The Book of Changes

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Ta Chuang / The Power of the Great Great Strength

The great lines, that is, the light, strong lines, are powerful.
Four light lines have entered the hexagram from below and
are about to ascend higher. The upper trigram is Chên, the
Arousing; the lower is Ch'ien, the Creative. Ch'ien is strong,
Chên produces movement.

The union of movement and
strength gives the meaning of THE POWER OF THE
GREAT. The hexagram is linked with the second month


THE POWER OF THE GREAT. Perseverance furthers.

The hexagram points to a time when inner worth mounts with great force
and comes to power. But its strength has already passed beyond the
median line, hence there is danger that one may rely entirely on one's
own power and forget to ask what is right.

There is danger too that, being
intent on movement, we may not wait for the right time. Therefore the
added statement that perseverance furthers. For that is truly great power
which does not degenerate into mere force but remains inwardly united
with the fundamental principles of right and of justice. When we
understand this point --namely, that greatness and justice must be
indissolubly united-- we understand the true meaning of all that happens
in heaven and on earth.

The Power of the Great implies to exercise the domain without violence,
because it possesses enough authority to be imposed and to make
notice its majesty that it is accepted as an unquestionable factor. The
Great does not need to employ the force to demonstrate anything
because it is already big in essence.

If the Great begins to lose its nature, its weakening will be inclined to
prepotency. It also represents the spiritual power that grants inner
growth and makes aware of one's improvement.


Thunder in heaven above:
Thus the superior man does not tread upon paths
That do not accord with established order.

Thunder --electrical energy-- mounts upward in the spring. The direction
of this movement is in harmony with that of the movement of heaven. It
is therefore a movement in accord with heaven, producing great power.
However, true greatness depends on being in harmony with what is right.
Therefore in times of great power the superior man avoids doing
anything that is not in harmony with the established order.

The thunder resounding in heaven means high power, altruistic power
that it is not subject to selfish interests. The thunder in heaven implies
properly conducted power. Thus, the superior man applies his capacity
anytime he should, and he does not make bad use of his wisdom.


Nine at the beginning means:

Power in the toes.
Continuing brings misfortune.
This is certainly true.

The toes are in the lowest place and are ready to advance. So likewise
great power in lowly station is inclined to effect advance by force. This,
if carried further, would certainly lead to misfortune, and therefore by
way of advice a warning is added.

The toes mean minor power, that is to say, power of scarce effect. This
also means conditions that do not propitiate to deploy the power and
lack of support. To full realize the power one must administer carefully
the energy, if this stubborn attitude goes on power will be wasted.

Nine in the second place means:

Perseverance brings good fortune.

The premise here is that the gates to success are beginning to open.
Resistance gives way and we forge ahead. This is the point at which, only
too easily, we become the prey of exuberant self-confidence. This is
why the oracle says that perseverance (i.e., perseverance in inner
equilibrium, without excessive use of power) brings good fortune.

The perseverance (persistency in the correct way) is the condition to
continue a successful development. The power must be used sparingly.

Nine in the third place means:

The inferior man works through power.
The superior man does not act thus.
To continue is dangerous.
A goat butts against a hedge
And gets its horns entangled.

Making a boast of power leads to entanglements, just as a goat entangles
its horns when it butts against a hedge. Whereas an inferior man revels in
power when he comes into possession of it, the superior man never
makes this mistake. He is conscious at all times of the danger of pushing
ahead regardless of circumstances, and therefore renounces in good
time the empty display of force.

The goat trapped in the hedge shows what happens when an inferior
man makes abuse of his power. The hedge represents the answer to his
way of being. To hook its horns represents inefficiency, the obstacles
that finally it creates by itself. The horn symbolizes the use of force, the
power of a threatening attitude. The goat hooking its horns when
charging a hedge also means a neutralized power.

Nine in the fourth place means:

Perseverance brings good fortune.
Remorse disappears.
The hedge opens; there is no entanglement.
Power depends upon the axle of a big cart.

If a man goes on quietly and perseveringly working at the removal of
resistances, success comes in the end. The obstructions give way and all
occasion for remorse arising from excessive use of power disappears.

Such a man's power does not show externally, yet it can move heavy
loads, like a big cart whose real strength lies in its axle. The less that
power is applied outwardly, the greater its effect.

The hedge opening implies a change of environment; a new cycle that
begins, a capacity of means, to be clever to move away from a
stagnation stage. The image of the hedge that opens also suggests the
idea of a new perspective.

The road is free to advance, as there are not obstacles. There is no
further resistance because the advance is made without selfish and
opinionated attitudes.

Six in the fifth place means:

Loses the goat with ease.
No remorse.

The goat is noted for hardness outwardly and weakness within. Now the
situation is such that everything is easy; there is no more resistance. One
can give up a belligerent, stubborn way of acting and will not have to
regret it.

Losing the goat means state of calm, a situation that is calm again. For
that reason it is expressed that there won't be regret, because such a
belligerent attitude does not drive anywhere.

Six at the top means:

A goat butts against a hedge.
It cannot go backward, it cannot go forward.
Nothing serves to further.
If one notes the difficulty, this brings good fortune.

If we venture too far we come to a deadlock, unable either to advance or
to retreat and whatever we do merely serves to complicate thing further.
Such obstinacy leads to insuperable difficulties. But if, realizing the
situation, we compose ourselves and decide not to continue, everything
will right itself in time.

To butt a hedge means to lose the reaction capability. When one can't
act in a proper way, the correct behavior is to stop, to clarify the mind.
Thus, to be aware of the real limitations, to realize that such a stubborn
attitude that doesn't make any sense will be advantageous.