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易經
the Hexagrams, Index

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

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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:









50. Ding

the Caldron



<
the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
上九:鼎玉铉,大吉,无不利。

Nine at the top means:

The ting has rings of jade.
Great good fortune.
Nothing that would not act to further.




In the preceding line the carrying rings are described as golden, to denote their strength; here they are said to be of jade. Jade is notable for its combination of hardness with soft luster. This counsel, in relation to the man who is open to it, works greatly t his advantage. Here the counsel is described in relation to the sage who imparts it. In imparting it, he will be mild and pure, like precious jade. Thus the work finds favor in the eyes of the Deity, who dispenses great good fortune, and becomes pleasing to men, wherefore all goes well.
the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
六五:鼎黄耳,金铉,利贞。

Six in the fifth place means:

The ting has yellow handles, golden carrying rings.
Perseverance furthers.




Here we have, in a ruling position, a man who is approachable and modest in nature. As a result of this attitude he succeeds in finding strong and able helpers who complement and aid him in his work. Having achieved this attitude, which requires constant self-abnegation, it is important for him to hold to it and not to let himself be led astray.
九四:鼎折足,覆公餗,其形渥,凶。

Nine in the fourth place means:

The legs of the ting are broken.
The prince's meal is spilled
And his person is soiled.
Misfortune.




A man has a difficult and responsible task to which he is not adequate. Moreover, he does not devote himself to it with all his strength but goes about with inferior people; therefore the execution of the work fails. In this way he also incurs personal opprobrium. Confucius says about this line: "Weak character coupled with honored place, meager knowledge with large plans, limited powers with heavy responsibility, will seldom escape disaster."
九三:鼎耳革,其行塞,雉膏不食,方雨亏悔,终吉。

Nine in the third place means:

The handle of the ting is altered.
One is impeded in his way of life.
The fat of the pheasant is not eaten.
Once rain falls, remorse is spent.
Good fortune comes in the end.




The handle is the means for lifting up the ting. If the handle is altered, the ting cannot be lifted up and used, and, sad to say, the delicious food in it, such as pheasant fat, cannot be eaten by anyone.
This describes a man who, in a highly evolved civilization, finds himself in a place where no one notices or recognizes him. This is a severe block to his effectiveness. All of his good qualities and gifts of mind thus needlessly go to waste. But if he will only see to it that he is possessed of something truly spiritual, the time is bound to come, sooner or later, when the difficulties will be resolved and all will go well.
The fall of rain symbolizes here, as in other instances, release of tension.
九二:鼎有实,我仇有疾,不我能即,吉。

Nine in the second place means:

There is food in the ting.
My comrades are envious,
But they cannot harm me.
Good fortune.




In a period of advanced culture, it is of the greatest importance that one should achieve something significant. If a man concentrates on such real undertakings, he may indeed experience envy and disfavor, but that is not dangerous. The more he limits himself to his actual achievements, the less harm the envious inflict on him.
初六:鼎颠趾,利出否,得妾以其子,无咎。

Six at the beginning means:

A ting with legs upturned.
Furthers removal of stagnating stuff.
One takes a concubine for the sake of her son.
No blame.




If a ting is turned upside down before being used, no harm is done-on the contrary, this clears it of refuse. A concubine's position is lowly, but because she has a son she comes to be honored.
These two metaphors express the idea that in a highly developed civilization, such as that indicated by this hexagram, every person of good will can in some way or other succeed. No matter how lowly he may be, provided he is ready to purify himself, he is accepted. He attains a station in which he can prove himself fruitful in accomplishment, and as a result he gains recognition.
the Sign of hexagram the Caldron tis:

the primary trigrams:
   above Trigram Li , the Clinging, the fire
   below Trigram Xun , the Gentle, the wind

the nuclear trigrams:
   above Trigram Dui , Trigram Dui, the Joyous, the lake
   below Trigram Qian , the Creative, the heaven

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

The six lines construct the image of Ding, The Caldron; at the bottom are the legs, over them the belly, then come the ears (handles), and at the top the carrying rings. At the same time, the image suggests the idea of nourishment. The ting, cast of bronze, was the vessel that held the cooked viands in the temple of the ancestors and at banquets. The heads of the family served the food from the ting into the bowls of the guests.
The Well (hexagram 48) likewise has the secondary meaning of giving nourishment, but rather more in relation to the people. The ting, as a utensil pertaining to a refined civilization, suggests the fostering and nourishing of able men, which redounded to the benefit of the state.
This hexagram and the Well are the only two in the Book of Changes that represent concrete, men-made objects. Yet here too the thought has its abstract connotation. Xun, below, is wood and wind; Li, above, is flame. Thus together they stand for the flame kindled by wood and wind, which likewise suggests the idea of preparing food.

