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34. Ta Kwang [Strength]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Ta Kwang indicates that (under the conditions which it symbolises) it will be advantageous to be firm and correct.

[Whincup] Big uses force.
It is favorable to continue.

[Christensen] 34 - 大 壯 Great Power
大 壯 利 貞 Great power is of benefit [when applied] properly.

[Pearson] (dà zhuàng) Great Strength Great strength. Persistence is effective.

[Redmond] 34. 大壯 Da Zhuan Great Strength
34.0 Beneficial to divine. 利貞.

[Legge] The strong lines predominate in Ta Kwang. It suggested to king Wan a state or condition of things in which there was abundance of strength and vigour. Was strength alone enough for the conduct of affairs? No. He saw also in the figure that which suggested to him that strength should be held in subordination to the idea of right, and exerted only in harmony with it.

This is the lesson of the hexagram, as sententiously expressed in the Thwan.

Comments on the Thwan

1. In Ta Kwang we see that which is great becoming strong. We have the (trigram) denoting strength directing that which denotes movement, and hence (the whole) is expressive of vigour.

2. 'Ta Kwang indicates that it will be advantageous to be firm and correct:'—that which is great (should be) correct. Given correctness and greatness (in their highest degree), and the character and tendencies of heaven and earth can be seen.

[Legge] Paragraph 1. 'That which is great' denotes, in the first place, the group of four strong lines which strikes us on looking at the figure, and then the superior man, or the strong men in positions of power, of whom these are the representatives. Khien is the trigram of strength, and Kan that of movement.

Paragraph 2. That which is great (should be) correct:—that the 'should be' must be supplied in the translation appears from this, that the paragraph is intended to illustrate the text that 'it will be advantageous to be firm and correct.' The power of man becomes then a reflexion of the great power which we see working in nature, 'impartially,' 'unselfishly.'

Great Symbolism

(The trigram representing) heaven and above it that for thunder form Ta Kwang. The superior man, in accordance with this, does not take a step which is not according to propriety.

[Legge] In illustration of the symbolism of the trigrams here, Khang-zze says well:—'Thunder rolling above in the sky and making all things shake is the emblem of great power.' In passing on to its application he starts with a beautiful saying of antiquity, that 'the strong man is he who overcomes himself.' That this thought was in the mind of the writer of the paragraph on the Great Symbolism I can well believe; but the analogy between the natural and the moral and spiritual worlds in passing from the phenomenon of thunder to this truth is a thing to be felt, and that can hardly be described.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject manifesting his strength in his toes. But advance will lead to evil,—most certainly.

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Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 33.1

Wounded in the foot.
Marching forth leads to misfortune.

[Christensen] 初 九﹕ 壯 于 趾 征 凶 有 孚 Beginning 9: Setting out with powerful steps is bad, there must be inner confidence.

[Pearson] Nine in the first place: Strength in the toes. Going into action will bring misfortune. There will be a return.

[Redmond] 34.1 Strong feet for a military expedition. Ominous regarding captives. 初九壯于趾征. 凶孚.

[Smaller Symbolism] 1. 'He manifests his vigour in his toes:'—this will certainly lead to exhaustion.

[Legge] Line 1 is strong, in its correct place, and also the first line in Khien, the hexagram of strength, and the first line in Ta Kwang. The idea of the figure might seem to be concentrated in it; and hence we have it symbolised by 'strength in the toes,' or 'advancing.' But such a measure is too bold to be undertaken by one in the lowest place, and moreover there is no proper correlate in 4. Hence comes the evil auspice. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Paragraph 1. 'This will lead to exhaustion;' and from that will follow distress and other evils.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows that with firm correctness there will be good fortune.

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Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 33.2

He is faithful.
Keeping on brings good fortune.

[Christensen] 九 二﹕ 貞 吉 Second 9: Acting correctly will lead to a good outcome.

[Pearson] Nine in the second place: Persistence brings good fortune.

[Redmond] 34.2 Divination auspicious. 九二貞吉.

[Smaller Symbolism] 2. 'The second NINE, (undivided), shows that with firm correctness there will be good fortune:'—this is due to its being in the centre, (and its subject exemplifying the due mean).

[Legge] Line 2 is strong, but the strength is tempered by its being in an even place, instead of being excited by it, as might be feared. Then the place is that in the centre. With firm correctness there will be good fortune. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The central position and the due moral mean in paragraph 2 is another instance of the felt analogy referred to above.

3. The third NINE, undivided, shows, in the case of a small man, one using all his strength; and in the case of a superior man, one whose rule is not to do so. Even with firm correctness the position would be perilous. (The exercise of strength in it might be compared to the case of) a ram butting against a fence, and getting his horns entangled.

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Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 33.3

A little man uses force
And a lord entraps him.
It is dangerous to keep on.
The ram butts a fence
   and gets his horns caught.

