|There were "old" features in your gua (hexagram). It means that you have two hexagrams. The first one — is something that the Book tells you at the moment, the second is something it warns you about.
38. Polarising (kuí). Opposition
Strife is always connected with the community. Loneliness is more dangerous than hatred.
Inital text of I Ching
Opposition. In small matters, good fortune.
Above, fire; below, the lake:
The image of Opposition. Thus amid all fellowship the superior man retains his individuality.
- Remorse disappears. If you lose your horse, do not run after it; It will come back of its own accord. When you see evil people, Guard yourself against mistakes.
- One meets his lord in a narrow street. No blame.
- One sees the wagon dragged back, the oxen halted, a man's hair and nose cut off. Not a good beginning, but a good end.
- Isolated through opposition, one meets a like-minded man with whom one can associate in good faith. Despite the danger, no blame.
- Remorse disappears. The companion bites his way through the wrappings. If one goes to him, how could it be a mistake?
- Isolated through opposition, one sees one's companion as a pig covered with dirt, as a wagon full of devils. First one draws a bow against him, then one lays the bow aside. He is not a robber; he will woo at the right time. As one goes, rain falls; then good fortune comes.
There is no clear understanding of what the good is and what harm? Until you understand, you will stagnate or fail. The differences are everywhere: there is no coordinated work; the initial idea contradicts the ultimate goal. There is misunderstanding among the relatives. Junior need advice of senior, otherwise there may be dangerous errors. Intervention of a wise man, head is necessary. Success is possible only in small and insignificant things.
This hexagram is composed of the trigram Li above, i.e., flame, which burns
upward, and Tui below, i.e., the lake, which seeps downward. These two
movements are indirect contrast. Furthermore, LI is the second daughter and
Tui the youngest daughter, and although they live in the same house they
belong to different men; hence their wills are not the same but are
When people live in opposition and estrangement they cannot carry out a
great undertaking in common; their points of view diverge too widely. In
such circumstances one should above all not proceed brusquely, for that
would only increase the existing opposition; instead, one should limit oneself
to producing gradual effects in small matters. Here success can still be
expected, because the situation is such that the opposition does not preclude
In general, opposition appears as an obstruction, but when it represents
polarity within a comprehensive whole, it has also its useful and important
functions. The oppositions of heaven and earth, spirit and nature, man and
woman, when reconciled, bring about the creation and reproduction of life.
In the world of visible things, the principle of opposites makes possible the
differentiation by categories through which order is brought into the world.
The two elements, fire and water, never mingle but even when in contact
retain their own natures. So the sutured man is never led into baseness or
vulgarity through intercourse or community of interests with persons of
another sort; regardless of all commingling, he will always preserve his
Even in times when oppositions prevail, mistakes can be avoided, so that
remorse disappears. When opposition begins to manifest itself, a man must
not try to bring about unity by force, for by so doing he would only achieve
the contrary, just as a horse goes farther and farther away if one runs after it.
It it is one's won horse, one can safely let it go; it will come back of its own
accord. So too when someone who belongs with us is momentarily estranged
because of a misunderstanding, he will return of his own accord if we leave
matters to him. One the other hand, it is well to be cautious when evil men
who do not belong with us force themselves upon us, again as the result of a
misunderstanding. Here the important thing is to avoid mistakes. We must
not try to shake off these evil men by force; this would give rise to real
hostility. We must simply endure them. They will eventually withdraw of
their own accord.
As a result of misunderstandings, it has become impossible for people who by
nature belong together to meet in the correct way. This being so, an accidental
meeting under informal circumstances may serve the purpose, provided
there is an inner affinity between them.
Often it seems tot a man as though everything were conspiring against him.
He sees himself checked and hindered in his progress, insulted and
dishonored. However, he must not let himself be misled; despite this
opposition, he must cleave to the man with whom he knows he belongs.
Thus, notwithstanding the bad beginning, the matter will end well.
If a man finds himself in a company of people from whom he is separated by
an inner opposition, he becomes isolated. But if in such a situation a man
meets someone who fundamentally by the very law of his being, is kin to
him, and whom he can trust completely, he overcomes all the dangers of
isolation. His will achieves its aim, and he becomes free of faults.
Coming upon a sincere man, one fails to recognize him at first because of the
general estrangement. However, he bites his way through the wrappings that
are causing the separation. When such a companion thus reveals himself in
his true character, it is one's duty to go to meet him and to work with him.
Here the isolation is due to misunderstanding; it is brought about not by
outer circumstances but by inner conditions. A man misjudges his best
friends, taking them to be as unclean as a dirty pig in and as dangerous as a
wagon full of devils. He adopts an attitude of defense. But in the end,
realizing his mistake, he lays aside the bow, perceiving that the other is
approaching with the best intentions for the purpose of close union. Thus the
tension is relieved. The union resolves the tension, just as falling rain
relieves the sultriness preceding a thunderstorm. All goes well, for just when
opposition reaches its climax it changes over to its antithesis.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
This hexagram speaks, that now your life is deprived harmony. It seems to you, as if all around carp at you, are set up aggressively. You are deduced from themselves even with the most insignificant events. Take itself in hands, be not nervous, position will soon change. Sympathizing people to you now to find difficultly. A certain woman gets on to you nerves. Supervise the words, acts, and be not accepted for what new. Those events, things which are now in a field of your interests, in practice at all does not correspond to your true desires.
4. Enveloping (méng). Youthful Folly
Ignorance is won by wisdom. Emptiness should be filled in. Nature stands no emptiness.
Inital text of I Ching
Youthful Folly has success. It is not I who seek the young fool; The young fool seeks me. At the first oracle I inform him. If he asks two or three times, it is importunity. If he importunes, I give him no information. Perseverance furthers.
