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I Ching Hexagram 40.
Hsieh / Deliverance


Hexagram 40

Upper trigram: Chên The Arousing, Thunder

Lower trigram: K'an The Abysmal, Water


The Judgement

Deliverance. The southwest furthers.
If there is no longer anything where one has to go,
Return brings good fortune.
If there is still something where one has to go,
Hastening brings good fortune.





The Image

Thunder and rain set in:
The image of Deliverance.
Thus the superior man pardons mistakes
And forgives misdeeds.


The Lines

These texts apply only for the lines that were marked, when the hexagram was cast. Note that the lines are counted from the bottom up.


The bottom line marked means:

Without blame.


The 2nd line marked means:

One kills three foxes in the field
And receives a yellow arrow.
Perseverance brings good fortune.


The 3rd line marked means:

If a man carries a burden on his back
And nontheless rides in a carriage,
He thereby encourages robbers to draw near.
Perseverance leads to humiliation.


The 4th line marked means:

Deliver yourself from your great toe.
Then the companion comes,
And him you can trust.


The 5th line marked means:

If only the superior man can deliver himself,
It brings good fortune.
Thus he proves to inferior men that he is in earnest.


The top line marked means:

The prince shoots at a hawk on a high wall.
He kills it. Everything serves to further.


The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.


Comments on the Hexagram

Here the movement goes out of the sphere of danger. The obstacle has been removed, the difficulties are being resolved. Deliverance is not yet achieved; it is just in its beginning, and the hexagram represents its various stages.


The Judgement

This refers to a time in which tensions and complications begin to be eased. At such times we ought to make our way back to ordinary conditions as soon as possible; this is the meaning of "the southwest." These periods of sudden change have great importance. Just as rain relieves atmospheric tension, making all the buds burst open, so a time of deliverance from burdensome pressure has a liberating and stimulating effect on life. One thing is important, however: in such times we must not overdo our triumph. The point is not to push on farther than is necessary. Returning to the regular order of life as soon as deliverance is achieved brings good fortune. If there are any residual matters that ought to be attended to, it should be done as quickly as possible, so that a clean sweep is made and no retardations occur.


The Image

A thunderstorm has the effect of clearing the air; the superior man produces a similar effect when dealing with mistakes and sins of men that induce a condition of tension. Through clarity he brings deliverance. However, when failings come to light, he does not dwell on them; he simply passes over mistakes, the unintentional transgressions, just as thunder dies away. He forgives misdeeds, the intentional transgressions, just as water washes everything clean.


The Lines

The bottom line marked
In keeping with the situation, few words are needed. The hindrance is past, deliverance has come. One recuperates in peace and keeps still. This is the right thing to do in times when difficulties have been overcome.


The 2nd line from the bottom marked
The image is taken from the hunt. The hunter catches three cunning foxes and receives a yellow arrow as a reward. The obstacles in public life are the designing foxes who try to influence the ruler through flattery. They must be removed before there can be any deliverance. But the struggle must not be carried on with the wrong weapons. The yellow color points to measure and mean in proceeding against the enemy; the arrow signifies the straight course. If one devotes himself wholeheartedly to the task of deliverance, he develops so much inner strength from his rectitude that it acts as a weapon against all that is false and low.


The 3rd line from the bottom marked
This refers to a man who has come out of needy circumstances in to comfort and freedom from want. If now, in the manner of an upstart, he tries to take his ease in comfortable surroundings that do not suit his nature, he thereby attracts robbers. If he goes on thus he is sure to bring disgrace upon himself. Confucius says about this line: Carrying a burden on the back is the business of common man; a carriage is the appurtenance of a man of rank. Now, when a common man uses the appurtenance of man of rank, robbers plot to take it away from him. If a man is insolent toward those above him and hard toward those below him, robbers plot to attack him. Carelessness in guarding things tempts thieves to steal. Sumptuous ornaments worn by a maiden are an enticement to rob her of her virtue.


The 4th line from the bottom marked
In times of standstill it will happen that inferior people attach themselves to a superior man, and through force of daily habit they may grow very close to him and become indispensable, just as the big toe is indispensable to the foot because it makes walking easier. But when the time of deliverance draws near, with its call to deeds, a man must free himself from such chance acquaintances with whim he has no inner connection. For otherwise the friends who share his views, on whom he could really rely and together with whom he could accomplish something, mistrust him and stay away.


The 5th line from the bottom marked
Times of deliverance demand inner resolve. Inferior people cannot be driven off by prohibitions or any external means. If one desires to be rid of them, he must first break completely with them in his own mind; they will see for themselves that he is in earnest and will withdraw.


