Upper trigram: Kên Keeping Still, Mountain
Lower trigram: Tui The Joyous, Lake
Decrease combined with sincerity
Brings about supreme good fortune
One may be persevering in this.
It furthers one to undertake something.
How is this to be carried out?
One may use two small bowls for the sacrifice.
At the foot of the mountain, the lake:
The image of Decrease.
Thus the superior man controls his anger
And restrains his instincts.
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:
Going quickly when one's tasks are finished
Is without blame.
But one must reflect on how much one may decrease others.
The 2nd line marked means:
To undertake something brings misfortune.
Without decreasing oneself,
One is able to bring increase to others.
The 3rd line marked means:
When three people journey together,
Their number decreases by one.
When one man journeys alone,
He finds a companion.
The 4th line marked means:
If a man decreases his faults,
It makes the other hasten to come and rejoice.
The 5th line marked means:
Someone does indeed increase him.
Ten pairs of tortoises cannot oppose it.
Supreme good fortune.
The top line marked means:
If one is increased without depriving others,
there is no blame.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to undertake something.
One obtains servants
But no longer has a separate home.
The interpretations above and comments below are from Richard Wilhelm's version of the I CHING.
Comments on the Hexagram
This hexagram represents a decrease of the lower trigram in favor of the
upper, because the third line, originally strong, has moved up to the top, and
the top line, originally weak, has replaced it. What is below is decreased to
the benefit of what is above. This is out-and-out decrease. If the foundations
of a building are decreased in strength and the upper walls are strengthened,
the whole structure loves its stability. Likewise, a decrease in the prosperity of
the people in favor of the government is out-and-out decrease. And the
entire theme of the hexagram is directed to showing how this shift of wealth
can take place without causing the sources of wealth can take place without
causing the sources of wealth in the nation and its lower classes to fail.
Decrease does not under all circumstances mean something bad. Increase
and decrease come in their own time. What matters here is to understand
the time and not to try to cover up poverty with empty pretense. If a time of
scanty resources brings out an inner truth, one must not feel ashamed of
simplicity. For simplicity is then the very thing needed to provide inner
strength for further undertakings. Indeed, there need by no concern if the
outward beauty of the civilization, even the elaboration of religious forms,
should have to suffer because of simplicity. One must draw on the strength
of the inner attitude to compensate for what is lacking in externals; then the
power of the content makes up for the simplicity of form. There is no need
of presenting false appearances to God. Even with slender means, the
sentiment of the heart can be expressed.
The lake at the foot of the mountain evaporates. In this way it decreases to
the benefit of the mountain, which is enriched by its moisture. The
mountain stands as the symbol of stubborn strength that can harden into
anger. The lake is the symbol of unchecked gaiety that can develop into
passionate drives at the expense of the life forces. Therefore decrease is
necessary; anger must be decreased by keeping still, the instincts must be
curbed by restriction. By this decrease of the lower powers of the psyche, the
higher aspects of the soul are enriched/
The bottom line marked
It is unselfish and good when a man, after completing his own urgent tasks,
uses his strength in the service of others, and without bragging or making
much of it, helps quickly where help is needed. But the man in a superior
position who is thus aided must weigh carefully how much he can accept
without doing the helpful servant or friend real harm. Only where such
delicacy of feeling exists can one give oneself unconditionally and without
The 2nd line from the bottom marked
A high-minded self-awareness and a consistent seriousness with no forfeit of
dignity are necessary if a man wants to be of service to others. He who throw
himself away in order to do the bidding of a superior diminishes his own
position without thereby giving lasting benefit to the other. This is wrong.
To render true service of lasting value to another, one must serve him
without relinquishing oneself.
The 3rd line from the bottom marked
When there are three people together, jealousy arises. One of them will have
to go. Avery close bond is possible only between two people. But when one
man is lonely, he is certain to find a companion who complements him.
The 4th line from the bottom marked
A man's faults often prevent even well-disposed people from coming closer
to him. His faults are sometimes reinforced by the environment in which he
lives. But if in humility he can bring himself to the point of giving them up,
he frees his well-disposed friends from an inner pressure and causes them to
approach the more quickly, and there is mutual joy.
The 5th line from the bottom marked
If someone is marked out by fate for good fortune, it comes without fail. All
oracles-as for instance those that are read from the shells of tortoises-are
bound to concur in giving him favorable signs. He need fear nothing,
because his luck is ordained from on high.
The top line marked
There are people who dispense blessings to the whole world. Every increase
in power that comes to them benefits the whole of mankind and therefore
does not bring decrease to others. Through perseverance and zealous work a
man wins success and finds helpers as they are needed. But what he
accomplishes is not a limited private advantage; it is a public good and
available to everyone.
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 Lake
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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