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Book of Changes 《易經》

咸 Xian

Xian indicates that, (on the fulfilment of the conditions implied in it), there will be free course and success. Its advantageousness will depend on the being firm and correct, (as) in marrying a young lady. There will be good fortune.

Xian is here used in the sense of Kan, meaning (mutually) influencing. The weak (trigram) above, and the strong one below; their two influences moving and responding to each other, and thereby forming a union; the repression (of the one) and the satisfaction (of the other); (with their relative position), where the male is placed below the female: - all these things convey the notion of 'a free and successful course (on the fulfilment of the conditions), while the advantage will depend on being firm and correct, as in marrying a young lady, and there will be good fortune.' Heaven and earth exert their influences, and there ensue the transformation and production of all things. The sages influence the minds of men, and the result is harmony and peace all under the sky. If we look at (the method and issues) of those influences, the true character of heaven and earth and of all things can be seen.

(The trigram representing) a mountain and above it that for (the waters of) a marsh form Xian. The superior man, in accordance with this, keeps his mind free from pre-occupation, and open to receive (the influences of) others.

The first six, divided, shows one moving his great toes.

'He moves his great toe:' - his mind is set on what is beyond (himself).

The second SIX, divided, shows one moving the calves of his leg. There will be evil. If he abide (quiet in his place), there will be good fortune.

Though 'there would be evil; yet, if he abide (quiet) in his place, there will be good fortune:' - through compliance (with the circumstances of his condition and place) there will be no injury.

The third NINE, undivided, shows one moving his thighs, and keeping close hold of those whom he follows. Going forward (in this way) will cause regret.

'He moves his thighs:' - he still does not (want to) rest in his place. His will is set on 'following others:' - what he holds in his grasp is low.

The fourth NINE, undivided, shows that firm correctness will lead to good fortune, and prevent all occasion for repentance. If its subject be unsettled in his movements, (only) his friends will follow his purpose.

'Firm correctness will lead to good fortune, and prevent all occasion for repentance:' - there has not yet been any harm from (a selfish wish to) influence. 'He is unsettled in his movements:'(his power to influence) is not yet either brilliant or great.

The fifth NINE, undivided, shows one moving the flesh along the spine above the heart. There will be no occasion for repentance.

'He (tries to) move the flesh along the spine above the heart:' - his aim is trivial.

The sixth six, divided, shows one moving his jaws and tongue.

'He moves his jaws and tongue:' - he (only) talks with loquacious mouth.

English translation: Legge 1882

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