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《繫辭上 - Xi Ci I》

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

1 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
Heaven is lofty and honourable; earth is low. (Their symbols), Qian and Kun, (with their respective meanings), were determined (in accordance with this). Things low and high appear displayed in a similar relation. The (upper and lower trigrams, and the relative position of individual lines, as) noble and mean, had their places assigned accordingly. Movement and rest are the regular qualities (of their respective subjects). Hence comes the definite distinction (of the several lines) as the strong and the weak. (Affairs) are arranged together according to their tendencies, and things are divided according to their classes. Hence were produced (the interpretations in the Yi, concerning) what is good [or lucky] and evil [or unlucky]. In the heavens there are the (different) figures there completed, and on the earth there are the (different) bodies there formed. (Corresponding to them) were the changes and transformations exhibited (in the Yi).
After this fashion a strong and a weak line were manipulated together (till there were the eight trigrams), and those eight trigrams were added, each to itself and to all the others, (till the sixty-four hexagrams were formed). We have the exciting forces of thunder and lightning; the fertilising influences of wind and rain; and the revolutions of the sun and moon, which give rise to cold and warmth. The attributes expressed by Qian constitute the male; those expressed by Kun constitute the female. Qian (symbolises Heaven, which) directs the great beginnings of things; Kun (symbolises Earth, which) gives to them their completion. It is by the ease with which it proceeds that Qian directs (as it does), and by its unhesitating response that Kun exhibits such ability.
(He who attains to this) ease (of Heaven) will be easily understood, and (he who attains to this) freedom from laborious effort (of the Earth) will be easily followed. He who is easily understood will have adherents, and he who is easily followed will achieve success. He who has adherents can continue long, and he who achieves success can become great. To be able to continue long shows the virtue of the wise and able man; to be able to become great is the heritage he will acquire. With the attainment of such ease and such freedom from laborious effort, the mastery is got of all principles under the sky. With the attainment of that mastery, (the sage) makes good his position in the middle (between heaven and earth).

2 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The sages set forth the diagrams, inspected the emblems contained in them, and appended their explanations; - in this way the good fortune and bad (indicated by them) were made clear. The strong and the weak (lines) displace each other, and produce the changes and transformations (in the figures).
Therefore the good fortune and evil (mentioned in the explanations) are the indications of the right and wrong (in men's conduct of affairs), and the repentance and regret (similarly mentioned) are the indications of their sorrow and anxiety. The changes and transformations (of the lines) are the emblems of the advance and retrogression (of the vital force in nature). Thus what we call the strong and the weak (lines) become the emblems of day and night. The movements which take place in the six places (of the hexagram) show the course of the three extremes (i. e. of the three Powers in their perfect operation). Therefore what the superior man rests in, in whatever position he is placed, is the order shown in the Yi; and the study which gives him the greatest pleasure is that of the explanations of the several lines.
Therefore the superior man, when living quietly, contemplates the emblems and studies the explanations of them; when initiating any movement, he contemplates the changes (that are made in divining), and studies the prognostications from them. Thus 'is help extended to him from Heaven; there will be good fortune, and advantage in every movement.'

3 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The Tuan speak of the emblematic figures (of the complete diagrams). The Yao speak of the changes (taking place: in the several lines). The expressions about good fortune or bad are used with reference to (the figures and lines, as) being right or wrong (according to the conditions of time and place); those about repentance or regret refer to small faults (in the satisfying those conditions); when it is said 'there will be no error,' or 'no blame,' there is reference to (the subject) repairing an error by what is good.
Therefore the distinction of (the upper and lower trigrams and of the individual lines) as noble or mean is decided by the (relative) position (of the lines); the regulations of small and great are found in the diagrams, and the discriminations of good and bad fortune appear in the (subjoined) explanations. Anxiety against (having occasion for) repentance or regret should be felt at the: boundary line (between good and evil). The stirring up the thought of (securing that there shall be) no blame arises from (the feeling of) repentance. Thus of the diagrams some are small, and some are great; and of the explanations some are startling, and some are unexciting. Every one of those explanations has reference to the tendencies (indicated by the symbols).

