I Ching Hexagram 44 - Kou / Coming to Meet

hexagram 44
  • Above Ch'ien the Creative, Heaven
  •  
  • Below Sun the Gentle, Wind

Introduction

This hexagram indicates a situation in which the principle of darkness, after having been eliminated, furtively and unexpectedly obtrudes again from within and below. Of its own accord the female principle comes to meet the male. It is an unfavorable and dangerous situation, and we must understand and promptly prevent the possible consequences. The hexagram is linked with the fifth month [June-July], because at the summer solstice the principle of darkness gradually becomes ascendant again.

See the James Legge translation of this hexagram.

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Judgement

Coming to Meet. The maiden is powerful. One should not marry such a maiden.

Judgement Commentary

The rise of the inferior element is pictured here in the image of a bold girl who lightly surrenders herself and thus seizes power. This would not be possible if the strong and light-giving element had not in turn come halfway. The inferior thing seems so harmless and inviting that a man delights in it; it looks so small and weak that he imagines he may dally with it and come to no harm. The inferior man rises only because the superior man does not regard him as dangerous and so lends him power. If he were resisted from the fist, he could never gain influence. The time of Coming to Meet is important in still another way. Although as a general rule the weak should not come to meet the strong, there are times when this has great significance. When heaven and earth come to meet each other, all creatures prosper; when a prince and his official come to meet each other, the world is put in order. It is necessary for elements predestined to be joined and mutually dependent to come to meet one another halfway. But the coming together must be free of dishonest ulterior motives, otherwise harm will result.


The Image

Under heaven, wind: The image of Coming to Meet. Thus does the prince act when disseminating his commands and proclaiming them to the four quarters of heaven.

Image Commentary

The situation here resembles that in hexagram 20, Kuan, Contemplation (View). In the latter the wind blows over the earth, here it blows under heaven; in both cases it goes everywhere. There the wind is on the earth and symbolizes the ruler taking note of the conditions in his kingdom; here the wind blows from above and symbolizes the influence exercised by the ruler through his commands. Heaven is far from the things of earth, but it sets them in motion by means of the wind. The ruler is far form his people, but he sets them in motion by means of his commands and decrees.


The Lines

Six at the beginning means: It must be checked with a brake of bronze. Perseverance brings good fortune. If one lets it take its course, one experiences misfortune. Even a lean pig has it in him to rage around.

If an inferior element has wormed its way in, it must be energetically checked at once. By consistently checking it, bad effects can be avoided. If it is allowed to take its course, misfortune is bound to result; the insignificance of that which creeps in should not be a temptation to underrate it. A pig that is still young and lean cannot rage around much, but after it has eaten its fill and become strong, its true nature comes out if it has not previously been curbed.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 1 - Ch'ien / The Creative. If we can keep evil influences under control in their initial stages we protect ourselves from their effects. This is, of course very good. However if we take evil lightly just because it, initially, looks weak we will, sooner or later, pay the price. Legge is just as adamant "...its subject (the evil influence) should be kept like a carriage tied and fastened to a metal drag, in which case with firm correctness there will be good fortune." The resultant hexagram 1, The Creative, shows the sublime success that results from restraining evil.

Nine in the second place means: There is a fish in the tank. No blame. Does not further guests.

The inferior element is not overcome by violence but is kept under gentle control. Then nothing evil is to be feared. But care must be taken not to let it come in contact with those further away, because once free it would unfold its evil aspects unchecked.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 33 - Tun / Retreat. If we can not exterminate evil influences we should at least control them. Legge says "...it will not be well to let the subject of the first line go forward to the guests", keep the evil isolated and unable to influence anyone. The resultant hexagram 33, Retreat, shows that our efforts may fail "...the hostile forces favored by the time are advancing. In this case retreat is the right course." Do what you can while you can.

Nine in the third place means: There is no skin on his thighs, and walking comes hard. If one is mindful of the danger no great mistake is made.

There is a temptation to fall in with the evil element offering itself a very dangerous situation. Fortunately circumstances prevent this, one would like to do it, but cannot. This leads to painful indecision in behavior. But if we gain clear insight into the danger of the situation, we shall at least avoid more serious mistakes.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 6 - Sung / Conflict. Temptation is one of the greatest tools evil has. Do not be tempted to co-operate with evil because that looks like te easy way out. Its not! Legge does not say that we are tempted here merely in difficulty "...shows one from whose buttocks the skin has been stripped so that he walks with difficulty." Either way this line is showing evil coming to power. The resultant hexagram 6, Conflict tells us not to proceed to fighting evil, "You are sincere And are being obstructed. A cautious halt halfway brings good fortune. Going through to the end brings misfortune", as that will only result in failure, seek friends and allies instead.

Nine in the fourth place means: No fish in the tank. This leads to misfortune.

Insignificant people must be tolerated in order to keep them well disposed. Then we can make use of them if we should need them. If we become alienated from them and do not meet them halfway, they turn their backs on us and are not at our disposal when we need them. But this is our own fault.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 57 Sun / The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind). If we become isolated we can achieve nothing. Sometimes we must hold our nose and associate with the inferior to be able to achieve anything in bad times. Legge makes clear that isolation in bad times is a recipe for disaster "The subject of 4 therefore stands alone; and evil to him may be looked for." The resultant hexagram 57, The Gentle (The Penetrating, Wind), describes how we should gradually bring our positive influence to bear on evil through "...gradual and inconspicuous effects. It should be effected not by an act of violation but by influence that never lapses."

Nine in the fifth place means: A melon covered with willow leaves. Hidden lines. Then it drops down to one from heaven.

The melon, like the fish, is a symbol of the principle of darkness. It is sweet but spoils easily and for this reason is protected with a cover of willow leaves. This is a situation in which a strong, superior, well-poised man tolerates and protects the inferiors in his charge. He has the firm lines of order an beauty within himself but he does not lay stress upon them. He does not bother his subordinates with outward show or tiresome admonitions but leaves them quite free, putting his trust in the transforming power of a strong and upright personality. And behold! Fate is favorable. His inferiors respond to his influence and fall to his disposition like ripe fruit.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 50 - Ting / The Caldron. Strength of character can have powerful effects even on evil doers. Allow your own light to show the correct way to behave without seeking to force the issue. Legge puts it "...let not its subject use force to destroy or repress the growth (of evil)...but let him restrain himself and keep his excellence concealed" and all will be well. The resultant hexagram 50, The Cauldron indicates supreme good fortune and success will be the outcome of such an approach.

Nine at the top means: He comes to meet with his horns. Humiliation. No blame.

When a man has withdrawn from the world, its tumult often becomes unbearable to him. There are many people who in a noble pride hold themselves aloof from all that is low and rebuff it brusquely wherever it comes to meet them. Such persons are reproached for being proud and distant, but since active duties no longer hold them to the world, this does not greatly matter. They know how to bear the dislike of the masses with composure.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 28 - Ta Kuo / Preponderance of the Great. In this case we have higher things on our mind than the common man and can not be bothered with their needs and so rebuff them. This is seen as arrogant by the rebuffed but so be it. We are no longer involved with these people nor their issues so nothing bad will result. Legge states we are like "...an officer who has withdrawn from the world. He can accomplish no service for the time but his person is removed from the workers of disorder." The resultant hexagram 28, Preponderance of the Great suggests that, notwithstanding the attitude above, "The weight of the great is excessive" and this could be applying to us. Do not go to far in anything, including aloof spirituality.

See the James Legge - I Ching Hexagram 44 - Kou / Coming to Meet translation of this hexagram.