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hieroglyph Great Exceeding (dà guò). Great Preponderancehexagram 28 Great Exceeding (dà guò). Great Preponderance

28. Great Exceeding (dà guò). Great Preponderance


Excessive grandeur presses upon and prevents further development.

Inital text of I Ching

The Judgement

Preponderance of the Great. The ridgepole sags to the breaking point. It furthers one to have somewhere to go. Success.

The Image

The lake rises above the trees:
The image of Preponderance of the Great. Thus the superior man, when he stands alone, is unconcerned, and if he has to renounce the world, he is undaunted.

  1. To spread white rushes underneath. No blame.
  2. A dry poplar sprouts at the root. An older man takes a young wife. Everything furthers.
  3. The ridgepole sags to the breaking point. Misfortune.
  4. The ridgepole is braced. Good fortune. If there are ulterior motives, it is humiliating.
  5. A withered poplar puts forth flowers. An older woman takes a husband. No blame. No praise.
  6. One must go through the water. It goes over one's head. Misfortune. No blame.


The situation is unfavorable. The danger of stagnation in business, big mistake is great. You should not stay on one place. Reliance, which supports the situation, is about ready to crumble. We must see the whole problem from the roots to the top, from the beginning to the possible outcome. It may take a long time. Avoid excess in everything; do not aspire to capital growth - now it's detrimental for you.

Richard Wilhelm's commentary

This hexagram consists of four strong lines inside and two weak lines outside. When the strong are outside and the weak inside, all is well and there is nothing out of balance, nothing extraordinary in the situation. Here, however, the opposite is the case. The hexagram represents a beam that is thick and heavy in the middle but too weak at the ends. This is a condition that cannot last; it must be changed, must pass, or misfortune will result.


The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy for the strength of the supports. The ridgepole on which the whole roof rests, sags to the breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the load they bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore extraordinary measures are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible, and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the center of gravity, so that a revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures. The problem must be solved by gently penetration to the meaning of the situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous time.


Extraordinary times when the great preponderates are like flood times when the lake rises over the treetops. But such conditions are temporary. The two trigrams indicate the attitude proper to such exceptional times: the symbol of the trigram Sun is the tree, which stands firm even though it stands alone, and the attribute of Tui is joyousness, which remains undaunted even if it must renounce the world.


When a man wishes to undertake an enterprise in extraordinary times, he must be extraordinarily cautious, just as when setting a heavy thing down on the floor, one takes care to put rushes under it, so that nothing will break. This caution, though it may seem exaggerated, is not a mistake. Exceptional enterprises cannot succeed unless utmost caution is observed in their beginnings and in the laying of their foundations.


Wood is near water; hence the image of an old poplar sprouting at the root. This means an extraordinary situation arises when an older man marries a young girl who suits him. Despite the unusualness of the situation, all goes well.

From the point of view of politics, the meaning is that in exceptional times one does well to join with the lowly, for this affords a possibility of renewal.


This indicates a type of man who in times of preponderance of the great insists on pushing ahead. He accepts no advice from others, and therefore they in turn are not willing to lend him support. Because of this the burden grows, until the structure of things bends or breaks. Plunging willfully ahead in times of danger only hastens the catastrophe.


Through friendly relations with people of lower rank, a responsible man succeeds in becoming master of the situation. But if, instead of working for the rescue of the whole, he were to misuse his connections to obtain personal power and success, it would lead to humiliation.


A withered poplar that flowers exhausts its energies thereby and only hastens its end. An older woman may marry once more, but no renewal takes place. Everything remains barren. Thus, though all the amenities are observed, the net result is only the anomaly of the situation.

Applied to politics, the metaphor means that if in times of insecurity we give up alliance with those below us and keep up only the relationships we have with people of higher rank, an unstable situation is created.


Here is a situation in which the unusual has reached a climax. One is courageous and wishes to accomplish one's task, no matter what happens. This leads into danger. The water rises over one's head. This is the misfortune. But one incurs no blame in giving up one's life that the good and the right may prevail. There are things that are more important than life.

Barbara Hejslip interpretation

You are happy, feel the happiness. But try to take itself in hands; your temperament can injure both another, and you most. Look at itself critically, and not be unduly self-confident; your judgements at present it is far not the most true. Do not try to become successful by means of force. Time will change all, it is necessary to constrain itself and to think over a state of affairs. Your desire cannot be executed quickly. Be correct, and do not offend the fervour of others.