4 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The Yi was made on a principle of accordance with heaven and earth, and shows us therefore, without rent or confusion, the course (of things) in heaven and earth. (The sage), in accordance with (the Yi), looking up, contemplates the brilliant phenomena of the heavens, and, looking down, examines the definite arrangements of the earth; - thus he knows the causes of darkness (or, what is obscure) and light (or, what is bright). He traces things to their beginning, and follows them to their end; - thus he knows what can be said about death and life. (He perceives how the union of) essence and breath form things, and the (disappearance or) wandering away of the soul produces the change (of their constitution); - thus he knows the characteristics of the anima and animus. There is a similarity between him and heaven and earth, and hence there is no contrariety in him to them. His knowledge embraces all things, and his course is (intended to be) helpful to all under the sky; - and hence he falls into no error. He acts according to the exigency of circumstances without being carried away by their current; he rejoices in Heaven and knows its ordinations; - and hence he has no anxieties. He rests in his own (present) position, and cherishes (the spirit of) generous benevolence; - and hence he can love (without reserve). (Through the Yi), he comprehends as in a mould or enclosure the transformations of heaven and earth without any error; by an ever-varying adaptation he completes (the nature of) all things without exception; he penetrates to a knowledge of the course of day and night (and all other connected phenomena); - it is thus that his operation is spirit-like, unconditioned by place, while the changes which he produces are not restricted to any form.

5 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The successive movement of the inactive and active operations constitutes what is called the course (of things). That which ensues as the result (of their movement) is goodness; that which shows it in its completeness is the natures (of men and things).The benevolent see it and call it benevolence. The wise see it and call it wisdom. The common people, acting daily according to it, yet have no knowledge of it. Thus it is that the course (of things), as seen by the superior man, is seen by few. It is manifested in the benevolence (of its operations), and (then again) it conceals and stores up its resources. It gives their stimulus to all things, without having the same anxieties that possess the sage. Complete is its abundant virtue and the greatness of its stores! Its rich possessions is what is intended by 'the greatness of its stores;' the daily renovation which it produces is what is meant by 'the abundance of its virtue.' Production and reproduction is what is called (the process of) change. The formation of the semblances (shadowy forms of things) is what we attribute to Qian; the giving to them their specific forms is what we attribute to Kun. The exhaustive use of the numbers (that turn up in manipulating the stalks), and (thereby) knowing (the character of) coming events, is what we call prognosticating; the comprehension of the changes (indicated leads us to) what we call the business (to be done). That which is unfathomable in (the movement of) the inactive and active operations is (the presence of a) spiritual (power).

6 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
Yes, wide is the Yi and great! If we speak of it in its farthest reaching, no limit can be set to it; if we speak of it with reference to what is near at hand, (its lessons are) still and correct; if we speak of it in connexion with all between heaven and earth, it embraces all. There is Qian. In its (individual) stillness it is self-absorbed; when exerting its motive power it goes straight forward; and thus it is that its productive action is on a grand scale. There is Kun. In its (individual) stillness, it is self-collected and capacious; when exerting its motive power, it developes its resources, and thus its productive action is on a wide scale. In its breadth and greatness, (the Yi) corresponds to heaven and earth; in its ever-recurring changes, it corresponds to the four seasons; in its mention of the bright or active, and the dark or inactive operation, it corresponds to the sun and moon; and the excellence seen in the ease and ready response (of its various operations) corresponds to the perfect operations (presented to us in the phenomena of nature).

7 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The Master said: - 'Is not the Yi a perfect book?' It was by the Yi that the sages exalted their virtue, and enlarged their sphere of occupation. Their wisdom was high, and their rules of conduct were solid. That loftiness was after the pattern of heaven; that solidity, after the pattern of earth. Heaven and earth having their positions as assigned to them, the changes (of nature) take place between them. The nature (of man) having been completed, and being continually preserved, it is the gate of all good courses and righteousness.

