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Yi Jing [I Ching]: The Book of Changes

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Wèi Jì [Before Completion]

    Original Translation
The Image   Fire over water.
  Lí (The Clinging, Fire) above, Kǎn (The Abysmal, Water) below,
The Judgment   Wèi Jì intimates progress and success (in the circumstances which it implies). (We see) a young fox that has nearly crossed (the stream), when its tail gets immersed. There will be no advantage in any way.
 

'Wèi Jì intimates progress and success (in the circumstances which it implies):'--the weak (fifth) line is in the centre.

'The young fox has nearly crossed the stream:'--but he has not yet escaped from the midst (of the danger and calamity). 'Its tail gets immersed. There will be no advantage in any way:'--there is not at the end a continuance (of the purpose) at the beginning. Although the places (of the different lines) are not those appropriate to them, yet a strong (line) and a weak (line always) respond to each other.

 

(The trigram representing) water and that for fire above it form Wèi Jì. The superior man, in accordance with this, carefully discriminates among (the qualities of) things, and the (different) positions they (naturally) occupy.
Line 1 1 The first SIX, divided, shows its subject (like a fox) whose tail gets immersed. There will be occasion for regret.
 

'His tail gets immersed:'--this is the very height of ignorance.

Line 2 2 The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject dragging back his (carriage-) wheel. With firmness and correctness there will be good fortune.
 

'The second NINE, (undivided), shows good fortune arising from being firm and correct:'--it is in the central place, and the action of its subject thereby becomes correct.

Line 3 3 The third SIX, divided, shows its subject, with (the state of things) not yet remedied, advancing on; which will lead to evil. But there will be advantage in (trying to) cross the great stream.
 

'(The state of things is) not yet remedied. Advancing will lead to evil:'--the place (of the line) is not that appropriate for it.

Line 4 4 The fourth NINE, undivided, shows its subject by firm correctness obtaining good fortune, so that all occasion for repentance disappears. Let him stir himself up, as if he were invading the Demon region, where for three years rewards will come to him (and his troops) from the great kingdom.
  (By firm correctness there is good fortune, and cause for repentance disappears:'--the aim (of the subject of the line) is carried into effect.
Line 5 5 The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject by firm correctness obtaining good fortune, and having no occasion for repentance. (We see in him) the brightness of a superior man, and the possession of sincerity. There will be good fortune.
  '(We see) the brightness of a superior man:--'the diffusion of that brightness tends to good fortune.
Line 6 6

The topmost NINE, undivided, shows its subject full of confidence and therefore feasting (quietly). There will be no error. (If he) cherish this confidence, till he (is like the fox who) gets his head immersed, it will fail of what is right.

  'He drinks and gets his head immersed:'--he does not know how to submit to the (proper) regulations.
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