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17. Sui [Following]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Sui indicates that (under its conditions) there will be great progress and success. But it will be advantageous to be firm and correct. There will (then) be no error.

[Legge] Sui symbolises the idea of following. It is said to follow Yu, the symbol of harmony and satisfaction. Where there are these conditions men are sure to follow; nor will they follow those in whom they have no complacency. The hexagram includes the cases where one follows others, and where others follow him; and the auspice of great progress and success is due to this flexibility and applicability of it. But in both cases the following must be guided by a reference to what is proper and correct. See the notes on the Thwan and the Great Symbolism.

Comments on the Thwan

1. In Sui we see the strong (trigram) come and place itself under the weak; we see (in the two) the attributes of movement and pleasure:—this gives (the idea of) Sui.

2. 'There will be great progress and success; and through firm correctness no error:'—all under heaven will be found following at such a time.

3. Great indeed are the time and significance indicated in Sui.

[Legge] The trigrams Kan and Tui are distinguished as strong and weak, Kan representing, on king Wan's scheme, 'the eldest son,' and Tui, 'the youngest daughter.' But 'the strong' here may mean the strong line, the lowest in the hexagram. As Wang Zung-kwan (Sung dynasty) says:—'The yang and strong line should not be below a yin and weak line, as we find it here. That is, in Sui the high places himself below the low, and the noble below the mean:'—esteeming others higher than himself, and giving the idea of following. Then Kan denotes the production or excitement of motion, and Tui denotes pleasure; and the union of these things suggests the same idea.

Great Symbolism

(The trigram for the waters of) a marsh and (that for) thunder (hidden) in the midst of it form Sui. The superior man in accordance with this, when it is getting towards dark, enters (his house) and rests.

[Legge: Smaller Symbolism] An explosion of thunder amidst the waters of a marsh would be succeeded by a tremulous agitation of those waters; so far there would be a following of the movement of the lower trigram by the upper. Then in the application of the symbolism we have an illustration of action following the time, that is, according to the time; which is a common use of the Chinese character Sui. Neither the symbolism, however, nor its application adds much to our understanding of the text.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

[Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Paragraph 1 consists of two lines that rhyme; and paragraphs 4 (two lines), 5, and 6 do the same. According to Ku Yen-wu, paragraphs 2 and 3 also rhyme; but this appears to me doubtful. The symbolism of these paragraphs is sufficiently explained in the notes on the Text. Some peculiarities in their style (in Chinese) are owing to the bonds of the rhyme.

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows us one changing the object of his pursuit; but if he be firm and correct, there will he good fortune. Going beyond (his own) gate to find associates, he will achieve merit.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He is changing the object of his pursuit:'—but if he follow what is correct, there will be good fortune. 'He goes beyond (his own) gate to find associates:'—he will not fail (in the method he pursues).

[Legge] Line 1 is strong, and lord of the lower trigram. The weak lines ought to follow it; but here it is below them, in the lowest place of the figure. This gives rise to the representation of one changing his pursuit. Still through the native vigour indicated by the line being strong, and in its correct place, its subject will be fortunate. Going beyond his gate to find associates indicates his public spirit, and superiority to selfish considerations.

2. The second SIX, divided, shows us one who cleaves to the little boy, and lets go the man of age and experience.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He cleaves to the little boy:'—he cannot be with the two at the same time.

[Legge] Line 2 is weak. Its proper correlate is the strong 5; but it prefers to cleave to the line below, instead of waiting to follow 5. Hence the symbolism of the text, the bad omen of which needs not to be mentioned.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows us one who cleaves to the man of age and experience, and lets go. the little boy. Such following will get what it seeks; but it will be advantageous to adhere to what is firm and correct.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He cleaves to the man of age and experience:'—by the decision of his will, he abandons (the youth) below.

[Legge] Line 3 is also weak, but it follows the strong line above it and leaves line 1, reversing the course of 2;—with a different issue. It is weak, however, and 4 is not its proper correlate; hence the conclusion of the paragraph is equivalent to a caution.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows us one followed and obtaining (adherents). Though he be firm and correct, there will be evil. If he be sincere (however) in his course, and make that evident, into what error will he fall?

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He is followed and obtains adherents:'—according to the idea (of the hexagram), this is evil. 'He is sincere in his course:'—showing his intelligence, and leading to achievement.

[Legge] Line 4 is strong, and in the place of a great minister next the ruler in 5. But his having adherents may be injurious to the supreme and sole authority of that ruler, and only a sincere loyalty will save him from. error and misfortune.

5. The fifth NINE, undivided, shows us (the ruler) sincere in (fostering all) that is excellent. There will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He is sincere in fostering what is excellent:'—his position is correct and in the centre.

[Legge] Line 5 is strong, and in its correct place, with 2 as its proper correlate; thus producing the auspicious symbolism.

6. The topmost SIX, divided, shows us (that sincerity) firmly held and clung to, yea, and bound fast. (We see) the king with it presenting his offerings on the western mountain.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The sincerity is firmly held and clung to, as shown in the topmost line:'—(the idea of the hexagram) has reached its extreme development.

[Legge] The issue of the hexagram is seen in line 6; which represents the ideal of following, directed by the most sincere adherence to what is right. This influence not only extends to men, but also to spiritual beings. 'The western hill' is mount Khi, at the foot of which was the original settlement of the house of Kau, in B. C. 1325. The use of the name 'king' here brings us down from Wan into the time of king Wu at least.

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