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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:









33. Dun

Retreat



<
上九:肥遯,无不利。

Nine at the top means:

Cheerful retreat. Everything serves to further.



The situation is unequivocal. Inner detachment has become an established fact, and we are at liberty to depart. When one sees the way ahead thus clearly, free of all doubt, a cheerful mood sets in, and one chooses what is right without further thought. Such a clear path ahead always leads to the good.
the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
九五:嘉遯,贞吉。

Nine in the fifth place means:

Friendly retreat. Perseverance brings good fortune.



It is the business of the superior man to recognize in time that the moment for retreat has come. If the right moment is chosen, the retreat can be carried out within the forms of perfect friendliness, without the necessity of disagreeable discussions. Yet, for all the observance of amenities, absolute firmness of decision is necessary if one is not to be led astray by irrelevant considerations.
九四:好遯,君子吉,小人否。

Nine in the fourth place means:

Voluntary retreat brings good fortune to the superior man
And downfall to the inferior man.



In retreating the superior man is intent on taking his departure willingly and in all friendliness. He easily adjusts his mind to retreat, because in retreating he does not have to do violence to his convictions. The only one who suffers is the inferior man from whom he retreats, who will degenerate when deprived of the guidance of the superior man.
九三:系遯,有疾厉,畜臣妾吉。

Nine in the third place means:

A halted retreat
Is nerve-wracking and dangerous.
To retain people as men- and maidservants
Brings good fortune.



When it is time to retreat it is both unpleasant and dangerous to be held back, because then one no longer has freedom of action. In such a case the only expedient is to take into one's service, so to speak, those who refuse to let one go, so that one may at least keep one's initiative and not fall helplessly under their domination. But even with this expedient the situation is far from satisfactory - for what can one hope to accomplish with such servants?
the yellow square is indicating this line as the constituting ruler of the hexagram
六二:执之用黄牛之革,莫之胜说。

Six in the second place means:

He holds him fast with yellow oxhide.
No one can tear him loose.



Yellow is the color of the middle. It indicates that which is correct and in line with duty. Oxhide is strong and not to be torn.
While the superior men retreat and the inferior press after them, the inferior man represented here holds on so firmly and tightly to the superior man that the latter cannot shake him off. And because he is in quest of what is right an so strong in purpose, he reaches his goal. Thus the line confirms what is said in the Judgment: "In what is small" - here equivalent to "in the inferior man" - "perseverance furthers."
the yellow square is indicating this line as the constituting ruler of the hexagram
初六:遯尾,厉,勿用有攸往。

Six at the beginning means:

At the tail in retreat. This is dangerous.
One must not wish to undertake anything.



Since the hexagram is the picture of something that is retreating, the lowest line represents the tail and the top line the head. In a retreat it is advantageous to be at the front. Here one is at the back, in immediate contact with the pursuing enemy. This is dangerous, and under such circumstances it is not advisable to undertake anything. Keeping still is the easiest way of escaping from the threatening danger.
the Sign of hexagram Retreat his:

the primary trigrams:
   above Trigram Qian , the Creative, the heaven
   below Trigram Gen , Keeping Still, the mountain

the nuclear trigrams:
   above Trigram Qian , the Creative, the heaven
   below Trigram Xun , the Gentle, the wind

the enveloping trigrams:
   above Trigram Xun , the Gentle, the wind
   below Trigram Gen , Keeping Still, the mountain

The power of the dark is ascending. The light retreats to security, so that the dark cannot encroach upon it. This retreat is a matter not of man's will but of natural law. Therefore in this case withdrawal is proper; it is the correct way to behave in order not to exhaust one's forces.
In the calendar this hexagram is linked with the sixth month (July-August), in which the forces of winter are already showing their influence.

The sequence:
Things cannot abide forever in their place: hence there follows the hexagram of Retreat. Retreat means withdrawing.

Miscellaneous notes:
Retreat means withdrawing.
the Judgement for hexagram Retreat his:

遯:亨,小利贞。

Retreat. Success.
In what is small, perseverance furthers.



