1 Qian2 乾
The lower: Qian2 (perseverance, heaven). The upper: Qian2 (perseverance, heaven).
Qian2: creativity and perseverance, heaven; the qualities of a founder and leader.
Trigram Qian2 (乾) represents heaven (天). In Chinese culture, 天tian, heavens and celestial bodies, is seen as the supreme power (Heaven) that creates and dominates the world. Hexagram Qian2 is composed of two Qian2 trigrams. The name indicates its instinct, characteristic and significance.
乾qian2 itself depicts brilliant sunlight at sunrise (倝gan4) which arouses all life and stimulates prosperity. It also denotes a newly-sprouting plant struggling to grow toward the sun as seen in 乙yi3. Like Heaven, hexagram Qian2 fulfills its assigned mission of creating by being the first hexagram of the I Ching.
Heavens circle around the ground where all creatures live (the earth) day and night, season after season, year upon year without slackening or neglect. Starting from the bottom, the six solid, masculine lines of Qian2 display themselves strongly and firmly toward the top, indicating that Qian2 behaves as perseveringly as the heavens.
The I Ching begins with hexagrams Qian2 and Kun (submissiveness, earth). They are formed on behalf of heaven and earth. Like Heaven and earth creating and accommodating the world, their masculine and feminine give birth to the remaining 62 hexagrams in sequential order, constructing the world of the I Ching.
Qian2 (creativity and perseverance, heaven): It possesses the virtues of origination (i.e. a great new beginning full of creative power), smooth progress, advantage (or appropriateness, i.e. being appropriate for all concerned, which creates benefit), and persistence (in maintaining what has been achieved and righteously carrying on toward what is intended).
Commentary on the text (Tuan Zhuan): The mighty origination of Qian2! Like that of Heaven by which the whole of Creation is set in motion; as a result it rules the heavens. The clouds are flying and the rain is falling; all manner of substance comes into being. The great brightness (i.e. the masculine Yang of Qian2) ends the same way it starts. Six positions are established according to the sequence of time, and its lines advance along the timeline, step by step, like riding the dragon to dominate the heavens in an opportune manner and fulfill the mission of Qian2. With the norm of Qian2 varying, each line develops and forms its own character and destiny; this is like the whole of Creation evolving into its own features, according to the rules of Heaven, and living together in symbiosis and harmony. Thus it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist in maintaining what has been achieved and righteously carrying on toward what is intended. The saint among the ordinary people becomes the leader; countries around the world all become peaceful. This is the ultimate end and the true spirit of Qian2.
Qian2 is the first hexagram of the I Ching, representing a new and great start which is full of creative power like the origination of Heaven that creates the world and gives life to all creatures. By merging with the feminine of hexagram Kun (2), the world of the I Ching is produced.
All creatures coming into being is regarded as the smooth progress of Heaven. The masculine lines of hexagram Qian2 advancing in a straightforward way to the end and where Hexagram Kun appears is the smooth progress of Qian2.
All creatures follow the rule of Heaven to mature and develop their own unique features, as well as live together in symbiosis and harmony. So too, hexagram Qian2 will act as Heaven to establish appropriate environments for all concerned, so that all its lines can live together peacefully with their individual characters and destinies. This is its creating benefit.
Therefore it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist in what is intended, maintaining what has been achieved, and carrying out these tasks righteously, continuously and ceaselessly.
Origination, smooth progress, advantage, and persistence are the four virtues of hexagram Qian2. Confucius paraphrased them as: the fountain of goodness (i.e. benevolence, like the creativity of Heaven); the convergence of optimums (i.e. the favourable interplay between the masculine and feminine, or founder and adherent, or leader and assistant in accord with etiquette); the sum of appropriate acts; and principles when dealing with tasks (i.e. persistence in benevolence, etiquette and appropriate acts).
