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hieroglyph Viewing (guān). Contemplationhexagram 20 Viewing (guān). Contemplation

20. Viewing (guān). Contemplation

Advise

You may work day and night long, but no fruit can be grown without spiritual work.

Inital text of I Ching

The Judgement

Contemplation. The ablution has been made, but not yet the offering. Full of trust they look up to him.

The Image

The wind blows over the earth:
The image of Contemplation. Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world, contemplated the people, and gave them instruction.

  1. Boylike contemplation. For an inferior man, no blame. For a superior man, humiliation.
  2. Contemplation through the crack of the door. Furthering for the perseverance of a woman.
  3. Contemplation of my life decides the choice between advance and retreat.
  4. Contemplation of the light of the kingdom. It furthers one to exert influence as the guest of a king.
  5. Contemplation of my life. The superior man is without blame.
  6. Contemplation of his life. The superior man is without blame.

Prediction

It is time of external harmony. Much has been achieved. It is time to step back and look at its movement through the eyes of a stranger - you need objectivity. Do not seek to cover all with common eye - gradually learn about the essentials, learn the essence. Most of all, concentration and inner truth are needed. Self-deception is dangerous! It is time of active inner work, evolving, soul-searching.

Richard Wilhelm's commentary

A slight variation of tonal stress gives the Chinese name for this hexagram a double meaning. It means both contemplating and being seen, in the sense of being an example. These ideas are suggested by the fact that the hexagram can be understood as picturing a type of tower characteristic of ancient China.

A tower of this kind commanded a wide view of the country; at the same time, when situated on a mountain, it became a landmark that could be seen for miles around. Thus the hexagram shows a ruler who contemplates the law of heaven above him and the ways of the people below, and who, by means of good government, sets a lofty example to the masses.

This hexagram is linked with the eight month (September-October). The light-giving power retreats and the dark power is again on the increase. However, this aspect is not material in the interpretation of the hexagram as a whole.

THE JUDGMENT

The sacrificial ritual in China began with an ablution and a libation by which the Deity was invoked, after which the sacrifice was offered. The moment of time between these two ceremonies is the most sacred of all, the moment of deepest inner concentration. If piety is sincere and expressive of real faith, the contemplation of it has a transforming awe-spiring effect on those who witness it.

Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly subject to law. Contemplation of the divine meaning underlying the workings of the universe gives to the man who is called upon to influence others the means of producing like effects. This requires that power of inner concentration which religious contemplation develops in great men strong in faith. It enables them to apprehend the mysterious and divine laws of life, and by means of profoundest inner concentration they give expression to these laws in their own persons. Thus a hidden spiritual power emanates from them, influencing and dominating others without their being aware of how it happens.

THE IMAGE

When the wind blows over the earth it goes far and wide, and the grass must bend to its power. These two occurrences find confirmation in the hexagram. The two images are used to symbolize a practice of the kings of old; in making regular journeys the ruler could, in the first place, survey his realm and make certain that none of the existing usages of the people escaped notice; in the second, he could exert influence through which such customs as were unsuitable could be changed.

All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the one hand, such a man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, he will impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of his personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind.

1

This means contemplation from a distance, without comprehension. A man of influence is at hand, abut his influence is not understood by the common people. This matters little in the case of the masses, for they benefit by the actions of the ruling sage whether they understand them or not. But for a superior man it is a disgrace. He must not content himself with a shallow, thoughtless view of prevailing forces; he must contemplate them as a connected whole and try to understand them.

2

Through the crack of the door one has a limited outlook; one looks outward from within. Contemplation is subjectively limited. One tends to relate everything to oneself and cannot put oneself in another's place and understand his motives. This is appropriate for a good housewife. It is not necessary for her to be conversant with the affairs of the world. But for a man who must take active part in public life, such a narrow, egotistic way of contemplating things is of course harmful.

3

This is the place of transition. We no longer look outward to receive pictures that are more or less limited and confused, but direct out contemplation upon ourselves in order to find a guideline for our decisions. This self- contemplation means the overcoming of naive egotism in the person who sees everything solely form his own standpoint. He begins to reflect and in this way acquires objectivity. However, self-knowledge does not mean preoccupation with one's own thoughts; rather, it means concern about the effects one creates. It is only the effects our lives produce that give us the right to judge whether what we have done means progress or regression.

4

This describes a man who understands the secrets by which a kingdom can be made to flourish. Such a man must be given an authoritative position, in which he can exert influence. He should be, so to speak, a guest-that is, he should be honored and act independently, and should not be used as a tool.

5

A man in an authoritative position to whom others look up must always be ready for self-examination. The right sort of self-examination, however, consists not in idle brooding over oneself but in examining the effects one produces. Only when these effects are good, and when one's influence on others is good, will the contemplation of one's own life bring the satisfaction of knowing oneself to be free of mistakes.

6

While the preceding line represents a man who contemplates himself, here in the highest place everything that is personal, related to the ego, is excluded. The picture is that of a sage who stands outside the affairs of the world. Liberated from his ego, he contemplates the laws of life and so realizes that knowing how to become free of blame is the highest good.

Barbara Hejslip interpretation

You should be to ready to probable and unexpected troubles. Try to consider and analyse a state of affairs easy and judiciously. Probably, that to you it will be necessary to replace a residence and work. Try anything important to not miss, you need to be now especially attentive. You can receive the help therefrom, whence least wait, for this purpose it is necessary to think over carefully only all the actions. Your desires will be executed, maybe, not so quickly as you would like. It is necessary for you to consider opportunities of realization of your plans well. Well, and if your business will go successfully do not forget to assist another.