I Ching Hexagram 32 - Heng / Duration

hexagram 32
  • Above Chen, the Arousing, Thunder
  •  
  • Below Sun, the Gentle, Wind

Introduction

The strong trigram Chen is above, the weak trigram Sun below. This hexagram is the inverse of the preceding one. In the latter we have influence, here we have union as an enduring condition. The two images are thunder and wind, which are likewise constantly paired phenomena. The lower trigram indicates gentleness within; the upper, movement without. In the sphere of social relationships, the hexagram represents the institution of marriage as the enduring union of the sexes. During courtship the young man subordinates himself to the girl, but in marriage, which is represented by the coming together of the eldest son and the eldest daughter, the husband is the directing and moving force outside, while the wife, inside, is gentle and submissive.

See the James Legge translation of this hexagram.

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Judgement

Duration. Success. No blame. Perseverance furthers. It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

Judgement Commentary

Duration is a state whose movement is not worn down by hindrances. It is not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression. Duration is rather the self-contained and therefore self-renewing movement of an organized, firmly integrated whole, taking place in accordance with immutable laws and beginning anew at every ending. The end is reached by an inward movement, by inhalation, systole, contraction, and this movement turns into a new beginning, in which the movement is directed outward, in exhalation, diastole, expansion. Heavenly bodies exemplify duration. They move in their fixed orbits, and because of this their light-giving power endures. The seasons of the year follow a fixed law of change and transformation, hence can produce effects that endure. So likewise the dedicated man embodies an enduring meaning in his way of life, and thereby the world is formed. In that which gives things their duration, we can come to understand the nature of all beings in heaven and on earth.


The Image

Thunder and wind: the image of Duration. Thus the superior man stands firm and does not change has direction.

Image Commentary

Thunder rolls, and the wind blows; both are examples of extreme mobility and so are seemingly the very opposite of duration, but the laws governing their appearance and subsidence, their coming and going, endure. In the same way the independence of the superior man is not based on rigidity and immobility of character. He always keeps abreast of the time and changes with it. What endures is the unswerving directive, the inner law of his being, which determines all his actions.


The Lines

Six at the beginning means: Seeking duration too hastily brings misfortune persistently. Nothing that would further.

Whatever endures can be created only gradually by long-continued work and careful reflection. In the same sense Lao-tse says: 'If we wish to compress something, we must first let it fully expand.' He who demands too much at once is acting precipitately, and because he attempts too much, he ends by succeeding in nothing.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 34 - Ta Chuang / The Power of the Great. Here we are hastily seeking to push the situation into a state we desire. Legge counsels "He should be quiet, and not forward for action." The resultant hexagram 34, The Power of the Great, indicates that we may still be successful but that if we are we need to be very careful as "one may rely entirely on one's own power and forget to ask what is right."

Nine in the second place means: Remorse disappears.

The situation is abnormal. A man's force of character is greater than the available material power. Thus he might be afraid of allowing himself to attempt something beyond his strength. However, since it is the time of Duration, it is possible for him to control his inner strength and so to avoid excess. Cause for remorse then disappears.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 62 - Hsiao Kuo / Preponderance of the Small. This lines weakness is compensated by his personal qualities and so success is obtained. Legge says "...the unfavorable condition ... is more than counteracted." Nonetheless the resultant hexagram 62, Preponderance of the Small, indicates that only small successes should be expected for drawer this line.

Six in the third place means: Hidden lines. One is able to remain persevering. If by chance you are in the service of a king, Seek not works, but bring to completion.

If a man remains at the mercy of moods of hope or fear aroused by the outer world, he loses his inner consistency of character. Such inconsistency invariably leads to distressing experiences. These humiliations often come from an unforeseen quarter. Such experiences are not merely effects produced by the external world, but logical consequences evoked by his own nature.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 40 - Hsieh / Deliverance. This line is unable to achieve its goals because it wavers and changes direction too often. Legge says of this line "...one who does not continuously maintain his virtue. There are those who will impute this to him as a disgrace." The resultant hexagram 40, Deliverance, suggests that this line finally finds some way of making progress, presumably by finally making up his mind what he actually wants.

Nine in the fourth place means: No game in the field.

If we are in pursuit of game and want to get a shot at a quarry, we must set about it in the right way. A man who persists in stalking game in a place where there is none may wait forever without finding any. Persistence in search is not enough. What is not sought in the right way is not found.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 46 - Sheng / Pushing Upward. This line knows what it wants and pursues its goals but to no effect. Why? Fishing for marlin in ones bathtub is unlikely to be successful. Legge has it "...shows a field where there is no game." What possible success can a hunter have there? The resultant hexagram 46, Pushing Upward, show us that this line will probably learn its lesson and change its behaviour for the better by consulting with knowledgeable people who point him in the right direction.

Six in the fifth place means: Giving duration to one's character through perseverance. This is good fortune for a woman, misfortune for a man.

A woman should follow a man her whole life long, but a man should at all times hold to what is his duty at the given moment. Should he persistently seek to conform to the woman, it would be a mistake for him. Accordingly it is altogether right for a woman to hold conservatively to tradition, but a man must always be flexible and adaptable and allow himself to be guided solely by what his duty requires of him at the moment.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 28 - Ta Kuo / Preponderance of the Great. Sometimes one has to assert oneself and not merely follow the dictates of tradition or common opinion. Legge's comment is "...a man generally, has to assert himself, and lay down the rule of what is right." The resultant hexagram 28, Preponderance of the Great indicates that the outcome for this line is perilous. Doing what is right is not always the easy option.

Six at the top means: Restlessness as an enduring condition brings misfortune.

There are people who live in a state of perpetual hurry without ever attaining inner composure. Restlessness not only prevents all thoroughness but actually becomes a danger if it is dominant in places of authority.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 50 - Ting / The Caldron. Confused desires and emotional behaviour are acceptable in young children but not adults. If you can not find some center in your life what type of life will you have? Legge is blunt "...perseverance has run its course...The violent efforts of its subject can only lead to evil." This sounds very bad! But! The resultant hexagram 50, The Cauldron, predicts supreme good fortune and success so if this line can get control of itself the prospects for the future are very bright.

See the James Legge - I Ching Hexagram 32 - Heng / Duration translation of this hexagram.