I Ching

XX. 觀 The Kwân Hexagram

Kwân shows (how he whom it represents should be like) the worshipper who has washed his hands, but not (yet) presented his offerings;—with sincerity and an appearance of dignity (commanding reverent regard).

1. The first SIX, divided, shows the looking of a lad;—not blamable in men of inferior rank, but matter for regret in superior men.

2. The second SIX, divided, shows one peeping out from a door. It would be advantageous if it were (merely) the firm correctness of a female.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows one looking at (the course of) his own life, to advance or recede (accordingly).

4. The fourth SIX, divided, shows one contemplating the glory of the kingdom. It will be advantageous for him, being such as he is, (to seek) to be a guest of the king.

5. The fifth NINE, undivided, shows its subject contemplating his own life(-course). A superior man, he will (thus) fall into no error.

6. The sixth NINE, undivided, shows its subject contemplating his character to see if it be indeed that of a superior man. He will not fall into error.

观 – Guan
















顒 = 禺+ 页

Appendix 1

1. The great Manifester occupies an upper place (in the figure), which consists of (the trigrams whose attributes are) docility and flexibility. He is in the central position and his correct place, and thus exhibits (his lessons) to all under heaven.

2. 'Kwan shows its subject like a worshipper who has washed his hands, but not (yet) presented his offerings;—with sincerity and an appearance of dignity (commanding reverent regard):'—(all) beneath look to him and are transformed.

3. When we contemplate the spirit-like way of Heaven, we see how the four seasons proceed without error. The sages, in accordance with (this) spirit-like way, laid down their instructions, and all under heaven yield submission to them.

Appendix 2

(The trigram representing) the earth, and that for wind moving above it, form Kwan. The ancient kings, in accordance with this, examined the (different) regions (of the kingdom), to see the (ways of the) people, and set forth their instructions.

1. 'The looking of a lad shown by the first six, (divided); indicates the way of the inferior people.

2. 'The firm correctness of a woman, in peeping out from a door' is also a thing to be ashamed of (in a superior man).

3. 'He looks at (the course of his own life, to advance or recede (accordingly):'—he will not err in the path (to be pursued).

4. 'He contemplates the glory of the kingdom:'(thence) arises the wish to be a guest (at court).

5. 'He contemplates his own life(-course):'—he should (for this purpose) contemplate (the condition of) the people.

6. 'He contemplates his own character:'—he cannot even yet let his mind be at rest.


XX The Chinese character Kwân, from which this hexagram is named, is used in it in two senses. In the Thwan, the first paragraph of the treatise on the Thwan, and the paragraph on the Great Symbolism, it denotes showing, manifesting; in all other places it denotes contemplating, looking at. The subject of the hexagram is the sovereign and his subjects, how he manifests himself to them, and how they contemplate him. The two upper, undivided, lines belong to the sovereign; the four weak lines below them are his subjects,—ministers and others who look up at him. Kwân is the hexagram of the eighth month.

In the Thwan king Wăn symbolises the sovereign by a worshipper when he is most solemn in his religious service, at the commencement of it, full of sincerity and with a dignified carriage.

Line 1 is weak, and in the lowest place, improper also for it;—the symbol of a thoughtless lad, who cannot see far, and takes only superficial views.

Line 2 is also weak, but in its proper place, showing a woman, living retired, and only able to peep as from her door at the subject of the fifth line. But ignorance and retirement are proper in a woman.

Line 3, at the top of the lower trigram Khwăn, and weak, must belong to a subject of the utmost docility, and will wish to act only according to the exigency of time and circumstances.

Line 4, in the place proper to its weakness, is yet in immediate proximity to 5, representing the sovereign. Its subject is moved accordingly, and stirred to ambition.

Line 5 is strong, and in the place of the ruler. He is a superior man, but this does not relieve him from the duty of self-contemplation or examination.

There is a slight difference in the 6th paragraph from the 5th, which can hardly be expressed in a translation. By making a change in the punctuation, however, the different significance may be brought out. Line 6 is strong, and should be considered out of the work of the hexagram, but its subject is still possessed by the spirit of its idea, and is led to self-examination.

App-1-1:XX 'The great Manifester' is the ruler, the principal subject of the hexagram, and represented by line 5, near the top of the figure. In that figure the lower trigram. is Khwăn, representing the earth, with the attribute of docility, and the upper is Sun, representing wind, with the attributes of flexibility and penetration. As is the place of line 5, so are the virtues of the ruler.

'The spirit-like way of Heaven' is the invisible and unfathomable agency ever operating by general laws, and with invariable regularity, in what we call nature. Compare with this paragraph, the definition of Shăn or Spirit in Appendix III, i, 32; and the doctrine of the agency of God, taught in Appendix VI, 8, 9.

App-2-1:XX Wind moving above the earth has the widest sweep, and nothing escapes its influence; it penetrates everywhere. This symbolism is more appropriate to the subject in hand than that of many other hexagrams. Personal influence in a ruler effects much; but the ancient kings wished to add to that the power of published instructions, specially adapted to the character and circumstances of the people. Sun, representing the wind, is well adapted to denote this influence;—see the Analects, XII, xix.

The looking in line 1 is superficial, and does not reach far.

Line 3. 'He will not err in the path to be pursued;'—advancing or receding as is best.

Line 4. 'The glory of the kingdom' is the virtue of the sovereign and the character of his administration. With the sentiment compare Mencius, VII, i, chap. 21. 2.