Kan (the abyss, water). The upper: Qian (perseverance, heaven).
litigation (due to conflict); the mission of hexagram Song is to
avoid litigation and seek harmony.
Once food and drink
come into existence, conflict will inevitably
occur as people will fight over
them; therefore Song is granted
to speak bluntly and 公gong,
signifies a dispute and extends to include litigation (due to
conflict). It is the reversal of hexagram 5, Xu which signifies
not to advance,
i.e. to wait. Song is taken as not getting
trigram Qian is heaven which stays high above while the lower
trigram Kan is water which flows downward; therefore they move away
from each other. Kan is peril and Qian is perseverance. A person
acts with peril inside (as Kan is the internal trigram and peril is
the root of trouble) and perseverance outside (as Qian is the external
perseverance creates trouble under these conditions); this will
clearly lead to litigation.
of hexagram Song is to advise people how to avoid litigation and
seek harmony. Its inner hexagram Jia Ren (37), the household,
reveals that the sincere way to reduce conflict is to treat others
as part of the household. Its changing hexagram is Ming Yi (36),
brightness being tarnished; conflict and litigation will cause
brightness (i.e. civilisation) to become tarnished.
Sincerity and trust
(窒); to be vigilant
the principle of
(中) is auspicious
to go through
It is advantageous
a great lord (i.e. a
person administering justice)
it is not
Commentary on the text:
(litigation): The upper
is of rigidity
while the lower
is of peril, exhibiting
it is perilous but still
persevering; this is the image
of Song. Song:
Sincerity and trust
To be vigilant and cautious
the principle of
moderation is auspicious,
as the one of rigidity
comes and attains the middle
of the lower
trigram (where the principle of moderation is available).
To go through with litigation
is ominous; litigation
won’t be successful. It is
to see a great lord (i.e. a
person administering justice),
because he advocates the
principle of moderation and righteousness.
It is not instrumental in
crossing a great river, as it
will enter a deep pond.
has internal peril (i.e. tendency to take risks) but still
perseveres; this will lead to litigation. Within one there is peril,
while the other is rigid and perseveres, signifying that there will
be litigation between them.
perspective of viewing the structure of hexagram Song, line 2
represents the lower trigram Kan, sincerity and trust. It has no
correlation with line 5, the representative line of the upper
trigram Qian. Therefore sincerity and trust are obstructed and
litigation ensues. From the perspective of the hexagram forming,
masculine line 2 is the founding line. It is the one of rigidity
coming and occupying the middle position of trigram Kun
(submissiveness, earth) and changing it to Kan, peril. It must be
vigilant and cautious with the principle of moderation as peril has
formed. To go through with litigation would be ominous and
unsuccessful as its opponent, line 5, is a masculine line at
the king’s position.
Line 5, the
host line, is a masculine axle centre at a position appropriate for
masculine. This signifies that it acts righteously and moderately;
it is a great lord, i.e. a person who administers justice and who can
settle disputes. It is advantageous to meet a person of justice to
It is not
instrumental in crossing a great river, i.e. one should not risk
litigation as one would sink into a deep pond, i.e. a place with no
exit. Crossing a river is signified here by trigram Kan with water
reaching the sky; the inner upper trigram Xun (to enter, wind),
represented by line 3, is an entrance.
is commonly known as
King Wen of Zhou which was a posthumous title given to him by his
descendants. He was alarmed by the injustice and tyranny carried out
by King Zhou of Shang (紂王)
when he was captive there. After he was released from imprisonment
and returned to his home state, he presented King Zhou with fertile
land west of the Lou River in exchange for ending the cruel
punishment Pao Luo (炮烙);
he was successful in abolishing it. Pao Luo involved a metal beam
smeared with grease above burning coals. Those condemned were forced
to walk across the beam barefoot; if they slipped, they would fall
onto the burning coals and burn to death.
Thereafter dukes, who admired Ji
Chang for abolishing the practice, sought him out to act as a judge
in disputes with each other.
Commentary on the image:
Heaven and water move in opposite directions: Song. A
gentleman, in accordance with this, contemplates
what is intended
before taking action.
above but water flows downward, they move in opposite directions. A
gentleman realises this opposing tendency and considers all details
very carefully at the beginning, i.e. before taking action.
