I Ching (Book of Changes, circa 1000 B.C.)
Richard Wilhelm & Cary F. Baynes translation, 1950
41. Sun / Decrease
above KÊN KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN
below TUI THE JOYOUS, LAKE
This hexagram represents a decrease of the lower trigram in favor of the upper,
because the third line, originally strong, has moved up to the top, and the top
line, originally weak, has replaced it. What is below is decreased to the benefit
of what is above. This is out-and-out decrease. If the foundations of a building
are decreased in strength and the upper walls are strengthened, the whole structure
loves its stability. Likewise, a decrease in the prosperity of the people in favor
of the government is out-and-out decrease. And the entire theme of the hexagram
is directed to showing how this shift of wealth can take place without causing
the sources of wealth can take place without causing the sources of wealth
in the nation and its lower classes to fail.
DECREASE combined with sincerity
Brings about supreme good fortune
One may be persevering in this.
It furthers one to undertake something.
How is this to be carried out?
One may use two small bowls for the sacrifice.
Decrease does not under all circumstances mean something bad. Increase
and decrease come in their own time. What matters here is to understand
the time and not to try to cover up poverty with empty pretense. If a time
of scanty resources brings out an inner truth, one must not feel ashamed
of simplicity. For simplicity is then the very thing needed to provide inner
strength for further undertakings. Indeed, there need by no concern if the
outward beauty of the civilization, even the elaboration of religious forms,
should have to suffer because of simplicity. One must draw on the strength
of the inner attitude to compensate for what is lacking in externals; then
the power of the content makes up for the simplicity of form. There is
no need of presenting false appearances to God. Even with slender means,
the sentiment of the heart can be expressed.
At the foot of the mountain, the lake:
The image of DECREASE.
Thus the superior man controls his anger
And restrains his instincts.
The lake at the foot of the mountain evaporates. In this way it decreases
to the benefit of the mountain, which is enriched by its moisture. The
mountain stands as the symbol of stubborn strength that can harden into
anger. The lake is the symbol of unchecked gaiety that can develop into
passionate drives at the expense of the life forces. Therefore decrease
is necessary; anger must be decreased by keeping still, the instincts
must be curbed by restriction. By this decrease of the lower powers
of the psyche, the higher aspects of the soul are enriched.
Nine at the beginning means:
Going quickly when one's tasks are finished
Is without blame.
But one must reflect on how much one may decrease others.
It is unselfish and good when a man, after completing his own urgent tasks,
uses his strength in the service of others, and without bragging or making much
of it, helps quickly where help is needed. But the man in a superior position
who is thus aided must weigh carefully how much he can accept without doing
the helpful servant or friend real harm. Only where such delicacy of feeling
exists can one give oneself unconditionally and without hesitation.
Nine in the second place means:
To undertake something brings misfortune.
Without decreasing oneself,
One is able to bring increase to others.
A high-minded self-awareness and a consistent seriousness with no forfeit
of dignity are necessary if a man wants to be of service to others. He who
throw himself away in order to do the bidding of a superior diminishes his
own position without thereby giving lasting benefit to the other. This is
wrong. To render true service of lasting value to another, one must serve
him without relinquishing oneself.
°Six in the third place means:
When three people journey together,
Their number increases by one.
When one man journeys alone,
He finds a companion.
When there are three people together, jealousy arises. One of them will have
to go. Avery close bond is possible only between two people. But when one
man is lonely, he is certain to find a companion who complements him.
Six in the fourth place means:
If a man deceases his faults,
It makes the other hasten to come and rejoice.
A man's faults often prevent even well-disposed people from coming closer
to him. His faults are sometimes reinforced by the environment in which he
lives. But if in humility he can bring himself to the point of giving them up,
he frees his well-disposed friends from an inner pressure and causes them
to approach the more quickly, and there is mutual joy.
° Six in the fifth place means:
Someone does indeed increase him.
Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose it.
Supreme good fortune.
If someone is marked out by fate for good fortune, it comes without fail.
All oracles as for instance those that are read from the shells of
tortoises are bound to concur in giving him favorable signs. He need
fear nothing, because his luck is ordained from on high.
Nine at the top means:
If one is increased without depriving other,
There is no blame.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to undertake something.
One obtains servants
But no longer has a separate home.
There are people who dispense blessings to the whole world. Every increase
in power that comes to them benefits the whole of mankind and therefore
does not bring decrease to others. Through perseverance and zealous work
a man wins success and finds helpers as they are needed. But what he
accomplishes is not a limited private advantage; it is a public good
and available to everyone.
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