All these constitute the pattern of a gentleman’s behaviour. Possessing benevolence enables him to lead people; conforming to etiquette enables him to create favourable interplay; acting appropriately enables him to benefit all concerned; and persisting (in benevolence, etiquette and appropriate acts) enable him to carry out various tasks (with wisdom).
Commentary on the image (Da Xiang Zhuan): The heavens perform with perseverance, in accordance with which a gentleman exerts himself strongly and tirelessly.
Hexagram Qian2 is a new start which is full of creative power and fundamental to initiation. It will progress smoothly as its masculine lines orderly appear along the timeline. However, the clouds flying in the wake of the dragon require cold wind to produce rain, and the masculine of Qian2 needs the feminine of Kun to give birth to life. Therefore Qian2 must act strongly without tiring until the end of the hexagram where it starts changing and femininity appears. Persistence bears fruit.
Qian2 behaves like Heaven, therefore it will progress smoothly. However, its actions must be appropriate for all concerned and it must persevere in its goals.
The four virtues of hexagram Qian2 can also be interpreted as creation, smooth progress, harvest and benefit, as well as preservation. These can be likened to spring, summer, autumn and winter in terms of sprouting, prosperous growth, maturity and harvest, and proper storage to maintain vitality. The four virtues of Qian2 are unconditional. To persist in maintaining what has been achieved is the most important aspect as its virtues can then recur continually, like the seasons following each other endlessly.
All the lines of hexagram Qian are masculine Yang. The dragon is symbolic of pure masculine; therefore it is used to explain the behaviour of the lines. In China, the dragon is a sacred animal and represents mighty prestige like that of a king. It is essentially dynamic, like the power of Nature. It flies in the sky but lives in the water; its snake-like body with raptors' claws comes from the zigzag image of lightning. The fish scales on its body are associated with the showering rain which originates in the water it inhabits.
The lines of hexagram Qian2 develop along the timeline from the incubation stage (in the earthly domain of positions 1 and 2) to the developing stage (i.e. the human domain at positions 3 and 4), and then from the developed stage (i.e. the heavenly domain at position 5 and 6) to the everlasting stage (i.e. the changing Qian2, where all the masculine lines start changing to feminine yet masculinity still exists). The I Ching commences with hexagram Qian2 which possesses creativity, so it acts like the leader and founder. The changing of Qian2 to Kun (submissiveness and receptiveness) unveils the ultimate significance of the hexagram, i.e. all leaders living together in peace.
The 1st line
Text (of Zhou Yi): 潛(hidden, latent)龍(dragon)，勿(not)用。
The subject is in a state of a hidden dragon; do not act (or use it) (用).
Line 1 is a hidden dragon as position 1 is within the domain of earth and under the ground. Although masculine tends to move, there is no access (i.e. neither a correlate nor a friendly neighbour) available in front. On the other hand, in the beginning phase line 1 lacks knowledge of how to perform in its role to achieve its goal. Now that it is in a place right to it (positions 1, 3 and 5 are designated for masculine lines), it is better for it to remain still or leave it here.
用yong4 means to have something perform its function and is commonly signified as to use. The advice, 勿 wu4 (not)用, can be understood as 1) not to use it if the subject is taken as an objective; however in this hexagram it is interpreted primarily as 2) not to act.
Commentary on the image (Xiao Xiang Zhuan): A hidden dragon and not to act (or use it), which is because the masculine stays at the bottom (or below the ground).
The dragon lives in the water and flies in the sky. Under the ground is not its territory and where its ability is limited to that of a snake.
Enlightenment through nine one (i.e. line 1 when it is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts changing to feminine): 1) to withhold one's ambitions and bide one's time, or 2) not to use what is in mind. The dragon hides underground signifying that it is not yet the right time (to act or to use it). One should remain still and take no action. Should this line fail to stop its movement and change to feminine, the hexagram would become Gou (44), to meet unexpectedly, where the masculine encounters a vigorous feminine, signaling a crisis is emerging.
