25. Wu Wang / Innocence (The Unexpected)
above CH’IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN
below CHêN THE AROUSING, THUNDER
Ch’ien, heaven is above; Chên, movement, is below. The lower trigram Chên is under the influence of the strong line it has received form above, from heaven. When, in accord with this, movement follows the law of heaven, man is innocent and without guile. His mind is natural and true, unshadowed by reflection or ulterior designs. For wherever conscious purpose is to be seen, there the truth and innocence of nature have been lost. Nature that is not directed by the spirit is not true but degenerate nature. Starting out with the idea of the natural, the train of thought in part goes somewhat further and thus the hexagram includes also the idea of the fundamental or unexpected.
INNOCENCE. Supreme success.
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.
Man has received from heaven a nature innately good, to guide him in all his movements. By devotion to this divine spirit within himself, he attains an unsullied innocence that leads him to do right with instinctive sureness and without any ulterior thought of reward and personal advantage. This instinctive certainty brings about supreme success and ‘furthers through perseverance”. However, not everything instinctive is nature in this higher sense of the word, but only that which is right and in accord with the will of heaven. Without this quality of rightness, an unreflecting, instinctive way of acting brings only misfortune. Confucius says about this: “He who departs from innocence, what does he come to? Heaven’s will and blessing do not go with his deeds.”
Under heaven thunder rolls:
All things attain the natural state of innocence.
Thus the kings of old,
Rich in virtue, and in harmony with the time,
Fostered and nourished all beings.
In springtime when thunder, life energy, begins to move again under the heavens, everything sprouts and grows, and all beings receive for the creative activity of nature the childlike innocence of their original state. So it is with the good rulers of mankind: drawing on the spiritual wealth at their command, they take care of all forms of life and all forms of culture and do everything to further them, and at the proper time.