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Book of Changes 《易經》

坎 Kan

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Kan, here repeated, shows the possession of sincerity, through which the mind is. penetrating. Action (in accordance with this) will be of high value.

Kan repeated shows us one defile succeeding another. This is the nature of water; - it flows on, without accumulating its volume (so as to overflow); it pursues its way through a dangerous defile, without losing its true (nature). That 'the mind is penetrating' is indicated by the strong (line) in the centre. That 'action (in accordance with this) will be of high value' tells us that advance will be followed by achievement. The dangerous (height) of heaven cannot be ascended; the difficult places of the earth are mountains, rivers, hills, and mounds. Kings and princes arrange by means of such strengths, to maintain their territories. Great indeed is the use of (what is here) taught about seasons of peril.

(The representation of) water flowing on continuously forms the repeated Kan. The superior man, in accordance with this, maintains constantly the virtue (of his heart) and (the integrity of) his conduct, and practises the business of instruction.

The first SIX, divided, shows its subject in the double defile, and (yet) entering a cavern within it. There will be evil.

'In the double defile, he enters a cavern within it:' - he has missed his (proper) way, and there will be evil.

The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject in all the peril of the defile. He will, however, get a little (of the deliverance) that he seeks.

'He will get a little (of the deliverance) that he seeks:' - he will not yet escape from his environed position.

The third SIX, divided, shows its subject, whether he comes or goes ( =descends or ascends), confronted by a defile. All is peril to him and unrest. (His endeavours) will lead him into the cavern of the pit. There should be no action (in such a case).

'Whether he comes or goes, he is confronted by a defile:' - he will never (in such circumstances) achieve any success.

The fourth SIX, divided, shows its subject (at a feast), with (simply) a bottle of spirits, and a subsidiary basket of rice, while (the cups and bowls) are (only) of earthenware. He introduces his important lessons (as his ruler's) intelligence admits. There will in the end be no error.

'(Nothing but) a bottle of spirits and a subsidiary basket of rice:' - (these describe) the meeting at this point of (those who are represented by) the strong and weak lines.

The fifth NINE, undivided, shows the water of the defile not yet full, (so that it might flow away); but order will (soon) be brought about. There will be no error.

'The water in the defile is not full (so as to flow away):' - (the virtue indicated by) the central situation is not yet (sufficiently) great.

The topmost SIX, divided, shows its subject bound with cords of three strands or two strands, and placed in the thicket of thorns. But in three years he does not learn the course for him to pursue. There will be evil.

'The sixth line, divided, shows its subject missing his (proper) course:' - 'there will be evil for three years.'

English translation: Legge 1882

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