Conditions are such that the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing. In this case retreat is the right course, and it is not to be confused with flight. Flight means saving oneself under any circumstances, whereas retreat is a sign of strength. We must be careful not to miss the right moment while we are in full possession of power and position. Then we shall be able to interpret the signs of the time before it is too late and to prepare for provisional retreat instead of being drawn into a desperate life-and-death struggle. Thus we do not simple abandon the field to the opponent; we make it difficult for him to advance by showing perseverance in single acts of resistance. In this way we prepare, while retreating, for the counter-movement. Understanding the laws of a constructive retreat of this sort is not easy. The meaning that lies hidden in such a time is important.

Commentary on the Decision:

遯亨,遯而亨也。刚当位而应,与时行也。小利贞,浸而长也。遯之时义大矣哉!

“Retreat. Success”: this means that success lies in retreating.
The firm is in the appropriate place and finds correspondence. This means that one is in accord with the time.
“In what is small, perseverance furthers”: this means that it is pressing forward, and on the increase.
Great indeed is the meaning of the time of Retreat.



Success lies in being able to retreat at the right moment and in the right manner. This success is made possible by the fact that the retreat is not the forced flight of a weak person but the voluntary withdrawal of a strong one, as is implicit in the nature of the strong ruler of the hexagram, the nine in the fifth place, which finds correspondence in the weak six in the second place. Strength is shown in that one does not attempt to force anything but shows perseverance in small matters alone, because the dark element, represented by the two yin lines below, is pressing forward and on the increase.
The meaning of the time of Retreat is great; that is, it is vitally important to hit upon the moment when retreat is called for.
the Image going with hexagram Retreat his:

天下有山,遯;君子以远小人,不恶而严。

Mountain under heaven: the image of Retreat.
Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance,
Not angrily but with reserve.



The mountain rises up under heaven, but owing to its nature it finally comes to a stop. Heaven on the other hand retreats upward before it into the distance and remains out of reach. This symbolizes the behavior of the superior man toward a climbing inferior; he retreats into his own thoughts as the inferior man comes forward. He does not hate him, for hatred is a form of subjective involvement by which we are bound to the hated object. The superior man shows strength (heaven) in that he brings the inferior man to a standstill (mountain) by his dignified reserve.




the nuclear hexagram:

44. Gou
Coming to Meet

b
the Sign:

the primary trigrams:
   above Trigram Qian , the Creative, the heaven
   below Trigram Gen , Keeping Still, the mountain

the nuclear trigrams:
   above Trigram Qian , the Creative, the heaven
   below Trigram Xun , the Gentle, the wind

the enveloping trigrams:
   above Trigram Xun , the Gentle, the wind
   below Trigram Gen , Keeping Still, the mountain

The power of the dark is ascending. The light retreats to security, so that the dark cannot encroach upon it. This retreat is a matter not of man's will but of natural law. Therefore in this case withdrawal is proper; it is the correct way to behave in order not to exhaust one's forces.
In the calendar this hexagram is linked with the sixth month (July-August), in which the forces of winter are already showing their influence.

The sequence:
Things cannot abide forever in their place: hence there follows the hexagram of Retreat. Retreat means withdrawing.

Miscellaneous notes:
Retreat means withdrawing.


the Judgement:

遯:亨,小利贞。

Retreat. Success.
In what is small, perseverance furthers.



Conditions are such that the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing. In this case retreat is the right course, and it is not to be confused with flight. Flight means saving oneself under any circumstances, whereas retreat is a sign of strength. We must be careful not to miss the right moment while we are in full possession of power and position. Then we shall be able to interpret the signs of the time before it is too late and to prepare for provisional retreat instead of being drawn into a desperate life-and-death struggle. Thus we do not simple abandon the field to the opponent; we make it difficult for him to advance by showing perseverance in single acts of resistance. In this way we prepare, while retreating, for the counter-movement. Understanding the laws of a constructive retreat of this sort is not easy. The meaning that lies hidden in such a time is important.

Commentary on the Decision:

遯亨,遯而亨也。刚当位而应,与时行也。小利贞,浸而长也。遯之时义大矣哉!

“Retreat. Success”: this means that success lies in retreating.
The firm is in the appropriate place and finds correspondence. This means that one is in accord with the time.
“In what is small, perseverance furthers”: this means that it is pressing forward, and on the increase.
Great indeed is the meaning of the time of Retreat.
 