The 2nd line
Text: 見龍在(in)田(field, farmland)，利(be advantage or appropriateness)見大人(great lord)。
The dragon appears (見xian4) in the field; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see (見jian) a great lord (i.e. a person who has power to influence the future of others).
Line 2 is in the earthly domain as well but on the ground, like a dragon appearing in a field. It is in a phase where the line is just starting its designated mission, i.e. it is ready to take action but what can be accomplished is still limited. Although it is at the position that correlates with line 5 at the king's position, it isn't right for the position as positions 2, 4 and 6 are designated for feminine lines.
If line 2 can change to feminine, i.e. act righteously at its position and be visible, there will be access for it to ascend (through its correlation with line 5). Once line 2 moves to position 5 to see the great lord, it will occupy the dominant position of hexagram Da You (14), abundant possessions, wherein feminine line 5 possesses all the masculine lines. Therefore it is advantageous or appropriate to see someone who has influence on one's future and helps one ascend.
見 signifies to appear when it is pronounced in xian4, while it means to see or to meet when pronounced in jian.
Commentary on the image: The dragon appears in the field, whereby its virtue will be widespread.
Line 2 is at the position of a low-ranking official who has a correlation with the king, line 5; therefore it focuses on building a good reputation so that, one day, it will be lifted to a higher post to carry out its aspirations. The dragon appears in the field signifying it is ready to take flight. Once it is airborne, with the help of a cyclone, its virtue will be widespread.
Enlightenment through nine two (i.e. line 2 when it is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts changing to feminine): to exhibit one's talent and establish interpersonal relationships to obtain recognition and assistance in getting started. The dragon appears in the field signifying that a person shows readiness to start his career. Therefore it is advantageous to see an influential person who can recognise his worth and lift him up. The hexagram that appears when this line changes to feminine is Tong Ran (13), to build fellowship, which suggests that one should have a wide circle of friends.
The 3rd line
A gentleman is Qian2 and Qian2 (i.e. doubly persevering in exerting himself) for the entire day, as well as vigilant and cautious at night (夕惕若); the status is of sternness and cruelty (厲) but with no calamity (无咎).
Line 3 reaches the domain of humans, and the dragon enters in the form of a gentleman. It is at the position for marching upward (from the lower trigram to the upper one, and from low to higher society). The masculine tends to move; therefore line 3 is eager to advance. However, it moves back and forth between the lower and the upper trigrams as there is no access avail-able for it to go upward and land (i.e. no correlate or friendly neighbour in front).
Therefore it must be doubly persevering while working during the day. Additionally, its achievements might be so great that those above will feel uneasy or insecure. For that reason, it must be vigilant and cautious during the night as well. Though it is in a stern and cruel state, it will be free from calamity if it can exert itself strongly, without tiring and maintain its vigil.
若ruo4 of 夕xi4 (night) 惕ti4 (vigilance and caution) 若 acts here as an auxiliary word and means the status is like what is described. 厲li4 (sternness and cruelty) originally meant a whetstone; it here is used to describe the status which is dangerous like living under knives.
Commentary on the image: Line 3 is Qian2 and Qian2 for the entire day, which signifies that it exerts itself to repeat carrying out the norm of Qian2.
Enlightenment through nine three (i.e. line 3 when it is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts changing to feminine): to exert oneself strongly and without tiring, however one should remain alert to avoid being pushed down by those above. The environment is stern and cruel, but there will be no calamity if it can keep striving and maintain its vigil. No calamity (无wu2咎jiu4) means it was originally present but corrections were made at the right time resulting in freedom from calamity. When this line changes to feminine, the hexagram becomes Lu (10), to tread the tiger’s tail, which suggests that one must do everything very carefully according to etiquette, i.e. the order of a system. Then the tiger won't bite.
The 4th line
Text: 或躍(leap)在(over)淵(deep pond)，无咎。
The subject acts as if (或) a dragon is leaping up and down over a deep pond, which is of no calamity (or fault).
