19 Lin2

The lower: Dui (joy, the marsh). The upper: Kun (submissiveness, earth).

Lin: to approach (as a superior to an inferior); the large forms through accommodating the small.






After having experienced things (Gu), it can become large; therefore Lin is granted.  Lin signifies largeness. There were evil things requiring removal in hexagram Gu (18). Tackling those things can make one become mature and strong, so the large masculine will be growing in hexagram Lin. Largeness is seen here as that which can accommodate and tolerate the small; therefore the approach of Lin is a movement from the strong to the weak, or from those above to those below in a courteous manner. In Chinese culture, the approach, Lin (), is taken as an action from an honoured position, or a higher position.

Masculine is large and strong; the masculine lines are ascending from the bottom and moving upward to the feminine lines, i.e. the small and weak, showing that the large is approaching the small, and the strong is approaching the weak. The upper Kun denotes earth and the lower Dui is the marsh. Earth above the marsh is a bank; it surrounds the marsh, occupies a higher position and slopes down to the water like an approach from one above to one below.

The inner hexagram of Lin is Fu (24), where masculinity recovers and will grow upward. Its changing hexagram is Dun (33), to retreat, where the feminine begins to prevail and overpower the masculine; therefore it must be cautious about misfortune ahead.


Text: Lin (the superior approaching the inferior), (there will be a) great and smooth progress; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist (in righteousness); (otherwise) misfortune will come in the eighth month (or in August).

Commentary on the text: Lin (the superior approaching the inferior); (the one of) rigidity is gradually growing up; (hexagram Lin is exhibited in the form of) joy (like the lower trigram Dui) and submissiveness (like the upper trigram Kun); (line 2, the one of) rigidity at the middle position (of the lower trigram signifying moderate action) has correlation (with line 5); (there will be a) great and smooth progress by virtue of righteousness.  It is the norm of Heaven (or Nature).  Misfortune will come in the eighth month (or in August); (femininity) overpowering (masculinity) won’t be long (from now).

Text explanation:

The masculine line keeps growing (after its recovery in hexagram Fu) reaching position 2. Following this trend, masculinity will prevail. It is the great and smooth progress of masculinity approaching femininity but it must proceed moderately and persist in righteousness. Otherwise it will result in misfortune.

Masculine line 2 represents the inner lower trigram Zhen (to move). In front are the plains (denoted by the upper and the inner upper trigrams Kun), signifying nothing can stop it. However, it must act according to the principle of moderation (available at the middle position of the lower trigram) and aim for righteousness (available at its correlative position as position 5 is right to it). This way the approach of the lower trigram Dui is pleasant while the upper trigram Kun expresses submissiveness.


Femininity will diminish while masculinity increases; conversely, masculinity will diminish while femininity increases. This is the way of Nature. If the masculinity of hexagram Lin continues to grow, it must note that hexagram Tai (11) is the mid-point while Da Guo (28) is large excess. If masculinity continues to increase, it must be cautious as femininity will emerge and start to overpower masculinity in hexagram Guo (44) after masculinity reaches its extremity and end. Once the hexagram becomes Pi (12), blockage and stagnation, it is ominous for masculine and the gentleman. From hexagram Lin which represents December to hexagram Pi (July), there are eight months.



Misfortune can also occur in August (of the lunar calendar; see “How to read the hexagram” in Basic Concepts for details). In hexagram Li the masculine below approaches the feminine above. When the hexagram advances along the sequence and changes to Guan (20), the masculine above will be observed by the feminine below. This implies a review or trial of their performance in hexagram Lin. Guan is August and the next hexagram.

Commentary on the image: Above the marsh there is earth; Lin.  A gentleman in accordance with this inexhaustibly teaches (people and cultivates their) thinking, as well as boundlessly accommodates and protects people.

Earth limits the marsh but also provides it with a space to flourish. In the time of the large approaching the small, a gentleman should obtain people’s understanding, as well as accommodate and protect them like earth surrounding the marsh.


When the large (superior or strong) is approaching the small (inferior or weak), it will enjoy great and smooth progress. It is appropriate and advantageous to act moderately and persist in righteousness, otherwise there will be misfortune at some point. People who are in power and enjoy success must not be proud but always be discreet in their actions.

Though Lin possesses all four virtues (origination, smooth progress, advantage, and preservation) of hexagrams Qian and Kun in the form of great and smooth progress, and persistence bringing forth benefit, but it must act very cautiously like approaching the deep pond (of trigram Dui with three additional feminine lines).

