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Chinese Text Project
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《繫辭下 - Xi Ci II》

English translation: James Legge [?] Library Resources
[Also known as: "The Great Treatise II"]

1 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
The eight trigrams having been completed in their proper order, there were in each the (three) emblematic lines. They were then multiplied by a process of addition till the (six) component lines appeared. The strong line and the weak push themselves each into the place of the other, and hence the changes (of the diagrams) take place. The appended explanations attach to every form of them its character (of good or ill), and hence the movements (suggested by divination) are determined accordingly.
Good fortune and ill, occasion for repentance or regret, all arise from these movements. The strong and the weak (lines) have their fixed and proper places (in the diagrams); their changes, however varied, are according to the requirements of the time (when they take place).
Good fortune and ill are continually prevailing each against the other by an exact rule. By the same rule, heaven and earth, in their course, continually give forth (their lessons); the sun and moon continually emit their light; all the movements under the sky are constantly subject to this one and the same rule.
Qian, (the symbol of heaven, and) conveying the idea of strength, shows to men its easy (and natural) action. Kun, (the symbol of earth, and) conveying the idea of docility, shows to men its compendious (receptivity and operation). The Yao (or lines) are imitative representations of this. The Xiang, or emblematic figures, are pictorial representations of the same.
The movements of the lines and figures take place (at the hand of the operator), and are unseen; the good fortune or ill is seen openly and is beyond. The work to be done appears by the changes; the sympathies of the sages are seen in their explanations.
The great attribute of heaven and earth is the giving and maintaining life. What is most precious for the sage is to get the (highest) place - (in which he can be the human representative of heaven and earth). What will guard this position for him? Men. How shall he collect a large population round him? By the power of his wealth. The right administration of that wealth, correct instructions to the people, and prohibitions against wrong-doing; - these constitute his righteousness.

2 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
Anciently, when Bao-xi had come to the rule of all under heaven, looking up, he contemplated the brilliant forms exhibited in the sky, and looking down he surveyed the patterns shown on the earth. He contemplated the ornamental appearances of birds and beasts and the (different) suitabilities of the soil. Near at hand, in his own person, he found things for consideration, and the same at a distance, in things in general. On this he devised the eight trigrams, to show fully the attributes of the spirit-like and intelligent (operations working secretly), and to classify the qualities of the myriads of things.
He invented the making of nets of various kinds by knitting strings, both for hunting and fishing. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Lu (the third trigram, and thirtieth hexagram).
On the death of Bao-xi, there arose Shen-nong (in his place). He fashioned wood to form the share, and bent wood to make the plough-handle. The advantages of ploughing and weeding were then taught to all under heaven. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Yi (the forty-second hexagram).
He caused markets to be held at midday, thus bringing together all the people, and assembling in one place all their wares. They made their exchanges and retired, every one having got what he wanted. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Shi He (the twenty-first hexagram).
After the death of Shen-nong, there arose Huang Di, Yao, and Shun. They carried through the (necessarily occurring) changes, so that the people did (what was required of them) without being wearied; yea, they exerted such a spirit-like transformation, that the people felt constrained to approve their (ordinances) as right. When a series of changes has run all its course, another change ensues. When it obtains free course, it will continue long. Hence it was that 'these (sovereigns) were helped by Heaven; they had good fortune, and their every movement was advantageous.' Huang Di, Yao, and Shun (simply) wore their upper and lower garments (as patterns to the people), and good order was secured all under heaven. The idea of all this was taken, probably, from Qian and Kun (the first and eighth trigrams, or the first and second hexagrams).
They hollowed out trees to form canoes; they cut others long and thin to make oars. Thus arose the benefit of canoes and oars for the help of those who had no means of intercourse with others. They could now reach the most distant parts, and all under heaven were benefited. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Huan (the fifty-ninth hexagram).
They used oxen (in carts) and yoked horses (to chariots), thus providing for the carriage of what was heavy, and for distant journeys - thereby benefiting all under the sky. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Sui (the seventeenth hexagram).
They made the (defence of the) double gates, and (the warning of) the clapper, as a preparation against the approach of marauding visitors. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Yu (the sixteenth hexagram).
They cut wood and fashioned it into pestles; they dug in the ground and formed mortar's. Thus the myriads of the people received the benefit arising from the use of the pestle and mortar. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Xiao Guo (the sixty-second hexagram).
They bent wood by means of string so as to form bows, and sharpened wood so as to make arrows. This gave the benefit of bows and arrows, and served to produce everywhere a feeling of awe. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Kui (the thirty-eighth hexagram).
In the highest antiquity they made their homes (in winter) in caves, and (in summer) dwelt in the open country. In subsequent ages, for these the sages substituted houses, with the ridge-beam above and the projecting roof below, as a provision against wind and rain. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Da Zhuang (the thirty-fourth hexagram).
When the ancients buried their dead, they covered the body thickly with pieces of wood, having laid it in the open country. They raised no mound over it, nor planted trees around; nor had they any fixed period for mourning. In subsequent ages the sages substituted for these practices the inner and outer coffins. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Da Guo (the twenty-eighth hexagram).
In the highest antiquity, government was carried on successfully by the use of knotted cords (to preserve the memory of things). In subsequent ages the sages substituted for these written characters and bonds. By means of these (the doings of) all the officers could be regulated, and (the affairs of) all the people accurately examined. The idea of this was taken, probably, from Guai (the forty-third hexagram).

