by Stefan Stenudd

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I Ching Hexagram 57.
Sun / The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind)


Hexagram 57

Upper trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind

Lower trigram: Sun The Gentle, Wind


The Judgement

The Gentle. Success through what is small.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.
It furthers one to see the great man.





The Image

Winds following one upon the other:
The image of the Gently Penetrating.
Thus the superior man
Spreads his commands abroad
And carries out his undertakings.


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:

In advancing and in retreating,
The perseverance of a warrior furthers.


The 2nd line marked means:

Penetration under the bed.
Priests and magicians are used in great number.
Good fortune. No blame.


The 3rd line marked means:

Repeated penetration. Humiliation.


The 4th line marked means:

Remorse vanishes.
During the hunt
Three kinds of game are caught.


The 5th line marked means:

Perseverance brings good fortune.
Remorse vanishes.
Nothing that does not further.
No beginning, but an end.
Before the change, three days.
After the change, three days.
Good fortune.


The top line marked means:

Penetration under the bed.
He loses his property and his ax
Perseverance brings misfortune.


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


Comments on the Hexagram

Sun is one of the eight doubled trigrams. It is the eldest daughter and symbolizes wind or wood; it has for its attribute gentleness, which nonetheless penetrates like the wind or like growing wood with its roots.

       The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is dissolved by the penetrating light principle, to which it subordinates itself in gentleness. In nature, it is the wind that disperses the gathered clouds, leaving the sky clear and serene. In human life it is penetrating clarity of judgment that thwarts all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the powerful influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those intrigues which shun the light of day.


The Judgement

Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects. It should be effected not by an act of violation but by influence that never lapses. Results of this kind are less striking to the eye than those won by surprise attack, but they are more enduring and more complete. If one would produce such effects, one must have a clearly defined goal, for only when the penetrating influence works always in the same direction can the object be attained. Small strength can achieve its purpose only by subordinating itself to an eminent man who is capable of creating order.


The Image

The penetrating quality of the wind depends upon its ceaselessness. This is what makes it so powerful; time is its instrument. In the same way the ruler's thought should penetrate the soul of the people. This too requires a lasting influence brought about by enlightenment and command. Only when the command has been assimilated by the people is action in accordance with it possible. Action without preparation of the ground only frightens and repels.


The Lines

The bottom line marked
In born gentleness is often carried to the point of indecisiveness. One does not feel strong enough to advance resolutely. A thousand doubts crop up; one is, however, not minded to withdraw but drifts indecisively to and fro. In such a situation, a military decisiveness is the proper thing, so that one resolutely does what order demands. Resolute discipline is far better than irresolute license.


The 2nd line from the bottom marked
At times one has to deal with hidden enemies, intangible influences that slink into dark corners and from this hiding affect people by suggestion. In instances like this, it is necessary to trace these things back to the most secret recesses, in order to determine the nature of the influences to be dealt with. This is the task of the priests; removing the influences is the task of the magicians. The very anonymity of such plotting requires an especially vigorous and indefatigable effort, but this is well worth while. For when such elusive influences are brought into the light and branded, they lose their power over people.


The 3rd line from the bottom marked
Penetrating reflection must not be pushed too far, lest it cripple the power of decision. After a matter has been thoroughly pondered, it is essential to form a decision and to act. Repeated deliberation brings fresh doubts and scruples, and thereby humiliation, because one shows oneself unable to act.


The 4th line from the bottom marked
When a responsible position and accumulated experience lead one to combine innate modesty with energetic action, great success is assured. The three kinds of animals referred to served for offerings to the gods, for feasting guests, and for everyday consumption. When the catch answered all three purposes, the hunt was considered especially successful.


The 5th line from the bottom marked
In the situation described in Ku, WORK ON WHAT HAS BEEN SPOILED (18), an entirely new point of departure must be set up, whereas here it is only a question of reforms. The beginning has not been good, but the moment has been reached when a new direction can be taken. Change and improvement are called for. Such steps must be undertaken with steadfastness, that is, with a firm and correct attitude of mind; then they will succeed, and remorse will disappear. But it must be remembered that such improvements require careful consideration. Before a change is made, it must be pondered over again and again. After the change is made, it is necessary to note carefully for some time after how the improvements bear the test of actuality. Such careful work is accompanied by good fortune.


The top line marked
A man's understanding is sufficiently penetrating. He follows up injurious influences into the most secret corners. But he no longer has the strength to combat them decisively. In this case any attempt to penetrate into the personal domain of darkness would only bring harm.



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:


Wind 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.

       Since these two are identical, it makes more sense to compare with the hexagram that has reversed lines (see below).


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 51
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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