Hexagram 07, line 1

師出以律.否臧凶.

Shi 師: army, armed forces.

Chu 出: to go out, set forth

 律: statutes, regulations; pitch-pipes.

In the field of Yi translators it isn’t decided whether  should mean ‘law, regulations, statutes’ or whether it should have the meaning of ‘pitch-pipes’. Both options are plausible within the context of the line text. The choice between both meanings is also found in the study of  in oracle bone inscriptions. There is a sample of an inscription in which shi, ‘army’ is linked with  just as in line 1 of hexagram 7 (click image to enlarge): Continue reading

Hexagram 07, Judgment

貞丈人吉. 無咎.

Zhangren 丈人: in early times a respectful form of address for elder people (古時對老人的尊稱).

There is difference between the pattern X貞吉 (like in the Judgment of hexagram 2) and 貞X吉 (as in the Judgment of hexagram 7): I believe X貞吉 is a divination about subject X, where 貞X吉 is a divination for subject X. See for pattern 貞…人吉 also Hexagram 32, line 5 (貞婦人吉, 夫子凶) and Judgment of hexagram  47 (貞大人吉).

Jiu 咎:
The Shuowen says that 咎 means 災, ‘disaster’. Duan Yucai 段玉裁 says in his 說文解字注, ‘Commentary to the Shuowen Explanation of Characters’,

災當是本作烖。天火曰災。引伸之凡失意自天而至曰災。
It is thought that 災 originally was written as 烖, ‘calamities from Heaven, as floods, famines, pestilence, etc.’ (Unihan database HM). Fire of natural origin is called 災. By extension 災 means ‘disappointment from Heaven coming (to you) ‘.

See also hexagram 1, line 3.

Divination for elder people: auspicious.
There is no curse from Heaven (or the ancestors).

Hexagram 06, line 5 & 6

line 5

訟元吉.

Disputing. Greatly auspicious.


line 6

或錫之鞶帶.終朝三褫之.

Huo 或: ‘there is’, see H1-4

Xi 錫: ‘to grant, to bestow’ (賜予)

Pan 鞶: a large waistband, belt, or girdle made of leather, used by the gentry. Often decorated with jade ornaments.

Dai 帶: waistband, belt, sash or girdle. James C.H. Hsu says in his The Written Word in Ancient China (Vol I, p. 435-436): Continue reading

Hexagram 06, line 4

不克訟. 復即命渝.安貞: 吉.

不克訟: see line 2.

Fu 復: return

Jiming 即命: follow the royal decrees (遵從王命)

Yu 渝: In its ordinary meaning it means ‘change’, but I could not make this fit the pattern of the sentence and its context. This character also occurs at 16-6 and 17-1, and at these occurrences the MWD text uses yu 諭, ‘to tell, inform, explain, notify, instruct’ (from a superior to an inferior, most notably an imperial decree from the emperor to his subordinates – 舊指上對下的文告或指示。亦特指皇帝的詔令; 漢語大詞典, Vol. 11, p. 345). This fits the context of the line text.

安貞: 吉: see also hexagram 2.

At line two the subject loses the dispute and flees without following the orders of the king, thereby putting a death sentence on the people from his district. At line four he complies and by doing so saves the people from his district.

Cannot win the dispute. Returns with the accepted imperial decree and informs his subordinates.
Divination about peace: auspicious.

Hexagram 06, line 3

食舊德, 貞厲 終吉, 或從王事, 无成.

Shi 食: to ‘eat it’ – to speak about it but not putting it into practice (謂言已出而反吞之,不實行).

Jiude 舊德: the virtues and good deeds of the former kings and ancestors.

食舊德 therefore means to talk about the virtues of the ancestors but not putting them into practice. Without the proper conduct based on the teachings of the ancient ones the divination (zhen 貞) will be dangerous (li 厲). The outcome will be auspicious (ji 吉), but in royal assignments there will be no accomplishments (see also hexagram 2, line 3), as you do not have the full support of the forefathers .

Talking about old virtues but not practising them.
To divine will be dangerous.
In the end auspicious.
There is participation in royal affairs,
But no accomplishments.