I Ching

XLIII. 夬 The Kwâi Hexagram

Kwâi requires (in him who would fulfil its meaning) the exhibition (of the culprit's guilt) in the royal court, and a sincere and earnest appeal (for sympathy and support), with a consciousness of the peril (involved in cutting off the criminal). He should (also) make announcement in his own city, and show that it will not be well to have recourse at once to arms. (In this way) there will be advantage in whatever he shall go forward to.

1. The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject in (the pride of) strength advancing with his toes. He goes forward, but will not succeed. There will be ground for blame.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject full of apprehension and appealing (for sympathy and help). Late at night hostile measures may be (taken against him), but he need not be anxious about them.

3. The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject (about to advance) with strong (and determined) looks. There will be evil. (But) the superior man, bent on cutting off (the criminal), will walk alone and encounter the rain, (till he be hated by his proper associates) as if he were contaminated (by the others). (In the end) there will be no blame against him.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows one from whose buttocks the skin has been stripped, and who walks slowly and with difficulty. (If he could act) like. a sheep led (after its companions), occasion for repentance would disappear. But though he hear these words, he will not believe them.

5. The fifth NINE, undivided, shows (the small men like) a bed of purslain, which ought to be uprooted with the utmost determination. (The subject of the line having such determination), his action, in harmony with his central position, will lead to no error or blame.

6. The sixth SIX, divided, shows its subject without any (helpers) on whom to call. His end will be evil.

1 – Guai
















1: 夬 = 炔 - 火
2: 頄 = 九 + 页

Appendix 1

1. Kwâi is the symbol of displacing or removing. We see (in the figure) the strong (lines) displacing the weak. (We have in it the attributes of) strength and complacency. There is displacement, but harmony (continues).

2. 'The exhibition (of the criminal's guilt) in the royal courtyard' is suggested by the (one) weak (line) mounted on the five strong lines.

There 'is an earnest and sincere appeal (for sympathy and support), and a consciousness of the peril (involved in the undertaking):'—it is the realisation of this danger, which makes the method (of compassing the object) brilliant.

'He should make an announcement in his own city, and show that it will not be well to have recourse at once to arms:'—(if he have recourse to arms), what he prefers will (soon) be exhausted.

'There will be advantage in whatever he shall go forward to:'—when the growth of the strong (lines) has been completed, there will be an end (of the displacement).

Appendix 2

(The trigram representing) heaven and that for the waters of a marsh mounting above it form Kwâi. The superior man, in accordance with this, bestows emolument on those below him, and dislikes allowing his gifts to accumulate (undispensed).

1. 'Without (being able to) succeed, he goes forward:'—this is an error.

2. 'Though hostile measures be taken against him, he need not be anxious:'—he pursues the course of the due mean.

3. 'The superior man looks bent on cutting off the culprit:'—there will in the end be no error.

4. 'He walks slowly and with difficulty:'—he is not in the place appropriate to him.

'He hears these words, but does not believe them:'—he hears, but does not understand.

5. 'If his action be in harmony with his central position, there will be no error:'—but his standing in the due mean is not yet clearly displayed.

6. 'There is the misery of having none on whom to call:'—the end will be that he cannot continue any longer.


XLIII In Kwâi we have the hexagram of the third month, when the last remnant, cold and dark, of winter, represented by the sixth line, is about to disappear before the advance of the warm and bright days of the approaching summer. In the yin line at the top king Wăn saw the symbol of a small or bad man, a feudal prince or high minister, lending his power to maintain a corrupt government, or, it might be, a dynasty that was waxen old and ready to vanish away; and in the five undivided lines he saw the representatives of good order, or, it might be, the dynasty which was to supersede the other. This then is the subject of the hexagram,—how bad men, statesmen corrupt and yet powerful, are to be put out of the way. And he who would accomplish the task must do so by the force of his character more than by force of arms, and by producing a general sympathy on his side.

The Thwan says that he must openly denounce the criminal in the court, seek to awaken general sympathy, and at the same time go about his enterprise, conscious of its difficulty and danger. Among his own adherents, moreover, as if it were in his own city, he must make it understood how unwillingly he takes up arms. Then let him go forward, and success will attend him.

Line 1 is strong, the first line of that trigram, which expresses the idea of strength. But it is in the lowest place. The stage of the enterprise is too early, and the preparation too small to make victory certain. Its subject had better not take the field.

Line 2 is strong, and central, and its subject is possessed with the determination to do his part in the work of removal. But his eagerness is tempered by his occupancy of an even place; and he is cautious, and no attempts, however artful, to harm him will take effect.

Line 3 is strong, and its subject displays his purpose too eagerly. Being beyond the central position, moreover, gives an indication of evil. Lines 3 and 6 are also proper correlates; and, as elsewhere in the Yî, the meeting of yin and yang lines is associated with falling rain. The subject of 3, therefore, communicates with 6, in a way that annoys his associates; but nevertheless he commits no error, and, in the end, incurs no blame.

Line 4 is not in the centre, nor in an odd place, appropriate to it as undivided. Its subject therefore will not be at rest, nor able to do anything to accomplish the idea of the hexagram. He is symbolised by a culprit, who, according to the ancient and modern custom of Chinese courts, has been bastinadoed till he presents the appearance in the Text. Alone he can do nothing; if he could follow others, like a sheep led along, he might accomplish something, but he will not listen to advice.

Purslain grows in shady places, and hence we find it here in close contiguity to the topmost line, which is yin. As 5 is the ruler's seat, evil may come to him from such contiguity, and strenuous efforts must be made to prevent such an evil. The subject of the line, the ruler in the central place, will commit no error. It must be allowed that the symbolism in this line is not easily managed.

The subject of the 6th line, standing alone, may be easily disposed of.

App-1-2:XLIII 1. The last clause of paragraph 1 is good in itself, showing that the strong and worthy statesman in removing a bad man from the state is not actuated by arty private feelings. The sentiment, however, as it is expressed, can hardly be said to follow from the symbolism.

Paragraph 2. The same may be said of all the notes appended to the different clauses of this second paragraph. Hû Ping-wăn (Yüan dynasty) says:—'If but a single small man be left, he is sufficient to make the superior man anxious; if but a single inordinate desire be left in the mind, that is sufficient to disturb the harmony of heavenly principles. The eradication in both oases must be complete, before the labour is ended.'

App-2-2:XLIII We can only understand the mounting of the waters of a marsh up into the sky of the phenomenon of evaporation; and certainly the waters so formed into clouds will be condensed, and come down again as rain. This may be taken as an image of dispersion, but not of displacement in the sense of the Text of the hexagram.

The first clause of the application follows naturally enough from the above interpretation of the Symbolism. Kû Hsî says he does not understand the second clause. Many critics adopt the view of it which appears in the translation.

Paragraph 2 does not mention the precautionary measures taken in the Text by the subject of the line, from which the conclusion would follow quite as naturally as from his central position. The Khang-hsî editors, however, say that the not having recourse lightly to force is itself the due course.

Line 3 responding, and alone of all the strong lines responding to 6, may appear at first irresolute, and not prepared for decided measures; but 1 in the end' its subject does what is required of him.

The contiguity of line 5 to the divided 6, is supposed to have some bad effect on its subject, so that while he does what his central position requires, it is not without an effort. 'If a man,' says Khăng-žze, 'cherish a single illicit desire in his mind, he has left the right way. The admonition here conveyed is deep.'