The sequence:
Nothing transforms things so much as the ting. Hence there follows the hexagram of the Caldron.

The transformations wrought by Ding are on the one hand the changes produced in food by cooking, and on the other, in a figurative sense, the revolutionary effects resulting from the joint work of a prince and a sage.

Miscellaneous notes:
The Caldron means taking up the new.

The hexagram is structurally the inverse of the preceding one; in meaning also it presents a transformation. While hexagram Ge, Revolution (49) treats of revolution as such in its negative aspect, Ding shows the correct way of going about social reorganization. The two primary trigrams move in such a way that their action is mutually reinforcing. The nuclear trigrams Qian and Dui, which mean metal, complete the idea of the ting as a sacred ceremonial vessel. These old bronze vessels - as still occasionally found in excavations - have been connected throughout all time with the loftiest expressions of Chinese civilization.
the Judgement for hexagram the Caldron tis:

鼎:元吉,亨。

The Caldron. Supreme good fortune.
Success.




While the Caldron relates to the social foundation of our life, and this foundation is likened to the water that serves to nourish growing wood, the present hexagram refers to the cultural superstructure of society. Here it is the wood that serves as nourishment for the flame, the spirit. All that is visible must grow beyond itself, extend into the realm of the invisible. Thereby it receives its true consecration and clarity and takes firm root in the cosmic order.
Here we see civilization as it reaches its culmination in religion. The ting serves in offering sacrifice to God. The highest earthly values must be sacrificed to the divine. But the truly divine does not manifest itself apart from man. The supreme revelation of God appears in prophets and holy men. To venerate them is true veneration of God. The will of God, as revealed through them, should be accepted in humility; this brings inner enlightenment and true understanding of the world, and this leads to great good fortune and success.

Commentary on the Decision:

鼎,象也。以木巽火,亨饪也。圣人亨以享上帝,而大亨以养圣贤。巽而耳目聪明,柔进而上行,得中而应乎刚,是以元亨。

The Caldron is the image of an object. When one causes wood to penetrate fire, food is cooked. The holy man cooks in order to sacrifice to God the Lord, and he cooks feasts in order to nourish the holy and the worthy.
Through gentleness the ear and eye become sharp and clear. The yielding advances and goes upward. It attains the middle and finds correspondence in the firm; hence there is supreme success.




The whole hexagram, with its sequence of divided and undivided lines, is the image of a ting, from the legs below to the handle rings at the top. The trigram Xun below means wood and penetration; Li above means fire. Thus wood is put into fire, and the fire is kept up for the preparation of the meal. Strictly speaking, food is of course not cooked in the ting but is served in it after being cooked in the kitchen; nevertheless, the symbol of the ting carries also the idea of the preparation of food. The ting is a ceremonial vessel reserved for use in sacrifices and banquets, and herein lies the contrast between this hexagram and Jing, the Well (hexagram 48), which connotes nourishment of the people. In a sacrifice to God only one animal is needed, because it is not the gift but the sentiment that counts. For the entertainment of guests abundant food and great lavishness are needed. The upper trigram Li is eye, the fifth line stands for the ears of the ting; thus the image of eye and ear is suggested. The lower trigram Xun is the Gentle, the adaptive. Thereby the eye and ear become sharp and clear (clarity is the attribute of the trigram Li).
The yielding element that moves upward is the ruler of the hexagram in the fifth place; it stands in the relationship of correspondence to the strong assistant, the nine in the second place, hence has success. In ancient China nine ting were the symbol of sovereignty, hence the favorable oracle.
the Image going with hexagram the Caldron tis:

木上有火,鼎;君子以正位凝命。

Fire over wood:
The image of the Caldron.
Thus the superior man consolidates his fate
By making his position correct.