8 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The sage was able to survey all the complex phenomena under the sky. He then considered in his mind how they could be figured, and (by means of the diagrams) represented their material forms and their character. Hence these (diagrams) are denominated Semblances (or emblematic figures, the Hsiang). A (later) sage was able to survey the motive influences working all under the sky. He contemplated them in. their common action and special nature, in order to bring out the standard and proper tendency of each. He then appended his explanation (to each line of the diagrams), to determine the good or evil indicated by it. Hence those (lines with their explanations) are denominated Imitations (the Yao). (The diagrams) speak of the most complex phenomena under the sky, and yet there is nothing in them that need awaken dislike; the explanations of the lines speak of the subtlest movements under the sky, and yet there is nothing in them to produce confusion. (A learner) will consider what is said (under the diagrams), and then speak; he will deliberate on what is said (in the explanations of the lines), and then move. By such consideration and deliberations he will be able to make all the changes which he undertakes successful.
'Here hid, retired, cries out the crane;
Her young's responsive cry sounds there.
Of spirits good I drain this cup;
With thee a cup I'll freely share.'
The Master said: - 'The superior man occupies his apartment and sends forth his words. If they be good, they will be responded to at a distance of more than a thousand Li; - how much more will they be so in the nearer circle! He occupies his apartment and sends forth his words. If they be evil, they will awaken opposition at a distance of more than a thousand Li; - how much more will they do so in the nearer circle! Words issue from one's person, and proceed to affect the people. Actions proceed from what is near, and their effects are seen at a distance. Words and actions are the hinge and spring of the superior man. The movement of that hinge and spring determines glory or disgrace. His words and actions move heaven and earth; - may he be careless in regard to them?'
'(The representative of) the union of men first cries out and weeps, and afterwards laughs.' The Master said, on this, -
'The ways of good men (different seem).
This in a public office toils;
That in his home the time beguiles.
One man his lips with silence seals;
Another all his mind reveals.
But when two men are one in heart,
Not iron bolts keep them apart;
The words they in their union use,
Fragrance like orchid plants diffuse.'
'The first six, (divided), shows its subject placing mats of the white grass beneath what he sets on the ground.' The Master said: - 'To place the things on the ground might be considered sufficient; but when he places beneath them mats of the white grass, what occasion for blame can there be? Such a course shows the height of carefulness. The white grass is a trivial thing, but, through the use made of it, it may become important. He who goes forward using such careful art will not fall into any error.'
'A superior man toiling laboriously and yet humble! He will bring things to an end, and with good fortune.' The Master said on this: - 'He toils with success, but does not boast of it; he achieves merit, but takes no virtue to himself from it; - this is the height of generous goodness, and speaks of the man who with (great) merit yet places himself below others. He wishes his virtue to be more and more complete, and in his intercourse with others to be more and more respectful; - he who is so humble, carrying his respectfulness to the utmost, will be able to preserve himself in his position.'
'The dragon (is seen) beyond his proper haunts; there will be occasion for repentance.' The Master said on this: - 'He is noble, but is not in his correct place; he is on high, but there are no people to acknowledge him; there is a man of virtue and ability below, but he will not assist him. Hence whatever movement he may make will give occasion for repentance.'
'He does not quit the courtyard before his door; - there will be no occasion for blame.' The Master said on this: - 'When disorder arises, it will be found that (ill-advised) speech was the steppingstone to it. If a ruler do not keep secret (his deliberations with his minister), he will lose that minister. If a minister do not keep secret (his deliberations with his ruler), he will lose his life. If (important) matters in the germ be not kept secret, that will be injurious to their accomplishment. Therefore the superior man is careful to maintain secrecy, and does not allow himself to speak.'
The Master said: - 'The makers of the Yi may be said to have known (the philosophy of) robbery. The Yi says, "He is a burden-bearer, and yet rides in a carriage, thereby exciting robbers to attack him." Burden-bearing is the business of a small man. A carriage is the vehicle of a gentleman. When a small man rides in the vehicle of a gentle man, robbers will think of taking it from him. (When one is) insolent to those above him, and oppressive to those below, robbers will wish to attack him. Careless laying up of things excites to robbery, (as a woman's) adorning of herself excites to lust. What the Yi says about the burden-bearer's riding in a carriage, and exciting robbers to attack him, (shows how) robbery is called out.'

