Hexagram 8, line 5


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 8, line 4


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


while line 4 says


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.

Hexagram 8, line 3


Bi 比: see line 1.

Fei 匪: ‘without’:

If the sovereign had not the multitude, there would be none to guard the country (for him)…
Shujing 書經 (tr. Legge)

How do we proceed in splitting firewood?
Without an axe it cannot be done.
How do we proceed in taking a wife?
Without a go-between it cannot be done.
Shijing 詩經 (tr. Legge)

Continue reading

Hexagram 8, line 2


Bi 比: see line 1.

Zi 自: (starting) from:

From the emperor to the common people…
(Mengzi 孟子, Lun Heng etc.)

Nei 內: its regular meaning is ‘inside, interior’, but in early texts it also refers to the women of the emperor (qiqie 妻妾, wife and concubines), the women’s quarters in the imperial palace, or women in general (漢語大字典 2nd ed., p. 111; 漢語大詞典, p. 995; 王力古漢語字典, p. 57):

Qing Feng of Qi was fond of hunting and drinking. He gave over the government [to his son] Qing She, and then removed with his harem and valuables to the house of Lu Pubie, with whom he drank, while they exchanged wives at the same time.
Zuozhuan 左傳 (tr. Legge, p. 541)

Even though the grammar and meanings in the sentence 比之自內 are pretty straightforward some translators are struggling to make sense out of it. For example, Lars Bo Christensen translates it as ‘Uniting with what comes from within is correct and good’, adding as a note ‘The question is what “from within” means. I don’t see any way you can connect physically with things from within, whether it be your body or an area.’ He totally misses the point that bi 比 is about people, persons, and that therefore a better translation of nei 內 is one that points to persons. His insertion of the words ‘with what comes’ is totally unnecessary and makes the translation not only wrong (these words are not in the Chinese original) but also more confusing.

In line 2 nei 內 might refer to allies that have a blood relationship with the wife of the king. Zi 自 means that the bond originates there.

Bonding via the empress.
The divination is auspicious.