The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there is wood below, the fire burns above. It is the same in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life. And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These words contain hints about fostering of life as handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.




the nuclear hexagram:

43. Guai
Break-through (Resoluteness)

g
the Sign:

the primary trigrams:
   above Trigram Li , the Clinging, the fire
   below Trigram Xun , the Gentle, the wind

the nuclear trigrams:
   above Trigram Dui , Trigram Dui, the Joyous, the lake
   below Trigram Qian , the Creative, the heaven

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

The six lines construct the image of Ding, The Caldron; at the bottom are the legs, over them the belly, then come the ears (handles), and at the top the carrying rings. At the same time, the image suggests the idea of nourishment. The ting, cast of bronze, was the vessel that held the cooked viands in the temple of the ancestors and at banquets. The heads of the family served the food from the ting into the bowls of the guests.
The Well (hexagram 48) likewise has the secondary meaning of giving nourishment, but rather more in relation to the people. The ting, as a utensil pertaining to a refined civilization, suggests the fostering and nourishing of able men, which redounded to the benefit of the state.
This hexagram and the Well are the only two in the Book of Changes that represent concrete, men-made objects. Yet here too the thought has its abstract connotation. Xun, below, is wood and wind; Li, above, is flame. Thus together they stand for the flame kindled by wood and wind, which likewise suggests the idea of preparing food.

The sequence:
Nothing transforms things so much as the ting. Hence there follows the hexagram of the Caldron.

The transformations wrought by Ding are on the one hand the changes produced in food by cooking, and on the other, in a figurative sense, the revolutionary effects resulting from the joint work of a prince and a sage.

Miscellaneous notes:
The Caldron means taking up the new.

The hexagram is structurally the inverse of the preceding one; in meaning also it presents a transformation. While hexagram Ge, Revolution (49) treats of revolution as such in its negative aspect, Ding shows the correct way of going about social reorganization. The two primary trigrams move in such a way that their action is mutually reinforcing. The nuclear trigrams Qian and Dui, which mean metal, complete the idea of the ting as a sacred ceremonial vessel. These old bronze vessels - as still occasionally found in excavations - have been connected throughout all time with the loftiest expressions of Chinese civilization.


the Judgement:

鼎:元吉,亨。

The Caldron. Supreme good fortune.
Success.




While the Caldron relates to the social foundation of our life, and this foundation is likened to the water that serves to nourish growing wood, the present hexagram refers to the cultural superstructure of society. Here it is the wood that serves as nourishment for the flame, the spirit. All that is visible must grow beyond itself, extend into the realm of the invisible. Thereby it receives its true consecration and clarity and takes firm root in the cosmic order.
Here we see civilization as it reaches its culmination in religion. The ting serves in offering sacrifice to God. The highest earthly values must be sacrificed to the divine. But the truly divine does not manifest itself apart from man. The supreme revelation of God appears in prophets and holy men. To venerate them is true veneration of God. The will of God, as revealed through them, should be accepted in humility; this brings inner enlightenment and true understanding of the world, and this leads to great good fortune and success.

Commentary on the Decision:

鼎,象也。以木巽火,亨饪也。圣人亨以享上帝,而大亨以养圣贤。巽而耳目聪明,柔进而上行,得中而应乎刚,是以元亨。

The Caldron is the image of an object. When one causes wood to penetrate fire, food is cooked. The holy man cooks in order to sacrifice to God the Lord, and he cooks feasts in order to nourish the holy and the worthy.
Through gentleness the ear and eye become sharp and clear. The yielding advances and goes upward. It attains the middle and finds correspondence in the firm; hence there is supreme success.
 



The whole hexagram, with its sequence of divided and undivided lines, is the image of a ting, from the legs below to the handle rings at the top. The trigram Xun below means wood and penetration; Li above means fire. Thus wood is put into fire, and the fire is kept up for the preparation of the meal. Strictly speaking, food is of course not cooked in the ting but is served in it after being cooked in the kitchen; nevertheless, the symbol of the ting carries also the idea of the preparation of food. The ting is a ceremonial vessel reserved for use in sacrifices and banquets, and herein lies the contrast between this hexagram and Jing, the Well (hexagram 48), which connotes nourishment of the people. In a sacrifice to God only one animal is needed, because it is not the gift but the sentiment that counts. For the entertainment of guests abundant food and great lavishness are needed. The upper trigram Li is eye, the fifth line stands for the ears of the ting; thus the image of eye and ear is suggested. The lower trigram Xun is the Gentle, the adaptive. Thereby the eye and ear become sharp and clear (clarity is the attribute of the trigram Li).
The yielding element that moves upward is the ruler of the hexagram in the fifth place; it stands in the relationship of correspondence to the strong assistant, the nine in the second place, hence has success. In ancient China nine ting were the symbol of sovereignty, hence the favorable oracle.


the Image:

木上有火,鼎;君子以正位凝命。

Fire over wood:
The image of the Caldron.
Thus the superior man consolidates his fate
By making his position correct.