The top line marked
The hawk on a high wall is the symbol of a powerful inferior in a high position who is hindering the deliverance. He withstands the force of inner influences, because he is hardened in his wickedness. He must be forcibly removed, and this requires appropriate means. Confucius says about this line: The hawk is the object of the hunt; bow and arrow are the tools and means. The marksman is man (who must make proper use of the means to his end). The superior man contains the means in his own person. He bides his time and then acts. Why then should not everything go well? He acts and is free. Therefore all he has to do is to go forth, and he takes his quarry. This is how a man fares who acts after he has made ready the means.



Further Reading


Here I add some perspectives on this hexagram, as well as other methods to read its meaning, in additon to what Richard Wilhelm derives from it above.


Meaning of the Trigrams Combined

Each hexagram combines two trigrams, making one the upper and the other the lower. The meaning of the hexagram is mainly derived from that combination. Here's what it means for this hexagram:


Thunder upon Water

This part of the text is being edited. It will be added shortly.


Compare to the Reversed Trigrams

It's common to compare a hexagram to the one where the lines are the opposite: a full line is broken and a broken line full. But I find it much more interesting to compare hexagrams with the trigrams reversed: the upper trigram becomes the lower, and the lower trigram becomes the upper. That deepens the understanding of the trigrams at work - when they're not identical. Click the image to see what it means for the two trigrams of this hexagram:

I Ching Hexagram 3
The hexagram with the trigrams reversed


Compare to the Reversed Lines

You can also compare this hexagram to its opposite according to the six lines, where each broken line is full, and vice versa. In some cases it leads to the same hexagram as the one where the trigrams are switched. Here is the hexagram with reversed lines (click it to get to its webpage):

I Ching Hexagram 37
Hexagram with opposite lines


The I Ching Trigrams

Click the header to read more about the eight trigrams that are combined into the 64 hexagrams.


The 64 I Ching Hexagrams

An I Ching hexagram is composed of two trigrams. Each of the 64 hexagrams has its own name, meaning, and divinatory text. Here they all are, in the traditional order. Click on the image of an I Ching hexagram to get to its webpage.


I Ching Hexagram 1
1
Creative
I Ching Hexagram 2
2
Receptive
I Ching Hexagram 3
3
Difficulty
I Ching Hexagram 4
4
Folly
I Ching Hexagram 5
5
Waiting
I Ching Hexagram 6
6
Conflict
I Ching Hexagram 7
7
Army
I Ching Hexagram 8
8
Union
I Ching Hexagram 9
9
Taming
I Ching Hexagram 10
10
Treading
I Ching Hexagram 11
11
Peace
I Ching Hexagram 12
12
Standstill
I Ching Hexagram 13
13
Fellowship
I Ching Hexagram 14
14
Possession
I Ching Hexagram 15
15
Modesty
I Ching Hexagram 16
16
Enthusiasm
I Ching Hexagram 17
17
Following
I Ching Hexagram 18
18
Decay
I Ching Hexagram 19
19
Approach
I Ching Hexagram 20
20
View
I Ching Hexagram 21
21
Biting
I Ching Hexagram 22
22
Grace
I Ching Hexagram 23
23
Splitting
I Ching Hexagram 24
24
Return
I Ching Hexagram 25
25
Innocence
I Ching Hexagram 26
26
Taming
I Ching Hexagram 27
27
Mouth
I Ching Hexagram 28
28
Preponderance
I Ching Hexagram 29
29
Abysmal
I Ching Hexagram 30
30
Clinging
I Ching Hexagram 31
31
Influence
I Ching Hexagram 32
32
Duration
I Ching Hexagram 33
33
Retreat
I Ching Hexagram 34
34
Power
I Ching Hexagram 35
35
Progress
I Ching Hexagram 36
36
Darkening
I Ching Hexagram 37
37
Family
I Ching Hexagram 38
38
Opposition
I Ching Hexagram 39
39
Obstruction
I Ching Hexagram 40
40
Deliverance
I Ching Hexagram 41
41
Decrease
I Ching Hexagram 42
42
Increase
I Ching Hexagram 43
43
Resoluteness
I Ching Hexagram 44
44
Coming
I Ching Hexagram 45
45
Gathering
I Ching Hexagram 46
46
Pushing
I Ching Hexagram 47
47
Oppression
I Ching Hexagram 48
48
Well
I Ching Hexagram 49
49
Revolution
I Ching Hexagram 50
50
Caldron
I Ching Hexagram 51
51
Arousing
I Ching Hexagram 52
52
Still
I Ching Hexagram 53
53
Development
I Ching Hexagram 54
54
Marrying
I Ching Hexagram 55
55
Abundance
I Ching Hexagram 56
56
Wanderer
I Ching Hexagram 57
57
Gentle
I Ching Hexagram 58
58
Joyous
I Ching Hexagram 59
59
Dispersion
I Ching Hexagram 60
60
Limitation
I Ching Hexagram 61
61
Truth
I Ching Hexagram 62
62
Small
I Ching Hexagram 63
63
After
I Ching Hexagram 64
64
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