3 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
Therefore what we call the Yi is (a collection of) emblematic lines. They are styled emblematic as being resemblances. What we call the Tuan (or king Wen's explanations) are based on the significance (of each hexagram as a whole). We call the lines (of the figures) Yao from their being according to the movements taking place all under the sky. In this way (we see) the rise of good fortune and evil, and the manifestation of repentance and regret.

4 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
In the Yang trigrams (or those of the undivided line) there are more of the Yin lines, and in the Yin trigrams (or those of the divided line) there are more of the Yang lines. What is the cause of this? It is because the Yang lines are odd (or made by one stroke), and the Yin lines are even (or. made by two strokes). What (method of) virtuous conduct is thus intimated? In the Yang trigrams we have one ruler, and two subjects, - suggesting the way of the superior man. In the Yin trigrams we have two rulers, and one subject, - suggesting the way of the small man.

5 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
It is said in the Yi, 'Full of anxious thoughts you go and come; (only) friends will follow you and think with you.' The Master said: - 'In all (the processes taking place) under heaven, what is there of thinking? what is there of anxious scheming? They all come to the same (successful) issue, though by different paths; there is one result, though there might be a hundred anxious schemes. What is there of thinking? what is there of anxious scheming?'
The sun goes and the moon comes; the moon goes and the sun comes; - the sun and moon thus take the place each of the other, and their shining is the result. The cold goes and the heat comes; the heat goes and the cold comes; - it is by this mutual succession of the cold and heat that the year is completed. That which goes becomes less and less, and that which comes waxes more and more; - it is by the influence on each other of this contraction and expansion that the advantages (of the different conditions) are produced.
When the looper coils itself up, it thereby straightens itself again; when worms and snakes go into the state of hybernation, they thereby keep themselves alive. (So), when we minutely investigate the nature and reasons (of things), till we have entered into the inscrutable and spirit-like in them, we attain to the largest practical application of them; when that application becomes the quickest and readiest, and all personal restfulness is secured, our virtue is thereby exalted. Going on beyond this, we reach a point which it is hardly possible to know. We have thoroughly comprehended the inscrutable and spirit-like, and know the processes of transformation; - this is the fulness of virtue.
It is said in the Yi, '(The third line shows its subject) distressed before a rock, and trying to lay hold of thorns; entering into his palace and not seeing his wife: - there will be evil.' The Master said: - 'If one be distressed by what need not distress him, his name is sure to be disgraced; if he lay hold on what he should not touch, his life is sure to be imperilled. In disgrace and danger, his death will (soon) come; - is it possible for him in such circumstances to see his wife?'
It is said in the Yi, 'The duke with (his bow) shoots at the falcon on the top of the high wall; he hits it: - his every movement will be advantageous.' The Master said: - 'The falcon is a bird (of prey); the bow and arrow is a weapon (of war); the shooter is a man. The superior man keeps his weapon concealed about his person, and waits for the proper time to move; - doing this, how should his movement be other than successful? There is nothing to fetter or embarrass his movement; and hence, when he comes forth, he succeeds in his object. The language speaks of movement when the instrument necessary to it is ready and perfect.'
The Master said: - 'The small man is not ashamed of what is not benevolent, nor does he fear to do what is not righteous. Without the prospect of gain he does not stimulate himself to what is good, nor does he correct himself without being moved. Self-correction, however, in what is small will make him careful in what would be of greater consequence; - and this is the happiness of the small man. It is said in the Yi, "His feet are in the stocks, and he is disabled in his toes: - there will be no (further) occasion for blame."'
