The Book of Changes

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Wu Wang / Innocence (The Unexpected) No Errancy

Ch'ien, heaven is above; Chên, movement, is below. The lower trigram Chên is under the
influence of the strong line it has received from above, from heaven. When, in accord with
this, movement follows the law of heaven, man is innocent and without guile. His mind is
natural and true, unshadowed by reflection or ulterior designs. For wherever conscious
purpose is to be seen, there the truth and innocence of nature have been lost. Nature that is
not directed by the spirit is not true but degenerate nature.

Starting out with the idea of the
natural, the train of thought in part goes somewhat further and thus the hexagram includes also
the idea of the fundamental or unexpected.


INNOCENCE. Supreme success.
Perseverance furthers. (See Four Virtues)
If someone is not as he should be,
He has misfortune,
And it does not further him
To undertake anything.

Man has received from heaven a nature innately good, to guide him in all his movements. By devotion to
this divine spirit within himself, he attains an unsullied innocence that leads him to do right with
instinctive sureness and without any ulterior thought of reward and personal advantage.
This instinctive

certainty brings about supreme success and "furthers through perseverance". However, not everything
instinctive is nature in this higher sense of the word, but only that which is right and in accord with the
will of heaven.
Without this quality of rightness, an unreflecting, instinctive way of acting brings only
misfortune. Confucius says about this: "He who departs from innocence, what does he come to? Heaven's
will and blessing do not go with his deeds."


Innocent is not contaminated by the speculation; no errancy is possible in advance, fitting entirely to the
current moment. Innocence means also a pure state, rich in potentiality, that is why its success is big.

Innocence represents the natural state of the things, for that reason who doesn't act properly will make a
mistake; this means that the natural thing has its own laws, and who gets apart from it will suffer


Under heaven thunder rolls:
All things attain the natural state of innocence.
Thus the kings of old,
Rich in virtue, and in harmony with the time,
Fostered and nourished all beings.

In springtime when thunder, life energy, begins to move again under the heavens, everything sprouts and
grows, and all beings receive for the creative activity of nature the childlike innocence of their original
state. So it is with the good rulers of mankind: drawing on the spiritual wealth at their command, they take
care of all forms of life and all forms of culture and do everything to further them, and at the proper time.

The thunder rolling under heaven represents the primary energy acting, encouraging. The thunder
emanates from heaven, heaven is the source; the thunder is its creative current. This means to act having
a high value as reference, in connection with an authentic source.

The old kings symbolize the natural things that received the creative influence; therefore they were in
harmony with the time, in agreement with the pure source and its potentialities. In harmony with the time
means also not to lose the natural character, because what continues belonging to that state won't stop
being fed and attended spontaneously.


Nine at the beginning means:

Innocent behavior brings good fortune.

The original impulses of the heart are always good, so that we may follow them confidently, assured of
good fortune and achievement of our aims.

He is a transparent and sincere person; his innocent and intuitive acts drive him to success. This means
that his spontaneity produces achievements naturally, for that reason, his will is realized.

Six in the second place means:

If one does not count on the harvest while plowing,
Nor on the use of the ground while clearing it,
It furthers one to undertake something.

We should do every task for its own sake as time and place demand and not with an eye to the result. Then
each task turns out well, and anything we undertake succeeds.

From an inner point of view, to work the field means to be cultivated and to harvest the product of a
spiritual realization. The field symbolizes the life spreading before one. To work the field without aspiring
to wealth implies to face the existence from a point of personal realization, where the material thing
comes apart. Not to think about wealth while one does what feels means to place the material thing in a
second plane. This doesn't mean that he won't obtain it, but if the work is made with vocation, then it will
surrender its fruits by itself.

In another interpretation level, this line seems to suggest that, in this case, the first thing is the duty
before any other thing, as when working on behalf of the other.

Six in the third place means:

Undeserved misfortune.
The cow that was tethered by someone
Is the wanderer's gain, the citizen's loss.

Sometimes undeserved misfortune befalls a man at the hands of another, as for instance when someone
passes by and takes a tethered cow along with him. His gain is the owner's loss. In all transactions, no
matter how innocent, we must accommodate ourselves to the demands of the time, otherwise unexpected
misfortune overtakes us.

This line indicates a material or emotional loss. This time is not good to get attached to material objects.
The important thing is doing the best and let things take their natural course.

Nine in the fourth place means:

He who can be persevering
Remains without blame.

We cannot lose what really belongs to us, even if we throw it away. Therefore we need have no anxiety.
All that need concern us is that we should remain true to our own natures and not listen to others.

This person does not let be strayed from his own way. This way, he won't make a mistake and will remain

Nine in the fifth place means:

Use no medicine in an illness
Incurred through no fault of your own.
It will pass of itself.

An unexpected evil may come accidentally from without. If it does not originate in one's own nature or
have a foothold there, one should not resort to external means to eradicate it, but should quietly let nature
take its course. Then improvement will come of itself.

This means not to be involved, not to take charge of things one is not responsible for, not to bear the

Nine at the top means:

Innocent action brings misfortune.
Nothing furthers.

When, in a given situation, the time is not ripe for further progress, the best thing to do is to wait quietly,
without ulterior designs. If one acts thoughtlessly and tries to push ahead in opposition to fate, success
will not be achieved.

Being this the last line of the hexagram, this person has taken his innocence too far, for that reason he
will make a mistake in the event of continuing acting, because his way of being will only harm him.
Contrary to the subject of the first line, whose innocence opened him roads, here it closes them.