|Shuo Kua - discourses on the trigrams|
Chapter I - 1
In ancient times, when the sages made the Book of Change, in order to lend mysterious assistance to the spiritual intelligences, they produced the rules for the use of the divining plant. The number three was assigned to heaven, the number two to earth, and from these came the other numbers.
They contemplated the changes in the divided and undivided lines, and formed the trigrams. From the movements that took place in the strong and the weak, they produced the seperate lines.
They ensued a harmonious conformity to the course and to virtue, and in accordance with that a discrimination of what was right. They thus contemplated and effected the complete development of the outer and inner nature, till they arrived at its conclusion.
See also:Ta Chuan - Section 2, Chapter II-1.
Chapter I - 2
In ancient times, when the sages made the Book of Change, they designed its figures in conformity with the principles underlying the nature of men and things and the ordinances appointed by heaven. With this view they exhibited in them the Tao of Heaven calling it 'yin and yang'. They exhibited in them the Tao of earth calling it 'weak and strong', and the Tao of men calling it 'love and righteousness'.
Each trigram embraced these three powers, and, being repeated, its full form consisted of six lines. A distinction was made of the places assigned to the various lines, which were occupied now by the strong, now by the weak forms, thus completing the hexagram.
Chapter II - 3
Thunder serves to put things in motion; wind to scatter them; rain to moisten them; fire to warm them; inaction to arrest them; joy to give them a joyful course; the Creative Principle to rule them; the Passive Principle to store them.
Chapter II - 5
K'un denotes the earth. All things receive from it their fullest nourishment, hence it is said: the greatest service is done to Him in K'un.
Tui corresponds to the west and the autumn, the season in which all things rejoice, hence it is said: He rejoices in Tui. He struggles in Ch'ien, which is the trigram of the north-west. Here the dark and the light forces activate one another.
K'an denotes water. It is the trigram of the exact north, the trigram of the comfort and rest all things are tending to. Hence it is said: He is comforted and comes to rest in K'an.
Ken is the trigram of the north-east. In it all things bring to a full end the issues of the past year and prepare the coming of the next. Hence it is said: He completes the year in Ken.
Chapter II - 6
For putting all things in motion, nothing is more vehement than thunder; for scattering them, nothing is more effective than wind; for drying them up, nothing is more parching than fire; for giving them pleasure, nothing is more grateful than a lake; for moistening them, there is nothing more enriching than water; for bringing them to an end and making them begin again, there is nothing more fully adapted than inaction.
Thus water and fire contribute together to the one object; thunder and wind do not act contrary to one another; mountains and lakes interchange their influences. It is in this way that they are able to change and transform, and to give completion to all things.
Note of the compiler: the next chapter of the Shuo Kua, with the exception of paragraphs 7 and 10, is the product of an imagination that was as vivid as it was ill-regulated. Quite obviously its owner was not the author of the previous chapters. What we do know is that he must have been fond of the flora and fauna of farmlife, especially horses. His contribution to a great book is the nonsense to match it.
Paragraph 7 as yet shows nothing of an impending collapse of sanity; it simply states the main attributes of the trigrams, with which the reader may already be familiar because they are repeated at the beginning of the text of each hexagram.
Paragraph 10 seems misplaced. It presents a mythology that, though older than the Appendices, is yet younger than its own symbols. This is a curious thing and not at all according to mythological etiquette.
In my view this paragraph should be the first paragraph of the Ta Chuan - Section 2, IV. The next three paragraphs having been renumbered accordingly, this would make a sensible whole. The observation made in the final paragraph shows a deep-rooted connection with the workings of the human mind.
This transfer being made, the whole of chapter three of the Shuo Kua, with the possible exception of paragraph 7, may very well be deleted.
Chapter III - 7
Ch'ien is the symbol of strength; K'un of docility; Chen of stimulus to movement; Sun of penetration; K'an of what is dangerous; Li of what is bright and catching; Ken of arrest; Tui of pleasure and joy.
