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hieroglyph Ground (xùn). The Gentlehexagram 57 Ground (xùn). The Gentle

57. Ground (xùn). The Gentle


Let small things develop. Humble pride - be soft and flexible. Advice of a great person does not degrade, but exalts. Mercenariness disciplines.

Inital text of I Ching

The Judgement

The Gentle. Success through what is small. It furthers one to have somewhere to go. It furthers one to see the great man.

The Image

Winds following one upon the other:
The image of the Gently Penetrating. Thus the superior man spreads his commands abroad and carries out his undertakings.

  1. In advancing and in retreating, the perseverance of a warrior furthers.
  2. Penetration under the bed. Priests and magicians are used in great number. Good fortune. No blame.
  3. Repeated penetration. Humiliation.
  4. Remorse vanishes. During the hunt three kinds of game are caught.
  5. Perseverance brings good fortune. Remorse vanishes. Nothing that does not further. No beginning, but an end. Before the change, three days. After the change, three days. Good fortune.
  6. Penetration under the bed. He loses his property and his ax. Perseverance brings misfortune.


Life offers you a new environment in which you may appear an inexperienced person. Errors are possible: misconceptions about the intentions, wrong judgments and estimates, the failure of plans. It is necessary to grasp the essence of change, to develop a clear plan and step by step, 'grope'. Get ready for that you will find only small having lost a lot. It is useful to seek help from a more sophisticated man. What is important is the ability to obey, the ability to comply, give up ambitions, as well as clarity of intentions. Hypocrisy, pretence and arrogance are unacceptable. It is dangerous to muddle on, 'at your own risk', show inappropriate at this time determination and stubbornness. There may be conflicts with friends, quarrels with your beloved, family problems.

Richard Wilhelm's commentary

Sun is one of the eight doubled trigrams. It is the eldest daughter and symbolizes wind or wood; it has for its attribute gentleness, which nonetheless penetrates like the wind or like growing wood with its roots.

The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is dissolved by the penetrating light principle, to which it subordinates itself in gentleness. In nature, it is the wind that disperses the gathered clouds, leaving the sky clear and serene. In human life it is penetrating clarity of judgment that thwarts all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the powerful influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those intrigues which shun the light of day.


Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects. It should be effected not by an act of violation but by influence that never lapses. Results of this kind are less striking to the eye than those won by surprise attack, but they are more enduring and more complete. If one would produce such effects, one must have a clearly defined goal, for only when the penetrating influence works always in the same direction can the object be attained. Small strength can achieve its purpose only by subordinating itself to an eminent man who is capable of creating order.


The penetrating quality of the wind depends upon its ceaselessness. This is what makes it so powerful; time is its instrument. In the same way the ruler's thought should penetrate the soul of the people. This too requires a lasting influence brought about by enlightenment and command. Only when the command has been assimilated by the people is action in accordance with it possible. Action without preparation of the ground only frightens and repels.


In born gentleness is often carried to the point of indecisiveness. One does not feel strong enough to advance resolutely. A thousand doubts crop up; one is, however, not minded to withdraw but drifts indecisively to and fro. In such a situation, a military decisiveness is the proper thing, so that one resolutely does what order demands. Resolute discipline is far better than irresolute license.


At times one has to deal with hidden enemies, intangible influences that slink into dark corners and from this hiding affect people by suggestion. In instances like this, it is necessary to trace these things back to the most secret recesses, in order to determine the nature of the influences to be dealt with. This is the task of the priests; removing the influences is the task of the magicians. The very anonymity of such plotting requires an especially vigorous and indefatigable effort, but this is well worth while. For when such elusive influences are brought into the light and branded, they lose their power over people.


Penetrating reflection must not be pushed too far, lest it cripple the power of decision. After a matter has been thoroughly pondered, it is essential to form a decision and to act. Repeated deliberation brings fresh doubts and scruples, and thereby humiliation, because one shows oneself unable to act.


When a responsible position and accumulated experience lead one to combine innate modesty with energetic action, great success is assured. The three kinds of animals referred to served for offerings to the gods, for feasting guests, and for everyday consumption. When the catch answered all three purposes, the hunt was considered especially successful.


In the situation described in Ku, WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED (18), an entirely new point of departure must be set up, whereas here it is only a question of reforms. The beginning has not been good, but the moment has been reached when a new direction can be taken. Change and improvement are called for. Such steps must be undertaken with steadfastness, that is, with a firm and correct attitude of mind; then they will succeed, and remorse will disappear. But it must be remembered that such improvements require careful consideration. Before a change is made, it must be pondered over again and again. After the change is made, it is necessary to note carefully for some time after how the improvements bear the test of actuality. Such careful work is accompanied by good fortune.


A man's understanding is sufficiently penetrating. He follows up injurious influences into the most secret corners. But he no longer has the strength to combat them decisively. In this case any attempt to penetrate into the personal domain of darkness would only bring harm.

Barbara Hejslip interpretation

At present to you not so - that simply to understand a state of affairs and it is reasonable to estimate it. But you too exaggerate, representing events. Try to follow on that way which to you will be specified by the person well knowing you; and it will be the best exit. In five months your destiny will change for the better. To eliminate obstacles in a way of performance of your desires the woman will help. At all do not allow to persuade now itself on such actions as which consider erroneous and unnecessary.