Hexagram 09, line 1 & 2

Line 1

復自道. 何其咎. 吉.

I have struggled for many months with the segmentation of the first sentence, 復自道. I was not sure if I should read it as (1) 復自 – 道, (2) 復 – 自道 or (3) 復 – 自- 道.

(1) Fuzi 復自 can mean ‘to return of one’s own accord’, like in the Lun Heng:

猶物生以青為氣,或予之也;物死青者去,或奪之也。予之物青,奪之青去,去後不能復予之青,物亦不能復自青。聲色俱通,並稟於天。青青之色,猶梟梟之聲也,死物之色不能復青,獨為死人之聲能復自言,惑也。
When a plant comes forth, its fluid is green, which is, as it were, given it. When the same plant dies, the green colour disappears, or is taken away. Endowed with the fluid, the plant is green, deprived of it, it loses the green color. After the latter is gone, it cannot be added again, nor can the plant grow green again of its own accord. Sound and colour correspond to one another, and are both derived from Heaven. The brilliant green colour is like a lugubrious cry. The color of a faded plant cannot become green again, it would, therefore, be a mistake to assume that a dead man’s cry could still be produced of itself.
– Lun Heng, 論死 (tr. A. Forke, p. 197-198)

(2) Zidao 自道 can mean ‘one’s own way/method’, like in the Liji:

誠者自成也,而道自道也。
Sincerity is the completion of oneself. Its way is your own way.

(3) Zi 自 can be read as ‘from’, just as in the Judgment of hexagram 9 and line 4 of hexagram 5.

It is therefore possible to translate 復自道 in three different ways:

(1) Returning to the way on his own accord.
(2) Return to one’s own way.
(3) Returning from the way.

The character fu 復, ‘to return’ also occurs in the 2nd line (see below) but in a different context and that made me decide to go for option (1). Fu carries a sense of ‘to regain, to recover’.

Heqi 何其: ‘how, why’.

Returning to the way on one’s own accord.
How could there be blame?
Auspicious.

Line 2

牽復. 吉.

Qian 牽: to lead, or to be led (like a cow or horse on a rope). The Mawangdui text uses qian 堅, a character related to qian 掔 and qian 摼, both known variants of 牽 (Ma Rusen, 殷墟甲骨学, p. 461; 古文字通假字典, p. 861; 漢語大字典 (2nd ed.), p. 2058). I have wondered if the MWD form might be a reference to ci/qian 㹂, a character which means almost the opposite of qian 牽 – ‘untamed cattle that refuses to be guided by a rope’ (漢語大字典, p. 2126). This idea crossed my mind because ‘untamed cattle returning (by itself)’ reads like a reinstatement of the 1st line. But there is no factual data to back this up.

At the 1st line the return is on its own accord. At the 2nd line the return is a return by being led. Maybe these lines talk about cattle used for the rain sacrifice at the Western altar (see Judgment). At the 1st line the cattle does not need guidance, at the 2nd line it does. Both lines are auspicious because either way the cattle will reach its destination.

Return by being led.
Auspicious.

Hexagram 09, Judgment

小畜.  亨. 密雲不雨自我西郊。

Xu 畜: accumulate, make it grow in small amounts. According to Lu Deming 陸德明 (556-627) it was originally written as xu 蓄, ‘to store, save, grow’. The top part 艹 of this character is also found in the MWD form [艹+孰]. Also, the name of this hexagram in the received fragments of the Guicang 歸藏 (as given in Ma Guohan 馬清翰: 王函山房輯佚書) is 小毒畜. The second character is known as a loan for shu 熟, ‘to grow; ripe, mature’. The MWD form also has the 孰 compound. Some (like the Kang Xi 康熙 dictionary) say that the first two characters should be combined to 𣫶. Xu 畜 and du 毒 are close in meaning. They appear both in chapter 51 of the Daodejing 道德經:

故道生之,之;長之育之;亭之之;養之覆之。
Dao gives them life and nurtures them,
Rears and develops them.
It brings them to fruition and maturation,
Nourishes and guards over them.
(Tr. Ames & Hall) Continue reading

Hexagram 08, line 5

顯比。王用三驅。失前禽。邑人不誡。吉。

Xian 顯: appear, become visible, make public, (to) display,  (to) manifest. Also a loan for xin 欣, ‘joyful (appearance)’. Xianbi 顯比 can mean that the alliance is made public.

Sanqu 三驅: a ceremonial royal hunt with specific features. It is mentioned in the Wen Xuan 文選: Continue reading

Hexagram 08, line 4

外比之。貞吉。

Wai 外: those outside the clan, not related by blood, ‘outsiders’, those with different surname. In oracle bone inscriptions wai was used as a prefix for former kings that were not from the direct lineal line (Liu Xinglong 刘兴隆, 新编甲骨文字典, p. 404) The expression waisun 外孫 referred to the children of one’s daughter: when a daughter married she took the surname of her husband and from that moment she (and her children) belonged to the other clan (金文常用字典, p. 700; 王力古漢語字典, p. 176).

In manuscripts from the Warring States period wai is also used as a loan for gui 禬: a sacrifice, ritual or prayer to dispel disasters and sickness (Bai Yulan 白於藍 (ed.), 戰國秦漢簡帛古書通假字彙纂, p. 527; 王力古漢語字典, p. 836-837; 漢語大詞典, Vol. 7, p. 966).

Some may wonder why I translate wai as ‘outsiders’ but choose to translate nei 內 in line 2 as ‘women (of the emperor)’ when ‘insiders’ would also be a plausible translation. My choice is decided by the structure of the sentences. Line 2 says

比之自內.

while line 4 says

外比之.

In line 2 the joining/bonding comes from (zi 自) inside, the text does not talk about joining/bonding with inside. Line 4 however says that wai, ‘outside’ is joining.

Bi 比: see line 1. The Shanghai Museum manuscript has 𢻹 instead of 比. Shaughnessy says about this character “It is not clear if or how the added 攴 signific changes the sense of the word here.” (Unearthing the Changes, p. 80) and most scholars regard it as a loan for 比. Chen Renren 陳仁仁 proposes another view. According to the Fang Yan 方言 dictionary the Southern region of the state of Chu used 𢻹 to denote a crack in earthenware or porcelain but the utensil is still used and not discarded (器破而未離,南楚之閒謂之㩺(𢻹)). The Shanghai Museum manuscript comes from the Southern region of the former state of Chu, therefore Chen thinks this meaning might still be valid and he interprets this line as “although there might be conflicts with other feudal lords the bond is not yet completely broken” (與其他諸侯發生了矛盾,但關係並未完全破裂). That is why the Shanghai Museum Manuscript ends this line with 亡不利, ‘nothing is unfavourable’ (Chen Renren 陳仁仁, 戰國楚竹書《周易》研究, p. 172).

Outsiders joining. Auspicious divination.