The dragon arrives at the upper trigram like a gentleman entering a higher society. It is still very aggressive and intends to fly into the sky proclaiming itself the ruler. However it is not yet in a position to attain its goal, so it should act at the right time and in a safe manner.
The deep pond is a dangerous place but it is where the dragon lives. The sky (at position 5) is where a dragon can exhibit its sovereignty and carry out its aspirations. Line 4 arrives at a position for rest after having expended all effort to advance from the lower trigram, but the situation is full of danger due to its proximity to the king, line 5.
The place where it stays is like a deep pond. Yet line 4 perseveres and continues to advance upwards, like a dragon pushing itself to fly up into the sky, because masculine tends to move and Qian2 is persevering. However for now it can only leap up and down as its intended destination is the king's territory. It can keep on trying as long as it knows when to return to the safety of position 4; then there will be no calamity or fault.
或huo4 (or, perhaps, if, etc) is usually used to express uncertainty or potential existence. As the gentleman here acts as a dragon that leaps over a deep pond, it is interpreted as “as if”.
Commentary on the image: Line 4 acts as if a dragon is leaping up and down over a deep pond: there is no calamity (or fault) in advancing.
Pursuing achievement must be done timely. There is no calamity or fault in seeking an opportunity as long as one acts in a safe manner.
Enlightenment through nine four (i.e. line 4 when it is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts changing to feminine): to act according to the situation in a safe manner, as the action will affect someone in a dominant position. The dragon leaps up and down over a deep pond signifying that it is seeking a way to reach the sky, i.e. to claim its sovereignty, according to the situation and in a safe manner. There will be no fault or calamity, as its flexibility ensures it an invincible position. Should this line change to feminine and remain still, the hexagram would become Xiao Chu (9), the small feminine serving the big masculine.
The 5th line
The subject is in a state of a flying dragon in the sky; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord.
Position 5, the climax of the hexagram and the king's position, is full of merit and in the domain of heaven where line 5 acts like a dragon flying in the sky, carrying out its aspirations. If line 2 changes to feminine, behaving righteously and moderately at the core position of the lower trigram, line 5 will acquire a correlation with it, like the king obtaining support from a virtuous courtier. The lower trigram would then become Li (clinging, fire), which is signified as brightness and presents an image of the eyes. Through correlation with line 2, the merit of line 5 becomes manifest, as its achievements reach and benefit those below who see it.
Commentary on the image: Line 5 is in a state of a flying dragon in the sky, which is created by the great lord.
The great lord can be either feminine line 2, with whose assistance line 5 is able to accomplish its aspirations (like masculine Qian2 needing feminine Kun to create the whole of Creation). Or it could be line 5 itself, i.e. it behaves like a great lord so that all people might benefit from its achievements.
Enlightenment through nine five (i.e. line 5 when it is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts changing to feminine): to carry out one's aspirations with assistance from others and share the merit. The dragon is now flying in the sky, displaying its sovereignty and carrying out its aspirations. A great leader can bring his aspirations into full play with the support of others, and all people will benefit under his great leadership. The hexagram that forms after this line gets through with its assignment and changes to feminine is Da You (14), abundant possessions, wherein feminine line 5 occupies the most honoured position and elicits a response from all the other masculine lines. Da You is also paraphrased as abundant possessions to be shared by all people.
The 6th line
Text: 亢(haughty, high, excessive)龍，有(have)悔(regret)。
The subject is in a state of an arrogant dragon, which will have cause to regret.
The masculine perseveres in marching upward and reaches the end. It has attained the peak (achievement at position 5) but still keeps advancing. Progress will reverse after having reached the end and glory will decline after having reached its extremity; this is the course of Nature. Hence there will be regret in overdoing it.
Confucius’s remarks in Xi Ci Zhuan (i.e. the commentary on the text tagging): (One is in a state of possessing) prestige but with no (corresponding) post, (and being at the) high (ranking position) but with no (support from) people; virtuous people stay below (i.e. all lines below line 6) but no assistance (is obtainable); hence, acting (without support) will (lead to) regret.
