37 Jia1 Ren2 家人

The lower: Li (clinging, fire). The upper: Xun (to enter, the wind).

Jia Ren: the household; the mission of hexagram Jia Ren is to establish a wealthy and prestigious household.






People return home after having been hurt (Yi) outside; therefore Jia Ren is granted. Jia Ren signifies the household. A person retreats home after having been frustrated and hurt outside. Hexagram Dun (33) is to retreat; after its line 4 retreats to position 1, hexagram Jia Ren forms and all the lines from line 1 to 5 are in their right places.




The upper trigram Xun denotes the wind, and the lower trigram Li is fire; the wind rising from the action of fire is the hot current of the smoke; the smoke rises signalling there are people living around; once people live in groups, households will be formed. Trigram Xun is wood as well; fire burns wood creating wind, which takes the flame elsewhere, so the household proliferates and is everlasting.

The feature of hexagram Jia Ren is that all the household members from line 1 to line 5 occupy their right positions and are friendly to one another; hence they act righteously according to their roles and get along with one another in harmony.

The next and reverse hexagram of Jia Ren is Kui (38), alienation, signifying once the righteous and harmonious state is reversed, the family members will become alienated. This is due to the fact that its inner hexagram Wei Ji (64), not completed yet, has all its lines at positions inappropriate for them. Fortunately its changing hexagram is Xie (40), to alleviate; by moving from Jia Ren to Kui (38), alienation, and Jian3 (39), difficulty in proceeding, all tensions and conflicts will be finally alleviated at Xie (40).


Text: 家人利女(female)

Jia Ren (the household): it is advantageous (or appropriate) for the female to persist in righteousness.

Commentary on the text: The female (line 2) stays internally at the right position; the male (line 5) stays externally at the right position.  Both the male and the female act righteously; it is the great appropriateness between heavens and earth.  Jia Ren exists with authoritative rulers; they are called the parents.  The father behaves like a father; the son behaves like a son; the older brother behaves like an older brother; the younger brother behaves like a younger brother; the husband behaves like a husband, while the wife behaves like a wife.  Hereafter the norm of the household is righteously performed.  Once all the households are righteous, the world becomes stabilised.

Text explanation:

Line 2 is the centre of the internal trigram and line 4 sustains line 5, the centre of the external trigram. Both stay at their right positions and act righteously. Therefore it is advantageous if they can persist.

Feminine line 2 in the internal trigram represents the mother who takes charge of the family's internal affairs. Masculine line 5 in the external trigram represents the father who works hard outside for the family.

Line 1 represents the oldest brother; line 3 is the youngest brother, and line 4 is the oldest daughter. All the family members stay at their right positions and act righteously according to their positions, so the norm of the household is righteously performed.



Remarks: The representative line is one that represents a trigram. It is the line unique or more important than the others in the trigram. If masculine line 1, the bottom line, is taken as the representative, the other two will be the feminine lines. This is the structure of trigram Zhen (to move, thunder) and Zhen denotes the oldest son. Hence line 1 is the oldest son.



If the above principle is applied to lines 3 and 4, line 3 will be the youngest son, and line 4, the oldest daughter.

Trigram Qian2 (perseverance, heaven) represents the father, while trigram Kun1 (submissiveness, earth) is the mother. As all the lines of Qian2 and Kun1 are the same gender, their middle line is regarded as the representative line; therefore the middle line of the lower trigram Li, line 2, is the mother, while the middle line of the upper trigram Xun, line 5, is the father.

Commentary on the image: Wind generated by fire: Jia Ren.  In accordance with this, what a gentleman says must be real and meaningful, and what he does must be enduring.

Wind rises from fire signifying that there must be flames blazing; fire creates the wind and following it the fire will spread, therefore it can continue blazing and expand. Words become valuable when they are based on something real and meaningful, and become powerful when their intent can be realised. A gentleman is respected because his words and deeds are consistent, and he always keeps his word.  


The mother takes care of the household and builds a healthy family, and the oldest daughter supports the father to build a wealthy family. Both females act righteously according to their positions. It is advantageous if they can persist.

That which hexagram Jia Ren highlights is to act righteously according to one's position as it possesses nothing but the virtues of advantage and persistence (expressed in the form of the female's persistence bringing forth benefit).

Jia Ren is a haven, which evolves from hexagram Dun (33), to retreat, where evil or villains start prevailing. In Jia Ren, all the members act righteously and get along with one another in harmony. After that Jia Ren changes to hexagram Xie (40), to alleviate. Here like a thunder-storm alleviating the drought, the villain and evil are dismissed, and the crisis is ended.





The feature of Jia Ren is: all the lines, i.e. the family members, are at their right positions and friendly to the neighbouring lines, except for line 6 at the shrine's position which is regarded as the symbol of a household. Therefore they will act righteously according to their positions and maintain harmonious relationships with others. The father (or the husband) is in correlation with the mother (or the wife), and the oldest brother is in correlation with the oldest sister; only the youngest son has no correlation and lacks discipline.

In addition to their righteous behaviours and harmonious relationship, the internal trigram also indicates how a family should be managed internally: the family's discipline is established right from the beginning at position 1; line 2 is the mother who righteously and moderately takes care of the internal affairs according to the father; line 3 highlights the importance of a family's rectitude before marching from an interior position to an exterior one. The external trigram describes the outward development of a family: line 4 properly manages the family's finances, or the family's undertakings so that the family becomes wealthy; line 5 is the father whose inspiration, like a king's, consolidates the entire family; line 5 is also the king who pays a visit to the family to honour their achievements. Hereafter the family's wealth is integrated with the king's power; the family establishes its prestige.  


The 1st line

Text: 閑有(exist)悔亡(gone, die)

Restraint () is available at Jia (the household); regret will be gone.

Text explanation:

The character used to describe line 1, xian2 (restraint), depicts a wooden board mu4 in the middle of a door men2, the original meaning of which is to build a fence to prevent livestock from escaping; its extended meaning is to set up parameters, i.e. discipline, to prevent disputes and conflicts within a household.

Line 1 is the beginning of Jia Ren; a household can take precautions against internal conflict right from its establishment; even with the inner lower trigram Kan (the abyss, water, peril) in front, calamity can be avoided and regret will be gone.

Commentary on the image: Restraint is available at Jia (the household), signifying aspiration won’t change.

Line 1 is the founding line, by which hexagram Jia Ren is formed and all the lines from line 1 to 5 are in their proper places. It also represents the oldest son, the one who usually inherits the family's business in the first place. The family discipline is well established; the family’s aspiration can be carried on without disruption.

Line 6 of hexagram Ming Yi (36) steps up to the heavens at the beginning but later sinks into earth due to its losing the principle (of monarch and subject); hence the household must set up discipline right at its beginning in order to restore the glory.

Enlightenment through nine one: to set up discipline, or rules of the game. Livestock are reared in pens and the family's discipline is set up; restraint is available, so the family's property can be secured and internal conflict will be avoided. This signifies that once there are precautionary measures established at the beginning, the possibility for causing regret will be eliminated. The hexagram that appears when this line is activated accordingly is Jian4 (53), to progress gradually and sequentially like migrating geese, which is seen as an orderly teamwork.


The 2nd line

Text: 无攸遂(in)(the middle)貞吉

The subject has nothing to pursue (无 攸), but stays in the middle position of the internal trigram (i.e. at the core position inside a household) and takes charge of cooking () for the household; to persist is auspicious.

Text explanation:

Line 2 represents the mother; it is a female axle centre at its right position and in correlation with line 5, the father, which signifies that she performs her work righteously and moderately, and tenderly submits to the father. These are the only responsibilities for her to pursue.

The lower trigram Li is fire, and the upper trigram Xun is wood, suggestive of setting fire (for cooking, which is the most basic and important activity to sustain a family). Line 2 occupies the centre of the internal trigram and takes charge of the family’s internal affairs.




wu (nothing) you (concern) sui4 (wish comes true) is commonly paraphrased as: a housewife should accomplish what is assigned to her and nothing else (of her own desiring). The original meaning of kui4 is to offer food to elders. These roles are regarded as the primary virtues and tasks of women in ancient China.

Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of line 2, which leads to Xun by virtue of submissiveness.

Line 2, the representative line of the lower trigram Li, clings to the upper trigram Xun which is signified as submissiveness and obedience as its feminine line prostrates itself beneath the masculine lines.

Line 2, the host line of Jia Ren, is the one whose persistence in righteousness is advantageous. The righteousness of the mother and wife is submission to her husband and her tasks, i.e. to take care of the family and respond to her husband's will. This attitude enables the household to develop outwardly in the external trigram Xun. Xun is also signified as making a profit three times the average, which makes the family wealthy.

Enlightenment through six two: 1) to righteously manage (the household) by means of moderation and submissiveness, or 2) to keep to one's duty and perform one's job. Livestock have been reared in pens (at position 1), so food is at hand, nothing needs to be pursued. Cooking is underway, and the household will be nourished. This signifies good management; the householders will become healthy and strong. The mother submits to the father and stays at her position to properly take care of the family; it is auspicious to persist in these virtues and roles, which will enable the household to develop upward and outwardly. The hexagram that appears when this line is activated is Xiao Chu (9), little storage, where the feminine serves the masculine.


The 3rd line

Text: 家人嗃(severity)悔厲吉(married woman)(son, child)(laugh happily)(end)

Jia Ren (the household) has an air of severity, which is of repentance and sternness and cruelty but auspiciousness.  The wife and child are always playing and laughing, which will result in resentment in the end.

Text explanation:

The household's atmosphere appears unpleasant owing to strict measures requiring the correction of misdeeds. Although it is stern and cruel, enforcing discipline can lead the family to auspiciousness. If the wife and child are always playing without discipline, it will end in resentment, i.e. if timely correction isn't undertaken, it will lead to calamity.

Line 3 represents the youngest son, the one who is usually doted on and spoiled. It is a masculine line which tends to move, and at the position for marching upward. However it is seated in the middle of the inner lower trigram Kan (the abyss, water), the rule and peril, and has no correlation with line 6. This signifies that it is restricted (from offending the family's majesty) and disciplined by lines 2 (i.e. the mother) and 4 (the older sister), like the water of its representing trigram Kan being scorched by the fire of trigram Li above and below it and suffering sternness and cruelty.


On the other hand, line 3, occupying line 2 (the mother), could frolic with the mother. If it exchanges positions with line 2, the lower trigram will become Dui (joy), and will have the opportunity to march to position 6, which will make the upper trigram become Kan and the hexagram appear in the form of Xu (5), where wilfulness will cause calamity as peril lies in front. This is resented as it isn’t corrected timely.



he4 means severity; 嗃嗃 is double severity. si (laugh happily) emphasize that they do nothing but play and laugh.

Commentary on the image: Jia Ren (the household) has an air of severity, but family's discipline is not lost.  The wife and child are always playing and laughing, signifying family's discipline is gone.

Provided that lines 3 and 2 exchange their positions, the mother and the son will lose their proper positions and will not act righteously; the mother won’t behave like a mother and the son won’t behave like a son, so the family's discipline will be gone.

Enlightenment through nine three: 1) to manage (the household) by strict discipline, or 2) no matter how difficult the task, to persist in doing what is required as this is the critical moment for future development. Owing to the strict discipline, the household is overcome with severity. Although this will cause regret (necessary for correcting wrongdoing) and create a stern and cruel air as family members feel constrained and overcautious, it will lead to auspiciousness (for future success). On the other hand, the family's discipline will disappear if the wife and child always frolic, causing resentment. The hexagram that appears when this line is activated is Yi4 (42), to enrich, which suggests that a gentleman should imitate goodness once he sees it, and rid himself of wrongdoing whenever he can.


The 4th line

Text: (wealth, to enrich)(large, great)

The subject is in a position to enrich Jia (the household); this is of great auspiciousness.

Text explanation:

Line 5 is the father who earns a living for the family, and it is also the representative line of the original trigram Qian2 (perseverance, heaven) which denotes gold and jade, i.e. wealth. The household forms and the upper trigram Xun, entrance, is created and represented by feminine line 4, which sustains line 5; therefore it is the entry point of the family's wealth.




Commentary on the image: To enrich Jia (the household) and great auspiciousness, which is because submissiveness (or, smoothness) () is at this position.

Line 4 is the representative line of trigram Xun, which prostrates itself and exhibits devotion and obedience, signifying submissiveness. Line 4 can enrich the family by acting righteously and submissively sustaining the masculine line 5, the father and wealth.