Song possesses no virtue after advantage and disadvantage (expressed
in form of not being instrumental) are counterbalanced.
Sincerity and trust encounter obstruction, therefore conflict and
litigation occur. It is auspicious to be cautious and to deal with
disagreement through the principle of moderation (i.e. to think and
act in the middle). It will be ominous in
the end if one goes through with litigation. It is advantageous to
meet an administrator of justice who can make a fair judgment to
settle the dispute; it is not instrumental in taking risky action
since the opponent is the one above. Therefore eliminating the
dispute and seeking reconciliation is what hexagram Song recommends.
commentary on the image suggests people thinking twice before
action, i.e. to look before leaping.
hexagram after this hexagram changes is Ming Yi (36), brightness
being tarnished; after litigation occurs brightness (i.e.
civilisation) is tarnished as tyranny prevails.
lines correlate with each other but are not at their right
positions, this will cause conflict and lead to litigation as they
do not associate through righteousness. Except for line 5, none are
at the positions right to them. Line 5 knows what is right and
wrong, and is the only one competent to render a fair judgment.
initiates conflict and litigation. The entrance to a deep pond is at
position 3; therefore people are advised not to undertake litigation
in hexagram Song. Line 1 is at the outset of conflict; it is
inclined to seek reconciliation. Line 2 can still secure what it
owns if it can forgo litigation. Line 3 should not be in conflict or
contend with those who are above and rigid. While litigation is not
should change one's litigation-minded attitude like line 4. All the
lines seek reconciliation except for line 6, which therefore wins
and believes in litigation; but it will lose all shortly as people
sharing the same beliefs group and join forces to defend their
interests in the next hexagram Shi (7).
for a long time over what is
being done (i.e. conflict).
There is a little
criticism (or complaint)
will become auspicious.
Line 1 is
at the beginning of litigation; it is the tender feminine and stays
at a place where the line is less energetic (as it has just started
acting after Xu, waiting). Therefore it should not
engage in conflict for very long but rather seek reconciliation.
Lines 1 and 4
correlate with each other but neither are at their right positions.
This signifies they have an association, but not one based on
righteousness, therefore they are in conflict. If line 1 can go to
position 4 and view the situation from the other party's position,
then both lines occupy their right places. This signifies that
reconciliation can be reached through a righteous association.
Even though there is
still some minor criticism and complaint while disputing, this will
end up with auspiciousness as the hexagram becomes Zhong Fu,
just right (i.e.
balanced) sincerity and
suggested that Dukes Yu (虞)
and Jui (芮)
disputed ownership of a tract of land and couldn’t find a compromise
to resolve the disagreement. So they went to dukedom Zhou together
intending to ask Ji Chang to arbitrate. After reaching the dukedom,
they saw that farmers there created wide raised paths between their
fields, yielding to each other and not contending ploughing and
sowing. They felt ashamed and worried that if the Zhou discovered
their dispute, they'd be held in contempt. “When we meet Ji Chang,
won't we humiliate ourselves?” they wondered. Thereupon, they
returned home. As for the tract of land in dispute, neither side
wanted it and both relinquished all claim to it.
Commentary on the image:
Do not involve oneself for
a long time over what is
being done (i.e. conflict);
litigation must not be engaged in
for a long time. Although there is a little criticism
while disputing, what is
disputed can be clarified.
1 and 4 exchange positions, the lower trigram becomes Dui (joy, the
marsh) which denotes a mouth and signifies 'to speak', and the upper
trigram changes to Xun (to enter, the wind), the reversal of Dui,
their quarreling. However the hexagram exhibits the image of trigram
Li (clinging, fire) which signifies brightness. This means that even
though there are disputes, issues of right and wrong can be clearly
justified through face to face conversation and consideration of the
six one: to eliminate
conflict through clarification. When this line is triggered to move
toward masculinity and transforming along the way, it signifies that
conflict is just beginning; one should not engage in it a long time
but rather clarify what is misunderstood. Although there is some
little criticism or complaint while disputing, it will end in
auspiciousness. Litigation won't do anything good to each side. Even
if this line changes to masculine becoming righteous, the hexagram
will appear as Lu (10), to tread on the tiger’s tail, where it must
act cautiously and prudently to avoid being hurt (because its
counterpart still is not righteous).
