Hexagram 02, line 4

括囊. 無咎無譽.

Kuo nang 括囊: a tied up large sack, probably made from leather, with a bottom (instead of a sack without a bottom, which has to be tied on both sides). ‘With a bottom’, you di 有底, means that one knows his own mind, but a ‘tied up sack’ means you will not speak it. This is how the expression kuo nang is used in other early sources, and it is the traditional view of this line as well:

Kuo 括 means jie 結, ‘to tie’. Because of this a sack can store things. In the same way the mind stores knowledge. To stop up wisdom and not use it, that is why it says ‘tied up sack’. The results of achievements are not displayed, therefore ‘without praise’. But matters can’t oppose them either, therefore ‘without blame’.
– Kong Yingda 孔穎達, 《周易正義》

Whatever the circumstances, you do not speak up:

The Master said, “Truly straightforward was the historiographer Yu. When good government prevailed in his state, he was like an arrow. When bad government prevailed, he was like an arrow. A superior man indeed is Qu Bo Yu! When good government prevails in his state, he is to be found in office. When bad government prevails, he can roll his principles up, and keep them in his breast.”
– The Analects of Confucius

This line resonates with line 3: in both lines accomplishments are not boasted of.

Yu 譽 means ‘praise; fame’. It is also a loan for yu 豫, ‘happy, delighted’, which interestingly is the name of the zhigua 之卦, the hexagram that you get when this line changes (hexagram 16).

A tied large sack.
No blame, no fame.

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One Response to Hexagram 02, line 4

  1. Kevin says:

    This is so helpful – Thanks
    Nice imagery.

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