Corners of the mouth

34. Ta Chuang / The Power of the Great

above CHêN THE AROUSING, THUNDER
above CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

The great lines, that is, the light, strong lines, are powerful. Four light lines have entered the hexagram from below and are about to ascend higher. The upper trigram is Chên, the Arousing; the lower is ch’ien, the Creative. Ch’ien is strong, Chên produces movement. The union of movement and strength gives the meaning of THE POWER OF THE GREAT. The hexagram is linked with the second month (March-April).

THE JUDGMENT

THE POWER OF THE GREAT. Perseverance furthers.

The hexagram points to a time when inner worth mounts with great force and comes to power. But its strength has already passed beyond the median line, hence there is danger that one may rely entirely on one’s own power and forget to ask what is right. There is danger too that, being intent on movement, we may not wait for the right time. Therefore the added statement that perseverance furthers. For that is truly great power which does not degenerate into mere force but remains inwardly united with the fundamental principles of right and of justice. When we understand this point–namely, that greatness and justice must be indissolubly united–we understand the true meaning of all that happens in heaven and on earth.

THE IMAGE

Thunder in heaven above:
The image of THE POWER OF THE GREAT.
Thus the superior man does not tread upon paths
That do not accord with established order.

Thunder–electrical energy–mounts upward in the spring. The direction of this movement is in harmony with that of the movement of heaven. It is therefore a movement in accord with heaven, producing great power. However, true greatness depends on being in harmony with what is right. Therefore in times of great power the superior man avoids doing anything that is not in harmony with the established order.

THE LINES

Nine in the second place means:
Perseverance brings good fortune.

The premise here is that the gates to success are beginning to open. Resistance gives way and we forge ahead. This is the point at which, only too easily, we become the prey of exuberant self-confidence. This is why the oracle says that perseverance (i.e., perseverance in inner equilibrium, without excessive use of power) brings good fortune.

Nine in the third place means:
The inferior man works through power.
The superior man does not act thus.
To continue is dangerous.
A goat butts against a hedge
And gets its horns entangled.

Making a boast of power leads to entanglements, just as a goat entangles its horns when it butts against a hedge. Whereas an inferior man revels in power when he comes into possession of it, the superior man never makes this mistake. He is conscious at all times of the danger of pushing ahead regardless of circumstances, and therefore renounces in good time the empty display of force.

° Nine in the fourth place means:
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Remorse disappears.
The hedge opens; there is no entanglement.
Power depends upon the axle of a big cart.

If a man goes on quietly and perseveringly working at the removal of resistances, success comes in the end. The obstructions give way and all occasion for remorse arising from excessive use of power disappears.

Such a man’s power does not show externally, yet it can move heavy loads, like a big cart whose real strength lies in its axle. The less that power is applied outwardly, the greater its effect.

Six at the top means:
A goat butts against a hedge.
It cannot go backward, it cannot go forward.
Nothing serves to further.
If one notes the difficulty, this brings good fortune.

If we venture too far we come to a deadlock, unable either to advance or to retreat and whatever we do merely serves to complicate thing further. Such obstinacy leads to insuperable difficulties. But if, realizing the situation, we compose ourselves and decide not to continue, everything will right itself in time.

27. I / Corners of the Mouth (Providing Nourishment)

above KêN KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN
below CHêN THE AROUSING, THUNDER

This hexagram is a picture of an open mouth; above and below are firm lines of the lips, and between them the opening. Starting with the mouth, through which we take food for nourishment, the thought leads to nourishment itself. Nourishment of oneself, specifically of the body, is represented in the three lower lines, while the three upper lines represent nourishment and care of others, in a higher, spiritual sense.

THE JUDGMENT

THE CORNERS OF THE MOUTH.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Pay heed to the providing of nourishment
And to what a man seeks
To fill his own mouth with.

In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the right people should be taken care of and that we should attend to our own nourishment in the right way. If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have only to observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he cultivates and nourishes. Nature nourishes all creatures. The great man fosters and takes care of superior men, in order to take care of all men through them. Mencius says about this:

If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important. The body has superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must not injure important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure the superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his nature is a superior man.

THE IMAGE

At the foot of the mountain, thunder:
The image of PROVIDING NOURISHMENT.
Thus the superior man is careful of his words
And temperate in eating and drinking.

“God comes forth in the sign of the Arousing”: when in the spring the life forces stir again, all things comes into being anew. “He brings to perfection in the sign of Keeping Still”: thus in the early spring, when the seeds fall to earth, all things are made ready. This is an image of providing nourishment through movement and tranquillity. The superior man takes it as a pattern for the nourishment and cultivation of his character. Words are a movement going form within outward. Eating and drinking are movements from without inward. Both kinds of movement can be modified by tranquillity. For tranquillity keeps the words that come out of the mouth from exceeding proper measure, and keeps the food that goes into the mouth from exceeding its proper measure. Thus character is cultivated.

Published on July 26, 2018 at 6:00 by

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