The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there is wood below, the fire burns above. It is the same in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life. And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These words contain hints about fostering of life as handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.


the Lines:


the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
上九:鼎玉铉,大吉,无不利。

Nine at the top means:

The ting has rings of jade.
Great good fortune.
Nothing that would not act to further.




In the preceding line the carrying rings are described as golden, to denote their strength; here they are said to be of jade. Jade is notable for its combination of hardness with soft luster. This counsel, in relation to the man who is open to it, works greatly t his advantage. Here the counsel is described in relation to the sage who imparts it. In imparting it, he will be mild and pure, like precious jade. Thus the work finds favor in the eyes of the Deity, who dispenses great good fortune, and becomes pleasing to men, wherefore all goes well.


the yellow circle is indicating this line as the governing ruler of the hexagram
六五:鼎黄耳,金铉,利贞。

Six in the fifth place means:

The ting has yellow handles, golden carrying rings.
Perseverance furthers.




Here we have, in a ruling position, a man who is approachable and modest in nature. As a result of this attitude he succeeds in finding strong and able helpers who complement and aid him in his work. Having achieved this attitude, which requires constant self-abnegation, it is important for him to hold to it and not to let himself be led astray.


九四:鼎折足,覆公餗,其形渥,凶。

Nine in the fourth place means:

The legs of the ting are broken.
The prince's meal is spilled
And his person is soiled.
Misfortune.




A man has a difficult and responsible task to which he is not adequate. Moreover, he does not devote himself to it with all his strength but goes about with inferior people; therefore the execution of the work fails. In this way he also incurs personal opprobrium. Confucius says about this line: "Weak character coupled with honored place, meager knowledge with large plans, limited powers with heavy responsibility, will seldom escape disaster."


九三:鼎耳革,其行塞,雉膏不食,方雨亏悔,终吉。

Nine in the third place means:

The handle of the ting is altered.
One is impeded in his way of life.
The fat of the pheasant is not eaten.
Once rain falls, remorse is spent.
Good fortune comes in the end.




The handle is the means for lifting up the ting. If the handle is altered, the ting cannot be lifted up and used, and, sad to say, the delicious food in it, such as pheasant fat, cannot be eaten by anyone.
This describes a man who, in a highly evolved civilization, finds himself in a place where no one notices or recognizes him. This is a severe block to his effectiveness. All of his good qualities and gifts of mind thus needlessly go to waste. But if he will only see to it that he is possessed of something truly spiritual, the time is bound to come, sooner or later, when the difficulties will be resolved and all will go well.
The fall of rain symbolizes here, as in other instances, release of tension.


九二:鼎有实,我仇有疾,不我能即,吉。

Nine in the second place means:

There is food in the ting.
My comrades are envious,
But they cannot harm me.
Good fortune.




In a period of advanced culture, it is of the greatest importance that one should achieve something significant. If a man concentrates on such real undertakings, he may indeed experience envy and disfavor, but that is not dangerous. The more he limits himself to his actual achievements, the less harm the envious inflict on him.


初六:鼎颠趾,利出否,得妾以其子,无咎。

Six at the beginning means:

A ting with legs upturned.
Furthers removal of stagnating stuff.
One takes a concubine for the sake of her son.
No blame.




If a ting is turned upside down before being used, no harm is done-on the contrary, this clears it of refuse. A concubine's position is lowly, but because she has a son she comes to be honored.
These two metaphors express the idea that in a highly developed civilization, such as that indicated by this hexagram, every person of good will can in some way or other succeed. No matter how lowly he may be, provided he is ready to purify himself, he is accepted. He attains a station in which he can prove himself fruitful in accomplishment, and as a result he gains recognition.