If acts of goodness be not accumulated, they are not sufficient to give its finish to one's name; if acts of evil be not accumulated, they are not sufficient to destroy one's life. The small man thinks that small acts of goodness are of no benefit, and does not do them; and that small deeds of evil do no harm, and does not abstain from them. Hence his wickedness becomes great till it cannot be covered, and his guilt becomes great till it cannot be pardoned. This is what the Yi says, 'He wears the cangue and his ears are destroyed: - there will be evil.'
The Master said: - 'He who keeps danger in mind is he who will rest safe in his seat; he who keeps ruin in mind is he who will preserve his interests secure; he who sets the danger of disorder before him is he who will maintain the state of order. Therefore the superior man, when resting in safety, does not forget that danger may come; when in a state of security, he does not forget the possibility of ruin; and when all is in a state of order, he does not forget that disorder may come. Thus his person is kept safe, and his states and all their clans can be preserved. This is according to what the Yi says, "(Let him say), 'Shall I perish? shall I perish?' (so shall this state be firm, as if) bound to a clump of bushy mulberry trees."'
The Master said: - 'Virtue small and office high; wisdom small and plans great; strength small and burden heavy: - where such conditions exist, it is seldom that they do not end (in evil). As is said in the Yi, "The tripod's feet are overthrown, and the ruler's food is overturned. The body of him (who is thus indicated) is wet (with shame):there will be evil."'
The Master said: - 'Does not he who knows the springs of things possess spirit-like wisdom? The superior man, in his intercourse with the high, uses no flattery, and, in his intercourse with the low, no coarse freedom: - does not this show that he knows the springs of things? Those springs are the slight beginnings of movement, and the earliest indications of good fortune (or ill). The superior man sees them, and acts accordingly without waiting for (the delay of) a single day. As is said in the Yi, "He is firm as a rock, (and acts) without the delay of a single day. With firm goodness there will be good fortune." Firm as a rock, how should he have to wait a single day to ensure his knowing (those springs and his course)? The superior man knows the minute and the manifested; he knows what is weak, and what is strong: - he is a model to ten thousand.'
The Master said: - 'I may venture to say that the son of the Yan family had nearly attained (the standard of perfection). If anything that he did was not good, he was sure to become conscious of that; and when he knew it, he did not do the thing again. As is said in the Yi, "(The first line shows its subject) returning from an error that has not led him far away. There is no occasion for repentance. There will be great good."'
There is an intermingling of the genial influences of heaven and earth, and transformation in its various forms abundantly proceeds. There is an intercommunication of seed between male and female, and transformation in its living types proceeds. What is said in the Yi, 'Three individuals are walking together and one is made to disappear; there is (but) one man walking, and he gets his mate,' tells us of the effort (in nature) at oneness (of operation).
The Master said: - 'The superior man (in a high place) composes himself before he (tries to) move others; makes his mind restful and easy before he speaks; settles (the principles of) his intercourse with others before he seeks anything from them. The superior man cultivates these three things, and so is complete. If he try to move others while he is himself in unrest, the people will not (act) with him; if he speak while he is himself in a state of apprehension, the people will not respond to him; if without (certain principles of) intercommunication, he issue his requests, the people will not grant them. When there are none to accord with him, those who (work to) injure him will make their appearance. As is said in the Yi, "(We see one) to whose advantage none will contribute, while some will seek to assail him. He observes no regular rule in the ordering of his heart: - there will be evil."'

