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Hexagram 26 - Ta Chu / The Taming Power of the Great - James Legge Translation

hexagram 26
  • Above Ken Keeping Still, Mountain
  • Below Ch'ien the Creative, Heaven


The accumulation of virtue. Under the conditions of Ta Chu it will be advantageous to be firm and correct. If its subject do not seek to enjoy his revenues in his own family without taking service at court, there will be good fortune. It will be advantageous for him to cross the great stream.

Meaning Commentary

Ta Chu has two meanings. It is the symbol of restraint, and of accumulation. What is repressed and restrained accumulates its strength and increases its volume. Both these meanings are found in the treatise on the Thwan; the exposition of the Great Symbolism has for its subject the accumulation of virtue. The different lines are occupied with the repression or restraint of movement. The first three lines receive that repression, the upper three exercise it. The accumulation to which all tends is that of virtue; and hence the name of Ta Chu, 'the Great Accumulation.

What the Thwan teaches, is that he who goes about to accumulate his virtue must be firm and correct, and may then, engaging in the public service, enjoy the king's grace, and undertake the most difficult enterprises.

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The Image

Heaven within the mountain: The image of The Taming Power of the Great. Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity and many deeds of the past in order to strengthen his character thereby.

Image Commentary

Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.

King Wans explanation

  1. In the trigrams composing Ta Chu we have the attributes of the greatest strength and of substantial solidity, which emit a brilliant light; and indicate a daily renewal of his virtue by the subject of it.
  2. The strong line is in the highest place, and suggests the value set on talents and virtue; there is power in the upper trigram to keep the strongest in restraint: all this shows the great correctness required in the hexagram.
  3. The good fortune attached to the subject's not seeking to enjoy his revenues in his own family shows how talents and virtue are nourished.
  4. It will be advantageous to cross the great stream: the fifth line, representing the ruler, is responded to by the second, the central line of Khien, representing Heaven.

Legge Footnotes on King Wans explanation

In paragraph 1, Ta Chu evidently means the grand accumulation of virtue, indicated by the attributes of its component trigrams. Substantial solidity may very well be given as the attribute of mountains.

The strong line in the highest place of paragraph 2 is line 6, whose subject is thus above the ruler represented by 5, and has the open firmament for his range in doing his work. This, and his ability to repress the strongest opposition, show how he is supported by all that is correct and right.

In a kingdom where the object of the government is the accumulation of virtue, good and able men will not be left in obscurity.

What will not a high and good purpose, supported by the greatest strength, be able to do?

The Lines

The first NINE, undivided, shows its subject in a position of peril. It will be advantageous for him to stop his advance.

Line 1 is subject to the repression of 4, which will be increased if he try to advance. It is better for him to halt.

The second NINE, undivided, shows a carriage with the strap under it removed.

Line 2 is liable to the repression of 5, and stops its advance of itself, its subject having the wisdom to do so through its position in the central place. The strap below, when attached to the axle, made the carriage stop; he himself acts that part.

The third NINE, undivided, shows its subject urging his way with good horses. It will be advantageous for him to realize the difficulty of his course, and to be firm and correct, exercising himself daily in his charioteering and methods of defence; then there will be advantage in whatever direction he may advance.

Line 3 is the last of Khien, and responds to the sixth line, the last of Kan, above. But as they are both strong, the latter does not exert its repressive force. They advance rapidly together; but the position is perilous for 3. By firmness and caution, however, its subject will escape the peril, and the issue will be good.

The fourth six, divided, shows the young bull, and yet having the piece of wood over his horns. There will be great good fortune.

The young bull in line 4 has not yet got horns. The attaching to their rudiments the piece of wood to prevent him from goring is an instance of extraordinary precaution; and precaution is always good.

The fifth six, divided, shows the teeth of a castrated hog. There will be good fortune. A boar is a powerful and dangerous animal. Let him be castrated, and though his tusks remain, he cares little to use them.

Here line 5 represents the ruler in the hexagram, whose work is to repress the advance of evil. A conflict with the subject of the strong second line in its advance would be perilous; but 5, taking early precaution, reduces it to the condition of the castrated pig. Not only is there no evil, but there is good fortune.

The sixth NINE, undivided, shows its subject as in command of the firmament of heaven. There will be progress.

The work of repression is over, and the strong subject of line 6 has now the amplest scope to carry out the idea of the hexagram in the accumulation of virtue.