60 Jie2



The lower: Dui (joy, the marsh). The upper: Kan (the abyss, water).

Jie: to restrict (to regulate and limit); the mission of hexagram Jie is to establish appropriate restriction, i.e. outer restriction and self-restraint.






Things cannot always depart (Huan); therefore Jie is granted. After people are reunited in hexagram Huan (59), their gatherings must be maintained through certain measures; consequently restriction appears. Jie () originally meant the joint of bamboo. Bamboo is hollow inside with a straight exterior; this is symbolic of the humble and upright personality of a gentleman. Bamboo joints form when the plant grows to a certain height, symbolising a type of restriction. Therefore the extended meaning of Jie is to restrict, i.e. to regulate development or actions before they surpass a limit and go too far. This is like a gentleman behaving himself righteously and moderately.

The water of the upper trigram Kan flows over the marsh of the lower trigram Dui; the marsh will limit it (i.e. reserve the water), and regulate it (i.e. discharge the surplus). Joy (the lower trigram Dui) encounters peril (the upper trigram Kan); it must restrain itself.

The inner hexagram of Jie is Yi2 (27), to nourish. Yi2 is the mouth, used for eating and speaking. It is where germs enter and trouble exits. Its changing hexagram is Lu (56), to journey. In reaction to bitter restriction, people leave on a journey; conversely, people will  encounter many restrictions and have to restrain themselves when travelling.


Text: (bitter)節不(not)(permit)

Jie (restriction): Moderate restriction can bring about smooth progress.  Bitter Jie does not permit persistence.

Commentary on the text: Jie (restriction): Moderate restriction can bring about smooth progress; those of rigidity and tenderness separate, and through this the one of rigidity attains the axle centre where the principle of moderation is available.  Bitter Jie does not permit persistence; it is destitute of the norm.  Jie exhibits its norm in the form of undergoing peril (of the external trigram Kan) with joy (existing in the internal trigram Dui). Line 5 is in a position to occupy the right post in carrying out Jie, and to progress without obstruction through moderation and righteousness.  Heavens and earth have Jie, whereby four seasons occur.  By means of Jie regulations are set up, with a view to not compromising the people’s finances, and hurting them.

Text explanation:

Moderate restriction can bring about smooth progress. Severe and excessive restriction is bitter Jie (restriction), which cannot last long.

Hexagram Jie is formed after the top line of trigram Qian2 (perseverance, heaven) separates from the other masculine lines and goes to the middle position of trigram Kun1 (submissiveness, earth) occupying the axle centre and restricting the feminine. The middle line of trigram Kun1 separates from the other feminine lines and comes to the top position of trigram Qian2 to restrict the masculine.



Restriction can win recognition if it is righteous and moderate. Masculine line 5, the host line of hexagram Jie, attains the axle centre at its right position; hence the restriction of hexagram Jie will progress smoothly like the lower trigram Dui joyously sustaining the restriction of the upper trigram Kan, peril.

Severe and excessive restriction is overly harsh, and won’t last long. The norm of Jie won’t be sustained if the restriction doesn't conform to righteousness and the principle of moderation. Therefore feminine line 3 won't forcibly impose restriction.

If Nature had no restriction, there would be only summer or winter. When winter is restricted, spring emerges; when summer is restricted, autumn appears; this way the four seasons occur.

From the perspective of limiting expenditures, the king sets up regulations to specify what can be used, and when. The goal is to not increase the people’s burden, or hurt them.

Commentary on the image: Over the marsh there is water: Jie.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, creates numbers and units of measurement and examines expressions of virtue.

Water is discharged over the marsh, like measured portions from a jug. In accordance with this, a gentleman creates numbers and units to measure things, and establishes a code of conduct to assess people’s words and deeds.


Restriction must conform to righteousness; however only moderate restriction can bring about smooth progress. Severe and excessive restriction causes bitterness and cannot last long. The norm of hexagram Jie is to restrict according to righteousness and through the principle of moderation.

Jie possesses the virtues of smooth progress which it pursues, and persistence but not excessive persistence since restriction limits creativity and benefit.

The changing hexagram is Lu (56), to journey; once restriction becomes excessive and diverges from its intent, people will become dissatisfied and leave.

The commentary on the image suggests that regulation must be established first; then restriction can be imposed properly.

Jie also signifies a periodic and harmonic rhythm which acts systematically and with etiquette.





Given that water flows over the marsh, the marsh limits and regulates it. Line 1, the bottom of the marsh, correlates with line 4, the water of the upper trigram Kan; therefore the water is reserved in the marsh. Line 2, the gate of the dike, has no link to water; therefore the water can't be discharged at the right time. Line 3, the water of the marsh, mixes with the water of the upper trigram Kan that flows into the marsh; it is not possible to make a difference or impose restriction.

