Previous / Contents / HEX TABLE / Next

43. Kwai [Displacing]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Kwai requires (in him who would fulfil its meaning) the exhibition (of the culprit's guilt) in the royal court, and a sincere and earnest appeal (for sympathy and support), with a consciousness of the peril (involved in cutting off the criminal). He should (also) make announcement in his own city, and show that it will not be well to have recourse at once to arms. (In this way) there will be advantage in whatever he shall go forward to.

[Whincup] Flight.
Captives' cries of distress
Rise over the king's palace.
A command to halt comes from the capital.
It is not favorable to take up arms against it.
It is favorable to take flight.

[Christensen] 43 - 夬 Determination  
夬 揚 于 王 庭 孚 號 有 厲 告 自 邑 不 利 即 戎 利 有 攸 往 To resolutely stand up in the king’s court and confidently raise your voice is being too bold. [Likewise,] it is not fruitful to be armed when approaching one’s own town to convey a message. But it is [still] beneficial to have the goal in view.

[Pearson] (guài) Resolute
Break-through: Raised into the royal court. A sincere call of “danger!” announced from the city. This is not a time for military force. It is a time to move forward resolutely.

[Redmond] 43. 夬 Guai Determination
43.0 Displayed in the king’s courtyard, the captives wail at this harshness. Get out the word in one’s own county that it is not beneficial to go to battle. Beneficial if having to go somewhere. 揚于王庭, 孚號有厲. 告自邑不利即戎. 利有攸往.

[Legge] In Kwai we have the hexagram of the third month, when the last remnant, cold and dark, of winter, represented by the sixth line, is about to disappear before the advance of the warm and bright days of the approaching summer. In the yin line at the top king Wan saw the symbol of a small or bad man, a feudal prince or high minister, lending his power to maintain a corrupt government, or, it might be, a dynasty that was waxen old and ready to vanish away; and in the five undivided lines he saw the representatives of good order, or, it might be, the dynasty which was to supersede the other. This then is the subject of the hexagram,—how bad men, statesmen corrupt and yet powerful, are to be put out of the way. And he who would accomplish the task must do so by the force of his character more than by force of arms, and by producing a general sympathy on his side.

The Thwan says that he must openly denounce the criminal in the court, seek to awaken general sympathy, and at the same time go about his enterprise, conscious of its difficulty and danger. Among his own adherents, moreover, as if it were in his own city, he must make it understood how unwillingly he takes up arms. Then let him go forward, and success will attend him.

Comments on the Thwan

1. Kwai is the symbol of displacing or removing. We see (in the figure) the strong (lines) displacing the weak. (We have in it the attributes of) strength and complacency. There is displacement, but harmony (continues).

2. 'The exhibition (of the criminal's guilt) in the royal courtyard' is suggested by the (one) weak (line) mounted on the five strong lines.

There 'is an earnest and sincere appeal (for sympathy and support), and a consciousness of the peril (involved in the undertaking):'—it is the realisation of this danger, which makes the method (of compassing the object) brilliant.

'He should make an announcement in his own city, and show that it will not be well to have recourse at once to arms:'—(if he have recourse to arms), what he prefers will (soon) be exhausted.

'There will be advantage in whatever he shall go forward to:'—when the growth of the strong (lines) has been completed, there will be an end (of the displacement).

[Legge] 1. The last clause of paragraph 1 is good in itself, showing that the strong and worthy statesman in removing a bad man from the state is not actuated by arty private feelings. The sentiment, however, as it is expressed, can hardly be said to follow from the symbolism.

Paragraph 2. The same may be said of all the notes appended to the different clauses of this second paragraph. Hu Ping-wan (Yuan dynasty) says:—'If but a single small man be left, he is sufficient to make the superior man anxious; if but a single inordinate desire be left in the mind, that is sufficient to disturb the harmony of heavenly principles. The eradication in both oases must be complete, before the labour is ended.'

Great Symbolism

(The trigram representing) heaven and that for the waters of a marsh mounting above it form Kwai. The superior man, in accordance with this, bestows emolument on those below him, and dislikes allowing his gifts to accumulate (undispensed).

