by Stefan Stenudd

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I Ching Hexagram 26.
Ta Ch'u / The Taming Power of the Great


Hexagram 26

Upper trigram: Kên Keeping Still, Mountain

Lower trigram: Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven


The Judgement

The Taming Power of the Great.
Perseverance furthers.
Not eating at home brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.





The Image

Heaven within the mountain:
The image of The Taming Power of the Small.
Thus the superior man aquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity
And many deeds of the past,
In order to strengthen his character thereby.


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:

Danger is at hand. It furthers one to desist.


The 2nd line marked means:

The axletrees are taken from the wagon.


The 3rd line marked means:

A good horse that follows others.
Awareness of danger,
With perseverance, furthers.
Practice chariot driving and armed defense daily.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.


The 4th line marked means:

The headboard of a young bull.
Great good fortune.


The 5th line marked means:

The tusk of a gelded boar.
Good fortune.


The top line marked means:

One attains the way of heaven. Success.


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


Comments on the Hexagram

The Creative is tamed by Kn, Keeping Still. This produces great power, a situation in contrast to that of the ninth hexagram, Hsiao Ch'u, THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL, in which the Creative is tamed by the Gentle alone. There one weak line must tame five strong lines, but here four strong lines are restrained by two weak lines; in addition to a minister, there is a prince, and the restraining power therefore is afar stronger.

       The hexagram has a threefold meaning, expressing different aspects of the concept "Holding firm." Heaven within the mountain gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding together; the trigram Kn which holds the trigram ch'ien still, gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding back; the third idea is that of holding firm in the sense of caring for and nourishing. This last is suggested by the fact that a strong line at the top, which is the ruler of the hexagram, is honored and tended as a sage. The third of these meanings also attaches specifically to this strong line at the top, which represents the sage.


The Judgement

To hold firmly to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this hexagram, there is need of a strong, clear-headed man who is honored by the ruler. The trigram Ch'ein points to strong creative power; Kn indicates firmness and truth. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the case of the strong personality entrusted with leadership by the ruler, it is an advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one's bread by entering upon public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.


The Image

Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.


The Lines

The bottom line marked
A man wishes to make vigorous advance, but circumstances present an obstacle. He sees himself held back firmly. If he should attempt to fore an advance, it would lead him into misfortune. Therefore it is better for him to compose himself and to wait until an outlet is offered for release of his stored-up energies.


The 2nd line from the bottom marked
Here advance is checked just as in the third line of THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL (9). However, in the later the restraining force is slight; thus a conflict arises between the propulsive and the restraining movement, as a result of which the spokes fall out of the wagon wheels, while here the restraining force is absolutely superior; hence no struggle takes place. One submits and removes the axletrees from the wagon -in other words, contents himself with waiting. In this way energy accumulates for a vigorous advance later on.


The 3rd line from the bottom marked
The way opens; the hindrance has been cleared away. A man is in contact with a strong will acting in the same direction as his own, and goes forward like one good horse following another. But danger still threatens, and he must remain aware of it, or he will be robbed of his firmness. Thus he must acquire skill on the one hand in what will take him forward, and on the other in what will protect him against unforeseen attacks. It is good in such a pass to have a goal toward which to strive.


The 4th line from the bottom marked
This line and the one following it are the two that tame the forward-pushing lower lines. Before a bull's horns grow out, a headboard is fastened to its forehead, so that later when the horns appear they cannot do harm. A good way to restrain wild force is to forestall it. By so doing one achieves an easy and great success.


The 5th line from the bottom marked
Here the restraining of the impetuous forward drive is achieved in an indirect way. A boar's tusk is in itself dangerous, but if the boar's nature is altered, the tusk is no longer a menace. Thus also where men are concerned, wild force should not be combated directly; instead, its roots should be eradicated.


The top line marked
The time of obstruction is past. The energy long dammed up by inhibition forces its way out and achieves great success. This refers to a man who is honored by the ruler and whose principles now prevail and shape the world.



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:


Mountain upon Heaven

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 33
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 45
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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