Book of Changes - Translated by Richard Wilhelm

translated by Richard Wilhelm

 

Helpful links for using this translation

Key for identifying the hexagrams:

Upper trigram
Lower trigram

Ch'ien

Chen

K'an

Kên

K'un

Sun

Li

Tui

Ch'ien

1

34

5

26

11

9

14

43

Chen

25

51

3

27

24

42

21

17

K'an

6

40

29

4

7

59

64

47

Kên

33

62

39

52

15

53

56

31

K'un

12

16

8

23

2

20

35

45

Sun

44

32

48

18

46

57

50

28

Li

13

55

63

22

36

37

30

49

Tui

10

54

60

41

19

61

38

58

1. Ch'ien / The Creative

above Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
below Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven

The Judgement

The Creative works sublime success,
Furthering through perseverance.

The Image

The movement of heaven is full of power.
Thus the superior man makes himself strong and untiring.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
Hidden dragon. Do not act.
Nine in the second place means:
Dragon appearing in the field.
It furthers one to see the great man.
Nine in the third place means:
All day long the superior man is creatively active.
At nightfall his mind is still beset with cares.
Danger. No blame.
Nine in the fourth place means:
Wavering flight over the depths.
No blame.
l Nine in the fifth place means:
Flying dragon in the heavens.
It furthers one to see the great man.
Nine at the top means:
Arrogant dragon will have cause to repent.
When all the lines are nines, it means:
There appears a flight of dragons without heads.
Good fortune.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

2. K'un / The Receptive

above K'un The Receptive, Earth
below K'un The Receptive, Earth

The Judgement

The Receptive brings about sublime success,
Furthering through the perseverance of a mare.
If the superior man undertakes something and tries to lead,
He goes astray;
But if he follows, he finds guidance.
It is favorable to find friends in the west and south,
To forego friends in the east and north.
Quiet perseverance brings good fortune.

The Image

The earth's condition is receptive devotion.
Thus the superior man who has breadth of character
Carries the outer world.

The Lines

Six at the beginning means:
When there is hoarfrost underfoot,
Solid ice is not far off.
l Six in the second place means:
Straight, square, great.
Without purpose,
Yet nothing remains unfurthered.
Six in the third place means:
Hidden lines.
One is able to remain persevering.
If by chance you are in the service of a king,
Seek not works, but bring to completion.
Six in the fourth place means:
A tied-up sack. No blame, no praise.
Six in the fifth place means:
A yellow lower garment brings supreme good fortune.
Six at the top means:
Dragons fight in the meadow.
Their blood is black and yellow.
When all the lines are sixes, it means:
Lasting perseverance furthers.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

3. Chun / Difficulty at the Beginning

above K'an The Abysmal, Water
below Chen The Arousing, Thunder

The Judgement

Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success,
Furthering through perseverance.
Nothing should be undertaken. It furthers one to appoint helpers.

The Image

Clouds and thunder:
The image of Difficulty at the Beginning.
Thus the superior man
Brings order out of confusion.

The Lines

lNine at the beginning means:
Hesitation and hindrance.
It furthers one to remain persevering.
It furthers one to appoint helpers.
Six in the second place means:
Difficulties pile up.
Horse and wagon part.
He is not a robber;
He wants to woo when the time comes. The maiden is chaste,
She does not pledge herself.
Ten years-then she pledges herself.
Six in the third place means:
Whoever hunts deer without the forester
Only loses his way in the forest.
The superior man understands the signs of the time
And prefers to desist.
To go on brings humiliation.
Six in the fourth place means:
Horse and wagon part.
Strive for union.
To go brings good fortune.
Everything acts to further.
lNine in the fifth place means:
Difficulties in blessing.
A little perseverance brings good fortune.
Great perseverance brings misfortune.
Six at the top means:
Horse and wagon part.
Bloody tears flow.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

4. Mêng / Youthful Folly

above Kên Keeping Still, Mountain
below K'an The Abysmal, Water

The Judgement

Youthful Folly has success.
It is not I who seek the young fool;
The young fool seeks me.
At the first oracle I inform him.
If he asks two or three times, it is importunity.
If he importunes, I give him no information.
Perseverance furthers.

The Image

A spring wells up at the foot of the mountain:
The image of Youth.
Thus the superior man fosters his character
By thoroughness in all that he does.

The Lines

Six at the beginning means:
To make a fool develop
It furthers one to apply discipline.
The fetters should be removed.
To go on in this way brings humiliation.
lNine in the second place means:
To bear with fools in kindliness brings good fortune.
To know how to take women
Brings supreme good fortune.
The son is capable of taking charge of the household.
Six in the third place means:
Take not a maiden who, when she sees a man of bronze,
Loses possession of herself.
Nothing furthers.
Six in the fourth place means:
Entangled folly brings humiliation.
lSix in the fifth place means:
Childlike folly brings good fortune.
Nine at the top means:
In punishing folly
It does not further one
To commit transgressions.
The only thing that furthers
Is to prevent transgressions.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

5. Hsu / Waiting (Nourishment)

above K'an The Abysmal, Water
below Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven

The Judgement

Waiting. If you are sincere,
You have light and success.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
It furthers one to cross the great water.