As for the formation of hexagram Jie, line 5 is the founding line, which comes from trigram Qian2 and is posted at the axle centre to restrict the feminine of the original trigram Kun1 through the principle of moderation. Line 4 is occupied by line 5; therefore it is completely restricted. However line 6 rides over line 5 and reaches the upper extremity of restriction becoming bitter restriction.

As for paraphrasing the norm of hexagram Jie, line 1 practices self-restraint (cultivated internally through the heartfelt willingness of the internal trigram Dui) when encountering (the restriction of) outer peril. But self-restraint must not restrict proper action at the right time as what line 2 does. After line 3 has learned the true significance of restriction, line 4 can remain balanced through restriction; then line 5 can impose it upon others. One should always bear in mind that bitter restriction won’t last long as it reaches the end once it becomes extreme.

The 1st line

Text: (exit)(the single door, i.e. the room door)(yard)(no)

The subject is in a state of not leaving the inner courtyard, which causes no fault (or calamity).

Text explanation:

Line 1, the bottom of the marsh, correlates with line 4, the water of trigram Kan, so it can maintain water in the marsh like confining a person at home. The inner courtyard is where people can act freely and independently from the outer world. Therefore, not to leave the inner courtyard signifies not going adrift (with the crowd), or withholding one’s free actions from affecting others; this is self-restraint. Line 1 is well aware of what restriction means and acts with self-restraint; this way it can be free from fault or calamity.

The inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) looks like a door. Line 4, the farthest line that line 1 can reach through correlation, stays inside the door, signifying that line 1 remains indoors and won't leave the house.

Confucius’s remarks in Xi Ci Zhian (the commentary on the text tagging): The riot occurs; what has been said is like the stairs (the cause). The king who cannot be discreet in his words will lose his courtier; the courtier who cannot be discreet in his words will lose his life, (and) the confidential plan that cannot be kept secret won't be accomplished. Hence a gentleman must be discreet in his words and maintain them internally. Line 1 of the lower trigram Dui (to speak) is in correlation with line 4 of the external trigram Kan, peril; therefore it must be discreet in what it says.

Commentary on the image: Not to leave the inner courtyard, which signifies to be aware of what will get through and what will be blocked.

Water flowing through the marsh follows a free course, while water reserved in the marsh is stopped; water in the marsh is well aware of what restriction means. A person not leaving the inner courtyard is well aware of what restriction is and where it lies.

Enlightenment through nine one: be aware of what restriction is and restrain oneself accordingly. To consciously act according to restriction signifies self-restraint, which can lead to freedom from fault or calamity. Should this line change to feminine and not act righteously, the hexagram would become Repeated Kan (29), multiple peril.


The 2nd line

Text: 不出門(the double doors, the external doors)

The subject is in a state of not leaving the front door yard, which is an ominous omen.

Text explanation:

Line 2 is the dike of the marsh, feminine line 3 is the water of the marsh, and the upper trigram Kan is water flowing into the marsh. Water brims over the marsh indicating a dike without a gate to regulate the discharge; this is ominous.



The front door yard is where people interact with the outer world. The door must be opened and closed according to certain regulations, at the right time. The inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) resembles a door and is signified as to stop, while the inner lower trigram Zhen, represented by line 2, is designated to move. Line 2 tends to move, but it is stopped by the door.


Commentary on the image: Not to leave the front door yard is ominous; it has lost the correct timing to an extreme degree.

Water remains in the marsh as it is restricted; it will start to overflow without being discharged at the right time. This is ominous as the marsh will flood.

Enlightenment through nine two: to restrict according to regulations and act at the right time. Restriction is imposed without proper regulations; people have no idea of what to do. Or, self-restraint isn't practiced according to actual demands, nor at the right time; one loses an opportunity for achievement. This is ominous. If this line changes to feminine acting righteously and correlating with line 5, the hexagram will become Zhun (3), difficult to initiate, where a breakthrough or achievement can be made if one persists in what one is committed to.


The 3rd line

Text: 不節(as what it is)(a disjunctive)(sigh)无咎

The subject is in a state of not Jie (to restrict); it responds with sigh, which results in no blame (or fault, or calamity).

Text explanation:

Line 3 is the water of the marsh; it isn't in a position to regulate the water flowing into the marsh from the upper trigram Kan; therefore it sighs. It should not be blamed or faulted; it is not because it neglects to do it, rather it's because it can't.

Line 3 is the feminine which comes to restrict the masculine of the original trigram Qian2. It stays at a position not right to it, exceeding the middle (of the lower trigram), and riding on the masculine. This signifies that it is neither righteous nor moderate; it is oppressing the masculine as well. Therefore restriction will be harsh and excessive if it is imposed. As a result, it sighs and restrains itself; there will be no fault or calamity if a correction can be made in a timely manner.

ruo4 (seem, if, etc) here acts as an affix and means what is described is the status.

