The Book of Changes

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Sui / Following


The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is above; Chên, the Arousing, which
has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy in movement induces following. The Joyous is
the youngest daughter, while the Arousing is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young
girl and shows her consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.



FOLLOWING has supreme success.
Perseverance furthers. No blame. (See Four Virtues)

In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself. If a man would rule he must first
learn to serve, for only in this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is
necessary if they are to follow him. If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy or
by creating faction, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs willing adherence. But even joyous
movement can lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, "Perseverance furthers" --that is,
consistency in doing right-- together with "No blame."

Just as we should not ask others to follow us
unless this condition is fulfilled, so it is only under this condition that we can in turn follow others
without coming to harm. The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of the
time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgment is so favorable.

Continuity and flexible adaptation to the demands of the changing times are the keys to success in this


Thunder in the middle of the lake:
The image of FOLLOWING.
Thus the superior man at nightfall
Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.

In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is the thunder in the middle of
the lake that serves as the image --thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following
in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image.

Thunder in the middle of
the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all
day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night. No situation can become favorable until one is able to
adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.

The evening represents the detention point; thus the superior man agrees with this circumstance and
doesn't waste forces.


Nine at the beginning means:

The standard is changing.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
To go out of the door in company
Produces deeds.

There are exceptional conditions in which the relation between leader and followers changes. It is
implicit in the idea of following and adaptation that if one wants to lead others, one must remain
accessible and responsive to the views of those under him. At the same time, however, he must have firm
principles, so that he does not vacillate where there is only a question of current opinion. Once we are
ready to listen to the opinions of others, we must not associate exclusively with people who share our
views or with members of our own party; instead, we must go out and mingle freely with all sorts of
people, friends or foes. That is the only way to achieve something.

This is the moment to make a change of plans, thus the goal modifies. This means that now the objective
is different. However, such an adaptation should continue being bolstered with perseverance. The
crossing of the door implies this change. To cross the door means to open up to new alternatives, to a
new search.

This means to exchange ideas, to accept new influences, and also, new associations. To cross the door
in order to deal with people represents the will and leaning to listen, to receive information; to cross the
door to deal with people implies not to be closed to others, not to fall in a closed circle that would lead to
limitation. To cross the door to deal with people also means to be allowed to capture all those things that
were not part of the own universe earlier but were accessible any way.

Six in the second place means:

If one clings to the little boy,
One loses the strong man.

In friendships and close relationships an individual must make a careful choice. He surrounds himself
either with good or with bad company; he cannot have both at once. If he throws himself away on
unworthy friends he loses connection with people of intellectual power who could further him in the

The immature youth of this line symbolizes the trivial thing, the superficial thing. The strong man
represents the spiritual thing, the deep thing, and the true value.

Therefore, the immature youth and the experienced man imply two levels of conscience, but they can
belong to only one person who is hesitant and insecure. To lose the experienced man means not to see
the true road to follow trivial things. To follow the inexpert youth means to make a mistake and to be
disconnected from the support of those who can really establish an appropriate guide, such us the
experienced man. In another analysis level, this line means a mistake, a bad election.

Six in the third place means:

If one clings to the strong man,
One loses the little boy.
Through following one finds what one seeks.
It furthers one to remain persevering.

When the right connection with distinguished people has been found, a certain loss naturally ensues. A
man must part company with the inferior and superficial. But in his heart he will feel satisfied, because he
seeks and needs for the development of his personality. The important thing is to remain firm. He must
know what he wants and not be led astray by momentary inclinations.

This is a maturation step, it is a moment for being conscious, to realize true-life course. This is meant by
the fact that somebody follows the mature man and leaves the inexpert boy. To follow the mature man
means the apprehension of true values; to leave the little boy implies leaving a superficial stage behind.

This line suggests the end of a cycle and the beginning of another higher. Here a change of radical
attitude is shown. It also means atmosphere change. This way, one is in the place that really
corresponds to oneself.

Nine in the fourth place means:

Following creates success.
Perseverance brings misfortune.
To go one's way with sincerity brings clarity.
How could there be blame in this?

It often happens, when a man exerts a certain amount of influence, that he obtains a following by
condescension toward inferiors. But the people who attach themselves to him are not honest in their
intentions. They seek personal advantage and try to make themselves indispensable through flattery and
subservience. If one becomes accustomed to such satellites and cannot do without them, it brings
misfortune. Only when a man is completely free from his ego, and intent, by conviction, upon what is
right and essential, does he acquire the clarity that enables him to see through such people, and become
free of blame.

People support is not always sincere, but in many occasions it is followed of second intentions, therefore
to continue attracting to this kind of people will have bad consequences. Also, all misconception will be
avoided, keeping the deeds clear to avoid suspicions from the high spheres (fifth yang).

Nine in the fifth place means:

Sincere in the good. Good fortune.

Every man must have something he follows --something that serves him as a lodestar. He who follows
with conviction the beautiful and the good may feel himself strengthened by this saying.

The perfect fulfillment of the correct guidelines helps this line obtain the trust of others and thus obtain
good fortune.

Six at the top means:

He meets with firm allegiance
And is still further bound.
The king introduces him
To the Western Mountain.

This refers to a man, an exalted sage, who has already put the turmoil of the world behind him. But a
follower appears who understands him and is not to be put off. So the sage comes back into the world and
aids the other in his work. Thus there develops an eternal tie between the two.

The allegory is chosen from the annals of the Chou dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty honored men who
had served them well by awarding them a place in the royal family's temple of ancestors on the Western
Mountain. In this way they were regarded as sharing in the destiny of the ruling family.

Here reference is made to a good ideal that has been accepted by somebody, such as a follower, and it
is accepted by who sustains the high ideal, therefore the king announces he is in front of the Western
Mountain. This means that the follower has also risen when accepting the ideal, that is to say, he has
grown spiritually. Hence, it is announced that the goal will be achieved on the top.

The Western Mountain means the new circle, the new atmosphere. The king introducing himself means
that he is qualified to undertake the new stage. For that reason it is clever to make the final effort, with the
result the goal is achieved. The king introducing himself also means to be bestowed with honor,
recognition, therefore it is presented in front of the high ting, the mountain.

To be introduced refers to the concretion of a great opportunity, of a road that opens up. The king gives
the idea of achievement, of a mission carried out; then that realization lets take the step towards other
more important level, the Western Mountain.