Commentary on the image: The arrogant dragon will have cause to regret, which signifies that superabundance won’t last long.
Enlightenment through nine six (i.e. line 6 when it is cast as the old masculine (9) and starts changing to feminine): not to overdo it after having already passed the climax. When this line is triggered to act, it means that perseverance in pursuing achievement has been overdone and is leading to arrogance. The dragon has reached its climax but still advances. It will regret what it did as there is no way ahead at the end of the hexagram. If it doesn't stop but indulges its desire for more, the hexagram will become Guai (43), (the masculine) getting rid of (the feminine), when it ends up as feminine. Here a torrential downpour of water could sweep away everything in its path; this is a potential outcome and must be avoided.
The changing Qian2 (as named in the Zhou Yi: using all lines in 9): If all six lines are cast as the old masculine (9), it is known as the changing Qian2. All six lines start changing to feminine and hexagram Kun (submissiveness, earth) emerges.
Text: 見群(group, flock)龍无 首，吉(auspiciousness)。
The subject is in a state that a flock of dragons appear with no leader (首), which is of auspiciousness.
Qian2 is the head and honoured as the leader. When it is changing to Kun, it possesses the norm of that hexagram and becomes submissive and receptive. After that, the six lines won’t compete for leadership; there is no longer any leader required, and they will live together peacefully.
The original meaning of 首shou3 is the head; it extends to refer to thing which is first or highest, original or earliest, such as the leader, the beginning, etc.
Commentary on the image: The virtue of the heavens doesn’t permit performing with the head (or the leader) (首).
The heavens are round like Nature; they revolve in an endless cycle of day and night, and the four seasons, each following the other. There is neither beginning (or head, i.e. a leader) nor end (or tail, i.e. an adherent).
Qian2 acts as a founder and leader. While there are many leaders in the world, they must learn to get along peacefully, as exemplified by the heavens.
Enlightenment: to rule the world peacefully together with other leaders. All the lines start changing to feminine now; there will be no fighting among the dragons for leadership and they can live together in peace; this is auspicious.
The commentary on hexagram Qian2 (Wen Yan Zhuan)
Hexagrams Qian2 and Kun1 are the thresholds of the I Ching. All other hexagrams develop from them. They are not only fundamental but also profound. Therefore Confucius provided additional remarks on the texts of Qian2 and Kun1, especially as they relate to human virtue.
Origination is the fountain of goodness (i.e. benevolence, like the creativity of Heaven); smooth progress is the convergence of optimums (i.e. the favourable interplay between masculine and feminine in accord with etiquette); advantage is the sum of appropriate acts; persistence in benevolence, etiquette and appropriate acts is the principle of dealing with tasks, which is a demonstration of wisdom. Possessing benevolence enables a gentleman to lead people; conforming to etiquette enables him to converge optimums; acting appropriately enables him to benefit all concerned; firmly persisting in benevolence, etiquette and appropriate acts enables him to deal with tasks in a wise way. A gentleman is one who behaves in accordance with these four virtues; thus it is said: “Qian2: origination, smooth progress, advantage (or appropriateness), and persistence. ”
Line 1 states: “A hidden dragon ought not to act.” What is the meaning? Confucius says: “It is one who possesses the virtue of the dragon but conceals it. He won’t change because of common customs, or fame and benefit. He won’t be downcast because of reclusion, or not being recognised by others. He is in a position to act whenever the subject offers pleasure (i.e. the subject is right), and to defy it whenever the subject will lead him to worry (i.e. the subject is wrong.). He is firm and not to be influenced, and the one called the hidden dragon.”
Line 2 states: “The dragon appears in the field; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord.” What is the meaning? Confucius says: “It is one who possesses the virtue of the dragon and acts righteously and moderately (i.e. neither conservatively nor radically). He is in a position to keep one’s word and act prudently in daily life, to restrain evil and be sincere and trustworthy, and to make a contribution to society without flaunting it. His virtue is widespread and cultivates others.” Yi (易) states: “The dragon appears in the field; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord”. To employ him is the virtue of the king (or, it is the virtue needed to be the future leader).
