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Yi Jing [I Ching]: The Book of Changes

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Hexagram 5

Xū [Waiting, Nourishment]

  Original Translation
The Image Clouds rise up to heaven.
Kǎn (The Abysmal, Water) above, Qián (The Creative, Heaven) below.
The Judgment Xu intimates that, with the sincerity which is declared in it, there will be brilliant success. With firmness there will be good fortune; and it will be advantageous to cross the great stream.

Xu denotes waiting. (The figure) shows peril in front; but notwithstanding the firmness and strength (indicated by the inner trigram), its subject does not allow himself to be involved (in the dangerous defile);--it is right he should not be straitened or reduced to extremity.

When it is said that, 'with the sincerity declared in Xu, there will be brilliant success, and with firmness there will be good fortune,' this is shown by the position (of the fifth line) in the place assigned by Heaven, and its being the correct position for it, and in the centre. 'It will be advantageous to go through the great stream;'--that is, going forward will be followed by meritorious achievement.

(The trigram for) clouds ascending over that for the sky forms Xu. The superior man, in accordance with this, eats and drinks, feasts and enjoys himself (as if there were nothing else to employ him).

Line 1 The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject waiting in the distant border. It will be well for him constantly to maintain (the purpose thus shown), in which case there will be no error.
'He is waiting in the (distant) border:'--he makes no movement to encounter rashly the difficulties (of the situation). 'It will be advantageous for him constantly to maintain (the purpose thus shown), in which case there will be no error:'--he will not fail to pursue that regular course.
Line 2 The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject waiting on the sand (of the mountain stream). He will (suffer) the small (injury of) being spoken (against), but in the end there will be good fortune.
'He is waiting on the sand:'--he occupies his position in the centre with a generous forbearance. Though 'he suffer the small injury of being spoken (against),' he will bring things to a good issue.
Line 3 The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject in the mud (close by the stream). He thereby invites the approach of injury.
'He is waiting in the mud:'--calamity is (close at hand, and as it were) in the outer (trigram). 'He himself invites the approach of injury:'--if he be reverent and careful, he will not be worsted.
Line 4 The fourth SIX, divided, shows its subject waiting in (the place of) blood. But he will get out of the cavern.
'He is waiting in (the place of) blood:'--he accommodates himself (to the circumstances of the time), and hearkens to (its requirements).
Line 5 The fifth NINE, undivided, shows its subject waiting amidst the appliances of a feast. Through his firmness and correctness there will be good fortune.
'The appliances of a feast, and the good fortune through being firm and correct,' are indicated by (the position in) the central and correct place.
Line 6

The topmost SIX, divided, shows its subject entered into the cavern. (But) there are three guests coming, without being urged, (to his help). If he receive them respectfully, there will be good fortune in the end.

'Guests come unurged (to give their help), and if (the subject of the line) receive them respectfully, there will be good fortune in the end:'--though the occupant and the place are not suited to each other, there has been no great failure (in what has been done).
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