I Ching

XLII. 益 The Yî Hexagram

Yî indicates that (in the state which it denotes) there will be advantage in every movement which shall be undertaken, that it will be advantageous (even) to cross the great stream.

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows that it will be advantageous for its subject in his position to make a great movement. If it be greatly fortunate, no blame will be imputed to him.

2. The second SIX, divided, shows parties adding to the stores of its subject ten pairs of tortoise shells whose oracles cannot be opposed. Let him persevere in being firm and correct, and there will be good fortune. Let the king, (having the virtues thus distinguished), employ them in presenting his offerings to God, and there will be good fortune.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows increase given to its subject by means of what is evil, so that he shall (be led to good), and be without blame. Let him be sincere and pursue the path of the Mean, (so shall he secure the recognition of the ruler, like) an officer who announces himself to his prince by the symbol of his rank.

4. The fourth SIX, divided, shows its subject pursuing the due course. His advice to his prince is followed. He can with advantage be relied on in such a movement as that of removing the capital.

5. The fifth NINE, undivided, shows its subject with sincere heart seeking to benefit (all below). There need be no question about it; the result will be great good fortune. (All below) will with sincere heart acknowledge his goodness.

6. In the sixth NINE, undivided, we see one to whose increase none will contribute, while many will seek to assail him. He observes no regular rule in the ordering of his heart. There will be evil.

益 – Yi
















Appendix 1

1. In Yî we see the upper (trigram) diminished, and the lower added to. The satisfaction of the people (in consequence of this) is without limit. What descends from above reaches to all below, so great and brilliant is the course (of its operation).

2. That 'there will be advantage in every movement which shall be undertaken' appears from the central and correct (positions of the second and fifth lines), and the (general) blessing (the dispensing of which they imply).

That 'it will be advantageous (even) to cross the great stream' appears from the action of wood (shown in the figure).

3. Yî is made up of (the trigrams expressive of) movement and docility, (through which) there is daily advancement to an unlimited extent. We have (also) in it heaven dispensing and earth producing, leading to an increase without restriction of place. Everything in the method of this increase proceeds according to the requirements of the time.

Appendix 2

(The trigram representing) wind and that for thunder form Yî. The superior man, in accordance with this, when he sees what is good, moves towards it; and when he sees his errors, he turns from them.

1. 'If the movement be greatly fortunate, no blame will be imputed to him:'—though it is not for one in so low a position to have to do with great affairs.

2. 'Parties add to his stores:'—they come from beyond (his immediate circle) to do so.

3. 'Increase is given by means of what is evil and difficult:'—as he has in himself (the qualities called forth).

4. 'His advice to his prince is followed:'—his (only) object in it being the increase (of the general good).

5. '(The ruler) with sincere heart seeks to benefit (all below):'—there need be no question (about the result). '(All below) with sincere heart acknowledge (his goodness):'—he gets what he desires on a great scale.

6. 'To his increase none will contribute:'—this expresses but half the result. 'Many will seek to assail him:'—they will come from beyond (his immediate circle) to do so.


XLII Yî has the opposite meaning to Sun, and is the symbol of addition or increasing. What king Wăn had in his mind, in connexion with the hexagram, was a ruler or a government operating so as to dispense benefits to, and increase the resources of all the people. Two indications are evident in the lines;—the strong line in the ruler's seat, or the fifth line, and the weak line in the correlative place of 2. Whether there be other indications in the figure or its component trigrams will be considered in dealing with the Appendixes. The writer might well say, on general grounds, of the ruler whom he had in mind, that he would be successful in his enterprises and overcome the greatest difficulties.

Line 1 is strong, but its low position might seem to debar its subject from any great enterprise. Favoured as he is, however, according to the general idea of the hexagram, and specially responding to the proper correlate in 4, it is natural that he should make a movement; and great success will make his rashness be forgotten.