Line 3 states: “A gentleman is Qian2 and Qian2 (i.e. doubly persevering in exerting himself) for the entire day, as well as vigilant and cautious at night; the status is of sternness and cruelty but with no calamity.” What is the meaning? Confucius says: “It is how a gentleman acts to improve his virtue and cultivate his career. Loyalty and trust improve virtue; being discreet in one’s word establishes sincerity and honesty, and on the basis of these traits a career is performed. Through knowing what ideal to achieve and exerting oneself to attain it, the target is almost accomplished. Through knowing what must be stopped and ending it accordingly, appropriateness can be maintained. Thus one should not be proud of attaining a high-ranking post, nor be upset while staying at a lower position, but rather always be Qian2 and Qian2 (i.e. doubly persevering) and vigilant when necessary, so that there will be no calamity even in peril.”
Line 4 states: “As if a dragon is leaping up and down over a deep pond, which is of no calamity (or fault).” What is the meaning? Confucius says: “Though the dragon leaps up and down irregularly, it does not look for evil but an opportunity to fly into the sky. Though it advances and retreats inconstantly, it does not depart from its fellows (signifying that it won't go beyond its position or abandon its aspirations). A gentleman ought to timely improve his virtue and cultivate his career; as a result, he can be free from calamity (or fault).”
Line 5 states: “A flying dragon in the sky; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord.” What is the meaning? Confucius says: “People tend to communicate when the topic is the same, and to conjoin when aspiration is the same. Water flows through and all becomes wet; all becomes dry around a flame. The cloud rises torrentially behind a dragon; the wind blasts after a tiger. The whole world will watch when the saint illuminates his virtue. Those like birds belong to the sky flying high in the air; those like plants live on the ground going deep with their roots. Things of a kind follow one another.”
Line 6 states: “An arrogant dragon has cause to regret.” What is the meaning? Confucius says: “One is in a state of possessing prestige but with no corresponding post, and being at the high ranking position but with no support from people. Virtuous people (i.e. the lines below the line 6) stay below but no assistance is obtainable. Thus acting without support has cause to regret.”
The following expresses each line's viewpoint on realizing one's aspirations.
A hidden dragon ought not to act, which is due to its staying below (i.e. at the bottom of the hexagram like at the low rank of society). The dragon appears in the field, which suggests biding one's time. Line 3 is in a state of Qian2 and Qian2 (i.e. doubly persevering in exerting oneself) for the entire day, which is an attitude of dealing with tasks. As if a dragon is leaping up and down over a deep pond, which signifies that it engages in a self-trial. Line 5 acts as a flying dragon in the sky, which symbolizes that it stays above so as to rule the world. An arrogant dragon has cause to regret, which is because it is destitute of self-reflection and this will incur calamity. Great Qian2 uses all lines in nine, by the submissive and receptive character of which the world is ruled.
The norm of a gentleman matures as masculinity ascends gradually from the bottom, like the power of the sun increasing as it rises.
The analogy is seen this way: A hidden dragon ought not to act, as masculinity is concealed (i.e. its masculinity is still weak as it would be at dawn). The dragon appears in the field, when the world becomes civilised (i.e. the power of the sun appears at sunrise). A gentleman is Qian2 and Qian2 for the entire day, which means that he exerts himself all the time like plants eager to flourish during the day. As if a dragon is leaping up and down over a deep pond, whereby the norm of Qian2 is being reformed (i.e. it is not only persevering but also flexible in achieving its goal, like the power of the sun varying during the four seasons). Line 5 acts like a flying dragon in the sky, which signifies that it stays at the sky position with the virtue of Heaven (i.e. its masculinity is prevailing like at midday). An arrogant dragon has cause to regret, which is because it reaches the end of a hexagram and its development also in terms of time (i.e. the power of the sun is declining like at sunset). Great Qian2 uses all lines in nine, wherein the rule of Nature is displayed (i.e. its rigidity is changing to yielding with the conversion of masculine to feminine, like day changing to night).