The Image

Clouds rise up to heaven:
The image of Waiting.
Thus the superior man eats and drinks,
Is joyous and of good cheer.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
Waiting in the meadow.
It furthers one to abide in what endures.
No blame.
Nine in the second place means:
Waiting on the sand.
There is some gossip.
The end brings good fortune.
Nine in the third place means:
Waiting in the mud
Brings about the arrival of the enemy.
Six in the fourth place means:
Waiting in blood.
Get out of the pit.
lNine in the fifth place means:
Waiting at meat and drink.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Six at the top means:
One falls into the pit.
Three uninvited guests arrive.
Honor them, and in the end there will be good fortune.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

6. Sung / Conflict

above Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
below K'an The Abysmal, Water

The Judgement

Conflict. You are sincere
And are being obstructed.
A cautious halt halfway brings good fortune.
Going through to the end brings misfortune.
It furthers one to see the great man.
It does not further one to cross the great water.

The Image

Heaven and water go their opposite ways:
The image of Conflict.
Thus in all his transactions the superior man
Carefully considers the beginning.

The Lines

Six at the beginning means:
If one does not perpetuate the affair,
There is a little gossip.
In the end, good fortune comes.
Nine in the second place means:
One cannot engage in conflict;
One returns home, gives way.
The people of his town,
Three hundred households,
Remain free of guilt.
Six in the third place means:
To nourish oneself on ancient virtue induces perseverance.
Danger. In the end, good fortune comes.
If by chance you are in the service of a king,
Seek not works.
Nine in the fourth place means:
One cannot engage in conflict.
One turns back and submits to fate,
Changes one's attitude,
And finds peace in perseverance.
Good fortune.
lNine in the fifth place means:
To contend before him
Brings good fortune.
Nine at the top means:
Even if by chance a leather belt is bestowed on one,
By the end of a morning
It will have been snatched away three times

.


Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

7. Shih / The Army

 

above K'un The Receptive, Earth
below K'an The Abysmal, Water

The Judgement

The Army. The army needs perseverance
And a strong man.
Good fortune without blame.

The Image

In the middle of the earth is water:
The image of the Army.
Thus the superior man increases his masses
By generosity toward the people.

The Lines

Six at the beginning means:
An army must set forth in proper order.
If the order is not good, misfortune threatens.
lNine in the second place means:
In the midst of the army.
Good fortune. No blame.
The king bestows a triple decoration.
Six in the third place means:
Perchance the army carries corpses in the wagon.
Misfortune.
Six in the fourth place means:
The army retreats. No blame.
lSix in the fifth place means:
There is game in the field.
It furthers one to catch it.
Without blame.
Let the eldest lead the army.
The younger transports corpses;
Then perseverance brings misfortune.
Six at the top means:
The great prince issues commands,
Founds states, vests families with fiefs.
Inferior people should not be employed.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

8. Pi / Holding Together [Union]

 

above K'an The Abysmal, Water
below K'un The Receptive, Earth

The Judgement

Holding Together brings good fortune.
Inquire of the oracle once again
Whether you possess sublimity, constancy, and perseverance;
Then there is no blame.
Those who are uncertain gradually join.
Whoever comes too late
Meets with misfortune.

The Image

On the earth is water:
The image of Holding Together.
Thus the kings of antiquity
Bestowed the different states as fiefs
And cultivated friendly relations
With the feudal lords.

The Lines

Six at the beginning means:
Hold to him in truth and loyalty;
This is without blame.
Truth, like a full earthen bowl:
Thus in the end
Good fortune comes from without.
Six in the second place means:
Hold to him inwardly.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Six in the third place means:
You hold together with the wrong people.
Six in the fourth place means:
Hold to him outwardly also.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
lNine in the fifth place means:
Manifestation of holding together.
In the hunt the king uses beaters on three sides only
And foregoes game that runs off in front.
The citizens need no warning.
Good fortune.
Six at the top means:
He finds no head for holding together.
Misfortune.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

9. Hsiao Ch'u / The Taming Power of the Small

 

above Sun The Gentle, Wind
below Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven

The Judgement

The Taming Power of the Small
Has success.
Dense clouds, no rain from our western region.