[Christensen] 九 三﹕ 小 人 用 壯 君 子 用 罔 貞 厲 羝 羊 觸 藩 羸 其 角 Third 9: The small man uses force; the wise man makes use of deception. Both may seem correct, but is harmful. [It is like] a ram trying to force its way through a hedge; it will only entangle its horns.

[Pearson] Nine in the third place: A lesser person uses strength. Someone worthy of leadership does without. Persistence is dangerous. A ram butts against a hedge and gets his horns caught in it.

[Redmond] 34.3 The petty person uses strength; the cultivated person uses deception. Divination harsh. A ram getting his horns entangled in a fence wearies his horns. 九三小人用壯; 君子用罔. 貞厲. 羝羊觸藩羸其角.

[Smaller Symbolism] 3. 'The small man uses all his strength; in the case of the superior man it is his rule not to do so.'

[Legge] Line 3 is strong, and in its proper place. It is at the top moreover of Khien. A small man so symbolled will use his strength to the utmost; but not so the superior man. For him the position is beyond the safe middle, and he will be cautious; and not injure himself, like the ram, by exerting his strength. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] In paragraph 3 nothing is added to the Text; and on the symbolism nothing is said.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows (a case in which) firm correctness leads to good fortune, and occasion for repentance disappears. (We see) the fence opened without the horns being entangled. The strength is like that in the wheel-spokes of a large waggon.

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Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 33.4

Keeping on brings good fortune,
   regrets pass away.
The fence breaks, the ram gets free.
He attacks at the spokes of a great carriage.

[Christensen] 九 四﹕ 貞 吉 悔 亡 藩 決 不 羸 壯 于 大 輿 之 輹 Fourth 9: Correct things for the better and regret will vanish; the hedge opens and [the ram] does not get entangled. The force [of its two horns is concentrated like all the weight] on a large carriage, [resting on just] the two axle struts.

[Pearson] Nine in the fourth place: Persistence brings good fortune. Regrets vanish. The hedge is broken, the ram’s horns free. Strength around the wheels of the cart.

[Redmond] 34.4 Divination auspicious—regrets will go away. Fence breaks, [the ram] is not weak. Strength like a big cart’s undercarriage. 九四貞吉—悔亡. 藩決不羸, 壯于大輿之輹.

[Smaller Symbolism] 4. 'The fence is opened and the horns are not entangled:'—(the subject of the line) still advances.

[Legge] Line 4 is still strong, but in the place of a weak line; and this gives occasion to the cautions with which the symbolism commences. The subject of the line going forward thus cautiously, his strength will produce good effects, such as are described.

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows one who loses his ram(-like strength) in the ease of his position. (But) there will be no occasion for repentance.

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Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 33.5

He loses a sheep from his fields.
No regrets.

[Christensen] 六 五﹕ 喪 羊 于 易 无 悔 Fifth 6: Don’t have regrets about having lost a sheep by being careless.

[Pearson] Six in the fifth place: Loss of a ram at Yi. No regrets.

[Redmond] 34.5 Losing the ram in Yi. No regret. 六五喪羊于易. 无悔.

[Smaller Symbolism] 5. 'He loses his ram and hardly perceives it:'—he is not in his appropriate place.

[Legge] Line 5 is weak, and occupies a central place. Its subject will cease therefore to exert his strength; but this hexagram does not forbid the employment of strength, but would only control and direct it. All that is said about him is that he will give no occasion for repentance. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Paragraph 5. 'He is not in his appropriate place:' this is said simply because an odd place ought to be filled by a strong line.

6. The sixth SIX, divided, shows (one who may be compared to) the ram butting against the fence, and unable either to retreat, or to advance as he would fain do. There will not be advantage in any respect; but if he realise the difficulty (of his position), there will be good fortune.

111100 changing to 111101

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 33.6

The ram butts a fence.
He cannot pull back
And he cannot go on.
Adversity and then good fortune.

[Christensen] 上 六﹕ 羝 羊 觸 藩 不 能 退 不 能 遂 无 攸 利 艱 則 吉 Top 6: A ram butts against the hedge. It cannot go back or advance; nowhere seems beneficial to go, but when there are difficulties then [solve them so the situation] becomes good.

[Pearson] Six at the top: A butting ram gets caught in the hedge. He can neither retreat nor advance. No direction is effective. But after the difficulties, good fortune.

[Redmond] 34.6 Like a ram getting its horns caught, it cannot pull back, cannot go forward. There is nothing beneficial. Difficult, then auspicious. 上六羝羊觸藩. 不能退. 不能遂.

[Smaller Symbolism] 6. 'He is unable either to retreat or to advance:'—this is owing to his want of care. 'If he realise the difficulty (of his position), there will be good fortune:'—his error will not be prolonged.

[Legge] Line 6 being at the top of Kan, the symbol of movement, and at the top of Ta Kwang, its subject may be expected to be active in exerting his strength; and through his weakness, the result would be as described. But he becomes conscious of his weakness, reflects and rests, and good fortune results, as he desists from the prosecution of his unwise efforts.

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