The following is to praise hexagram Qian2 and its host line, line 5.
Qian2’s origination is a new beginning with smooth progress (as it starts with masculinity and continues that way to the end thereby forming Qian2. This is the way that Heaven creates life, with each form of life going on to develop into its own species.). Advantage (or appropriateness) and persistence comprise its instinct and disposition: To persist in the norm of Heaven is its instinct; to create an appropriate environment for all concerned is its disposition. By virtue of optimum appropriateness, Qian2’s origination benefits the world, which is done without flaunting its merit. How mighty it is! The mighty Qian2 like host line 5 is firm, persevering, moderate and righteous; they are the most purified essences. Six lines are all activated to change; then it becomes hexagram Kun1 and accessible laterally with affection (i.e. each pair of the masculine and the feminine lines of Qian2 and Kun1 associate congenially with each other at their corresponding positions). Qian2 rides six dragons to dominate the heavens in an opportune way (i.e. according to the sequence of the hidden dragon, the dragon appearing in the field, and so on). After that the clouds fly, the rain falls and the world becomes pacified: The Six masculine lines rise one after another like clouds. Ultimately the masculine starts changing to feminine. At that point, masculine and feminine mate creating rain which moistens the world wherein all founders and leaders submit to each other and live in peace.
The following are the combined remarks made for each line, and for a gentleman (or woman) to follow.
A gentleman must concentrate on cultivating and achieving his virtue by employing it daily before undertaking what is intended. The word ‘hidden’ means his virtue is concealed and not seen, as well as being carried out but not having succeeded yet. Therefore a gentleman ought not to act.
A gentleman collects knowledge by studying, obtains clarity through questioning, lives in ease (which signifies that he isn't eager to advance upward), and acts with benevolence. Yi says: “The dragon appears in the field; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord.” To employ him is the virtue of the king (or, it is the virtue required to be the future leader).
Masculine line 3 depends too much on rigidity (as it is masculine rigidity and stays at the position for marching upward) and exceeds the middle of the lower trigram (where the principle of moderation is available). It is neither high in the sky (like line 5 occupying the dominant position and carrying out its aspirations) nor low in the field (like line 2 preparing itself and waiting for a great lord). Therefore it is Qian2 and Qian2 (i.e. doubly persevering in exerting itself). As it acts in an opportune and vigilant manner, there will be no calamity even in peril.
Masculine line 4 depends too much on rigidity (as it is masculine rigidity and very active in the upper trigram, i.e. a higher society) but doesn't attain the middle of the upper trigram (i.e. the dominant position). It is not high in the sky, low in the field, or in the middle of humans (which signifies that it left the lower trigram which is regarded as the society of common people). Therefore it is as if were leaping over a deep pond. 'As if' expresses a type of suspicion (i.e. uncertainty on success and possibility of being hurt while trying to reach the dominant position). Hence there will be no calamity (or fault) if it can act according to the situation.
A great lord is one whose virtue aligns with Heaven and earth, shines with the sun and moon, runs in an ordered way with the four seasons, and keeps pace with the criteria of good fortune and misfortune used by god and ghost (who encourage good and express evil). He respects astronomical phenomena and acts accordingly (because he knows it is nothing but truth); no matter whether he is one step ahead of astronomical phenomena and acts according to his virtue or follows them, Nature will agree with him. As Nature agrees with him, there is no reason that humans, god and ghost will not.
Arrogance means to keep on advancing without knowing when to retreat, to only think of existence and ignore perishing, and to always look for gain without preparing for loss. The saint (for instance, the creator of the I Ching) is one who knows about advancing and retreating, existence and death, and who acts without losing righteousness; this is the saint.