[Legge] We can only understand the mounting of the waters of a marsh up into the sky of the phenomenon of evaporation; and certainly the waters so formed into clouds will be condensed, and come down again as rain. This may be taken as an image of dispersion, but not of displacement in the sense of the Text of the hexagram.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject in (the pride of) strength advancing with his toes. He goes forward, but will not succeed. There will be ground for blame.

111110 changing to 011110

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 44.1

He is wounded in the foot
   on his first forward step.
Advancing brings no victory, but harm.

[Christensen] 初 九﹕ 壯 于 前 趾 往 不 勝 為 咎 Beginning 9: You are making a mistake if you set out with powerful steps and then don’t make it.

[Pearson] Nine in the first place: Strength in your front toes. This action will not bring victory, only blame.

[Redmond] 43.1 Sturdily forward on foot, yet going is unbearable, becoming shameful. 初九壯于前趾, 往不勝為咎.

[Smaller Symbolism] 1. 'Without (being able to) succeed, he goes forward:'—this is an error.

[Legge] Line 1 is strong, the first line of that trigram, which expresses the idea of strength. But it is in the lowest place. The stage of the enterprise is too early, and the preparation too small to make victory certain. Its subject had better not take the field. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The first clause of the application follows naturally enough from the above interpretation of the Symbolism. Ku Hsi says he does not understand the second clause. Many critics adopt the view of it which appears in the translation.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject full of apprehension and appealing (for sympathy and help). Late at night hostile measures may be (taken against him), but he need not be anxious about them.

111110 changing to 101110

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 44.2

Sentries call the watch.
Even if there is fighting during the night,
There is no need to fear.

[Christensen] 九 二﹕ 惕 號 莫 夜 有 戎 勿 恤 Second 9: Alarmed by cries in the evening or late at night, but if you are armed you are not worried.

[Pearson] Nine in the second place: Wary cries at dusk. There military action but no bloodshed.

[Redmond] 43.2 Alarmed by wailing. Nothing but night-time military actions. Do not worry. 九二惕號. 莫夜有戎. 勿恤.

[Smaller Symbolism] 2. 'Though hostile measures be taken against him, he need not be anxious:'—he pursues the course of the due mean.

[Legge] Line 2 is strong, and central, and its subject is possessed with the determination to do his part in the work of removal. But his eagerness is tempered by his occupancy of an even place; and he is cautious, and no attempts, however artful, to harm him will take effect. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Paragraph 2 does not mention the precautionary measures taken in the Text by the subject of the line, from which the conclusion would follow quite as naturally as from his central position. The Khang-hsi editors, however, say that the not having recourse lightly to force is itself the due course.

3. The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject (about to advance) with strong (and determined) looks. There will be evil. (But) the superior man, bent on cutting off (the criminal), will walk alone and encounter the rain, (till he be hated by his proper associates) as if he were contaminated (by the others). (In the end) there will be no blame against him.

111110 changing to 110110

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 44.3

He is wounded on the cheekbone.
Misfortune strikes.
The lord runs away alone.
He encounters rain and gets wet,
Feels resentment but suffers no harm.

[Christensen] 九 三﹕ 壯 于 頄 有 凶 君 子 夬 夬 獨 行 遇 雨 若 濡 有 慍 无 咎 Third 9: If there is strain in the face, it is not good. The wise person walks alone, very determined but meets rainfall and thus gets soaked. He can’t be blamed for being annoyed [about this].

[Pearson] Nine in the third place: Strength in your cheekbones. Misfortune. Even the best person, going it alone, meets rain and pools of water. There is anger but not blame.

[Redmond] 43.3 Sturdy cheekbones—will be ominous. The upright person very determinedly walks alone, though caught in the rain. If drenched, irritated but nothing blameworthy. 九三壯于頄—有凶. 君子夬夬獨行, 遇雨. 若濡,有慍无咎.

[Smaller Symbolism] 3. 'The superior man looks bent on cutting off the culprit:'—there will in the end be no error.

