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Book of Changes 易經

賁 Bi

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Bi indicates that there should be free course (in what it denotes). There will be little advantage (however) if it be allowed to advance (and take the lead).

(When it is said that) Bi indicates that there should be free course (in what it denotes): - (We see) the weak line coming and ornamenting the strong lines (of the lower trigram), and hence (it is said that ornament) 'should have free course.' On the other hand, the strong line above ornaments the weak ones (of the upper trigram), and hence (it is said) that 'there will be little advantage, if (ornament) be allowed to advance (and take the lead).' (This is illustrated in the) appearances that ornament the sky. Elegance and intelligence (denoted by the lower trigram) regulated by the arrest (denoted by the upper) suggest the observances that adorn human (society). We look at the ornamental figures of the sky, and thereby ascertain the changes of the seasons. We look at the ornamental observances of society, and understand how the processes of transformation are accomplished all under heaven.

(The trigram representing) a mountain and that for fire under it form Bi. The superior man, in accordance with this, throws a brilliancy around his various processes of government, but does not dare (in a similar way) to decide cases of criminal litigation.

The first NINE, undivided, shows one adorning (the way of) his feet. He can discard a carriage and walk on foot.

'He can discard a carriage and walk on foot:' - righteousness requires that he should not ride.

The second SIX, divided, shows one adorning his beard.

'He adorns his beard:' - he rouses himself to action (only) along with the (subject of the) line above.

The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject with the appearance of being adorned and bedewed (with rich favours). But let him ever maintain his firm correctness, and there will be good fortune.

'The good fortune consequent on his ever maintaining firm correctness' is due to this, - that to the end no one will insult him.

The fourth SIX, divided, shows one looking as if adorned, but only in white. As if (mounted on) a white horse, and furnished with wings, (he seeks union with the subject of the first line), while (the intervening third pursues), not as a robber, but intent on a matrimonial alliance.

'The place occupied by the fourth six, (divided),' affords ground for doubt (as to its subject); but '(as the subject of the third pursues) not as a robber, but as intent on a matrimonial alliance,' he will in the end have no grudge against him.

The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject adorned by (the occupants of) the heights and gardens. He bears his roll of silk, small and slight. He may appear stingy; but there will be good fortune in the end.

'The good fortune falling to the fifth six, (divided); affords occasion for joy.

The sixth NINE, undivided, shows one with white as his (only) ornament. There will be no error.

'The freedom from error attached to (the subject of) the topmost line, with no ornament but the (simple white),' shows how he has attained his aim.

English translation: Legge 1882

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