I Ching

XXXVI. 明夷 The Ming Î Hexagram

Ming Î indicates that (in the circumstances which it denotes) it will be advantageous to realise the difficulty (of the position), and maintain firm correctness.

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject, (in the condition indicated by) Ming Î, flying, but with drooping wings. When the superior man (is revolving) his going away, he may be for three days without eating. Wherever he goes, the people there may speak (derisively of him).

2. The second SIX, divided, shows its subject, (in the condition indicated by) Ming Î, wounded in the left thigh. He saves himself by the strength of a (swift) horse; and is fortunate.

3. The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject, (in the condition indicated by) Ming Î, hunting in the south, and taking the great chief (of the darkness). He should not be eager to make (all) correct (at once).

4. The fourth six, divided, shows its subject (just) entered into the left side of the belly (of the dark land). (But) he is able to carry out the mind appropriate (in the condition indicated by) Ming Î, quitting the gate and courtyard (of the lord of darkness).

5. The fifth six, divided, shows how the count of Kî fulfilled the condition indicated by Ming Î. It will be advantageous to be firm and correct.

6. The sixth six, divided, shows the case where there is no light, but (only) obscurity. (Its subject) had at first ascended to (the top of) the sky; his future shall be to go into the earth.

明夷 – Ming Yi
















Appendix 1

1. (The symbol of) the Earth and that of Brightness entering into the midst of it give the idea of Ming Î (Brightness wounded or obscured).

2. The inner (trigram) denotes being accomplished and bright; the outer, being pliant and submissive. The case of king Wăn was that of one who with these qualities was yet involved in great difficulties.

3. 'It will be advantageous to realise the difficulty (of the position), and maintain firm correctness:—that is, (the individual concerned) should obscure his brightness. The case of the count of Kî was that of one who, amidst the difficulties of his House, was able (thus) to maintain his aim and mind correct.

Appendix 2

(The trigram representing) the earth and that for the bright (sun) entering within it form Ming Î. The superior man, in accordance with this, conducts his management of men;—he shows his intelligence by keeping it obscured.

1. 'The superior man (is revolving his) going away:'—(in such a case) he feels it right not to eat.

2. 'The good fortune of (the subject of) the second SIX, divided,' is due to the proper fashion of his acting according to his circumstances.

3. With the aim represented by 'hunting in the south' a great achievement is accomplished.

4. 'He has (just) entered into the left side of the belly (of the dark land):'—he is still able to carry out the idea in his (inner) mind.

5. 'With the firm correctness of the count of Kî,' his brightness could not be (quite) extinguished.

6. 'He had at first ascended to (the top of) the sky:'—he might have enlightened the four quarters

of the kingdom. 'His future shall be to go into the earth:'—he has failed to fulfil the model (of a ruler).


XXXVI In this hexagram we have the representation of a good and intelligent minister or officer going forward in the service of his country, notwithstanding the occupancy of the throne by a weak and unsympathising sovereign. Hence comes its name of Ming Î, or 'Intelligence Wounded,' that is, injured and repressed. The treatment of the subject shows how such an officer will conduct himself, and maintain his purpose. The symbolism of the figure is treated of in the same way in the first and second Appendixes. Appendix VI merely says that the advance set forth in 35 is sure to meet with wounding, and hence Žin is followed by Ming Î.

Line 1 is strong, and in its right place;—its subject should be going forward. But the general signification of the hexagram supposes him to be wounded. The wound, however, being received at the very commencement of its action, is but slight. And hence conies the emblem of a bird hurt so as to be obliged to droop its wings. The subject then appears directly as 'the superior man.' He sees it to be his course to desist from the struggle for a time, and is so rapt in the thought that he can fast for three days and not think of it. When he does withdraw, opposition follows him; but it is implied that he holds on to his own good purpose.

Line 2 is weak, but also in its right place, and central; giving us the idea of an officer, obedient to duty and the right. His wound in the left thigh may impede his movements, but does not disable him. He finds means to save himself, and maintains his good purpose.

Line 3, strong and in a strong place, is the topmost line of the lower. trigram. It responds also to line 6, in which the idea of the sovereign, emblemed by the upper trigram, is concentrated. The lower trigram is the emblem of light or brightness, the idea of which again is expressed by the south, to which we turn when we look at the sun in its meridian height. Hence the subject of the line becomes a hunter pursuing his game, and successfully. The good officer will be successful in his struggle; but let him not be over eager to put all things right at once.

Line 4 is weak, but in its right place. Kû Hsî says he does not understand the symbolism, as given in the Text. The translation indicates the view of it commonly accepted. The subject of the line evidently escapes from his position of danger with little damage.

Line 5 should be the place of the ruler or sovereign in the hexagram; but 6 is assigned as that place in Ming Î. The officer occupying 5, the centre of the upper trigram, and near to the sovereign, has his ideal in the count of Kî, whose action appears in the Shû, III, pp. 123, 127, 128. He is a historical personage.

Line 6 sets forth the fate of the ruler, who opposes himself to the officer who would do him good and intelligent service. Instead of becoming as the sun, enlightening all from the height of the sky, he is as the sun hidden below the earth. I can well believe that the writer had the last king of Shang in his mind.

App-1-2:XXXVI The sun disappearing, as we say, 'below the earth,' or, as the Chinese writer conceives it, I into the midst of, or within the earth,' sufficiently indicates the obscuration or wounding of brightness,—the repression and resistance of the good and bright.

King Wăn was not of the line of Shang. Though opposed and persecuted by its sovereign, he could pursue his own course, till his line came in the end to supersede the other. It could not be so with the count of Kî, who was a member of the House of Shang. He could do nothing that would help on its downfall.

App-2-2:XXXVI The application of the Great Symbolism here is in itself sufficiently natural; but this meaning of the hexagram hardly appears in the text, till we come to the sixth line.

Paragraph 1. 'He thinks it right not to eat;'—he does not purposely fast; but when he has nothing to eat, he does not complain. He thinks it right that it should be so in the case.

Paragraph 2. 'The proper fashion of acting' is suggested by the weak line's being in the central place.

Paragraph 3. 'The great achievement is accomplished;' but such achievement was not what prompted to action.

Paragraph 4. 'The idea in his inner mind' is the idea of withdrawing from the position and escaping; but the meaning is obscure. See on the Text.