[Legge] Line 3 is strong, and its subject displays his purpose too eagerly. Being beyond the central position, moreover, gives an indication of evil. Lines 3 and 6 are also proper correlates; and, as elsewhere in the Yi, the meeting of yin and yang lines is associated with falling rain. The subject of 3, therefore, communicates with 6, in a way that annoys his associates; but nevertheless he commits no error, and, in the end, incurs no blame. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Line 3 responding, and alone of all the strong lines responding to 6, may appear at first irresolute, and not prepared for decided measures; but 1 in the end' its subject does what is required of him.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows one from whose buttocks the skin has been stripped, and who walks slowly and with difficulty. (If he could act) like. a sheep led (after its companions), occasion for repentance would disappear. But though he hear these words, he will not believe them.

111110 changing to 111010

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 44.4

No flesh on his thighs,
He staggers as he walks.
He leads forth a sheep and surrenders.
His regrets will pass.
He heard the warnings but did not believe.

[Christensen] 九 四﹕ 臀 无 膚 其 行 次 且 牽 羊 悔 亡 聞 言 不 信 Fourth 9: Your buttocks are galled and you limp [after the encounter]. If you just let yourself be led like a sheep regret will vanish. If you speak up, no one will believe you.

[Pearson] Nine in the fourth place: Thighs without skin: their actions falter. If a ram leads, remorse disappears. Hearing words, but not believing.

[Redmond] 43.4 The buttocks have no skin; he walks with difficulty. Leading a sheep, but regrets that it runs away. Words are heard, but not believed. 九四臀无膚; 其行次且. 牽羊悔亡. 聞言不信.

[Smaller Symbolism] 4. 'He walks slowly and with difficulty:'—he is not in the place appropriate to him. 'He hears these words, but does not believe them:'—he hears, but does not understand.

[Legge] Line 4 is not in the centre, nor in an odd place, appropriate to it as undivided. Its subject therefore will not be at rest, nor able to do anything to accomplish the idea of the hexagram. He is symbolised by a culprit, who, according to the ancient and modern custom of Chinese courts, has been bastinadoed till he presents the appearance in the Text. Alone he can do nothing; if he could follow others, like a sheep led along, he might accomplish something, but he will not listen to advice.

5. The fifth NINE, undivided, shows (the small men like) a bed of purslain, which ought to be uprooted with the utmost determination. (The subject of the line having such determination), his action, in harmony with his central position, will lead to no error or blame.

111110 changing to 111100

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 44.5

Like a mountain goat,
   he bounds away down the road.
And escapes harm.

[Christensen] 九 五﹕ 莧 陸 夬 夬 中 行 无 咎 Fifth 9: [If he] determinedly walks directly to [her with] pokeweed flowers he will not fail.

[Pearson] Nine in the fifth place: The weeds are broken. With resolution action, walking a middle way, no blame.

[Redmond] 43.5 A wild goat very determinedly runs through the middle. There will be no blame. 九五莧陸夬夬中行, 无咎.

[Smaller Symbolism] 5. 'If his action be in harmony with his central position, there will be no error:'—but his standing in the due mean is not yet clearly displayed.

[Legge] Purslain grows in shady places, and hence we find it here in close contiguity to the topmost line, which is yin. As 5 is the ruler's seat, evil may come to him from such contiguity, and strenuous efforts must be made to prevent such an evil. The subject of the line, the ruler in the central place, will commit no error. It must be allowed that the symbolism in this line is not easily managed. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The contiguity of line 5 to the divided 6, is supposed to have some bad effect on its subject, so that while he does what his central position requires, it is not without an effort. 'If a man,' says Khang-zze, 'cherish a single illicit desire in his mind, he has left the right way. The admonition here conveyed is deep.'

6. The sixth SIX, divided, shows its subject without any (helpers) on whom to call. His end will be evil.

111110 changing to 111111

Matching Line in Adjacent Hexagram: 44.6

There is no cry of warning.
Misfortune in the end.

[Christensen] 上 六﹕ 无 號 終 有 凶 Top 6: Without [anyone] giving a warning there will be misfortune in the end.

[Pearson] Six at the top: Without a cry. In the end, misfortune.

[Redmond] 43.6 There is no wailing—ends ominously. 上六无號—終有凶.

[Smaller Symbolism] 6. 'There is the misery of having none on whom to call:'—the end will be that he cannot continue any longer.

[Legge] The subject of the 6th line, standing alone, may be easily disposed of.

Previous / Contents / HEX TABLE / Next


Return to Home Page

Send comments to

Editorial features of this edition © 2012-2017 by Joseph F. Morales