A spring wells up at the foot of the mountain:
The image of Youth. Thus the superior man fosters his character by thoroughness in all that he does.
- To make a fool develop it furthers one to apply discipline. The fetters should be removed. To go on in this way brings humiliation.
- To bear with fools in kindliness brings good fortune. To know how to take women brings good fortune. The son is capable of taking charge of the household.
- Take not a maiden who, when she sees a man of bronze, loses possession of herself. Nothing furthers.
- Entangled folly brings humiliation.
- Childlike folly brings good fortune.
- In punishing folly it does not further one to commit transgressions. The only thing that furthers is to prevent transgressions.
Natural gifts are subjected by ignorance. Efforts to overcome it are needed. An ignorant person is in captivity of illusions. Difficulties when moving forward are inevitable. Plenitude and emptiness can be of two kinds: material and spiritual. Do not worry about material emptiness, be afraid of spiritual emptiness. Seek no material plenitude, seek knowledge instead of gold. Do not envy rich men; do not try to be like them. Gold can dazzle and ignorance will become deeper. Find a teacher, ask questions, but try to avoid excessive importunity. Take the first directions of teacher into account. Do not wait that knowledge will find you itself, show initiative. Do not worry about temporary stop. Lack of knowledge makes movement dangerous.
In this hexagram we are reminded of youth and folly in two different ways.
The image of the upper trigram, Kên, is the mountain, that of the lower,
K'an, is water; the spring rising at the foot of the mountain is the image of
inexperienced youth. Keeping still is the attribute of the upper trigram; that of
the lower is the abyss, danger. Stopping in perplexity on the brink of a
dangerous abyss is a symbol of the folly of youth. However, the two trigrams
also show the way of overcoming the follies of youth. Water is something
that of necessity flows on. When the spring gushes forth, it does not know at
first where it will go. But its steady flow fills up the deep place blocking its
progress, and success is attained.
In the time of youth, folly is not an evil. One may succeed in spite of it,
provided one finds an experienced teacher and has the right attitude toward
him. This means, first of all, that the youth himself must be conscious of his
lack of experience and must seek out the teacher. Without this modesty and
this interest there is no guarantee that he has the necessary receptivity, which
should express itself in respectful acceptance of the teacher. This is the reason
why the teacher must wait to be sought out instead of offering himself. Only
thus can the instruction take place at the right time and in the right way.
A teacher's answer to the question of a pupil ought to be clear and definite
like that expected from an oracle; thereupon it ought to be accepted as a key
for resolution of doubts and a basis for decision. If mistrustful or
unintelligent questioning is kept up, it serves only to annoy the teacher. He
does well to ignore it in silence, just as the oracle gives one answer only and
refuses to be tempted by questions implying doubt.
Given addition a perseverance that never slackens until the points are
mastered one by one, real success is sure to follow. Thus the hexagram
counsels the teacher as well as the pupil.
A spring succeeds in flowing on and escapes stagnation by filling up all the
hollow places in its path. In the same way character is developed by
thoroughness that skips nothing but, like water, gradually and steadily fills up
all gaps and so flows onward.
Law is the beginning of education. Youth in its inexperience is inclined at first
to take everything carelessly and playfully. It must be shown the seriousness
of life. A certain measure of taking oneself in hand, brought about by strict
discipline, is a good thing. He who plays with life never amounts to
anything. However, discipline should not degenerate into drill. Continuous
drill has a humiliating effect and cripples a man's powers.
These lines picture a man who has no external power, but who has enough
strength of mind to bear his burden of responsibility. He has the inner
superiority and that enable him to tolerate with kindliness the shortcomings
of human folly. The same attitude is owed to women as the weaker sex. One
must understand them and give them recognition in a spirit of chivalrous
consideration. Only this combination of inner strength with outer reserve
enables one to take on the responsibility of directing a larger social body with
A weak, inexperienced man, struggling to rise, easily loses his own
individuality when he slavishly imitates a strong personality of higher
station. He is like a girl throwing herself away when she meets a strong man.
Such a servile approach should not be encouraged, because it is bad both for
the youth and the teacher. A girl owes it to her dignity to wait until she is
wooed. In both cases it is undignified to offer oneself, and no good comes of
accepting such an offer.
For youthful folly it is the most hopeless thing to entangle itself in empty
imaginings. The more obstinately it clings to such unreal fantasies, the more
certainly will humiliation overtake it.
Often the teacher, when confronted with such entangled folly, has no other
course but to leave the fool to himself for a time, not sparing him the
humiliation that results. This is frequently the only means of rescue.
An inexperienced person who seeks instruction in a childlike and
unassuming way is on the right path, for the man devoid of arrogance who
subordinated himself to his teacher will certainly be helped.
Sometimes an incorrigible fool must be punished. He who will not heed will
be made to feel. This punishment is quite different from a preliminary
shaking up. But the penalty should not be imposed in anger; it must be
restricted to an objective guarding against unjustified excesses. Punishment
is never an end in itself but serves merely to restore order.
This applies not only in regard to education but also in regard to the
measures taken by a government against a populace guilty of transgressions.
Governmental interference should always be merely preventive and should
have as its sole aim the establishment of public security and peace.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Now all around of you as is covered by a veil; but this veil will soon disappear, and the world again will get for you clearness. Now your nerves are strongly loosened, therefore try to not accept hasty decisions. Soon all will change. If wish to become successful - do not neglect councils of friends, the heads, ponder upon them. Give more time to dialogue with children. Do not despond. Already there are the new plans, new prospects, but for new love time has not come yet. Gather; also concentrate will on performance of the one and only desire.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary