43 Guai4

The lower: Qian2 (perseverance, heaven). The upper: Dui (joy, the marsh).

Guai: to get rid of (with determination but peacefully); the masculine subdues the feminine.






Enrichment (Yi) continues ceaselessly; it will definitely break and burst (jue2); therefore Guai (quai4) is granted. In the I Ching, quai4 is signified as jue2; the original meaning of is torrential water (with or without a floodway). The downpour in hexagram Guai will sweep away everything in its path. In view of this, is annotated by Tuan Zhuan (Confucian commentary on the hexagram text) as (the masculine) to get rid of (the feminine in a duel, like eliminating overflow to prevent floods).

The water of the marsh above the sky has the potential of bursting through the dike and pouring down like a cloudburst. Five masculine lines advance along the timeline approaching one feminine line; the masculine is growing continuously and intends to subdue the feminine as if gentlemen were getting rid of a villain. As the villainous line 6 still occupies the vantage position, the masculine lines below should take precautions against its counterattack.

The reverse hexagram of Guai is Gou (44), to meet unexpectedly, wherein a vigorous feminine line appears. Its changing hexagram is Bo (23), to peel off, wherein the masculine has almost been overpowered by the feminine. Seemingly hexagram Guai is beset by crises. However its inner hexagram is Qian2 (1), perseverance, which is composed wholly of masculine lines. The reverse hexagram of Bo is Fu (24), to return or recover, wherein the masculine returns and will be gradually recovering; therefore the masculine won’t be defeated. On the other hand, the feminine won't be eradicated either, like the world always cycling through the norms of gentlemen and villains.



Text: (make known)(at, on, in)(king)(court)孚號(call, summon)(there be)(announce)(self)(town)(not)(be advantageous)(prompt)(military might)(be instrumental in)(have)(place)(go)

Guai (to get rid of): The masculine or the gentleman ought to make an open announcement at the palace hall, and to summon an alliance with sincerity and trust as the situation is stern and cruel.  It is better to notify the public and start from one’s hometown; it is not advantageous (or not appropriate) to resort to immediate arms, and it is instrumental in going somewhere.

Commentary on the text: Guai: It signifies to get rid of (jue2); the one of rigidity gets rid of the one of tenderness.  Guai exhibits its norm in the form of being persevering internally like the internal trigram Qian2 but joyous externally like the external trigram Dui, and getting rid of but peacefully.  The masculine or the gentleman ought to make an announcement at the palace hall: tenderness (i.e. line 6) rides on five rigidities (i.e. five masculine lines)The masculine or the gentleman ought to summon an alliance with sincerity and trust as the situation is stern and cruel; a sense of crisis will light up the peril in darkness.  It is better to notify the public and start from one’s hometown.  It is not advantageous (or not appropriate) to resort to arms immediately, as one will be destitute of what is advocated.  It is instrumental in going somewhere; the one of rigidity is growing and therefore will terminate the feminine.

Text explanation:

The masculine (i.e. the one of rigidity) has been expelling the feminine (the one of tenderness) and approaching position 6, where only one last feminine line remains. The internal trigram Qian2 of hexagram Guai is perseverance, while its external trigram Dui is joy, signifying it perseveres internally with the aim to expel while exhibiting joy externally, i.e. to get rid of the feminine with resolve but in a peaceful way.

Five masculine lines are gathering and ascending to position 5, the king’s position, where they encounter feminine line 6 and reveal its evil behaviour in front of the king, i.e. a villain oppressing gentlemen. The masculine must call on all masculine lines and remain united and vigilant in preparation for the feminine line striking back; the gentleman won't be in peril when duelling with the villain if he remains careful and alert.

To notify the public and start form one's hometown signifies getting the public's support and beginning to act from a home base, then moving out. It is not appropriate or advantageous to immediately resort to force, since the norm of the gentleman will be lost; the norm of the gentleman is to get rid of evil, or the villain, peacefully. It is instrumental in undertaking what is planned, as the masculine is going to defeat the feminine.

Line 2 is the masculine at the core position of the lower trigram Qian2 and in a place of feminine, i.e. a moderate masculine surrounded by femininity, like trigram Kan (the abyss, water) which signifies sincerity and trust as well as peril. Therefore it remains in peril but possesses sincerity and trust; it must perform cautiously and ally itself with the other masculine lines through sincerity and trust.

The feminine is destined to be defeated; it is instrumental in carrying out what is planned. Once feminine line 6 is subdued, the hexagram will become Qian2 (1) composed entirely of masculine lines.

Commentary on the image: Marsh above heaven: Guai.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, dispenses favours downward and refrains from keeping virtue for his own benefit.

The water of the marsh is flowing down from the sky to moisten the whole of creation; the gentleman shouldn't keep his virtue for himself, but should pass it on to enrich those below.


The villain occupies an important post and is intimidating even though he's at the end of his powers. A gentleman should unveil his evil behaviour in front of the king to receive understanding from those above. He should also seek alliance through sincerity and trust while remaining alert as the environment is stern and cruel, i.e. dangerous. As well he should notify the public and start whatever action is required from his hometown or, with his allies. It is not advantageous or appropriate to resort to armed conflict, i.e. to take a hard-line. Rather, he should rely on peaceful action which will be instrumental in achieving what is planned, i.e. to expel the villain and topple the evil power; the feminine is destined to be subdued.

Guai needs to seek support and consolidate at every step because it doesn't possess the virtue of origination and smooth progress. After disadvantage is balanced by advantage (expressed in form of being instrumental), its goal can be achieved.

The changing hexagram is Bo (23), to peel off, wherein the masculine lines have been overpowered by the feminine lines, one after another, to line 6. This can be taken for the risk of counterattack by the villain. The villain can refer to anything evil and harmful, or a dangerous rival.

Guai emphasises the act of drawing on collective wisdom and incorporating all useful ideas, as well as uniting the will and effort of the masses in order to build an impregnable stronghold. It also suggests acting cautiously with consolidation at each step, the aim being to achieve a goal with the least amount of resentment. 

Its commentary on the image suggests not keeping resources for oneself but sharing with others.






Hexagram Guai is a duel between the masculine and feminine, where the masculine intends to subdue the feminine, like goodness dispelling evil, and like the gentleman expelling the villain. Even if the villain is going to be defeated, the gentleman still has to act cautiously and consolidate what has been achieved at each step. Feminine line 6 is the villain with evil powers that is going to be terminated. The masculine line at the masculine position possesses a strong and rigid character, while the masculine in the place of feminine is at a weak position and attracts threats and inducements. The principle of moderation, not too belligerent not too cowardly, is what is needed to subdue the villain and eradicate evil in a resolute and peaceful manner.


The 1st line

Text: 壯于前(front, forward)往不勝(be competent for, win)(become)

The subject is in a state of sturdiness (i.e. masculine rigidity and strength) at the striding front toe; to go forth but unable to conquer is the cause of fault (or calamity).

Text explanation:

To eradicated evil impulsively, without evaluating the feasibility and proper preparation, is the cause of fault or calamity.

Line 1 is at the bottom of the hexagram like a person's front toe; it is masculine at the position of masculine and as such tends to move; therefore it is the sturdiness (i.e. the masculine rigidity and strength) of the striding front toe. The toe always walks ahead of the body but it must count on the leg to move. Line 1 is in the (initial) phase of less energy and there is no access (i.e. no correlate) in front for advancing; therefore it is destined to fail, which is the result of undertaking an action without evaluating capability and feasibility.

Commentary on the image: Line 1 is unable to conquer but still going forth, which is the cause of the fault (or calamity)

Enlightenment through nine one: go about things steadily and surely. Like the sturdiness of the striding front toe, this line acts impulsively with masculine strength. To do something bravely without success is more an example of courage than wisdom, which results in fault or calamity. Even if this line ends up as feminine when it is activated, the hexagram will become Da Guo (28) . A bending ridgepole suggests that masculinity is largely excess and a balance between rigid masculine and tender feminine is required.


The 2nd line

Text: (be vigilant and cautious)(call, summon)(sunset)(night)(exist)(arms, military affairs)(not)(worry)

The subject ought to remain alert and call for an alliance; late at night there will be armed conflict, but no need to worry.

Text explanation:

One should remain alert and summon allies in preparation for a backlash from the villain; then there is no need to worry thanks to the proper precautions being in place.

Line 2 is a masculine axle centre in the place of feminine, signifying it is rigid but moderate. Its situation is similar to that of trigram Kan (the abyss, water), peril. Since it is in the middle of trigram Qian2 and represents Qian2, it maintains its vigil and summons other masculine allies. Despite a sense of crisis it needn't worry, even if there is an attack late at night. Line 6, the villain, is in correlation with line 3, so it will likely descend to position 3 making the inner lower trigram Li (clinging, fire) which is armour and weaponry, symbols of war.




Commentary on the image: There will be armed conflict but no need to worry, which is due to its attaining the principle of moderation.

Line 2 is at the position ready for action but what can be accomplished is still limited. It need not worry as it, the axle centre, possesses the principle of moderation, which is neither aggressive nor slack, neither bellicose nor cowardly.

Enlightenment through nine two: to unite all available force and be prepared for danger in times of peace. One should remain alert and seek an alliance. Even if there is an attack late at night, or looming calamity, one need not worry as there is no danger when there is prepared-ness. Though this position will be occupied the villain when this line is activated and changes to feminine, the hexagram will appear as Ge (49), revolution or reform. Here faith and credit will be generated after the first half (of the hexagram), and which will progress smoothly after that. To persist is advantageous, and regret will be gone.


The 3rd line

Text: 壯于頄(cheek)(there be)君子(gentleman)夬夬(alone, single)(act, walk)(encounter)(rain)(as if)(immerse)(exist)(angry)(no)

The subject is in a state of) sturdiness (i.e. masculine rigidity and strength) on the cheek; there is an ominous sign.  A gentleman is Guai and Guai (i.e. very determined to get rid of the villain, like doing it twice); he advances alone and runs across rain.  As if getting wet he expresses anger, which will result in no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

A gentleman will be falsely incriminated if he expresses himself too much against evil powers or a villain, which is ominous. He is so determined to get rid of the villain that he takes action alone. This is mistakenly seen as complicity with the villain. A timely correction is made when he expresses anger at the turn of events; there will be no calamity in the end.

Trigram Qian2 denotes the head; line 3, the representative line of the inner lower trigram Qian2, is the masculine at the position of masculine and is marching upward, showing that it takes aggressive action with masculine rigidity and strength on its face.

Line 3 is the only masculine line in correlation with feminine line 6, so its tackling the villain alone is misunderstood to be complicity. Masculine and feminine mate creating rain; line 3 exposes itself to the rain and is saturated; this is perceived as line 3 contracting the behaviour of line 6, the villain. In actuality, line 3 remains masculine and expresses anger instead of joy (like the upper trigram Dui if it were assimilated by line 6 and changed to feminine); so there will be no calamity (or fault) of being disunited.



Commentary on the image: The gentleman is Guai and Guai, which is of no calamity (or fault) at the end.

A gentleman is determined to get rid of the villain; he can be free from calamity or fault as long as he doesn't expose his hostility and take action alone.

Enlightenment through nine three: 1) to practice restraint and not show one's emotions or expose intent to one's opponent, and 2) to win trust from one's own people. The hard-line attitude is displayed on the face, so one’s intent is exposed; this is ominous. A person is resolute and takes action alone in duelling with the villain. He is misunderstood in that it is believed he was influenced by the villain causing his determination to change; this makes him angry. But there will be no calamity if he can win his people's trust and tackle his opponent peacefully, like hexagram Dui (58) that appears when this line changes to feminine and then acts independently from line 6. It isn't assimilated but presents a manner of remaining strong internally while expressing a pleasant countenance externally.


The 4th line

Text: (hip)(no)(skin)(it)(go, walk)(stop advancing)(an expletive)牽羊悔亡聞言不信

The subject is in a state of the hip with no skin, so it walks but hardly moves forward.  It carries on its mission by dragging () a goat () so that regret () will be gone (); do not believe (不信) what is heard (聞言).

Text explanation:

A person with limited abilities encounters difficulties but still persists in his mission; he should not believe those who are trying to influence him.

Line 4 is masculine; it tends to move but has no correlation with line 6 and stays at the position for resting after having marched up from the lower trigram; therefore walking becomes difficult like a hip without flesh. Although it is slowed down, it drags a goat and keeps moving forward to get rid of the villainous line 6. Regret will be gone as long as it doesn't pay attention to what it is told (i.e. line 6's crying for forgiveness) and just acts according to what it believes. The upper trigram Dui represents a goat; the goat is a bellicose and stubborn animal, as it won’t give in until winner is determined when horn-wrestling with another goat. Line 4 is at the tail position of the goat and moves forward along the timeline.

If line 4 were influenced by line 6 and changed to feminine, the upper trigram would become Kan (the abyss, water), the ears. In actuality line 4 remains masculine, signifying that line 4 doesn’t believe what is told by line 6 and doesn't become feminine.




Commentary on the image: Line 4 is in a state of walking but hardly moving forward, as the position where it stays is not appropriate to it.  Not believing what is heard: it is hard of hearing.

Line 6 is hiding behind line 5; for the time being line 4 has no access to it and is unable to get rid of it. Line 6 is begging for mercy; line 4 turns a deaf ear to it and moves forward for the final duel.  

Enlightenment through nine four: be strong in acting according to one's true beliefs. The hip without flesh signifies difficulty in walking; one is hindered in attaining one's goal but keeps advancing, like dragging a goat while moving forward; regret can, and will, be gone. The will must be strong, i.e. to avoid being influenced by what one has been told, and act instead according to what one believes. Should this line not follow the advice but change to feminine, the hexagram would become Xu (5), to halt and wait (since peril lies in front).


The 5th line

Text: 莧陸(purslane)夬夬(middle)(act, walk)(no)

Purslane is Guai and Guai (very tough to get rid of, in need of extra effort); to act in the middle (i.e. moderately) will result in no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

One is wrestling with the villain; by acting moderately one can be free from calamity or fault.

Purslane is a creeping weed that is very hard to eradicate. Line 5 is engaging with, but also ridden by, line 6, which is like being entangled in purslane while wrestling with the villain. It is the masculine axle centre in the place of masculine; although it is determined to get rid of the villain, the villain remains undaunted and threatens to avenge the last struggle. As long as line 5 can maintain the principle of moderation, it will be free from calamity in the duel.

Commentary on the image: To act in the middle only results in no calamity (or fault), which is because the principle of moderation has not radiated yet.

The feminine is on the top but line 5 is free from calamity due to the principle of moderation it possesses and acts from. On the other hand, because its principle of moderation has not completely radiated, feminine line 6 isn't yet subdued and still exists. The masculine is bright, while the feminine is shaded; the feminine line 6 riding over the masculine line 5 prevents the principle of moderation from fully radiating.

Provided that line 5 goes upward to subdue line 6 instead of terminating the feminine by changing line 6 to the masculine, the upper trigram will become Li (clinging, fire) which brings brightness, signifying the control of evil (in the form of the masculine occupying the feminine) in the event that a thorough termination is not possible.




Enlightenment through nine five: be moderate in tackling that which is dangerous and difficult to settle. Purslane is very difficult to eradicate, like an evil resisting extermination. Tackling evil, or the villain, through the principle of moderation can free one from calamity or fault. Even if this line becomes feminine after it is activated, the hexagram will appear as Da Zhuang (34), large and strong, where masculine is strong, but the strong masculine must be guided onto a right track.


The 6th line

Text: (need not, be not worth)(call, wail)(in the end)(there be)

The subject is trapped in a state of null wailing (i.e. wailing with no response); in the end there is misfortune.

Text explanation:

Line 6 is the only feminine line remaining after the masculine has approached to position 5. It is useless to call for help (from line 3), or cry for forgiveness (from line 4), or shout with menace (to line 5). It will end with misfortune as the feminine is destined to be subdued, and the villain who obstinately adheres to evil is doomed to be defeated.

The upper trigram Dui is the mouth, which here refers to a cry; line 6 will change to masculine after the feminine is subdued and the mouth will disappear.

Commentary on the image: The misfortune of null wailing: it won’t last long.

The feminine is pushed by the masculine to the end and won't last long. The feminine will be subdued by the masculine but won't be exterminated; evil will be dispelled but won't vanish, and the villain will disappear but won't become extinct.  

Enlightenment through six six: Evil won't last long; renounce one's evil ways. It is useless to cry; evil powers are destined to be toppled, and it is ominous for one who remains evil. The hexagram that forms after this line changes to masculine is Qian2 (1), heaven. This signifies that evil is conquered through the will of Heaven, and the villain gives up evil and returns to good.