The character shun4 (submissiveness) can be also signified as smoothness. Trigram Xun represented by line 4 can earn a profit three times the average which can progress smoothly because line 4 occupies the position right to it. 

Enlightenment through six four: to sustain the main force and use all available resources in order to prosper (the household). To enrich the household by fully supporting the primary source of family’s income or properly managing the family's business and finances is greatly auspicious. When this line is activated, the hexagram appears in the form of Tong Ren (13), fellowship, which is seen as an integration of different people who have the same aspiration, and which will aggregate more resources and assistance.


The 5th line

Text: (king)假有家(not)(worry)

The king (or, the king's inspiration) arrives at (假有) Jia (the household); no need to worry; this is of auspiciousness.

Text explanation:

Line 5 represents the father, who righteously stays at the core position like a king; his inspiration is similar to that of a king who righteously and moderately rules a country. As a result, each household member is loyal to the family, acting according to his duty. The family is well managed, and there is no need to worry; this is auspicious.

Usually the king’s visit is the highest honour for a household, as it has attained a great achievement. However it is hard to say whether this will bring good fortune or misfortune, as the king's jealousy (of its wealth) or improper propriety (in receiving the king) might incur calamity. Line 5 stays at its right position and all the other lines from line 1 to 4 also stay at their right positions, i.e. all behave righteously according to their positions, so there is no need to worry and this is auspicious.

jia3 is paraphrased as jia3 and pronounced in ge2 as 𢓜. Both and 𢓜 mean to arrive. you3 contains the meaning of existence or possession, but here it acts as an expletive. 

Commentary on the image: The king (or, the king’s inspiration) arrives at Jia (the household), which enables the king and household (or, the household members) to love each other.

Line 5 is friendly next to line 4 and correlates with line 2 which is friendly next to lines 1 and 3. Actually all the lines from line 1 to 5 are friendly to those adjacent.

The family becomes wealthy; the king pays a visit to honour their achievements. The king possesses power while the family possesses treasure; so they love each other.

Enlightenment through nine five: 1) to build authority and mutual respect, or 2) to integrate wealth and power. The father’s leadership and management are like the king’s inspiration. There is no need to worry, although the household members have a serious air, as if receiving a visit from the king. It is auspicious as long as everyone acts righteously and respects each other in accordance with their positions. The hexagram that appears when this line is activated is Bi4 (22), to grace, which signifies to elevate appearances, i.e. to make use of the king's visit to enhance the family's prestige.


The 6th line

Text: 有孚威如(like)終吉

Sincerity and trust are like prestige (or majesty) (), which will bring auspiciousness at last.

Text explanation:

On the one hand a family's prestige is built on its sincerity and trust, which lead to public reverence and reliance. On the other hand mutual sincerity and trust enable household members to get along well and work together. An orderly collaboration is established under the discipline of kinglike majesty, so that with concerted effort the family becomes rich as well as secures power and social regard.

Line 6 is at the position of the shrine; thus it is the symbol of a household. It stays at the top like the roof of the household dwelling the entire family.

Jia Ren evolves from hexagram Dun (33), to retreat, of which the upper trigram Qian2 is symbolic of majesty as it represents heaven, the king and the father. After line 4 moves to position 1, the household forms, wherein all the members are at their right positions and act righteously, and wherein the inner lower trigram Kan (the abyss, water), sincerity and trust, appears within them.




wei is that which is created by power and might, and that which creates fear and respect. To the household it is dignity and to the public it is prestige.

Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of majesty (or prestige), which is called reflection.

The reverse movement along the timeline of the original line 4 is seen as an action of reflection, which creates the discipline (at position 1, where the household is just established). This reveals that after hexagram Ming Yi (36), to conceal one’s aspirations and restrain one’s actions while undergoing plight, the household attains prosperity and prestige because it reflects over its past actions (i.e. what caused retreat) and sets up discipline, by which the family’s majesty is established, and all its members righteously fulfil their duties under it.

Enlightenment through nine six: to manage (the household) with majesty and build (the household's) prestige. Owing to the family possessing a kinglike majesty, all its members sincerely and trustworthily get along with one another and work together. This will end up with auspiciousness as with concerted effort the family will enjoy prosperity and prestige. After this line is activated, the household will be established righteously, and the hexagram will become Ji Ji (63), task having been completed, which is a happy ending and signifies success.