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Text Section Ii. Lvi. The Lu Hexagram

p. 187

Lvi. The L Hexagram

intimates that (in the condition which it denotes) there may be some little attainment and progress. If the stranger or traveller be firm and correct as he ought to be, there will be good fortune.

1. The first SIX, divided, shows the stranger mean and meanly occupied. It is thus that he brings on himself (further) calamity.

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The second SIX, divided, shows the stranger, occupying his lodging-house, carrying with him his means of livelihood, and provided with good and trusty servants.

3. The third NINE, undivided, shows the stranger, burning his lodging-house, and having lost his servants. However firm and correct he (try to) be, he will be in peril.

4. The fourth NINE, undivided, shows the traveller in a resting-place, having (also) the means of livelihood and the axe, (but still saying), 'I am not at ease in my mind.'

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject shooting a pheasant. He will lose his arrow, but in the end he will obtain praise and a (high) charge.

6. The sixth NINE, undivided, suggests the idea of a bird burning its nest. The stranger, (thus represented), first laughs and then cries out. He has lost his ox(-like docility) too readily and easily. There will be evil.


The name L denotes people travelling abroad, and is often translated by 'strangers.' As early as the time of king Wn, there was a class of men who went about from one state to another, pursuing their business as pedlars or travelling merchants; but in Mencius II, i, chap. 5. 3, it is used for travellers generally, whatever it was that took them out of their own states. Confucius himself is adduced as a travelling stranger; and in this hexagram king Wn is supposed to have addressed himself to the class of such men, and told them how they ought to comport themselves. They ought to cultivate two qualities,--those of humility and integrity (firm correctness). By means of these they would escape harm, and would make some little attainment and progress. Their rank was too low to speak of great things in connexion with them. It is interesting to find travellers, strangers in a strange land, having thus a place in the Y.

For the manner in which the component trigrams are supposed p. 189 to give the idea that is in L, see Appendix II. In Appendix I there is an endeavour to explain the Thwan by means of the lines and their relation to one another.

Line 1 is weak, in an odd place, and at the very bottom or commencement of the hexagram, These conditions are supposed to account for the unfavourable symbolism and auspice.

Line 2 is weak, but in its proper place. That place, moreover, is the central. Hence the traveller--and he might here very well be a travelling merchant--is represented in the symbolism as provided with everything he can require; and though the auspice is not mentioned, we must understand it as being good.

Line 3 is strong, and in an even place. But it occupies the topmost place in the lower trigram; and its strength may be expected to appear as violence. So it does in the symbolism, and extraordinary violence as well. It seems unreasonable to suppose, as in the conclusion, that one so described could be in any way correct. The Khang-hs editors remark that the subjects of 2 and 3 are represented as having 'lodging-houses,' and not any of those of the other lines, because these are the only two lines in the places proper to them!

Line 4 is strong, but in an even place. Hence its subject has not a lodging-house;' but has found a situation where he has shelter, though he is exposed to perils. Hence he is represented as having an axe, which may be available for defence. Still he is not at peace in his mind. The Khang-hs editors observe well that the mention of an axe makes us think of caution as a quality desirable in a traveller.

Line 5, though weak, is in the centre of the upper trigram, which p. 190 has the quality of brightness and elegance. It is held to be the lord of the trigram L; and lines 4 and 6 are on either side in loyal duty to defend and help. Then the shooting a pheasant is supposed to be suggested; an elegant bird,--by the trigram of elegance. When an officer was travelling abroad in ancient times, his gift of introduction at any feudal court was a pheasant. The traveller here emblemed is praised by his attached friends, and exalted to a place of dignity by the ruler to whom he is acceptable. It will be seen how the idea of the fifth line being the ruler's seat is dropt here as being alien from the idea of the hexagram, so arbitrary is the interpretation of the symbolism.

Line 6 is strong, in an even place, at the extremity of L and of the whole hexagram. Its subject will be arrogant and violent; the opposite of what a traveller should be; and the issue will be evil. The symbolism must be allowed to be extravagant. What bird ever burned its nest? And the character for 'ox' is strangely used for 'ox-like docility.'
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