The 2nd line
of its home town)三百(three
The subject is in a
being competent at Song
it is better to return
and flee, and to where
the inhabitants of its
are three hundred
households; this will result in
no man-made calamity
Lines 2 and
5 are both masculine and in a hostile correlation. Although they are
equal in power, line 5 stays at its right position, i.e. it acts
righteously while line 2 does not. Line 2 has no chance to defeat
line 5, so it should retreat, especially as it remains in the middle
of peril, the lower trigram Kan. After line 2 retreats by exchanging
positions with line 1, the peril disappears signifying that it can
be free from the calamity caused by its unrighteous actions.
line 2 retreats to position 1, the inner lower trigram becomes Gen
(keeping still, the mountain) which resembles a door; behind every
door there exists a household and Gen is composed of three lines.
This signifies that it is a clan of three
hundred households; with line 2 hiding beneath it
(i.e. inside) the hexagram changes to Wu Wang, to be pragmatic
A clan of
three hundred households is comparatively small. It is not possible
to succeed at litigation, so it should stop and retreat. Otherwise,
should it be defeated, its clan might flee. Then it would lose its
foundation and never be able to recover again.
original meaning of
(man-made calamity or fault) is an eye (目mu4)
i.e. the eye is covered with an opaque film of germs which prevents
clear sight and leads to making mistakes.
Commentary on the image:
Line 2 is in a state of
competent at Song
it ought to return
as well as hurry. Song
(litigation) is in a state of
the one below against the one above; crises
(trouble and misery)
can be easily
created as if picking up
through nine two:
do not litigate.
succeed, as the one below sues the one above; the one
not righteous sues the righteous.
As calamity could
easily result, it is better to retreat and escape to one’s home
town, to find cover and also secure one’s home ground; then one can
be free from self-made calamity.
this line changes to feminine becoming righteous and then goes to law
again, the hexagram
will become Pi (12), blockage and stagnation, where there is no
interplay between those above and below.
The 3rd line
It is better to carry on the former job
to persist in the current post
stern and cruel. Eventually
this will become
auspicious; as if it
serves the king, but does
not seek merit
correlates with line 6; both lack righteousness as they are not at
their right positions. Masculine line 6 reaches the extremity of
litigation. Feminine line 3 conflicts with it and stays at the
position for marching upward; it is stern and cruel to persist in
remaining at the current position. By exchanging positions with line
2, i.e. carrying on the job of its former post, it can become
righteous and no longer engage in litigation, i.e. it has no more
correlation with line 6. Additionally the lower trigram Kan, peril,
disappears, so it ends with auspiciousness.
Position 5 is the
place of the king and full of merit. After exchanging
positions with line 2,
representative of the inner lower trigram Xun (to enter, the wind)
and prostrates itself, exhibiting submissiveness and obedience. It
also correlates with line 5, like a courtier submissively serving
the king. The lower trigram becomes Gen (keeping still, the
mountain) which acts like a hand grabbing something in a downward
motion, while the merit stays above it. This signifies that it has
no intent to seek merit.
Therefore, when the service concern the king,
is understood as to seek no achievement or merit for oneself .
is above moderation (i.e. the middle position of the lower trigram)
and a place for marching upward to the upper trigram. However a
tender person should not contend or conflict with those above who
are rigid. Therefore he should retreat, act properly and live with
what he rightly deserves.
Commentary on the image:
It is better
to carry on the former job
(食舊德); to follow those above
(the old virtue) literally means to live on preceding virtue, which
is interpreted here as "to carry on the former job". This refers to
position 2, the former position of feminine line 3, which is where a
feminine line can act righteously and moderately. Righteousness and
the principle of moderation are the virtues of the line.
After it exchanges positions
with line 2, the hexagram becomes Dun (33), to
retreat. It has no conflict anymore with line
6, but submissively correlates with line 5 based on righteousness.
not to engage in conflict over power and benefit. One should
not contend with those above for power and profit, but rather
retreat one step back and carry on the former job; to persist in
conflict is stern and cruel (i.e. dangerous). This will end
auspiciously if one can behave as if serving a king without seeking
merit. Usually position 3 is a place full of ill omens.
