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Yi Jing [I Ching]: The Book of Changes

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Hexagram 15

Qiān [Modesty]

  Original Translation
The Image Within the earth, a mountain.
Kūn (The Receptive, Earth) above, Gèn (Keeping Still, Mountain) below.
The Judgment Qiánindicates progress and success. The superior man, (being humble as it implies), will have a (good) issue (to his undertakings).

Qiān indicates progress and success. It is the way of heaven to send down its beneficial influences below, where they are brilliantly displayed. It is the way of earth, lying low, to send its influences upwards and (there) to act.

It is the way of heaven to diminish the full and augment the humble. It is the way of earth to overthrow the full and replenish the humble. Spiritual Beings inflict calamity on the full and bless the humble. It is the way of men to hate the full and love the humble. Humility in a position of honour makes that still more brilliant; and in a low position men will not (seek to) pass beyond it. Thus it is that 'the superior man will have a (good) issue (to his undertakings).'

(The trigram for) the earth and (that of) a mountain in the midst of it form Qiān. The superior man, in accordance with this, diminishes what is excessive (in himself), and increases where there is any defect, bringing about an equality, according to the nature of the case, in his treatment (of himself and others).
Line 1

The first SIX, divided, shows us the superior man who adds humility to humility. (Even) the great stream may be crossed with this, and there will be good fortune.

'The superior man who adds humility to humility' is one who nourishes his (virtue) in lowliness.
Line 2 The second SIX, divided, shows us humility that has made itself recognised. With firm correctness there will be good fortune.
'The good fortune consequent on being firm and correct, where the humility has made itself recognised, is owing to the possessor's having (the virtue) in the core of his heart.
Line 3 The third NINE, undivided, shows the superior man of (acknowledged) merit. He will maintain his success to the end, and have good fortune.
'The superior man of (acknowledged) merit, and yet humble:'--the myriads of the people will submit to him.
Line 4 The fourth SIX, divided, shows one, whose action would be in every way advantageous, stirring up (the more) his humility.
'One, whose action would be in every way advantageous, stirs up his humility the more:'(but in doing so) he does not act contrary to the (proper) rule.
Line 5 The fifth SIX, divided, shows one who, without being rich, is able to employ his neighbours. He may advantageously use the force of arms. All his movements will be advantageous.
'He may advantageously use the force of arms:'--correcting, that is, those who do not submit.
Line 6 The sixth SIX, divided, shows us humility that has made itself recognised. The subject of it will with advantage put his hosts in motion; but (he will only) punish his own towns and state.
'His humility has made itself recognised:'--(but) all his aims have not yet been attained. He may employ the force of arms, (but only) in correcting (his own) towns and state.'
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