Success lies in being able to retreat at the right moment and in the right manner. This success is made possible by the fact that the retreat is not the forced flight of a weak person but the voluntary withdrawal of a strong one, as is implicit in the nature of the strong ruler of the hexagram, the nine in the fifth place, which finds correspondence in the weak six in the second place. Strength is shown in that one does not attempt to force anything but shows perseverance in small matters alone, because the dark element, represented by the two yin lines below, is pressing forward and on the increase.
The meaning of the time of Retreat is great; that is, it is vitally important to hit upon the moment when retreat is called for.


the Image:

天下有山,遯;君子以远小人,不恶而严。

Mountain under heaven: the image of Retreat.
Thus the superior man keeps the inferior man at a distance,
Not angrily but with reserve.



The mountain rises up under heaven, but owing to its nature it finally comes to a stop. Heaven on the other hand retreats upward before it into the distance and remains out of reach. This symbolizes the behavior of the superior man toward a climbing inferior; he retreats into his own thoughts as the inferior man comes forward. He does not hate him, for hatred is a form of subjective involvement by which we are bound to the hated object. The superior man shows strength (heaven) in that he brings the inferior man to a standstill (mountain) by his dignified reserve.


the Lines:


上九:肥遯,无不利。

Nine at the top means:

Cheerful retreat. Everything serves to further.



The situation is unequivocal. Inner detachment has become an established fact, and we are at liberty to depart. When one sees the way ahead thus clearly, free of all doubt, a cheerful mood sets in, and one chooses what is right without further thought. Such a clear path ahead always leads to the good.


the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
九五:嘉遯,贞吉。

Nine in the fifth place means:

Friendly retreat. Perseverance brings good fortune.



It is the business of the superior man to recognize in time that the moment for retreat has come. If the right moment is chosen, the retreat can be carried out within the forms of perfect friendliness, without the necessity of disagreeable discussions. Yet, for all the observance of amenities, absolute firmness of decision is necessary if one is not to be led astray by irrelevant considerations.


九四:好遯,君子吉,小人否。

Nine in the fourth place means:

Voluntary retreat brings good fortune to the superior man
And downfall to the inferior man.



In retreating the superior man is intent on taking his departure willingly and in all friendliness. He easily adjusts his mind to retreat, because in retreating he does not have to do violence to his convictions. The only one who suffers is the inferior man from whom he retreats, who will degenerate when deprived of the guidance of the superior man.


九三:系遯,有疾厉,畜臣妾吉。

Nine in the third place means:

A halted retreat
Is nerve-wracking and dangerous.
To retain people as men- and maidservants
Brings good fortune.



When it is time to retreat it is both unpleasant and dangerous to be held back, because then one no longer has freedom of action. In such a case the only expedient is to take into one's service, so to speak, those who refuse to let one go, so that one may at least keep one's initiative and not fall helplessly under their domination. But even with this expedient the situation is far from satisfactory - for what can one hope to accomplish with such servants?


the yellow square is indicating this line as the constituting ruler of the hexagram
六二:执之用黄牛之革,莫之胜说。

Six in the second place means:

He holds him fast with yellow oxhide.
No one can tear him loose.



Yellow is the color of the middle. It indicates that which is correct and in line with duty. Oxhide is strong and not to be torn.
While the superior men retreat and the inferior press after them, the inferior man represented here holds on so firmly and tightly to the superior man that the latter cannot shake him off. And because he is in quest of what is right an so strong in purpose, he reaches his goal. Thus the line confirms what is said in the Judgment: "In what is small" - here equivalent to "in the inferior man" - "perseverance furthers."


the yellow square is indicating this line as the constituting ruler of the hexagram
初六:遯尾,厉,勿用有攸往。

Six at the beginning means:

At the tail in retreat. This is dangerous.
One must not wish to undertake anything.



Since the hexagram is the picture of something that is retreating, the lowest line represents the tail and the top line the head. In a retreat it is advantageous to be at the front. Here one is at the back, in immediate contact with the pursuing enemy. This is dangerous, and under such circumstances it is not advisable to undertake anything. Keeping still is the easiest way of escaping from the threatening danger.