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16. Yu [Pleasure, Satisfaction]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Yu indicates that, (in the state which it implies), feudal princes may be set up, and the hosts put in motion, with advantage.

[Legge] The Yu hexagram denoted to king Wan a condition of harmony and happy contentment throughout the kingdom, when the people rejoiced in and readily obeyed their sovereign. At such a time his appointments and any military undertakings would be hailed and supported. The fourth line, undivided, is the lord of the figure, and being close to the fifth or place of dignity, is to be looked on as the minister or chief officer of the ruler. The ruler gives to him his confidence; and all represented by the other lines yield their obedience.

Comments on the Thwan

1. In Yu we see the strong (line) responded to by all the others, and the will (of him whom it represents) being carried out; and (also) docile obedience employing movement (for its purposes). (From these things comes) Yu (the Condition of harmony and satisfaction).

2. In this condition we have docile obedience employing movement (for its purposes), and therefore it is so as between heaven and earth;—how much more will it be so (among men) in 'the setting up of feudal princes and putting the hosts in motion!'

3. Heaven and earth show that docile obedience in connexion with movement, and hence the sun and moon make no error (in time), and the four seasons do not deviate (from their order). The sages show such docile obedience in connexion with their movements, and hence their punishments and penalties are entirely just, and the people acknowledge it by their submission. Great indeed are the time and significance indicated in Yu!

[Legge] What is said in paragraph 1 about the lines has been pointed out in the notes on the Text. 'Obedience' is the attribute of Khwan, the lower trigram, which takes the initiative in the action of the figure; and here makes use of the movement, which is the attribute of Kan, the upper trigram.

I can hardly trace the connexion between the different parts of Paragraph 2. Does it not proceed on the harmony produced by the thunderous explosion between heaven and earth, as declared in ['Great Symbolism,' below]? Then the analogy between natural phenomena and human and social experiences comes into play.

Paragraph 3 is also tantalising. Why does the writer introduce the subject of punishments and penalties? Are they a consequence of putting the hosts in motion?

Great Symbolism

(The trigrams for) the earth and thunder issuing from it with its crashing noise form Yu. The ancient kings, in accordance with this, composed their music and did honour to virtue, presenting it especially and most grandly to God, when they associated with Him (at the service) their highest ancestor and their father.

[Legge: Smaller Symbolism] 'The Great Symbolism' here is more obscure than usual. A thunderstorm clears the air and removes the feeling of oppression, of which one is conscious before its occurrence. Is this all that is meant by making the trigrams of the earth and thunder form Yu, the hexagram of harmony and satisfaction? What is meant, moreover, by making the thunder 'issue,' as the Chinese text says, from the earth? Then as to the application of this symbolism, I can trace the author's idea but imperfectly. To say that the thunder crash suggested the use of music, as some critics do, is absurd. The use of music at sacrifices, however, as assisting the union produced by those services between God and his worshippers, and the present and past generations, agrees with the general idea of the figure. I must suppose that the writer had in mind the sacrifices instituted by the duke of Kau, as related in the Hsiao King, chap. ix.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first SIX, divided, shows its subject proclaiming his pleasure and satisfaction. There will be evil.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The (subject of the) first six proclaims his pleasure and satisfaction:'—there will be evil; his wishes have been satisfied to overflowing.

[Legge] Line 1 is weak, and has for its correlate the strong 4. Its subject may well enjoy the happiness of the time. But he cannot contain himself, and proclaims, or boasts of, his satisfaction;—which is evil. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Pleasure has operated injuriously on the subject of line 1. He calls attention to himself.

2. The second SIX, divided, shows one who is firm as a rock. (He sees a thing) without waiting till it has come to pass; with his firm correctness there will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] '(He sees a thing) without waiting till it has come to pass; with his firm correctness there will be good fortune:'—this is shown by the central and correct position (of the line).

[Legge] Line 2, though weak, is in its correct position, the centre, moreover, of the lower trigram. Quietly and firmly its subject is able to abide in his place, and exercise a far-seeing discrimination. All is indicative of good fortune. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Only a part of the symbolism of line 2 is referred to here. Such an omission is not uncommon;—as in lines 3 and 4 also.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows one looking up (for favours), while he indulges the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. If he would understand!—If he be late in doing so, there will indeed be occasion for repentance.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He looks up (for favours), while he indulges the feeling of satisfaction; there will be occasion for repentance:'—this is intimated by the position not being the appropriate one.

[Legge] Line 3 is weak, and in an odd place. Immediately below line 4, its subject keeps looking up to the lord of the figure, and depends on him, thinking of doing nothing, but how to enjoy himself. The consequence will be as described, unless he speedily change.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows him from whom the harmony and satisfaction come. Great is the success which he obtains. Let him not allow suspicions to enter his mind, and thus friends will gather around him.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'From him the harmony and satisfaction come; great is the success which he obtains:'—his aims take effect on a grand scale.

[Legge] The strong subject of line 4 is the agent to whom the happy condition is owing; and it is only necessary to caution him to maintain his confidence in himself and his purpose, and his adherents and success will continue.

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows one with a chronic complaint, but who lives on without dying.

[Smaller Symbolism] '(The subject of) the fifth six has a chronic complaint:'—this is shown by his being mounted on the strong (line). 'He still lives on without dying:'—he is in the central position, (and its memories of the past) have not yet perished.

[Legge] Line 5 is in the ruler's place; but it is weak, and he is in danger of being carried away by the lust of pleasure. Moreover, proximity to the powerful minister represented by 4 is a source of danger. Hence he is represented as suffering from a chronic complaint, but nevertheless he does not die. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] With 'the memories of the past not perishing' compare Mencius, 2, Section i, chap. 1. 6-13.

6. The topmost six, divided, shows its subject with darkened mind devoted to the pleasure and satisfaction (of the time); but if he change his course even when (it may be considered as) completed, there will be no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'With darkened mind devoted to the harmony and satisfaction (of the time),' as shown in the topmost (line):—how can one in such a condition continue long?

[Legge] Line 6, at the very top or end of the hexagram, is weak, and its subject is all but lost. Still even for him there is a chance of safety, if he will but change. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] In line 6 the action of the hexagram is over. If one puts off changing his evil way any longer, there remains no more hope for him.

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