6 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
The Master said: - '(The trigrams) Qian and Kun may be regarded as the gate of the Yi.' Qian represents what is of the yang nature (bright and active); Kun what is of the yin nature (shaded and inactive). These two unite according to their qualities, and there comes the embodiment of the result by the strong and weak (lines). In this way we have the phenomena of heaven and earth visibly exhibited, and can comprehend the operation of the spiritual intelligence. The appellations and names (of the diagrams and lines) are various, but do not go beyond (what is to be ascribed to the operation of these two conditions). When we examine the nature and style (of the appended explanations), they seem to express the ideas of a decaying age. The Yi exhibits the past, and (teaches us to) discriminate (the issues of) the future; it makes manifest what is minute, and brings to light what is obscure. (Then king Wen) opened (its symbols), and distinguished things in accordance with its names, so that all his words were correct and his explanations decisive; - (the book) was now complete. The appellations and names (of the diagrams and lines) are but small matters, but the classes of things comprehended under them are large. Their scope reaches far, and the explanations attached to them are elegant. The words are indirect, but to the point; the matters seem plainly set forth, but there is a secret principle in them. Their object is, in cases that are doubtful, to help the people in their conduct, and to make plain the recompenses of good and evil.

7 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
Was it not in the middle period of antiquity that the Yi began to flourish? Was not he who made it familiar with anxiety and calamity?
Therefore (the 10th diagram), Lu, shows us the foundation of virtue; (the 15th), Xian, its handle; (the 24th), Fu, its root; (the 32nd), Heng, its solidity; (the 41st), Sun, its cultivation; (the 42nd), Yi, its abundance; (the 47th), Kun, its exercise of discrimination; (the 48th), Jing, its field and (the 57th), Xun, its regulation.
In Lu we have the perfection of harmony; in Xian, we have the giving honour to others, and the distinction thence arising; in Fu we have what is small (at first), but there is in it a (nice) discrimination of (the qualities of) things; in Ming we have a mixed experience, but without any weariness; in Sun we have difficulty in the beginning and ease in the end; in Yi we have abundance of growth without any contrivance; in Kun we have the pressure of extreme difficulty, ending in a free course,; in Jing we have abiding in one's place and at the same time removal (to meet the movement of others); and in Xun we have the weighing of things (and action accordingly), but secretly and unobserved.
(The use of) Lu appears in the harmony of the conduct; of Xian, in the regulation of ceremonies; of Fu, in self-knowledge; of Heng, in uniformity of virtue; of Sun, in keeping what is harmful at a distance; of Yi, in the promotion of what is advantageous; of Kun, in the diminution of resentments; of Jing, in the discrimination of what is righteous; and of Xun, in the doing of what is appropriate to time and to circumstances.

8 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
The Yi is a book which should not be let slip from the mind. Its method (of teaching) is marked by the frequent changing (of its lines). They change and move without staying (in one place), flowing about into any one of the six places of the hexagram. They ascend and descend, ever inconstant. The strong and the weak lines change places, so that an invariable and compendious rule cannot be derived from them; - it must vary as their changes indicate. The goings forth and comings in (of the lines) are according to rule and measure. (People) learn from them in external and internal affairs to stand in awe. (The book), moreover, makes plain the nature of anxieties and calamities, and the causes of them. Though (its students) have neither master nor guardian, it is as if their parents drew near to them. Beginning with taking note of its explanations, we reason out the principles to which they point. We thus find out that it does supply a constant and standard rule. But if there be not the Proper men (to carry this out), the course cannot be pursued without them.

