by Stefan Stenudd

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I Ching Hexagram 28.
Ta Kuo / Preponderance of the Great


Hexagram 28

Upper trigram: Tui The Joyous, Lake

Lower trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind


The Judgement

Preponderance of the Great.
The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
Success.





The Image

The lake rises above the trees:
The image of Preponderance of the Great.
Thus the superior man, when he stands alone,
Is unconcerned,
And if he has to renounce the world,
He is undaunted.


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:

To spread white rushes underneath.
No blame.


The 2nd line marked means:

A dry poplar sprouts at the root.
An older man takes a young wife.
Everything furthers.


The 3rd line marked means:

The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
Misfortune.


The 4th line marked means:

The ridgepole is braced. Good fortune.
If there are ulterior motives, it is humiliating.


The 5th line marked means:

A withered poplar puts forth flowers.
An older woman takes a husband.
No blame. No praise.


The top line marked means:

One must go through the water.
It goes over one's head.
Misfortune. No blame.


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


Comments on the Hexagram

This hexagram consists of four strong lines inside and two weak lines outside. When the strong are outside and the weak inside, all is well and there is nothing out of balance, nothing extraordinary in the situation. Here, however, the opposite is the case. The hexagram represents a beam that is thick and heavy in the middle but too weak at the ends. This is a condition that cannot last; it must be changed, must pass, or misfortune will result.


The Judgement

The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy for the strength of the supports. The ridgepole on which the whole roof rests, sags to the breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the load they bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore extraordinary measures are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible, and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the center of gravity, so that a revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures. The problem must be solved by gently penetration to the meaning of the situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous time.


The Image

Extraordinary times when the great preponderates are like flood times when the lake rises over the treetops. But such conditions are temporary. The two trigrams indicate the attitude proper to such exceptional times: the symbol of the trigram Sun is the tree, which stands firm even though it stands alone, and the attribute of Tui is joyousness, which remains undaunted even if it must renounce the world.


The Lines

The bottom line marked
When a man wishes to undertake an enterprise in extraordinary times, he must be extraordinarily cautious, just as when setting a heavy thing down on the floor, one takes care to put rushes under it, so that nothing will break. This caution, though it may seem exaggerated, is not a mistake. Exceptional enterprises cannot succeed unless utmost caution is observed in their beginnings and in the laying of their foundations.


The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Wood is near water; hence the image of an old poplar sprouting at the root. This means an extraordinary situation arises when an older man marries a young girl who suits him. Despite the unusualness of the situation, all goes well.

       From the point of view of politics, the meaning is that in exceptional times one does well to join with the lowly, for this affords a possibility of renewal. The 3rd line from the bottom marked
This indicates a type of man who in times of preponderance of the great insists on pushing ahead. He accepts no advice from others, and therefore they in turn are not willing to lend him support. Because of this the burden grows, until the structure of things bends or breaks. Plunging willfully ahead in times of danger only hastens the catastrophe.


The 4th line from the bottom marked
Through friendly relations with people of lower rank, a responsible man succeeds in becoming master of the situation. But if, instead of working for the rescue of the whole, he were to misuse his connections to obtain personal power and success, it would lead to humiliation.


The 5th line from the bottom marked
A withered poplar that flowers exhausts its energies thereby and only hastens its end. An older woman may marry once more, but no renewal takes place. Everything remains barren. Thus, though all the amenities are observed, the net result is only the anomaly of the situation.

       Applied to politics, the metaphor means that if in times of insecurity we give up alliance with those below us and keep up only the relationships we have with people of higher rank, an unstable situation is created.


The top line marked
Here is a situation in which the unusual has reached a climax. One is courageous and wishes to accomplish one's task, no matter what happens. This leads into danger. The water rises over one's head. This is the misfortune. But one incurs no blame in giving up one's life that the good and the right may prevail. There are things that are more important than life.



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:


Lake upon Wind

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 61
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 27
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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