9 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
To heaven belongs (the number) 1; to earth, 2; to heaven, 3; to earth, 4; to heaven, 5; to earth, 6; to heaven, 7; to earth, 8; to heaven, 9; to earth, 10. The numbers belonging to heaven are five, and those belonging to earth are (also) five. The numbers of these two series correspond to each other (in their fixed positions), and each one has another that may be considered its mate. The heavenly numbers amount to 25, and the earthly to 30. The numbers of heaven and earth together amount to 55. It is by these that the changes and transformations are effected, and the spirit-like agencies kept in movement. The numbers of the Great Expansion, (multiplied together), make 50, of which (only) 49 are used (in divination). (The stalks representing these) are divided into two heaps to represent the two (emblematic lines, or heaven and earth). One is then taken (from the heap on the right), and placed (between the little finger of the left hand and the next), that there may thus be symbolised the three (powers of heaven, earth, and man). (The heaps on both sides) are manipulated by fours to represent the four seasons; and then the remainders are returned, and placed (between) the two middle fingers of the left hand, to represent the intercalary month. In five years there are two intercalations, and therefore there are two operations; and afterwards the whole process is repeated.
The numbers (required) for Qian (or the undivided line) amount to 216; those for Kun (or the divided line), to 144. Together they are 36o, corresponding to the days of the year. The number produced by the lines in the two parts (of the Yi) amount to 11,520, corresponding to the number of all things. Therefore by means of the four operations is the Yi completed. It takes 18 changes to form a hexagram. (The formation of) the eight trigrams constitutes the small completion (of the Yi). If we led on the diagrams and expanded them, if we prolonged each by the addition of the proper lines, then all events possible under the sky might have their representation. (The diagrams) make manifest (by their appended explanations), the ways (of good and ill fortune), and show virtuous actions in their spiritual relations. In this way, by consulting them, we may receive an answer (to our doubts), and we may also by means of them assist the spiritual (power in its agency in nature and providence). The Master said: - 'He who knows the method of change and transformation may be said to know what is done by that spiritual (power).'

10 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
In the Yi there are four things characteristic of the way of the sages. We should set the highest value on its explanations to guide us in speaking; on its changes for (the initiation of) our movements; on its emblematic figures for (definite action as in) the construction of implements; and on its prognostications for our practice of divination. Therefore, when a superior man is about to take action of a more private or of a public character, he asks (the Yi), making his inquiry in words. It receives his order, and the answer comes as the echo's response. Be the subject remote or near, mysterious or deep, he forthwith knows of what kind will be the coming result. (If the Yi) were not the most exquisite thing under heaven, would it be concerned in such an operation as this?
(The stalks) are manipulated by threes and fives to determine (one) change; they are laid on opposite sides, and placed one up, one down, to make sure of their numbers; and the (three necessary) changes are gone through with in this way, till they form the figures pertaining to heaven or to earth. Their numbers are exactly determined, and the emblems of (all things) under the sky are fixed. (If the Yi) were not the thing most capable of change of all things under heaven, how could it effect such a result as this? In (all these operations forming) the Yi, there is no thought and no action. It is still and without movement; but, when acted on, it penetrates forthwith to all phenomena and events under the sky. If it were not the most spirit-like thing under the sky, how could it be found doing this?
The (operations forming the) Yi are the method by which the sages searched out exhaustively what was deep, and investigated the minutest springs (of things). 'Those operations searched out what was deep:' - therefore they could penetrate to the views of all under the sky. 'They made apparent the minutest springs of (things):' - therefore they could bring to a completion all undertakings under the sky. 'Their action was spirit-like:' - therefore they could make speed without hurry, and reached their destination without travelling. This is the import of what the Master said, that 'In the Yi there are four things indicating the way of the sages.'