Chapter III - 8
The symbolic animals
Ch'ien suggests the idea of a horse; K'un that of an ox; Chen that of the dragon; Sun that of a fowl; K'an that of a pig; Li that of a pheasant; Ken that of a dog; Tui that of a sheep.
Chapter III - 9
Parts of the body
Ch'ien suggests the idea of the head; K'un that of the belly; Chen that of the feet; Sun that of a thighs; K'an that of the ear; Li that of the eyes; Ken that of the hands; Tui that of the mouth.
Chapter III - 10
The family of trigrams
Ch'ien is heaven and hence has the appellation of father.
K'un is earth and hence has the appellation of mother.
Chen shows a first application of K'un to Ch'ien, resulting in getting the eldest son.
Sun shows a first application of Ch'ien to K'un, resulting in getting the eldest daughter.
K'an shows a second application of K'un to Ch'ien, resulting in getting the second son.
Li shows a second application of Ch'ien to K'un, resulting in getting the second daughter.
Ken shows a third application of K'un to Ch'ien, resulting in getting the youngest son.
Tui shows a third application of Ch'ien to K'un, resulting in getting the youngest daughter.
Chapter III - 11
The Creative Principle suggests the idea of heaven, of a circle, of a ruler, of a father, of jade, of metal, of cold, of ice, of deep red, of a good horse, of an old horse, of a thin horse, of a wild horse, and of fruit of trees.
From later commentaries: of a straight line, of the dragon, of a supreme robe, of the word.
The Passive Principle suggests the idea of the earth, of a mother, of cloth, of a cauldron, of what is economical, of a lathe, of a heifer, of a large wagon, of what is variegated, of a multitude, of a handle and support. Among soils it denotes what is black.
Thunderclap suggests the idea of thunder, of the dragon, of the azure and the yellow, of development, of a great highway, of the eldest son, of decision and vehemence, of bright young bamboos, of sedges and rushes; among horses: of the good neigher, of one whose white hind-leg appears, of the prancer and of one with a white star in his forehead. Among the productions of farming it suggests the idea of what returns to life from its disappearance beneath the earth, of what in the end becomes the strongest, and of what is the most luxuriant.
Mildness suggests the idea of wood, of wind, of the eldest daughter, of a guide, of a carpenter's square, of being white, of being long, of being lofty, of advancing and receding, of want of decision, and of strong scent. In the human body it suggests the idea of deficiency of hair, of a wide forehead, of a large development of the white of the eyes. Among tendencies it suggests the close pursuit of gain, even to making threehundred percent in the market. In the end it may become the trigram of decision.
The Abyss suggests the idea of water, of channels and ditches, of being hidden and lying concealed, of being now straight and now crooked, of a bow, of a wheel. As referred to man, it suggests the idea of an increase of anxiety, of distress of mind, of pain in the ears; it is the trigram of blood; it suggests the idea of what is red. As referred to horses, it suggests the idea of the horse with an elegant spine, of one with a high spirit, of one with a drooping head, of one with a thin hoof, and of one with a shambling step. As referred to carriages, it suggests one that encounters many risks. It suggests what goes right through, the moon, a thief. Referred to trees, it suggests those that are strong and firm-hearted.
Clinging Brightness suggests the emblem of fire, of the sun, of lightning, of the second daughter, of buff-coat and helmet, of spear and sword. Referred to men, it suggests the large belly. It is the trigram of dryness. It suggests the emblem of a turtle, of a crab, of a spiral univalve, of the mussel, and of the tortoise. Referred to trees, it suggests one that is hollow and rotten above.
Inaction suggests the emblem of a mountain, of a by-path, of a small rock, of a gateway, of the fruits of trees and creeping plants, of a porter or an eunuch, of the ringfinger, of a dog, of a rat, of birds with powerful bills; among trees, of those that are strong and have many joints.
Joy suggests the emblem of a lake, of the youngest daughter, of a sorceress, of the mouth and tongue, of decay and putting down, of harvesting fruits hanging from the stems and branches. Among soils it denotes what is strong and salt. It suggests the idea of a concubine, of a sheep.