Hexagram 14 - Ta Yu / Possession in Great Measure - James Legge Translation

hexagram 14
  • Above Li the Clinging, Flame
  • Below Ch'ien the Creative, Heaven


Those who, have what is great should not allow in themselves the feeling of being full pridefull. Ta Yu indicates that, under the circumstances which it implies, there will be great progress and success.

Meaning Commentary

Ta Yu means Great Having's; denoting in a kingdom a state of prosperity and abundance, and in a, family or individual, a state of opulence. The danger threatening such a condition arises from the pride which it is likely to engender. But everything here is against that issue. Apart from the symbolism of the trigrams, we have the place of honour occupied by a weak line, so that its subject will be humble; and all the other lines, strong as they are, will act in obedient sympathy. There will be great progress and success.

See The Richard Wilhelm translation of this hexagram.

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The Image

Fire in heaven above: the image of Possession in Great Measure. Thus the superior man curbs evil and furthers good, And thereby obeys the benevolent will of heaven.

Image Commentary

The sun in heaven above, shedding light over everything one earth, is the image of possession on a grand scale. But a possession of this sort must be administered properly. The sun brings both evil and good into the light of day. Man must combat and curb the evil, and must favor and promote the good. Only in this way does he fulfill the benevolent will of God, who desires only good and not evil.

King Wans explanation

  1. In Ta Yu the weak line has the place of honour, is grandly central, and the strong lines above and below respond to it. Hence comes its name of Ta Yu Having what is Great.
  2. The attributes of its component trigrams are strength and vigour with elegance and brightness. The ruling line in it responds to the ruling line in the symbol of heaven, and consequently its action is all at the proper times. In this way it is said to indicate great progress and success.

Legge Footnotes on King Wans explanation

The position in the fifth place indicates the dignity, and its being central, in the centre of the upper trigram, indicates the virtue, of the lord of the figure.

The strength of the lord, moreover, is directed by intelligence and his actions are always at the proper time, like the seasons of heaven.

The Lines

In the first NINE, undivided, there is no approach to what is injurious, and there is no error. Let there be a realization of the difficulty and danger of the position, and there will be no error to the end.

Line 1, though strong, is at the lowest part of the figure, and has no correlate above. No external influences have as yet acted injuriously on its subject. Let him do as directed, and no hurtful influence will ever affect him.

In the second NINE, undivided, we have a large waggon with its load. In whatever direction advance is made, there will be no error.

The strong line 2 has its proper correlate in line 5, the ruler of the figure, and will use its strength in subordination to his humility. Hence the symbolism.

The third NINE, undivided, shows us a feudal prince presenting his offerings to the Son of Heaven. A small man would be unequal to such a duty.

Line 3 is strong, and in the right an odd place. The topmost line of the lower trigram is the proper place for a feudal lord. The subject of this will humbly serve the condescending ruler in line 5. A small man, having the place without the virtue, would give himself airs.

The fourth NINE, undivided, shows its subject keeping his great resources under restraint. There will be no error.

Line 4 is strong, but the strength is tempered by the position, which is that of a weak line. Hence he will do no injury to the mild ruler, to whom he is so near.

The fifth SIX, divided, shows the sincerity of its subject reciprocated by that of all the others represented in the hexagram. Let him display a proper majesty, and there will be good fortune.

Line 5 symbolizes the ruler. Mild sincerity is good in him, and affects his ministers and others. But a ruler must not be without an awe-inspiring majesty.

The topmost NINE, undivided, shows its subject with help accorded to him from Heaven. There will be good fortune, advantage in every respect.

Even the topmost line takes its character from 5. The strength of its subject is still tempered, and Heaven gives its approval.