Commentary on the image: Line 3 is sighing over not Jie (to restrict).  Who else should be blamed (or faulted)?

Sighing expresses self-reflection; the fault is admitted and corrections will be made accordingly; how can one be blamed?

On the other hand, hexagram Jie is requested to undergo peril with joy. If line 3 intends to challenge the peril of the upper trigram Kan, like the water of the marsh restricting the water flowing above it, trigram Dui will change from joy to sigh.

Enlightenment through six three: to limit inappropriate restriction. One is in a state that isn't suited to imposing restrictions; one sighs over this. If a person can reflect and restrain himself, he should not to be blamed; there will be no calamity if corrections are undertaken in a timely manner (i.e. no bitter restriction is imposed). After this line is activated changing to masculine and then acts righteously, the hexagram becomes Xu (5), to halt and wait, wherein it is advised to avoid being trapped in the mud and attracting attack. 


The 4th line

Text: (feel satisfied and remain steady with the situation)

The subject is in a state of steady Jie (restriction), which is of smooth progress.

Text explanation:

Line 4 is occupied by masculine line 5, which is designated to restrict the feminine and does righteously through the principle of moderation. On the other hand, line 4 acts tenderly and righteously (as it is tender feminine at a position right to it), therefore, is steadily restricted.

It is water flowing above the marsh but in correlation with the bottom line of the lower trigram Dui, signifying that it is contained by the marsh but can still flow freely. Restriction in compliance with natural tendencies or mutual intent can progress smoothly.

Commentary on the image: The smooth progress of steady Jie (restriction), which is due to its sustaining the norm of those above.

Line 4 sustains masculine line 5 and is steadily restricted, signifying it abides by the regulation of the one above; therefore the restriction will progress smoothly.

Enlightenment through six four: to act righteously and submissively (according to what one is designated to). One is obedient to restriction, which is steady, so the restriction can progress smoothly leading to overall smooth progress. As long as the restriction is righteous and moderate, everyone will be happy with it, like the hexagram Dui (58), joy, after this line is fully activated.


The 5th line

Text: (sweet)(go forward)(exist, there be)(advocate, hold something in a high esteem)

The subject engages in sweet Jie (restriction), which is of auspiciousness.  Go forward and there exists what is advocated (or, there will be praise in going forth).

Text explanation:

Line 5, the founding line as well as the host line of hexagram Jie, is the masculine that goes to trigram Kun1 (submissiveness, earth) to restrict the feminine. It is an axle centre at its right position; therefore it can carry out restriction moderately and righteously. Sweet is the opposite of bitter stated in the hexagram text; the restriction of line 5 is moderate and righteous, therefore it is sweet.

It is at the king’s position; its restriction is like the king’s reasonable and humane governance. This will bring auspiciousness to the country and the people, and one will be esteemed for doing so. If line 5 moves forth to the next hexagram Zhong Fu (61), where the sincerity and trust of the king, line 5, is bound together with his subjects resulting in no fault or calamity. This signifies that his regime will be reinstated after his sincerity and trust were lost in hexagram Dui (58).

Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of the sweet Jie (restriction), which is because line 5 stays at the position of the middle of the upper trigram where the principle of moderation is available.

Sweet restriction conforms not only to righteousness but also to the principle of moderation.

Enlightenment through nine five: to act moderately and righteously. Sweet restriction, i.e. moderate and righteous restriction, will be praised and what one advocates for is there. Should this line change to feminine, the hexagram would become Lin (19), (the big masculine) to approach (the small feminine), where calamity exists as what the masculine performs will be reviewed by the feminine in the next hexagram Guan (20).


The 6th line

Text: 苦節貞凶悔亡

Bitter Jie (restriction): to persist is ominous.  The subject that engages in this will regret and perish (悔亡).

Text explanation:

Line 6 reaches the upper extremity of hexagram Jie (restriction) and rides on masculine line 5, i.e. righteous and moderate restriction; therefore it is bitter Jie, i.e. severe and excessive restriction.

hui3 (to regret) wang2 (to perish) usually is interpreted as regret will be gone, however here they are treated as two independently verbs.

Commentary on the image: Bitter Jie (restriction): to persist is ominous, as it is destitute of the norm.

The norm of Jie is to restrict according to righteousness and through the principle of moderation. Although the position is right to line 6, to persist without the principle of moderation is severe and excessive restriction.

Enlightenment through six six: to pursue and act according to what is appropriate. To persist in severe and excessive restriction is ominous, which will be regretted and won’t last. If this line changes to masculine, the hexagram will become Zhong Fu (61), sincerity and trust carried out through the principle of moderation, where sincerity and trust are inborn, while the principle of moderation is what to pursue. Moderation is that which restricts things from going beyond control.