

Nine at the beginning means:

Hesitation and hindrance.
It furthers one to remain persevering.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.




If a person encounters a hindrance at the beginning of an enterprise, he must not try to force advance but must pause and take thought. However, nothing should put him off his course; he must persevere and constantly keep the goal in sight. It is important to seek out the right assistants, but he can find them only if he avoids arrogance and associated with his fellows in a spirit of humility. Only then will he attract those with whose help he can combat the difficulties.