Should this line change its attitude becoming rigid masculine with
righteousness and conflict with line 6, the hexagram would become
Gou (44), to meet (unexpectedly), where the masculine encounters a
powerful feminine, signifying
an crisis is emerging. This is possibly
the outcome (of being unforgiving when finding other in the wrong)
and must be prevented.
The 4th line
subject is in a state of
incompetent at Song
(litigate); it is better to return to the destined state
(i.e. righteousness), to change the litigation-orientated
instinct, and then to contentedly persist (安貞); this is of
Lines 4 and
1 correlate with each other, but neither of them stay at their right
position. This signifies that they are in conflict. In actuality,
line 1 has no intention of engaging in conflict for any length of
time; therefore line 4 should change its instinct and recover its
essence, becoming feminine. Feminine line 4 then stays contentedly
at the position right to it and isn't in correlation with line 1 any
longer, signifying no litigation, which is auspicious.
is a place designated for feminine and for resting after marching
up from the lower trigram; masculine tends to move, while
feminine tends to remain still. Therefore femininity is its destined
state and line 4 should change the litigation-orientated instinct of
rigid masculine to the tender feminine and remain contentedly
(persistence) depicts a girl (女)
under the roof (宀)
and signifies tranquil because she feels safe and content. Here
is understood that it is auspicious if it can be content with its
situation and remain steady.
Commentary on the image:
It is better to return to the destined state,
signifying to change
instinct and to
persist contentedly; it suffers
through nine four:
to change to,
and act according to, what is right. Because
litigation cannot proceed, one must change one’s belligerent
attitude and resort to the norm of hexagram Song. To persist
contentedly is auspicious. The hexagram that forms after this line
changes from masculine to feminine is Huan (59), to
disperse, where sincerity and trust (of the king) must be rebuilt in
order to regain the trust of (his) people.
The 5th line
The subject is in a position to reconcile Song
which is of great
Line 5 is a
masculine axle centre at its right position, signifying it acts
righteously and moderately. It is a great lord (i.e. a person of
justice) who knows right from wrong and is competent to render
correct judgment in litigation, as well as foster reconciliation in
a fair manner. Its acting righteously and moderately will lead to
Commentary on the image:
Line 5 in a position
which is because it acts
moderately and righteously.
The text can be also
understood as: the great auspiciousness of Song (litigation) is moderation and righteousness.
through nine five:
and impartial. To reconcile
righteously and moderately is greatly auspicious. Should this line
not abide by its mandate
and change to feminine,
the hexagram would appear in the form of Wei Ji (64),
not completed yet, where the order
must be rebuilt as none of its lines are at their right positions.
The 6th line
something on an inferior or junior)之(the
objective of a third person, i.e. line 6)鞶帶(leather belt)，終(end)朝(morning)三(three)褫(deprive
and government post)。
the subject is given with honour a high-ranking leather belt, but by
the end of the morning the bestowment is
leather belt was an item of governmental clothing indicating
official rank. When it was given but taken away three times, it
meant that a high-ranking government post was conferred, but then removed by
three consecutive demotions.
Line 6 is in conflict
with line 3. It
reaches the upper
extremity of litigation; therefore it is adept at litigation and
persists in it. Even if it wins and obtains what it wants, it will
shortly lose everything.
The inner upper
trigram Xun (to enter, the wind) represented by line 3
is signified as an
order (of the king as indicated below) and is taken here as an
appointment. Line 6 is linked to it but conflicts with line 3 over
it. If line 6
wins, line 3 will give up
its position and retreat,
and the inner upper trigram Xun, the
award, will go
Commentary on the image:
The award resulting from Song
which is not worthy of
line 6 goes through with litigation and wins, it doesn’t deserve
litigation or conflicts.
One is adept at litigation and persists in
completing it. Even if he wins, he will lose everything within a
short period of time, like someone acquiring a high-ranking government post but
being demoted three times by the end of
the morning. If this line is activated this way, the hexagram
will become Kun4
(47), to be besieged,
is advised to reflect over what has been done wrong and take corrective
action in order
to leave Kun4.