11 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
The Master said: - 'What is it that the Yi does? The Yi opens up (the knowledge of the issues of) things, accomplishes the undertakings (of men), and embraces under it (the way of) all things under the sky. This and nothing more is what the Yi does. Thereby the sages, through (divination by) it, would give their proper course to the aims of all under the sky, would give stability to their undertakings, and determine their doubts.' Therefore the virtue of the stalks is versatile and spirit-like; that of the diagrams is exact and wise; and the meaning given by the six lines is changeful to give (the proper information to men). The sages having, by their possession of these (three virtues), cleansed their minds, retired and laid them up in the secrecy (of their own consciousness). But their sympathies were with the people in regard both to their good fortune and evil. By their spirit-like ability they knew (the character of) coming events, and their wisdom had stored up (all experiences of) the past. Who could be able to accomplish all this? (Only our) ancient sages, quick in apprehension and clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence, and all-embracing knowledge, and with a majesty, going spirit-like to its objects; - it was only they who could do so.
Therefore (those sages), fully understanding the way of Heaven, and having clearly ascertained the experience of the people, instituted (the employment of) these spirit-like things, as a provision for the use of the people. The sages went about the employment of them (moreover) by purifying their hearts and with reverent caution, thereby giving (more) spirituality and intelligence to their virtue. Thus, a door shut may be pronounced (analogous to) Kun (or the inactive condition), and the opening of the door (analogous to) Qian (or the active condition). The opening succeeding the being shut may be pronounced (analogous to what we call) a change; and the passing from one of these states to the other may be called the constant course (of things). The (first) appearance of anything (as a bud) is what we call a semblance; when it has received its complete form, we call it a definite thing. (The divining-plant having been produced, the sages) set it apart and laid down the method of its employment, - what we call the laws (of divination). The advantage arising from it in external and internal matters, so that the people all use it, stamps it with a character which we call spirit-like.
Therefore in (the system of) the Yi there is the Grand Terminus, which produced the two elementary Forms. Those two Forms produced the Four emblematic Symbols, which again produced the eight Trigrams. The eight trigrams served to determine the good and evil (issues of events), and from this determination was produced the (successful prosecution of the) great business (of life). Therefore of all things that furnish models and visible figures there are none greater than heaven and earth; of things that change and extend an influence (on others) there are none greater than the four seasons; of things suspended (in the sky) with their figures displayed clear and bright, there are none greater than the sun and moon; of the honoured and exalted there are none greater than he who is the rich and noble (one); in preparing things for practical use, and inventing and making instruments for the benefit of all under the sky, there are none greater than the sages; to explore what is complex, search out what is hidden, to hook up what lies deep, and reach to what is distant, thereby determining (the issues) for good or ill of all events under the sky, and making all men under heaven full of strenuous endeavours, there are no (agencies) greater than those of the stalks and the tortoise-shell.
Therefore Heaven produced the spirit-like things, and the sages took advantage of them. (The operations of) heaven and earth are marked by (so many) changes and transformations; and the sages imitated them (by means of the Yi). Heaven hangs out its (brilliant) figures from which are seen good fortune and bad, and the sages made their emblematic interpretations accordingly. The He gave forth the map, and the Lo the writing, of (both of) which the sages took advantage. In the (scheme of the) Yi there are the four symbolic figures by which they inform men (in divining of the lines making up the diagrams); the explanations appended to them convey the significance (of the diagrams and lines); and the determination (of the divination) as fortunate or the reverse, to settle the doubts (of men).

12 繫辭上:
Xi Ci I:
It is said in the Yi, 'Help is given to him from Heaven. There will be good fortune; advantage in every respect.' The Master said: - 'You is the symbol of assisting. He whom Heaven assists is observant (of what is right); he whom men assist is sincere. The individual here indicated treads the path of sincerity and desires to be observant (of what is right), and studies to exalt the worthy. Hence "Help is given to him from Heaven. There will be good fortune, advantage in every respect."'
The Master said: - 'The written characters are not the full exponent of speech, and speech is not the full expression of ideas; - is it impossible then to discover the ideas of the sages?' The Master said: - 'The sages made their emblematic symbols to set forth fully their ideas; appointed (all) the diagrams to show fully the truth and falsehood (of things); appended their explanations to give the full expression of their words; and changed (the various lines) and made general the method of doing so, to exhibit fully what was advantageous. They (thus) stimulated (the people) as by drums and dances, thereby completely developing the spirit-like (character of the Yi).'
May we not say that Qian and Kun [= the yang and yin, or the undivided and divided lines] are the secret and substance of the Yi? Qian and Kun being established in their several places, the system of changes was thereby constituted. If Qian and Kun were taken away, there would be no means of seeing that system; and if that system were not seen, Qian and Kun would almost cease to act. Hence that which is antecedent to the material form exists, we say, as an ideal method, and that which is subsequent to the material form exists, we say, as a definite thing. Transformation and shaping is what we call change; carrying this out and operating with it is what we call generalising the method; taking the result and setting it forth for all the people under heaven is, we say, (securing the success of) the business of life.
Hence, to speak of the emblematic figures: - (The sage) was able to survey all the complex phenomena under the sky. He then considered in his mind how they could be figured, and (by means of the diagrams) represented their material forms and their character. Hence those (diagrams) are denominated Semblances. A (later) sage was able to survey the motive influences working all under the sky. He contemplated them in their common action and special nature, in order to bring out the standard and proper tendency of each. He then appended his explanation (to each line), to determine the good or evil indicated by it. Hence those (lines with their explanations) are denominated Imitations (the Yao). The most thorough mastery of all the complex phenomena under the sky is obtained from the diagrams. The greatest stimulus to movement in adaptation to all affairs under the sky is obtained from the explanations. The transformations and shaping that take place are obtained from the changes (of the lines); the carrying this out and operating with it is obtained from the general method (that has been established). The seeing their spirit-like intimations and understanding them depended on their being the proper men; and the completing (the study of) them by silent meditation, and securing the faith of others without the use of words, depended on their virtuous conduct.

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