Home Ichingfortune Hexagrams Legge Hexagrams Iching reading Links

I Ching Hexagram 61 - Chung Fu / Inner Truth

hexagram 61
  • Above Sun the Gentle, Wind
  • Below Tui the Joyous, Lake


The wind blows over the lake and stirs the surface of the water. Thus visible effects of the invisible manifest themselves. The hexagram consists of firm lines above and below, while it is open in the center. This indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth. On the other hand, each of the two trigrams has a firm line in the middle; this indicates the force of inner truth in the influences they present. The attributes of the two trigrams are: above, gentleness, forbearance toward inferiors; below, joyousness in obeying superiors. Such conditions create the basis of a mutual confidence that makes achievements possible. The character of fu ('truth') is actually the picture of a bird's foot over a fledgling. It suggests the idea of brooding. An egg is hollow. The light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but there must be a germ of life within, if life is to be awakened. Far-reaching speculations can be linked with these ideas.

See the James Legge translation of this hexagram.

<-Prev Next->


Inner Truth. Pigs and fishes. Good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water. Perseverance furthers.

Judgement Commentary

Pigs and fishes are the least intelligent of all animals and therefore the most difficult to influence. The force of inner truth must grow great indeed before its influence can extend to such creatures. In dealing with persons as intractable and as difficult to influence as a pig or a fish, the whole secret of success depends on finding the right way of approach. One must first rid oneself of all prejudice and, so to speak, let the psyche of the other person act on one without restraint. Then one will establish contact with him, understand and gain power over him. When a door has thus been opened, the force of one's personality will influence him. If in this way one finds no obstacles insurmountable, one can undertake even the most dangerous things, such as crossing the great water, and succeed. But it is important to understand upon what the force inner truth depends. This force is not identical with simple intimacy or a secret bond. Close ties may exist also among thieves; it is true that such a bond acts as a force but, since it is not invincible, it does not bring good fortune. All association on the basis of common interests holds only up to a certain point. Where the community of interest ceases, the holding together ceases also, and the closest friendship often changes into hate. Only when the bond is based on what is right, on steadfastness, will it remain so firm that it triumphs over everything.

The Image

Wind over lake: the image of Inner Truth. Thus the superior man discusses criminal cases in order to delay executions.

Image Commentary

Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.

The Lines

Nine at the beginning means: Being prepared brings good fortune. If there are secret designs, it is disquieting.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 59 - Huan / Dispersion (Dissolution). Inner truth first and foremost is based on our own internal qualities. If we depend on outside forces or others for our truth how true will it be? Legge's version of this line is simpler "...the virtue of sincerity is all centred in itself, thence derived and thereby powerful." The resultant hexagram 59, Dispersion, "...only a man who is himself free of all selfish ulterior considerations, and who perseveres in justice and steadfastness, is capable of so dissolving the hardness of egotism."

Nine in the second place means: A crane calling in the shade, its young answers it. I have a good goblet. I will share it with you.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 42 - I / Increase. True influence flowing from a great inner source of truth attracts like minded individuals like moths to a flame. This is not effected nor manipulated but natural. Legge has the same meaning more concisely put "...two men brought together by their sympathy in virtue." The resultant hexagram is 42, Increase. Kindred spirts should work together to achieve things whilst the opportunity exists as good times don't last forever.

Six in the third place means: He finds a comrade. Now he beats the drum, now he stops. Now he sobs, now he sings.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 9 - Hsiao Chu / The Taming Power of the Small. Depending on others for ones happiness means that we depend on outside forces for our emotional state. We lose control of how we feel and are pitched to and fro as fate determines. Welcome to love! Legge sees this line "...having met with his mate. Now he beats his drum, and now he leaves off. Now he weeps, and now he sings." The outcome is hexagram 9, The Taming Power of the Small, we can only exercise a small influence and should refrain from any attempts at stronger measures.

Six in the fourth place means: The moon nearly at the full. The team horse goes astray. No blame.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 10 - Lu / Treading (conduct). To learn we must be humble enough to accept instruction. Sitting at the feet of the master is a long practiced method of gaining wisdom. Legge agrees with Wilhelm, if in an opaque way. The resultant hexagram 10, Treading (conduct), shows us that the teacher we seek instruction from will tolerate our approach and further our quest which will proceed successfully.

Nine in the fifth place means: He possesses truth, which links together. No blame.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 41 - Sun / Decrease. This line is able to motivate through the power of its own personality and wisdom. No artificial methods or trickery is needed. Legge's interpretation of this line is mercifully clear "...its subject perfectly sincere, and linking others to him in closest union." The outcome is described by hexagram 41, Decrease, "...simplicity is then the very thing needed to provide inner strength for further undertakings. Indeed, there need by no concern if the outward beauty of the civilization... Even with slender means, the sentiment of the heart can be expressed." One can approach the teacher with confidence even if one is of modest accomplishments or means.

Nine at the top means: Cockcrow penetrating to heaven. Perseverance brings misfortune.

Changing only this line creates Hexagram 60 - Chieh / Limitation. This line talks the talk but does not walk the walk. This impostor will be exposed and be lead to misfortune. Legge puts it like this "His efforts will be ineffectual, and injurious to himself." The resultant hexagram 60, Limitation, shows that this lines pretense of wisdom may lead to the act he puts on becoming a yoke for his neck.

See the James Legge - I Ching Hexagram 61 Chung Fu / Inner Truth translation of this hexagram.