The Book of Changes

Ask your question


Po / Splitting Apart Declination

The dark lines are about to mount upward and overthrow the last firm, light line by exerting a
disintegrating influence on it.

The inferior, dark forces overcome what is superior and strong,
not by direct means, but by undermining it gradually and imperceptibly, so that it finally

The lines of the hexagram present the image of a house, the top line being the roof, and
because the roof is being shattered the house collapses.

The hexagram belongs to the ninth
month (October- November).
The yin power pushes up ever more powerfully and is about to
supplant the yang power altogether.


SPLITTING APART. It does not further one
To go anywhere.

This pictures a time when inferior people are pushing forward and are about to crowd out the few
remaining strong and superior men. Under these circumstances, which are due to the time, it is not
favorable for the superior man to undertake anything.

The right behavior in such adverse times is to be deduced from the images and their attributes. The lower
trigram stands for the earth, whose attributes are docility and devotion. The upper trigram stands for the
mountain, whose attribute is stillness.

This suggests that one should submit to the bad time and remain
quiet. For it is a question not of man's doing but of time conditions, which, according to the laws of
heaven, show an alternation of increase and decrease, fullness and emptiness. It is impossible to
counteract these conditions of the time. Hence it is not cowardice but wisdom to submit and avoid action.

The declination process is unavoidable, and anything can be made to contain it once it has begun, thus,
in such times it is convenient to stay calm. If one didn't stay calm, one would also be dragged towards
the declination, the convenience of staying calm implies to be preserved.


The mountain rests on the earth:
Thus those above can ensure their position
Only by giving generously to those below.

The mountain rests on the earth. When it is steep and narrow, lacking a broad base, it must topple over. Its
position is strong only when it rises out of the earth broad and great, not proud and steep. So likewise
those who rule rest on the broad foundation of the people. They too should be generous and benevolent,
like the earth that carries all. Then they will make their position as secure as a mountain is in its
The earth that supports the mountain represents the only way to keep a structure stable, with a solid
base. To secure the structure, the only way is the generosity with the common people. This means
attendance, justice, justness, security, and etc.

A steep and narrow mountain means a no equitable association, an unstable structure that can be
overthrown easily. Instead, a mountain with a broad base, and a gently slope is more stable and shows
the way to prevent the declination. If a man were to pile up riches for himself alone, without considering
others, he would certainly experience a collapse. Every gathering is followed by dispersion. Therefore
the superior man begins to distribute while he is accumulating (Wilhelm comment to the Image in Kuai (43).

The earth supporting the mountain means, also, recognition, with the result that rulers can assure their
place by using generosity with people.


Six at the beginning means:

The leg of the bed is split.
Those who persevere are destroyed.

Inferior people are on the rise and stealthily begin their destructive burrowing from below in order to
undermine the place where the superior man rests. Those followers of the ruler who remain loyal are
destroyed by slander and intrigue. The situation bodes disaster, yet there is nothing to do but wait.

The beginning of declination is described here. The legs of the bed symbolize the bases, the
foundations of a state of things that are represented by the bed. To destroy the legs of a bed means plot,
conspiracy, with the result that the loyalists (who persevere) are destroyed.

In another analysis level, to destroy the legs of a bed, being this a place of rest, means that the
tranquility is seriously in danger, that is to say that peace is threatened.

Six in the second place means:

The bed is split at the edge.
Those who persevere are destroyed.

The power of the inferior people is growing. The danger draws close to one's person; already there are
clear indication, and rest is disturbed. Moreover, in this dangerous situation one is as yet without help or
friendly advances from above or below. Extreme caution is necessary in this isolation. One must adjust to
the time and promptly avoid the danger. Stubborn perseverance in maintaining one's standpoint would lead
to downfall.

Here reference is made to a declared and open attack. The bed represents the state of things; the
borders represent their contours. Therefore, to destroy the borders means to approach, and also to

This gives the idea the enemies have advanced and they are very close, with the result that loyalists are
razed, and bad fortune comes, because nobody can stop them any more.

The ruler has lost his comrades means that he has not support any longer. On the other hand, the
borders of the destroyed bed symbolize the overflowed defenses, since they have been insufficient.

Six in the third place means:

He splits with them. No blame.
An individual finds himself in an evil environment to which he is committed by external ties. But he has an
inner relationship with a superior man, and through this he attains the stability to free himself from the
way of the inferior people around him. This brings him into opposition to them of course, but that is not

This one has been immersed in an evil ambient. He doesn't have coincidence points nor likeness with
none of those who surround him, thus he breaks off his bond with those who are in a higher position and
with those who are below him (second and fourth yin), and takes refuge in his own virtue.

Therefore, to split from both of them means to be conserved in spite of everything.

Six in the fourth place means:

The bed is split up to the skin.

Here the disaster affects not only the resting place but even the occupant. No warning or other comment
is added. Misfortune has reached its peak: it can no longer be warded off.

Here the disaster has affected to the entirety of the social body.

The destruction of the skin of who rests in the bed can also mean fatality for being careless, for not
remaining alert. In another interpretation level, the destruction of the skin means attacking the betrayal
and, in an individual level, it would symbolize certain factors that produce an emotional imbalance.

Six in the fifth place means:

A shoal of fishes. Favor comes through the court ladies.
Everything acts to further.

Here, in immediate proximity to the strong, light-giving principle at the top, the nature of the dark force
undergoes a change. It no longer opposes the strong principle by means of intrigues but submits to its
guidance. Indeed, as the head of the other weak lines, it leads all of these to the strong line, just as a
princess leads her maids-in-waiting like a shoal of fishes to her husband and thus gains his favor.
Inasmuch as the lower element thus voluntarily places itself under the higher, it attains happiness and the
higher also receives its due. Therefore all goes well.

Disintegration begins to be reverted, to transform. The court ladies represent the receptivity; the palace
is the government's center, the power, and the head. Therefore, those who arrive go in their support. This
implies a union, thus at the end there won't be hostility and everything will go well.

The favor from the ladies also means to be endorsed, to be presented by somebody influential.

Nine at the top means:

There is a large fruit still uneaten.
The superior man receives a carriage.
The house of the inferior man is split apart.

Here the splitting apart reaches its end. When misfortune has spent itself, better times return. The seed of
the good remains, and it is just when the fruit falls to the ground that food sprouts anew from its seed. The
superior man again attains influence and effectiveness. He is supported by public opinion as if in a
carriage. But the inferior man's wickedness is visited upon himself. His house is split apart. A law of
nature is at work here. Evil is not destructive to the good alone but inevitably destroys itself as well. For
evil, which lives solely by negation, cannot continue to exist on its own strength alone. The inferior man
himself fares best when held under control by a superior man.

The large fruit still uneaten means that it is still the base, the true essence of the thing that could not be
destroyed, it survived the disintegration. The great fruit is the symbol of the regeneration. It also
represents the spiritual level, the moral force that has not been gnawed, for that reason the superior man
recovers his carriage, that is to say, it recovers the handling of the situation, it recovers his power and it
governs. Instead the inferior being suffers the destruction of his house.

Also, the great fruit that remains without being eaten can represent a discovery, with the result that the
capable man discovers it. For that reason, he recovers his carriage, that is to say he searches for it, and
he will obtain it.