The large approaching the small (or the one above approaching the one below) of Lin can be referred to as supervision and management, or, these days, leading and serving people in a democracy. It can be also understood as the sovereignty (of masculine) descending into the world (i.e. the earthly domain, and then moving toward the heavenly domain, i.e. the ruling position) after the long-standing bad habit or practice was removed in the previous hexagram Gu (18).






From the perspective of masculine and feminine, hexagram Lin is the masculine line approaching the feminine one. From the viewpoint of the upper and the lower trigram, it is the one above approaching the one below. The approach proceeds along the path of correlation; thus the line at the correlative position is the one to approach.

When the masculine line approaches the feminine one, the masculine must act according to righteousness or the principle of moderation, and by means of a spiritual approach rather than physical contact as they are large and strong, especially in contrast to those below. While the one above approaches the one below, the approach must be intimate or intelligent or honest and reliable, as they are tender and approaching the strong one.

The 1st line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) a telepathic () Lin (approach); to persist is auspicious.

Text explanation:

Masculine line 1 correlates with feminine line 4 in the distance, signifying masculinity approaches femininity, and in a telepathic way.

Though it is the large approaching the small, the approach is righteous rather than intimidating as line 1 stays at its right position and acts in accordance with righteousness; to persist is auspicious.

xian2 is the same character as the name of hexagram 31, the telepathy between masculine and feminine.

Commentary on the image: (Line 1 is in a state of) a telepathic Lin (approach) and to persist is auspicious, (as) aspiration is to act with righteousness.

Enlightenment through nine one: to approach the counterpart without menace, and to act according to what is righteous. The large below approaches the small above without physical contact and according to righteousness; it is auspicious to persist. Should line 1 change to feminine becoming neither large nor righteous, lines 1 and 4 would be in a hostile correlation, and the hexagram would become Shi (7), troops. This suggests that conflict will take place.


The 2nd line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) a telepathic Lin (approach), (which is of) auspiciousness and nothing is unfavourable.

Text explanation:

Masculine line 2 correlates with feminine line 5; therefore it is a telepathic approach as well. Line 2 is the masculine axle centre of the lower trigram, signifying that it is strong and firm yet moderate, like a talented, reliable and moderate courtier at a lower position. Line 5 is the feminine axle centre of the upper trigram signifying that it is tender and moderate but dignified like a king on top. The approach presents a talented and reliable courtier serving a tender but dignified king based on the principle of moderation (i.e. neither overbearing nor servile). Therefore it is auspicious and there will be nothing unfavourable.

Commentary on the image: A telepathic Lin (approach) is auspicious and nothing is unfavourable, (although it is) not submissive to destiny.

Masculine approaches feminine, signifying the large approaching the small. Line 2 doesn't rely on its largeness but performs like a courtier serving the king. Though this doesn’t conform to its designated role as the large, it is the norm of the one below approaching the one above.

Enlightenment through nine two: to act with mutual understanding through the principle of moderation. To approach heart to heart is auspicious, and there is nothing unfavourable. The large one below approaches the small one above, like a strong courtier serving a tender king. This can be achieved with an auspicious result through the communion by heart and in a moderate way. Even though this line will end up as feminine if it acts this way, the hexagram will appear as Fu (24), return of masculine.


The 3rd line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) a sweet Lin (approach); nothing is favourable.  Now that it has already anticipated this, (there will be) no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

Line 3 is the representative line of the lower trigram Dui (joy and the mouth), signifying it is an approach involving sweet talk. As it has no correlate, it will receive no response. Therefore no matter what it does, there will be nothing favourable. Though it stays above lines 1 and 2, the feminine is still in the lower trigram; this makes it uneasy about their approach. The status is clear; sweet talk gets no response from those above and barely resists the masculine below. Therefore, unless it can make a correction, it won't be free from calamity or fault.

Commentary on the image: (Line 3 is in a state of) a sweet Lin (approach), (because) the position (it occupies) is inappropriate (to it, so it can’t act properly).  Now that (it) has already worried about this, calamity (or fault) won’t last long.

Position 3 is a place designated for masculine; if it can realise this and change to masculine, the hexagram will become Tai (11), where the masculine and feminine interact harmoniously and peacefully.

Enlightenment through six three: to act through ability or strength rather than by boasting. One is neither the large nor the one above; to approach others with sweet talk won’t result in anything favourable. Calamity will disappear if one can realise this and make a correction. If this line consequently changes to masculine, the hexagram will become Tai (11), where the masculine below and the feminine above engage in a smooth, unobstructed, harmonious and peaceful state.


