Upper trigram: Kên Keeping Still, Mountain
Lower trigram: K'un The Receptive, Earth
Splitting Apart. It does not further one
To go anywhere.
The mountain rests upon the earth:
The image of Splitting Apart.
Thus those above can insure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.
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:
The leg of the bed is split.
Those who persevere are destroyed.
The 2nd line marked means:
The bed is split at the edge.
Those who persevere are destroyed.
The 3rd line marked means:
He splits with them. No blame.
The 4th line marked means:
The bed is split up to the skin.
The 5th line marked means:
A shoal of fishes. Favor comes through the court ladies.
Everything acts to further.
The top line marked means:
There is a large fruit still uneaten.
The superior man receives a carriage.
The house of the inferior man is split apart.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
The dark lines are about to mount upward and overthrow the last firm, light
line by exerting a disintegrating influence on it. The inferior, dark forces
overcome what is superior and strong, not by direct means, but by
undermining it gradually and imperceptibly, so that it finally collapses.
The lines of the hexagram present the image of a house, the top line being
the roof, and because the roof is being shattered the house collapses. The
hexagram belongs to the ninth month (October-November). The yin power
pushes up ever more powerfully and is about to supplant the yang power
This pictures a time when inferior people are pushing forward and are about
to crowd out the few remaining strong and superior men. Under these
circumstances, which are due to the time, it is not favorable for the superior
man to undertake anything.
The right behavior in such adverse times is to be deduced from the images
and their attributes. The lower trigram stands for the earth, whose attributes.
The lower trigram stands for the earth, whose attributes are docility and
devotion. The upper trigram stands for the mountain, whose attribute is
stillness. This suggests that one should submit to the bad time and remain
quiet. For it is a question not of man's doing but of time conditions, which,
according to the laws of heaven, show an alternation of increase and decrease,
fullness and emptiness. It is impossible to counteract these conditions of the
time. Hence it is not cowardice but wisdom to submit and avoid action.
The mountain rests on the earth. When it is steep and narrow, lacking a
broad base, it must topple over. Its position is strong only when it rises out of
the earth broad and great, not proud and steep. So likewise those who rule
rest on the broad foundation of the people. They too should be generous and
benevolent, like the earth that carries all. Then they will make their position
as secure as a mountain is in its tranquillity.
The bottom line marked
Inferior people are on the rise and stealthily begin their destructive
burrowing from below in order to undermine the place where the superior
man rests. Those followers of the ruler who remain loyal are destroyed by
slander and intrigue. The situation bodes disaster, yet there is nothing to do
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
The power of the inferior people is growing. The danger draws close to one's
person; already there are clear indication, and rest is disturbed. Moreover, in
this dangerous situation one is as yet without help or friendly advances from
above or below. Extreme caution is necessary in this isolation. One must
adjust to the time and promptly avoid the danger. Stubborn perseverance in
maintaining one's standpoint would lead to downfall.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
An individual finds himself in an evil environment to which he is
committed by external ties. But he has an inner relationship with a superior
man, and through this he attains the stability to free himself from the way of
the inferior people around him. This brings him into opposition to them of
course, but that is not wrong.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
Here the disaster affects not only the resting place but even the occupant. No
warning or other comment is added. Misfortune has reached its peak: it can
no longer be warded off.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
Here, in immediate proximity to the strong, light-giving principle at the top,
the nature of the dark force undergoes a change. It no longer opposes the
strong principle by means of intrigues but submits to its guidance. Indeed, as
the head of the other weak lines, it leads all of these to the strong line, just as
a princess leads her maids-in-waiting like a shoal of fishes to her husband and
thus gains his favor. Inasmuch as the lower element thus voluntarily places
itself under the higher, it attains happiness and the higher also receives its
due. Therefore all goes well.
The top line marked
Here the splitting apart reaches its end. When misfortune has spent itself,
better times return. The seed of the good remains, and it is just when the
fruit falls to the ground that food sprouts anew from its seed. The superior
man again attains influence and effectiveness. He is supported by public
opinion as if in a carriage. But the inferior man's wickedness is visited upon
himself. His house is split apart. A law of nature is at work here. Evil is not
destructive to the good alone but inevitably destroys itself as well. For evil,
which lives solely by negation, cannot continue to exist on its own strength
alone. The inferior man himself fares best when held under control by a
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:
Mountain upon Earth
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:
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):
Hexagram with opposite lines
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.
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