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Book of Changes 易經

離 Li

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Li indicates that, (in regard to what it denotes), it will be advantageous to be firm and correct, and that thus there will be free course and success. Let (its subject) also nourish (a docility like that of) the cow, and there will be good fortune.

Li means being attached to. The sun and moon have their place in the sky. All the grains, grass, and trees have their place on the earth. The double brightness (of the two trigrams) adheres to what is correct, and the result is the transforming and perfecting all under the sky. The weak (second line) occupies the middle and correct position, and gives the indication of 'a free and successful course;' and, moreover, 'nourishing (docility like that of) the cow' will lead to good fortune.

(The trigram for) brightness, repeated, forms Li. The great man, in accordance with this, cultivates more and more his brilliant (virtue), and diffuses its brightness over the four quarters (of the land).

The first NINE, undivided, shows one ready to move with confused steps. But he treads at the same time reverently, and there will be no mistake.

'The reverent attention directed to his confused steps' is the way by which error is avoided.

The second SIX, divided, shows its subject in his place in yellow. There will be great good fortune.

'The great good fortune (from the subject of the second line) occupying his place in yellow' is owing to his holding the course of the due mean.

The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject in a position like that of the declining sun. Instead of playing on his instrument of earthenware, and singing to it, he utters the groans of an old man of eighty. There will be evil.

'A position like that of the declining sun:' - how can it continue long?

The fourth NINE, undivided, shows the manner of its subject's coming. How abrupt it is, as with fire, with death, to be rejected (by all)!

'How abrupt is the manner of his coming!' - none can bear with him.

The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject as one with tears flowing in torrents, and groaning in sorrow. There will be good fortune.

'The good fortune attached to the fifth SIX, divided),' is due to its occupying the place of a king or a prince.

The topmost NINE, undivided, shows the king employing its subject in his punitive expeditions. Achieving admirable (merit), he breaks (only) the chiefs (of the rebels). Where his prisoners were not their associates, he does not punish. There will be no error.

'The king employs him in his punitive expeditions:' - the object is to bring the regions to a correct state.

English translation: Legge 1882

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