With paragraph 2 compare paragraph 5 of the preceding hexagram. Line 2 is weak, but in the centre, and is the correlate of 5. Friends give its subject the valuable gifts mentioned; 'that is,' says Kwo Yung (Sung dynasty), 'men benefit him; the oracles of the divination are in his favour,—spirits, that is, benefit him; and finally, when the king sacrifices to God, He accepts. Heaven confers benefit from above.'

Line 3 is weak, neither central, nor in its correct position. It would seem therefore that its subject should have no increase given to him. But it is the time for giving increase, and the idea of his receiving it by means of evil things is put into the line. That such things serve for reproof and correction is well known to Chinese moralists. But the paragraph goes on also to caution and admonish.

Line 4 is the place for a minister, near to that of the ruler. Its subject is weak, but his place is appropriate, and as he follows the due course, his ruler will listen to him, and he will be a support in the most critical movements. Changing the capital from place to place was frequent in the feudal times of China. That of Shang, which preceded Kâu, was changed five times.

Line 5 is strong, in its fitting position, and central. It is the seat of the ruler, who has his proper correlate in 2. Everything good, according to the conditions of the hexagram, therefore, may be said of him;—as is done.

Line 6 is also strong; but it should be weak. Occupying the topmost place of the figure, its subject will concentrate his powers in the increase of himself, and not think of benefiting those below him; and the consequence will be as described.

App-1-2:XLII 1. The process of the formation of the trigrams here is the reverse of that in the preceding hexagram; and is open to the remarks I have made on that. Of course the people are full of complacency and pleasure in the labours of their ruler for their good.

2. The mention of 'the action of wood' has reference to the upper trigram Sun, which is the symbol both of wind and wood. From wood boats and ships are made, on which the great stream may be crossed. In three hexagrams, this, 59, and 61, of which Sun is a part, we find mention made of crossing the great stream. It is generally said that the lower trigram Kăn also symbolises wood; but that is obtained by a roundabout process. Kăn occupies the place of the east in Wan's arrangement of the trigrams; but the east symbolises spring, when the growth of vegetation begins; and therefore Kăn may symbolise wood! It was stated on p. 33, that the doctrine of 'the five elements' does not appear in the Yî. Khăng-žze takes wood (木 mû), 'as a misprint for increase (益[?] yî).'

3. The words 'heaven dispensing and earth producing' are based on the fancied genesis of the figure from Khien and Khwăn ( ) the first lines in each changing places. It was the author of this Appendix, probably, who first introduced that absurd notion in connexion with the formation of Sun and Yî.

One rhyme runs through and connects these three paragraphs thus:—

'Yî spoils the high, gives to the low;
The people feel intense delight.
Down from above to all below,
The blessing goes, so large and bright.
Success will every movement mark,
Central its source, its course aright.
The great stream even may be crossed,
When planks of wood their strength unite.
Yî movement shows and docile feet,
Which progress day by day invite.
Heaven gives; productive earth responds;
Increase crowns every vale and height;
And ceaselessly it hastens on,
Each season's gifts quick to requite.'

App-2-2:XLII The Symbolism here is different from what we gather from the former Appendix. Sun no longer symbolises wood, but, as it more commonly does, wind. Thunder and wind, it is supposed, increase each the other; and their combination gives the idea of increase. Then the application, good in itself, must be treated very nicely, as it is by the Khang-hsî editors, in order to make out any connexion between it and the Symbolism.

Paragraph 1. 'One in a low position should not move in great affairs;'—not a son, it is said, while his father is alive; nor a minister, while his ruler governs; nor a member of an official department, while its head directs its affairs. If such a one do initiate such an affair, only great success will excuse his rashness.

Paragraph 2. Line 5 is the proper correlate of 2; and its subject will be among the contributing parties. But others 'beyond' will be won to take part with him.

Paragraph 3. There is a soul of good even in men who seem only evil; and adversity may quicken it.

Paragraph 6. As in line 2 the attractive power of benevolence is shown, so in line 6 we have the repulsive power of selfishness exhibited. Mark the 'from beyond' in both paragraphs.