I Ching (Book of Changes, circa 1000 B.C.)
Richard Wilhelm & Cary F. Baynes translation, 1950
14. Ta Yu / Possession in Great Measure
above LI THE CLINGING, FLAME
below CH'IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN
The fire in heaven above shines far, and all things stand out in the light and
become manifest. The weak fifth line occupies the place of honor and all the
strong lines are in accord with it. All things come to the man who is modest
and kind in a high position.
POSSESSION IN GREAT MEASURE.
The two trigrams indicate that strength and clarity unite. Possessions great
measure is determined by fate and accords with the time. How is it possible
that the weak line has power to hold the strong lines fast and to possess
them? It is done by virtue of unselfish modesty. The time is favorable
a time of strength within, clarity and culture without. Power is expressing
itself in graceful and controlled way. This brings supreme success and wealth.
Fire in heaven above:
The image of POSSESSION IN GREAT MEASURE.
Thus the superior man curbs evil and furthers good,
And thereby obeys the benevolent will of heaven.
The sun in heaven above, shedding light over everything one earth, is the image
of possession on a grand scale. But a possession of this sort must be administered
properly. The sun brings both evil and good into the light of day. Man must combat
and curb the evil, and must favor and promote the good. Only in this way does he
fulfill the benevolent will of God, who desires only good and not evil.
Nine at the beginning means:
No relationship with what is harmful;
There is no blame in this.
If one remains conscious of difficulty,
One remains without blame.
Great possession that is still in its beginnings and that has not yet been
challenged brings no blame, since there has been no opportunity to make mistakes.
Yet there are many difficulties to be overcome. It is only by remaining conscious
of theses difficulties that one can keep inwardly free of possible arrogance and
wastefulness, and thus in principle overcome all cause for blame.
Nine in the second place means:
A big wagon for loading.
One may undertake something.
Great possession consists not only in the quantity of goods at one's disposal,
but first and foremost, in their mobility and utility, for then they can be
used in undertakings, and we remain free of embarrassment and mistakes.
The big wagon, which will carry a heavy load and in which one can journey
farm means that there are at hand able helpers who give their support and
are equal to their task. One can load great responsibility upon such persons,
and this is necessary in important undertakings.
Nine in the third place means:
A prince offers it to the Son of Heaven.
A petty man cannot do this.
A magnanimous, liberal-minded man should not regard what he possesses as his
exclusive personal property , but should place it at the disposal of the ruler
or of the people at large. In so doing, he takes the right attitude toward
his possession, which as private property can never endure. A petty man is
incapable of this. He is harmed by great possessions, because instead of
sacrificing them, he would keep them for himself.
Nine in the fourth place means:
He makes a difference
Between himself and his neighbor.
This characterizes the position of a man placed among rich and powerful
neighbors. It is a dangerous position. He must look neither to the right
nor to the left, and must shun envy and the temptation to vie with others.
In this way he remains free of mistakes.
°Six in the fifth place means:
He whose truth is accessible, yet dignified,
Has good fortune.
The situation is very favorable. People are being won not by coercion but by
unaffected sincerity, so that they are attached to us in sincerity and truth.
However, benevolence alone is not sufficient at the time of POSSESSION IN
GREAT MEASURE. For insolence might begin to spread. Insolence must be
kept in bounds by dignity; then good fortune is assured.
Nine at the top means:
He is blessed by heaven.
Nothing that does not further.
In the fullness of possession and at the height of power, one remains modest
and gives honor to the sage who stands outside the affairs of the world.
By this means one puts oneself under the beneficent influence descending
form heaven, and all goes well. Confucius says of this line:
To bless means to help. Heaven helps the man who is devoted; men help the
man who is true. He who walks in truth and is devoted in his thinking, and
furthermore reveres the worthy, is blessed by heaven. He has good fortune,
and there is nothing that would not further.
TOP OF PAGE