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Book of Changes 易經

小畜 Xiao Xu

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Xiao Xu indicates that (under its conditions) there will be progress and success. (We see) dense clouds, but no rain coming from our borders in the west.

In Xiao Xu the weak line occupies its (proper) position, and (the lines) above and below respond to it. Hence comes the name of Xiao Xu (Small Restraint). (It presents the symbols of) strength and flexibility. Strong lines are in the central places, and the will (of their subjects) will have free course. Thus it indicates that there will be progress and success. 'Dense clouds but no rain' indicate the movement (of the strong lines) still going forward. The 'Commencing at our western border' indicates that the (beneficial) influence has not yet been widely displayed.

(The trigram representing) the sky, and that representing wind moving above it, form Xiao Xu The superior man, in accordance with this, adorns the outward manifestation of his virtue.

The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject returning and pursuing his own course. What mistake should he fall into? There will be good fortune.

'He returns and pursues his own path:' - it is right that there should be good fortune.

The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject, by the attraction (of the former line), returning (to the proper course). There will be good fortune.

'By the attraction (of the subject of the former line) he returns (to its own course),' and is in the central place: - neither will he err in what is due from him.

The third NINE, undivided, suggests the idea of a carriage, the strap beneath which has been removed, or of a husband and wife looking on each other with averted eyes.

'Husband and wife look on each other with averted eyes:' - (the subject of line three is like a husband who) cannot maintain correctly his relations with his wife.

The fourth SIX, divided, shows its subject possessed of sincerity. The danger of bloodshed is thereby averted, and his (ground for) apprehension dismissed. There will be no mistake.

'He is possessed of sincerity; his (ground for) apprehension is dismissed:' - (the subjects of the lines) above agree in aim with him.

The fifth NINE, undivided, shows its subject possessed of sincerity, and drawing others to unite with him. Rich in resources, he employs his neighbours (in the same cause with himself).

'He is possessed of sincerity, and draws others to unite with him:' - he does not use only his own rich resources.

The topmost NINE, undivided, shows how the rain has fallen, and the (onward progress) is stayed - (so) must we value the full accumulation of the virtue (represented by the upper trigram). But a wife (exercising restraint), however firm and correct she may be, is in a position of peril, (and like) the moon approaching to the full. If the superior man prosecute his measures (in such circumstances), there will be evil.

'The rain has fallen and (the onward progress) is stayed:' - the power (denoted in the figure) has accumulated to the full. 'If the superior man prosecute his measures, there will be evil:' - he will find himself obstructed.

English translation: Legge 1882

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