The Book of Changes

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Ming I / Darkening of the light Brightness Hiding

Here the sun has sunk under the earth and is therefore
darkened. The name of the hexagram means literally
"wounding of the bright"; hence the individual lines contain
frequent references to wounding. The situation is the exact
opposite of that in the foregoing hexagram.

In the latter a
wise man at the head of affairs has able helpers, and in
company with them makes progress; here a man of dark
nature is in a position of authority and brings harm to the
wise and able man.


It furthers one to be persevering.

One must not unresistingly let himself be swept along by unfavorable
circumstances, nor permit his steadfastness to be shaken. He can avoid
this by maintaining his inner light, while remaining outwardly yielding
and tractable. With this attitude he can overcome even the greatest

In some situations indeed a man must hide his light, in order to make his
will prevail in spite of difficulties in his immediate environment.
Perseverance must dwell in inmost consciousness and should not be
discernible from without. Only thus is a man able to maintain his will in
the face of difficulties.

There are times when the negative factors take place in a preponderant
way. This implies that it is necessary to support such state of
annoyances during a time until it disappears. Times of darkening of the
light mean that there is not much to do than to try to stay steady, to
conserve the essence.

Times of darkening of the light imply a stage of lack of possibilities, of
decreasing perspectives. This means, also, energy that has been
drained and disappeared.

In another interpretation level, the darkening of the light symbolizes not
being able to see, not to be able to notice, not to be able to understand.


The light has sunk into the earth:
Thus does the superior man live with the great mass:
He veils his light, yet still shines.

In a time of darkness it is essential to be cautious and reserved. One
should not needlessly awaken overwhelming enmity by inconsiderate
behavior. In such times one ought not to fall in with the practices of
others; neither should one drag them censoriously into the light. In
social intercourse one should not try to be all-knowing. One should let
many things pass, without being duped.

The light hidden under the earth represents the truth that is not shown
that doesn't manifest itself. The light, means clarity, therefore, the light
hidden under the earth would mean lack of lucidity to understand certain
things. The light hidden under the earth also symbolizes a time of
intellectual decadence.

The superior man, if the conditions are not given to show his knowledge,
hides his brilliance and bides his time. Being bright inside and gentle
with the others is the proper way to be preserved in this time.


Nine at the beginning means:

Darkening of the light during flight.
He lowers his wings.
The superior man does not eat for three days
On his wanderings.
But he has somewhere to go.
The host has occasion to gossip about him.

With grandiose resolve a man endeavors to soar above all obstacles, but
thus encounters a hostile fate. He retreats and evades the issue. The time
is difficult. Without rest, he must hurry along, with no permanent abiding
place. If he does not want to make compromises within himself, but
insists on remaining true to his principles, he suffers deprivation.
Nevertheless he has a fixed goal to strive for even though the people
with whom he lives do not understand him and speak ill of him.

The Darkening of the light during flight means unexpected contingency
that forces to suspend some projects. To lower the wings gives the idea
of descending, of losing advancing power. This would mean to be
forced to act in a lower ambitious level. However, such an interruption
doesn't constitute a modification of own principles, rather it represents a
challenge that consists on continuing faithful to own behavior and sense
of life.

The three-day pilgrimage symbolizes the resolute search of a way to go
on over the critical situation. The abstention of food for the same period
means that he doesn't pervert his essence adopting customs or ways he
considers unrighteous. As he differs from his fellow men to the utmost
degree, he is slightly criticized by people.

Six in the second place means:

Darkening of the light injures him in the left thigh.
He gives aid with the strength of a horse.
Good fortune.

Here the Lord of Light is in a subordinate place and is wounded by the
Lord of Darkness. But the injury is not fatal; it is only a hindrance.
Rescue is still possible. The wounded man gives no thought to himself;
he thinks only of saving the others who are also in danger. Therefore he
tries with all his strength to save all that can be saved. There is good
fortune in thus acting according to duty.

To be injured in the left thigh means difficulty that weakens and
damages the capacity. Therefore, this gives the idea of losing a factor
for the action of advancing. This implies to have to overcome carrying
out an extraordinary effort.

The strong horse means to receive external support to go on.

Nine in the third place means:

Darkening of the light during the hunt in the south.
Their great leader is captured.
One must not expect perseverance too soon.

It seems as if chance were at work. While the strong, loyal man is
striving eagerly and in good faith to create order, he meets the ringleader
of the disorder, as if by accident, and seizes him. Thus victory is
achieved. But in abolishing abuses one must not be too hasty. This would
turn out badly because the abuses have been in existence so long.

The path is not clear, but one is constantly searching a way to solve the
problems. The southern hunt means to go forward to eliminate the
source of darkness ("the great leader"). The south was placed at the top
of the maps in ancient China, thus to hunt in the south means to hunt the
Lord of Darkness (sixth yin).

To rectify the situation one must not be too hasty because people were
misleading for long time, and they must be corrected gradually.

Six in the fourth place means:

He penetrates the left side of the belly.
One gets at the very heart of the darkening of the light,
And leaves gate and courtyard.

We find ourselves close to the commander of darkness and so discover
his most secret thoughts. In this way we realize that there is no longer
any hope of improvement, and thus we are enabled to leave the scene of
disaster before the storm breaks.

This means to enter in the matter, to go towards the root, to want to
arrive until the bottom of the matter, with the result that he arrives to the
heart of darkness, that is to say, to the center of the question. To arrive
to the heart of darkness represents to have arrived at the end, to the
place where is possible to know everything.

Once well known the truth, there is nothing else to do there, in the
darkness. To leave the gate and the courtyard also means to overcome
stage, expectations already fulfilled, and the right moment for leaving
the dangerous place.

Six in the fifth place means:

Darkening of the light as with Prince Chi.
Perseverance furthers.

Prince Chi lived at the court of the evil tyrant Chou Hsin, who, although
not mentioned by name, furnished the historical example on which this
whole situation is based. Prince Chi was a relative of the tyrant and could
not withdraw from the court; therefore he concealed his true sentiments
and feigned insanity. Although he was held a slave, he did not allow
external misery to deflect him from his convictions.

This provides a teaching for those who cannot leave their posts in times
of darkness. In order to escape danger, they need invincible perseverance
of spirit and redoubled caution in their dealings with the world.

In times of danger, in moments when it is not opportune to let the others
know the own ideas, one should abstain from exposing what one thinks.
It is better to conceal the brightness underneath a dull aspect than
arousing suspicion. But one should not abandon its ideals, because
being steadfast and upright that splendor won't be annihilated.

Six at the top means:

Not light but darkness.
First he climbed up to heaven,
Then plunged into the depths of the earth.

Here the climax of the darkening is reached. The dark power at first held
so high a place that it could wound all who were on the side of good and
of the light. But in the end it perishes of its own darkness, for evil must
itself fall at the very moment when it has wholly overcome the good, and
thus consumed the energy to which it owed its duration.

Full darkness means total lack of vision and resources to emerge from
the current situation, impossibility for finding an exit. This situation is
reached because what should have been made was not made.

To climb up to heaven is the symbol of having had the great opportunity
that was wasted by lack of greatness. This means that the entire
splendor got lost because of a wrong handling, meanness and personal
machinations. To fall into the depth of earth is to fall for the own weight
of the bad action.