Previous / Contents / Next

19. Lin [Approaching]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Lin (indicates that under the conditions supposed in it) there will be great progress and success, while it will be advantageous to be firmly correct. In the eighth month there will be evil.

[Legge] In [Appendix 6, Section 1:16-19] Lin is explained as meaning 'great.' The writer, having misunderstood the meaning of the previous Ku, subjoins—'He who performs such services may become "great."' But Lin denotes the approach of authority,—to inspect, to comfort, or to rule. When we look at the figure, we see two strong undivided lines advancing on the four weak lines above them, and thence follows the assurance that their action will be powerful and successful. That action must be governed by rectitude, however, and by caution grounded on the changing character of all conditions and events. The meaning of the concluding sentence is given in [the 'Comments on the Thwan,' below] as simply being—that, 'the advancing power will decay in no long time.' Lu Kan-khi (Ming dynasty) says:—'The sun (or the day) is the symbol of what is Yang; and the moon is the symbol of what is Yin. Eight is the number of the second of the four emblematic figures (the smaller Yin), and seven is the number of the third of them (the smaller Yang). Hence to indicate the period of the coming of what is Yin, we use the phrase, "the eighth month;" and to indicate the period of the coming of what is Yang, we use the phrase, "the seventh day."' The Khang-hsi editors say that this is the best explanation of the language of the Text that can be given:—'The Yang numbers culminate in 9, the influence then receding and producing the 8 of the smaller Yin. The Yin numbers culminate in 6, and the next advance produces the 7 of the smaller Yang; so that 7 and 8 are the numbers indicating the first birth of what is Yin and what is Yang.' 'If we go to seek,' they add, 'any other explanation of the phraseology of the Text, and such expressions as "3 days," "3 years," "10 years," &c., we make them unintelligible.' Lin is the hexagram of the twelfth month.

Comments on the Thwan

1. In Lin (we see) the strong (lines) gradually increasing and advancing.

2. (The lower trigram is the symbol of) being pleased, and (the upper of) being compliant. The strong (line) is in the central position, and is properly responded to.

3. 'There is great progress and success, along with firm correctness:'—this is the way of Heaven.

4. 'In the eighth month there will be evil:'—(the advancing power) will decay after no long time.

[Legge] See what has been said on the [fourth line, below]. The other paragraphs need no explanation beyond what appears in the supplemented translation.

Great Symbolism

(The trigram for) the waters of a marsh and that for the earth above it form Lin. The superior man, in accordance with this, has his purposes of instruction that are inexhaustible, and nourishes and supports the people without limit.

[Legge: Smaller Symbolism] 'The earth descending or approaching the marsh' is, according to Ku Hsi, symbolical of the approach of superiors to the inferior people, and then the two predicates about the superior man are descriptive of him in that approach, the instruction being symbolised by Tui, and the supporting by Khwan. The Khang-hsi editors, wishing to defend the explanation of lin by 'great,' in [Appendix 6, Section 1:16-19], which they ascribe to Confucius, say:—'Lin means "great." The earth above the waters of the marsh shows how full those waters are, rising to the level of the earth, and thus expressing the idea of greatness.' This representation is lame and impotent.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject advancing in company (with the subject of the second line). Through his firm correctness there will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The good fortune through the firm correctness of (the subject of the first line) advancing in company (with the subject of the second)' is due to his will being set on doing what is right.

[Legge] Line 1 is a strong line in its proper place. The danger is that its subject may be more strong than prudent, hence the caution in requiring firm correctness.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject advancing in company (with the subject of the first line). There will be good fortune; (advancing) will be in every way advantageous.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The good fortune and every possible advantage attending the advance (of the subject of the second line), in company (with the subject of the first),' arises from the fact that those (to whom the advance is made) are not yet obedient to the ordinances (of Heaven).

[Legge] Line 2, as strong, should be in an odd place; but this is more than counterbalanced by the central position, and its correlate in line 5. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Ku Hsi says he does not understand what is said on line 2. The interpretation in my version is the ordinary one, but I am not satisfied with it. The Khang-hsi editors try to solve the difficulty; but I am not able to follow them.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows one well pleased (indeed) to advance, (but whose action) will be in no way advantageous. If he become anxious about it (however), there will be no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'He (shows himself) well pleased to advance:'—his position is not that appropriate to him. 'If he become anxious, however, about his action,' his error will not be continued.

[Legge] Line 3 is weak, and neither central, nor in its correct position. Hence its action will not be advantageous; but being at the top of the trigram Tui, which means being pleased, its subject is represented as 'well pleased to advance.' Anxious reflection will save him from error.

4. The fourth SIX, divided, shows one advancing in the highest mode. There will be no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The freedom from error consequent on the advance in the highest mode' is due to the (various) appropriateness of the position.

[Legge] Line 4, though weak, is in its proper place, and has for its correlate the strong 1. Hence its advance is 'in the highest style.'

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows the advance of wisdom, such as befits the great ruler. There will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'What befits the great ruler' means the pursuing the course of the due mean.

[Legge] Line 5 is the position of the ruler. It is weak, but being central, and having for its correlate the strong and central 2, we have in it a symbol of authority distrustful of itself, and employing fit agents;—characteristic of the wise ruler.

6. The sixth SIX, divided, shows the advance of honesty and generosity. There will be good fortune, and no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The good fortune consequent on the advance of honesty and generosity' is due to the will (of the subject of the line) being set on the subjects of (the first two lines of) the inner (trigram).

[Legge] Line 6 is the last of the trigram Khwan, the height therefore of docility. Line 2 is not its correlate, but it belongs to the Yin to seek for the Yang; and it is so emphatically in this case. Hence the characteristic and issue as assigned. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The [Khang-hsi editors] compare the conclusion of paragraph 6 in the symbolism of hexagram 11. 'What is external' there, and 'what is internal here,' have, they say, the same reference,—the state, namely, of the whole kingdom, the expressions differing according to the different standpoints from which they are made. The view in the translation is that of Ku Hsi. It is difficult to hold the balance between them. The newer view, perhaps, is the preferable.

Previous / Contents / Next


Return to Home Page

Send comments to

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