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Yi Jing [I Ching]: The Book of Changes

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Hexagram 4

Méng [Youthful Folly]

  Original Translation
The Image A springs wells up at the foot of the mountain.
Gèn (Keeping Still, Mountain) above, Kǎn (The Abysmal, Water) below.
The Judgment

Méng (indicates that in the case which it presupposes) there will be progress and success. I do not (go and) seek the youthful and inexperienced, but he comes and seeks me. When he shows (the sincerity that marks) the first recourse to divination, I instruct him. If he apply a second and third time, that is troublesome; and I do not instruct the troublesome. There will be advantage in being firm and correct.

In Méng we have (the trigram for) a mountain, and below it that of a rugged defile with a stream in it. The conditions of peril and arrest of progress (suggested by these) give (the idea in) Méng.

'Méng indicates that there will be progress and success:'--for there is development at work in it, and its time of action is exactly what is right. 'I do not seek the youthful and inexperienced; he seeks me:'--so does will respond to will. 'When he shows (the sincerity that marks) the first recourse to divination, I instruct him:'--for possessing the qualities of the undivided line and being in the central place, (the subject of the second line thus speaks). 'A second and third application create annoyance, and I do not instruct so as to create annoyance:'--annoyance (he means) to the ignorant.

(The method of dealing with) the young and ignorant is to nourish the correct (nature belonging to them);--this accomplishes the service of the sage.

(The trigram representing) a mountain, and beneath it that for a spring issuing forth form Méng. The superior man, in accordance with this, strives to be resolute in his conduct and nourishes his virtue.
Line 1 The first SIX, divided, (has respect to) the dispelling of ignorance. It will be advantageous to use punishment (for that purpose), and to remove the shackles (from the mind). But going on in that way (of punishment) will give occasion for regret.
'It will be advantageous to use punishment:'--the object being to bring under the influence of correcting law.
Line 2 The second NINE, undivided, (shows its subject) exercising forbearance with the ignorant, in which there will be good fortune; and admitting (even the goodness of women, which will also be fortunate. (He may be described also as) a son able to (sustain the burden of) his family.
'A son able to (sustain the burden of) his family:'--as appears from the reciprocation between this strong line and the weak (fifth line).
Line 3 The third SIX, divided, (seems to say) that one should not marry a woman whose emblem it might be, for that, when she sees a man of wealth, she will not keep her person from him, and in no wise will advantage come from her.

'A woman (such as is here represented) should not be taken in marriage:'--her conduct is not agreeable to what is right.

Line 4

The fourth SIX, divided, (shows its subject as if) bound in chains of ignorance. There will be occasion for regret.
'The regret arising from ignorance bound in chains' is due to the special distance of (the subject of this line) from the solidity (shown in lines 2 and 6).
Line 5

The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject as a simple lad without experience. There will be good fortune.
'The good fortune belonging to the simple lad without experience' comes from his docility going on to humility.
Line 6 In the topmost NINE, undivided, we see one smiting the ignorant (youth). But no advantage will come from doing him an injury. Advantage would come from warding off injury from him.
'Advantage will come from warding off injury:'--(the subject of this line) above and (the ignorant) below, all do and are done to in accordance with their nature.
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