The Image

The wind drives across heaven:
The image of The Taming Power of the Small.
Thus the superior man
Refines the outward aspect of his nature.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
Return to the way.
How could there be blame in this?
Good fortune.
Nine in the second place means:
He allows himself to be drawn into returning.
Good fortune.
Nine in the third place means:
The spokes burst out of the wagon wheels.
Man and wife roll their eyes.
nSix in the fourth place means:
If you are sincere, blood vanishes and fear gives way.
No blame.
lNine in the fifth place means:
If you are sincere and loyally attached,
You are rich in your neighbor.
Nine at the top means:
The rain comes, there is rest.
This is due to the lasting effect of character.
Perseverance brings the woman into danger.
The moon is nearly full.
If the superior man persists, Misfortune comes.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

10. Lu / Treading [Conduct]

 

above Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
below Tui The Joyous, Lake

The Judgement

Treading. Treading upon the tail of the tiger.
It does not bite the man. Success.

The Image

Heaven above, the lake below:
The image of Treading.
Thus the superior man discriminates between high and low,
And thereby fortifies the thinking of the people.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
Simple conduct. Progress without blame.
Nine in the second place means:
Treading a smooth, level course.
The perseverance of a dark man
Brings good fortune.
nSix in the third place means:
A one-eyed man is able to see,
A lame man is able to tread.
He treads on the tail of the tiger.
The tiger bites the man.
Misfortune.
Thus does a warrior act on behalf of his great prince.
Nine in the fourth place means:
He treads on the tail of the tiger.
Caution and circumspection
Lead ultimately to good fortune.
lNine in the fifth place means:
Resolute conduct.
Perseverance with awareness of danger.
Nine at the top means:
Look to your conduct and weigh the favorable signs.
When everything is fulfilled, supreme good fortune comes.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

11. T'ai / Peace

 

above K'un The Receptive, Earth
below Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven

The Judgement

Peace. The small departs,
The great approaches.
Good fortune. Success.

The Image

Heaven and earth unite: the image of Peace.
Thus the ruler
Divides and completes the course of heaven and earth;
He furthers and regulates the gifts of heaven and earth,
And so aids the people.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
When ribbon grass is pulled up, the sod comes with it.
Each according to his kind.
Undertakings bring good fortune.
lNine in the second place means:
Bearing with the uncultured in gentleness,
Fording the river with resolution,
Not neglecting what is distant,
Not regarding one's companions:
Thus one may manage to walk in the middle.
Nine in the third place means:
No plain not followed by a slope.
No going not followed by a return.
He who remains persevering in danger
Is without blame.
Do not complain about this truth;
Enjoy the good fortune you still possess.
Six in the fourth place means:
He flutters down, not boasting of his wealth,
Together with his neighbor,
Guileless and sincere.
lSix in the fifth place means:
The sovereign I
Gives his daughter in marriage.
This brings blessing
And supreme good fortune.
Six at the top means:
The wall falls back into the moat.
Use no army now.
Make your commands known within your own town.
Perseverance brings humiliation.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

12. P'i / Standstill [Stagnation]

 

above Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
below K'un The Receptive, Earth

The Judgement

Standstill. Evil people do not further
The perseverance of the superior man.
The great departs; the small approaches.

The Image

Heaven and earth do not unite:
The image of Standstill.
Thus the superior man falls back upon his inner worth
In order to escape the difficulties.
He does not permit himself to be honored with revenue.

The Lines

Six at the beginning means:
When ribbon grass is pulled up, the sod comes with it.
Each according to his kind.
Perseverance brings good fortune and success.
nSix in the second place means:
They bear and endure;
This means good fortune for inferior people.
The standstill serves to help the great man to attain success.
Six in the third place means:
They bear shame.
Nine in the fourth place means:
He who acts at the command of the highest
Remains without blame.
Those of like mind partake of the blessing.
lNine in the fifth place means:
Standstill is giving way.
Good fortune for the great man.
"What if it should fail, what if it should fail?"
In this way he ties it to a cluster of mulberry shoots.
Nine at the top means:
The standstill comes to an end.
First standstill, then good fortune.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

13. T'ung Jên / Fellowship with Men

 

above Ch'ien The Creative, Heaven
below Li The Clinging, Flame

The Judgement

Fellowship with Men in the open.
Success.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
The perseverance of the superior man furthers.

The Image

Heaven together with fire:
The image of Fellowship with Men.
Thus the superior man organizes the clans
And makes distinctions between things.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means:
Fellowship with men at the gate.
No blame.
lSix in the second place means:
Fellowship with men in the clan.
Humiliation.
Nine in the third place means:
He hides weapons in the thicket;
He climbs the high hill in front of it.
For three years he does not rise up.
Nine in the fourth place means:
He climbs up on his wall; he cannot attack.
Good fortune.
lNine in the fifth place means:
Men bound in fellowship first weep and lament,
But afterward they laugh.
After great struggles they succeed in meeting.
Nine at the top means:
Fellowship with men in the meadow.
No remorse.

Back to reference table of hexagrams Back to list of hexagrams by number

 

Pages