I Ching

XXXII. 恆 The Hăng Hexagram

Hăng indicates successful progress and no error (in what it denotes). But the advantage will come from being firm and correct; and movement in any direction whatever will be advantageous.

1. The first SIX, divided, shows its subject deeply (desirous) of long continuance. Even with firm correctness there will be evil; there will be no advantage in any way.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows all occasion for repentance disappearing.

3. The third NINE, undivided, shows one who does not continuously maintain his virtue. There are those who will impute this to him as a disgrace. However firm he may be, there will be ground for regret.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows a field where there is no game.

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject continuously maintaining the virtue indicated by it. In a wife this will be fortunate; in a husband, evil.

6. The topmost SIX, divided, shows its subject exciting himself to long continuance. There will be evil.

恒 – Heng
















Appendix 1

1. Hăng denotes long continuance. The strong (trigram) is above, and the weak one below; (they are the symbols of) thunder and wind, which are in mutual communication; (they have the qualities of) docility and motive force; their strong and weak (lines) all respond, each to the other:—these things are all found in Hăng.

2. (When it is said that) 'Hăng indicates successful progress and no error (in what it denotes); but the advantage will come from being firm and correct,' this indicates that there must be long continuance in its way of operation. The way of heaven and earth is to be long continued in their operation without stopping.

3. (When it is said that) 'Movement in any direction whatever will be advantageous,' this implies that when (the moving power) is spent, it will begin again.

4. The sun and moon, realising in themselves (the course of Heaven), can perpetuate their shining. The four seasons, by their changing and transforming, can perpetuate their production (of things). The sages persevere long in their course, and all under the sky are transformed and perfect. When we look at what they continue doing long, the natural tendencies of heaven, earth, and all things can be seen.

Appendix 2

(The trigram representing) thunder and that for wind form Hăng. The superior man, in accordance with this, stands firm, and does not change his method (of operation).

1. 'The evil attached to the deep desire for long continuance (in the subject of the first line)' arises from the deep seeking for it at the commencement (of things).

2. 'All occasion for repentance on the part of the subject of the second NINE, (undivided,), disappears:'—he can abide long in the due mean.

3. 'He does not continuously maintain his virtue:'—nowhere will he be borne with.

4. (Going) for long to what is not his proper place, how can he get game?

5. 'Such firm correctness in a wife will be fortunate:'—it is hers to the end of life to follow with an unchanged mind. The husband must decide what is right, and lay down the rule accordingly:—for him to follow (like) a wife is evil.

6. 'The subject of the topmost line is exciting himself to long continuance:'—far will he be from achieving merit.


XXXII The subject of this hexagram may be given as perseverance in well doing, or in continuously acting out the law of one's being. The sixth Appendix makes it a sequel of the previous figure. As that treats, it is said, of the relation between husband and wife, so this treats of the continuous observance of their respective duties. Hsien, we saw, is made up of Kăn, the symbol of the youngest son, and Tui, the symbol of the youngest daughter, attraction and influence between the sexes being strongest in youth. Hăng consists of Sun, 'the oldest daughter,' and Kăn, the oldest son. The couple are more staid. The wife occupies the lower place; and the relation between them is marked by her submission. This is sound doctrine, especially from a Chinese point of view; but I doubt whether such application of his teaching was in the mind of king Wăn. Given two parties, an inferior and superior in correlation. If both be continuously observant of what is correct, the inferior being also submissive, and the superior firm, good fortune and progress may be predicated of their course.

Line 1 has a proper correlate in 4; but between them are two strong lines; and it is itself weak. These two conditions are against its subject receiving much help from the subject of 4. He should be quiet, and not forward for action.

Line 2 is strong, but in the place of a weak line. Its position, however, being central, and its subject holding fast to the due mean, the unfavourable condition of an even place is more than counteracted.

Line 3 is strong, and in its proper place; but being beyond the centre of the trigram, its subject is too strong, and coming under the attraction of his correlate in 6, he is supposed to be ready to abandon his place and virtue. He may try to be firm and correct, but circumstances are adverse to him.

Line 4 is strong in the place of a weak line, and suggests the symbolism of the duke of Kâu.

The weak 5th line responds to the strong 2nd, and may be supposed to represent a wife conscious of her weakness, and docilely submissive; which is good. A husband, however, and a man generally, has to assert himself, and lay down the rule of what is right.

In line 6 the principle of perseverance has run its course; the motive power of Kăn is exhausted. The line itself is weak. The violent efforts of its subject can only lead to evil.

App-1-2:XXXII All the conditions in paragraph 1 must be understood as leading to the indication of progress and success, which is explained in paragraph 2, and illustrated by the analogy of the course of heaven and earth.

'Movement in any direction,' as explained in paragraph 3, indicates the ever-occurring new modes and spheres of activity, to which he who is firm and correct is called.

Paragraph 4, and especially its concluding sentence, are of a meditative and reflective character not uncommon in the treatise on the Thwan.

App-2-2:XXXII How the interaction of wind and thunder symbolises the lesson of the hexagram, and especially the application in this paragraph of that symbolism, is a question I have not been able to solve.

Paragraph 1. The stress of what is said under line 1 is here made to lie on its being the first line of the figure.

Paragraph 2. Line 2 is in the centre of its trigram, and that position, here as often elsewhere, symbolises the course of its subject.

Paragraph 3. The Khang-hsî editors make the application here = 'nowhere can he bear (to remain).'

From paragraph 5 it appears that what is right will vary in different cases. The lesson of the hexagram is perseverance in what is right in each particular case.