The 4th line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) an intimate () Lin (approach); (there will be) no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

Line 4 of the upper trigram remains next the lower trigram and has close contact with those below. It correlates with line 1 at the bottom, i.e. the position of the commoners, signifying that it approaches them in an intimate way. As both lines 4 and 1 stay at their right positions they will associate with each other righteously. As a result, there will be no calamity even though line 4 exposes itself to the masculine.

zhi4 (intimate) originally meant going from a higher position to a lower one, which is like the one above approaching, and accommodating, the one below. Here it is signified as friendly close contact with those below, i.e. a genial and intimate approach. 

Commentary on the image: (Line 4 is in a state of) an intimate Lin (approach) and no calamity (or fault), (which is due to) the position (where it remains) being appropriate (to it, so that it can properly carry out its task).

Position 4 is a place appropriate for feminine and close to the lower trigram; this allows line 4 an intimate approach and appropriate action.

Enlightenment through six four: to act intimately and righteously. An intimate approach signifies that the one above cordially accommodates the one below; there will be no calamity. No calamity suggests that originally there was calamity (as it is the small approaching the large). However in this instance it can be free from calamity as they associate in a righteous manner. Should this line change to masculine and not act righteously, it would lose correlation with line 1, and the hexagram would become Gui Mei (54), the younger sister accompanying her older sister in marriage to her brother-in-law as a concubine, where taking aggressive action is ominous, and nothing is favourable, as the concubine has no position in a family. 


The 5th line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) an intelligent () Lin (approach), (which is) the appropriateness of a great king (and which is) auspicious.

Text explanation:

Line 5 correlates with line 2; therefore this is the one above approaching the one below.

The feminine line 5, at the king's position and in correlation with the masculine line 2, acts like a tender but dignified king approaching a talented and strong courtier with the intention of employing him. This can be achieved through moderate association as they are both at the middle positions of the upper and lower trigrams and possess the principle of moderation. This is a wise and appropriate action of a great king.

zhi (knowledge) originally meant speaking (kou3) quickly like a flying arrow (shi3), suggesting that the speaker knows very well what he is saying. It is annotated here as one has knowledge of carrying out what is intended.  

Commentary on the image: The appropriateness of a great king, (which is) called to act according to the middle (of the upper trigram, i.e. through the principle of moderation).

Line 5 associates with line 2 without haughtiness, servility, oppression or connivance. This is the way to employ people who are stronger.

Enlightenment through six five: to win a popular following by dint of one's intelligence. An intelligent approach is signified by the weak approaching the strong and having the strong work for it; this can be attained through moderate association. Not being jealous of the talent of those below and bringing their potential into full play is the appropriate attitude for the employer to take, and is auspicious. Hexagram Jie (60), to restrict, appears while this line is activated, becoming masculine and staying at its right position with moderation. This signifies that appropriate control will be in place as long as the approach is carried out in a moderate and righteous manner.


The 6th line

Text: (The subject must remain in a state of) an honest and reliable () Lin (approach), (which will lead to) auspiciousness, (and then there will be) no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

Line 6 is the top line of the upper trigram Kun, earth. Earth accumulates and rises symbolising solidity and sturdiness, which is signified as honesty and reliability (dun1hou4) in Chinese culture. Thus it is honest and reliable in approaching those below; this is auspicious. Though it has no correlation with those below, there is no fault in doing this and it can be free from calamity as long as it continues to exhibit honesty and reliability.

Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of an honest and reliable Lin (approach), (signifies) aspiration is (to develop) inward.

Those below which line 6 intends to approach are masculine lines 1 and 2. Even though line 6 has no correlation with them, it approaches like the one above untiringly accommodating virtuous and able people. Great summon won’t miss anything which requires its reception, and nothing will withstand being cultivated by the long and true-hearted approach.

Both lines 1 and 2 are located in the internal trigram, therefore, line 6 moves inwardly to achieve its aspirations, i.e. to inexhaustibly teach and cultivate people, and to boundlessly accommodate and protect them (as suggested by the commentary on the hexagram image).

In addition to honesty and reliability, can be also be understood as sustaining people’s lives and correcting their wrongdoing, as dun1 originally meant to scold. It refers to a bronze container for cooked grains when pronounced dui4.

Enlightenment through six six: to tirelessly approach others in an honest and reliable manner. Honestly and reliably approaching those below is the fundamental and preferred way one should act. Even if there is no response, one should always act this way. This can bring auspiciousness and avoid calamity. Should this line not abide by the advice, change to masculine and approach line 3 not righteously, the hexagram would appears as Sun (41), to enrich those above in a way through diminishing those below; this should be avoided.