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Hexagram 45 - Ts'ui / Gathering Together (Massing) - James Legge Translation

hexagram 45
  • Above Tui the Joyous, Lake
  • Below K'un the Receptive, Earth


In the state denoted by Ts'ui, the king will repair to his ancestral temple. It will be advantageous also to meet with the great man and then there will be progress and success, though the advantage must come through firm correctness. The use of great victims will conduce to good fortune and in whatever direction movement is made, it will be advantageous.

Meaning Commentary

Ts'ui denotes collecting together, or things so collected and hence this hexagram concerns the state of the kingdom when a happy union prevails between the sovereign and his ministers, between high and low; and replies in a vague way to the question how this state is to be preserved; by the influence of religion, and the great man, who is a sage upon the throne.

He, the king, will repair to his ancestral temple, and meet in spirit there with the spirits of his ancestors. Whatever he does, being correct and right, will succeed. His religious services will be distinguished by their dignity and splendour. His victims will he the best that can be obtained, and other things will be in harmony with them.

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The Image

Over the earth, the lake: The image of Gathering Together. Thus the superior man renews his weapons in order to meet the unforeseen.

Image Commentary

If the water in the lake gathers until it rises above the earth, there is danger of a break-through. Precautions must be taken to prevent this. Similarly where men gather together in great numbers, strife is likely to arise; where possessions are collected, robbery is likely to occur. Thus in the time of Gathering Together we must arm promptly to ward off the unexpected. Human woes usually come as a result of unexpected events against which we are not forearmed. If we are prepared, they can be prevented.

The Lines

The first SIX, divided, shows its subject with a sincere desire for union, but unable to carry it out, so that disorder is brought into the sphere of his union. If he cry out for help to his proper correlate, all at once his tears will give place to smiles. He need not mind the temporary difficulty; as he goes forward, there will be no error.

Line 1 is weak, and in the place of a strong line. It has a proper correlate in 4, but is separated from him by the intervention of two weak lines. The consequence of these things is supposed to be expressed in the first part of the symbolism but the subject of the line is possessed by the desire for union, which is the theme of the hexagram. Calling out to his correlate for help, he obtains it, and his sorrow is turned into joy.

The second SIX, divided, shows its subject led forward by his correlate. There will be good fortune, and freedom from error. There is entire sincerity, and in that case even the small offerings of the vernal sacrifice are acceptable.

Line 2 is in its proper place, and responds to the strong ruler in 5, who encourages and helps the advance of its subject. He possesses also the sincerity, proper to him in his central position; and though he were able to offer only the sacrifice of the spring, small compared with the fulness of the sacrifices in summer and autumn, it would be accepted.

The third SIX, divided, shows its subject striving after union and seeming to sigh, yet nowhere finding any advantage. If he go forward, he will not err, though there may be some small cause for regret.

Line 3 is weak, in the place of a strong line, and advanced from the central place. The topmost line, moreover, is no proper correlate. But its subject is possessed by the desire for union; and though 2 and 4 decline to associate with him, he presses on to 6, which is also desirous of union. That common desire brings them together, notwithstanding 3 and 6 are both divided lines and with difficulty the subject of 3 accomplishes his object.

The fourth NINE, undivided, shows its subject in such a state that, if he be greatly fortunate, he will receive no blame.

Line 4 has its correlate in 1, and is near to the ruling line in 5. We may expect a good auspice for it but its being strong in an odd place, calls for the caution which is insinuated.

The fifth NINE, undivided, shows the union of all under its subject in the place of dignity. There will be no error. If any do not have confidence in him, let him see to it that his virtue be great, long-continued, and firmly correct, and all occasion for repentance will disappear.

Line 5 is strong, central, and in its correct position. Through its subject there may be expected the full realization of the idea of the hexagram.

The topmost SIX, divided, shows its subject sighing and weeping; but there will be no error.

Line 6, weak, and at the extremity of the figure, is still anxious for union; but he has no proper correlate, and all below are united in 5. Its subject mourns his solitary condition and his good feeling will preserve him from error and blame.

King Wans explanation

  1. Ts'ui indicates the condition of union, or being collected. We have in it the symbol of docile obedience going on to what is expressed by that of satisfaction. There is the strong line in the central place, and rightly responded to. Hence comes the idea of union.
  2. The king will repair to his ancestral temple: with the utmost filial piety he presents his offerings to the spirits of his ancestors.
  3. It will be advantageous to meet the great man, and there will then be prosperity and success:' the union effected by him will be on and through what is correct.
  4. The, use of great victims will conduce to good fortune; and in whatsoever direction movement is made, it will be advantageous: all is done in accordance with the ordinances of Heaven.
  5. When we look at the way in which the gatherings here shown take place, the natural tendencies in the outward action of heaven and earth and of all things can be seen.

Legge Footnotes on King Wans explanation

The lower trigram in Ts'ui is K'un, whose attribute is docile obedience; and the upper is Tui, whose attribute is pleased satisfaction. Then we have the strong line in 5, and its proper correlate in 2. These things may give the idea of union. They might also give the idea of other good things.

he Khang-hsi editors say that though all is done in accordance with the ordinances of Heaven follows the concluding clauses of the Thwan, yet the sentiment of the words must be extended to the other clauses as well. Khang-zze says that the ordinances of Heaven are simply the natural and practical outcome of heavenly principle; in this case what should and may be done according to the conditions and requirements of the time. So do the critics of China try to shirk the idea of personality in Heaven.