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Hexagram 35 - Chin / Progress - James Legge Translation

hexagram 35
  • Above Li the Clinging, Fire
  • Below K'un the Receptive, Earth


In Chin we see a prince who secures the tranquillity of the people presented on that account with numerous horses by the king, and three times in a day received at interviews.

Meaning Commentary

The Thwan of this hexagram expresses its subject more fully and plainly than that of any of the previous thirty-four. It is about a feudal prince whose services to the country have made him acceptable to his king. The king's favour has been shown to him by gifts and personal attentions such as form the theme of more than one ode in the Shih; see especially III, iii, 7. The symbolism of the lines dimly indicates the qualities of such a prince. Chin means to advance. Hexagrams 46 and hexagram 53 agree with this in being called by names that indicate progress and advance. The advance in Chin is like that of the sun, the shining light, shining more and more to the perfect day.

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The Image

The sun rises over the earth: The image of Progress. Thus the superior man himself brightens his bright virtue.

Image Commentary

The light of the sun rises over the earth is by nature clear. The higher the sun rises, the more it emerges from the dark mists, spreading the pristine purity of its rays over an ever widening area. The real nature of man is likewise originally good, but it becomes clouded by contact with earthly things and therefore needs purification before it can shine forth in its native clarity.

King Wans explanation

  1. Chin denotes advancing.
  2. In Chin we have the bright sun appearing above the earth; the symbol of docile submission cleaving to that of the Great brightness and the weak line advanced and moving above: all these things give us the idea of 'a prince who secures the tranquillity of the people, presented on that account with numerous horses by the king, and three times in a day received at interviews.

Legge Footnotes on King Wans explanation

To those who advocate the view that the hexagrams of the Yi have been formed by changes of the lines in manipulating with the divining stalks, the words of paragraph 2, that we have in the figure the weak line advanced and moving above, suggest the derivation of Chin from Kwan, whose 4th and 5th lines are made to change places. But we have seen that, that view is inadmissible in the interpretation of the Yi. And a simple explanation of the language at once presents itself. As Hsiang An-shih Sung dynasty says, Of the three "daughter" trigrams it is only Li which has its divided line occupying the central place of honour, when it is the upper trigram in a hexagram.

The Lines

The first SIX, divided, shows one wishing to advance, and at the same time kept back. Let him be firm and correct, and there will be good fortune. If trust be not reposed in him, let him maintain a large and generous mind, and there will be no error.

Line 1 is weak, and in the lowest place, and its correlate in 4 is neither central nor in its correct position. This indicates the small and obstructed beginnings of his subject. But by his firm correctness he pursues the way to good fortune; and though the king does not yet believe in him, he the more pursues his noble course.

The second SIX, divided, shows its subject with the appearance of advancing, and yet of being sorrowful. If he be firm and correct, there will be good fortune. He will receive this great blessing from his grandmother.

Line 2 is weak, and its correlate in 5 is also weak. Its subject therefore has still to mourn in obscurity. But his position is central and correct, and he holds on his way, till success comes ere long. The symbolism says he receives it from his grandmother; and readers will be startled by the extraordinary statement, as I was when I first read it. Literally the Text says the king's mother. He also tries to give the name a historical reference; to Thai-Kiang, the grandmother of king Wan; Thai-Zan, his mother; or to Thai-sze, his wife, and the mother of king Wu and the duke of Kau, all famous in Chinese history, and celebrated in the Shih. But king's father and king's mother are well-known Chinese appellations for grandfather and grandmother. This is the view given on the passage, by Khang-aze, Ku Hsi, and the Khang-hsi editors, the latter of whom, indeed, account for the use of the name, instead of deceased mother, which we find in hexagram 62, by the regulations observed in the ancestral temple. These authorities, moreover, all agree in saying that the name points us to line 5, the correlate of 2, and the lord of the hexagram. Now the subject of line 5 is the sovereign, who at length acknowledges the worth of the feudal lord, and gives him the great blessing. The New Digest of Comments on the Yi (1686), in its paraphrase of the line, has, He receives at last this great blessing from the mild and compliant ruler. I am not sure that motherly king would not be the best and fairest translation of the phrase.

The third SIX, divided, shows its subject trusted by all around him. All occasion for repentance will disappear. .

Line 3 is weak, and in an odd place; but the subjects of 1 and 2 are possessed by the same desire to advance as the subject of this. A common trust and aim possess them; and hence the not unfavorablee auspice.

The fourth NINE, undivided, shows its subject with the appearance of advancing, but like a marmot. However firm and correct he may be, the position is one of peril.

Line 4 is strong, but it is in an even place, nor is it central. It suggests the idea of a marmot (? or rat), stealthily advancing. Nothing could be more opposed to the ideal of the feudal lord in the hexagram.

The fifth SIX, divided, shows how all occasion for repentance disappears from its subject. But let him not concern himself about whether he shall fail or succeed. To advance will be fortunate, and in every way advantageous.

In line 5 that lord and his intelligent sovereign meet happily. He holds on his right course, indifferent as to results, but things are so ordered that he is, and will continue to be, crowned with success.

The topmost NINE, undivided, shows one advancing his horns. But he only uses them to punish the rebellious people of his own city. The position is perilous, but there will be good fortune. Yet however firm and correct he may be, there will be occasion for regret.

Line 6 is strong, and suggests the idea of its subject to the last continuing his advance, and that not only with firm correctness, but with strong force. The horns are an emblem of threatening strength, and though he uses them only in his own state, and against the rebellious there, that such a prince should have any occasion to use force is matter for regret.