9 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
The Yi is a book in which the form (of each diagram) is determined by the lines from the first to the last, which must be carefully observed. The six lines are mixed together, according to the time (when they enter the figure) and their substance (as whole and divided). There is difficulty in knowing (the significance of) the first line, while to know that of the topmost line is easy; - they form the beginning and the end (of the diagram). The explanation of the first line tasks the calculating (of the makers), but in the end they had (but) to complete this. As to the variously-disposed intermediate lines with their diverse formations, for determining their qualities, and discriminating the right and wrong in them, we should be unprovided but for the explanations of them.
Yea, moreover, if we wish to know what is likely to be preserved and what to perish, what will be lucky and what will be unlucky, this may easily be known (from the explanations of the different lines). But if the wise will look at the explanations of the entire diagrams, their thoughts will embrace more than half of this knowledge.
The second and fourth lines are of the same quality (as being in even places), but their positions (with respect to the fifth line) are different, and their value is not the same; but the second is the object of much commendation, and the fourth the subject of many apprehensions, - from its nearness (to that line). But for a line in a place of weakness it is not good to be far (from the occupant of the place of strength), and what its subject should desire in such a case is (merely) to be without blame. The advantage (here) is in (the second line) being in the central place. The third and fifth lines are of the same quality, (as being in odd places), but their positions are different; and the (occupant of) the third meets with many misfortunes, while the occupant of the fifth achieves much merit: - this arises from one being in the noble position and the other in the mean. Are they occupied by the symbol of weakness? There will be peril. By that of strength? There will be victory.

10 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
The Yi is a book of wide comprehension and great scope, embracing everything. There are in it the way of heaven, the way of man, and the way of earth. It then takes (the lines representing) those three Powers, and doubles them till they amount to six. What these six lines show is simply this, - the way of the three Powers. This way is marked by changes and movements, and hence we have the imitative lines. Those lines are of different grades (in the trigrams), and hence we designate them from their component elements. These are mixed together, and elegant forms arise. When such forms are not in their appropriate places, the ideas of good fortune and bad are thus produced.

11 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
Was it not in the last age of Yin, when the virtue of Gou had reached its highest point, and during the troubles between king Wen and (the tyrant) Gou, that the (study of the Yi) began to flourish? On this account the explanations (in the book) express (a feeling of) anxious apprehension, (and teach) how peril may be turned into security, and easy carelessness is sure to meet with overthrow. The method in which these things come about is very comprehensive, and must be acknowledged in every sphere of things. If at the beginning there be a cautious apprehension as to the end, there will probably be no error or cause for blame. This is what is called the way of the Yi.

12 繫辭下:
Xi Ci II:
(The hexagram) Qian represents the strongest of all under the sky. Through this quality its operations are always manifested with ease, for it knows where there would be peril and embarrassment. (The hexagram) Kun represents the most docile of all under the sky. Through this quality its operations are always manifested with the promptest decision, for it knows where there would be obstruction.
(The sages, who are thus represented, and who made the Yi,) were able to rejoice in heart (in the absolute truth of things), and were able (also) to weigh carefully all matters that could occasion anxiety; (thus) they fixed the good and bad fortune (of all things) under the sky, and could accomplish the things requiring strenuous efforts. Therefore amid the changes and transformations (taking place in heaven and earth), and the words and deeds of men, events that are to be fortunate have their happy omens. (The sages) knew the definite principles underlying the prognostications of the former class, and the future of those of the latter, (now to be) ascertained by divination. The places of heaven and earth (in the diagrams) having been determined, the sages were able (by means of the Yi) to carry out and complete their ability. (In this way even) the common people were able to share with them in (deciding about) the counsels of men and the counsels of spiritual beings.
The eight trigrams communicate their information by their emblematic figures. The explanations appended to the lines and the completed figures tell how the contemplation of them affected (the makers). The strong and the weak lines appear mixed in them, and (thus) the good and the evil (which they indicate) can be seen.
The changes and movements (which take place in the manipulation of the stalks and the formation of the diagrams) speak as from the standpoint of what is advantageous. The (intimations of) good and evil vary according to the place and nature (of the lines). Thus they may indicate a mutual influence (in any two of them) of love or hatred, and good or evil is the result; or that mutual influence may be affected by the nearness of the lines to, or their distance from, each other, and then repentance or regret is the result; or the influence may be that of truth or of hypocrisy, and then the result is what is advantageous, or what is injurious. In all these relations of the (lines in the) Yi, if two are near and do not blend harmoniously, there may be (all these results), - evil, or what is injurious, or occasion for repentance and regret.
The language of him who is meditating a revolt (from the right) betrays his inward shame; that of him whose inward heart doubts about it diverges to other topics. The words of a good man are few; those of a coarse man are many. The words of one who slanders what is good are unsubstantial; those of him who is losing what he ought to keep are crooked.

URN: ctp:book-of-changes/xi-ci-xia