The Book of Changes

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Fêng / Abundance [Fullness]

Chên is movement; Li is flame, whose attribute is clarity.
Clarity within, movement without --this produces greatness
and abundance. The hexagram pictures a period of advanced
civilization. However, the fact that development has reached
a peak suggests that this extraordinary condition of
abundance cannot be maintained permanently.


ABUNDANCE has success.
The king attains abundance.
Be not sad.
Be like the sun at midday.

It is not given to every mortal to bring about a time of outstanding
greatness and abundance. Only a born ruler of men is able to do it,
because his will is directed to what is great.

Such a time of abundance is
usually brief. Therefore a sage might well feel sad in view of the decline
that must follow. But such sadness does not befit him. Only a man who is
inwardly free of sorrow and care can lead in a time of abundance. He
must be like the sun at midday, illuminating and gladdening everything
under heaven.

The king denotes the personal growth that allows to one to rise over all
things, as the sun does.

Not to be sad means to achieve such a state of abundance that one
must be focused on the work to be done, without leaving room for
insecurities or fears.

The midday sun has several meanings. The sun embraces all things
with its rays, bringing life to them; on the other hand it means that from
the highest point, as the sun, one can watch all things with absolute
clarity. To be as the midday sun also suggests the transience of the
abundance state.


Both thunder and lightning come:
The image of ABUNDANCE.
Thus the superior man decides lawsuits
And carries out punishments.

This hexagram has a certain connection with Shih Ho, BITING
THROUGH (21), in which thunder and lightning similarly appear
together, but in the reverse order. In BITING THROUGH, laws are laid
down; here they are applied and enforced. Clarity (Li) within makes it
possible to investigate the facts exactly, and shock (Chên) without
ensures a strict and precise carrying out of punishments.

The thunder and the lightning together mean power exercised from a
superior and enlightened position. Lawsuits and punishments are the
mean tools to control the inferior men who interfere and dim the light of


Nine at the beginning means:

When a man meets his destined ruler,
They can be together ten days,
And it is not a mistake.
Going meets with recognition.

To bring about a time of abundance, a union of clarity with energetic
movement is needed. Two individuals possessed of these two attributes
are suited to each other, and even if they spend an entire cycle of time
together during the period of abundance, it will not be too long, nor is it
a mistake. Therefore one may go forth, in order to make one's influence
felt; it will meet with recognition.

To meet the destined ruler means that the common likeness between
two persons allows them to stay together for a time, to make a suitable

The ten days mean to share what really summons them and not to abuse
those aspects that are not the axes of attraction because then
bewilderment would take place. The ten days also mean a prudential
time and that beyond sympathy or likeness each thing should be in its

Six in the second place means:

The curtain is of such fullness
That the polestars can be seen at noon.
Through going one meets with mistrust and hate.
If one rouses him through truth,
Good fortune comes.

It often happens that plots and party intrigues, which have the darkening
effect of an eclipse of the sun, come between a ruler intent on great
achievement and the man who could effect great undertakings. Then,
instead of the sun, we see the northern stars in the sky. The ruler is
overshadowed by a party that has usurped power. If a man at such a time
were to try to take energetic measures, he would encounter only mistrust
and envy, which would prohibit all movement. The essential thing then is
to hold inwardly to the power of truth, which in the end is so strong that
it exerts an invisible influence on the ruler, so that all goes well.

To be surrounded of thick curtains means too sectarian environments or
strong and self-willed interest that limits the ruler's capacity of
perception of reality.

Go to influence the king means to break up with such sectarian party, to
remove the bandage of the eyes. This direct approach would be
useless because one's own power isn't enough to break such forces.
Instead, to rouse him with the truth is the only way to influence the ruler;
this is by setting a good example with the own deeds. Then good fortune
will come when the ruler awakes.

Nine in the third place means:

The underbrush is of such abundance
That the small stars can be seen at noon.
He breaks his right arm. No blame.

The image is that of a progressive covering over of the sun. Here the
eclipse reaches totality, therefore even the small stars can be seen at

In the sphere of social relationships, this means that the prince is now so
eclipsed that even the most insignificant persons can push themselves
into the foreground. This makes it impossible for an able man, though he
might be the right hand of the ruler, to undertake anything. It is as though
his arm were broken, but he is not to blame for being thus hindered in

To break his arm in the dimness means that the reining conditions
revoke any intent of overcoming them. This means also to lose certain
power while attempting. However, to try does not imply a mistake
because, this way, one already has the idea of the magnitude of the

Nine in the fourth place means:

The curtain is of such fullness
That the polestars can be seen at noon.
He meets his ruler, who is of like kind.
Good fortune.

Here the darkness is already decreasing, therefore interrelated elements
come together. Here too the complement must be found --the necessary
wisdom to complement joy of action. Then everything will go well. The
complementary factor postulated here is the reverse of the one in the
first line. In the latter, wisdom is to be complemented by energy, while
here energy is complemented by wisdom.

The darkness can be overcome if it is possible to establish a bond with
a similar companion, but complementary to one. Mutual helpfulness is
the great instrument for overcoming misunderstandings and darkness.

Six in the fifth place means:

Lines are coming,
Blessing and fame draw near.
Good fortune.

The ruler is modest and therefore open to the counsel of able men. Thus
he is surrounded by men who suggest to him the lines of action. This
brings blessing, fame, and good fortune to him and all the people.

Coming lines symbolize the arrival of capable men. This means the help
will be efficient, with the result that there will be favors and praises, that
is to say this new current will bring progress, and happiness will come.
Arriving capable men means that things will be good managed.

Six at the top means:

His house is in a state of abundance.
He screens off his family.
He peers through the gate
And no longer perceives anyone.
For three years he sees nothing.

This describes a man who because of his arrogance and obstinacy attains
the opposite of what he strives for. He seeks abundance and splendor for
his dwelling. He wishes at all odds to be master in his house, which so
alienates his family that in the end he finds himself completely isolated.

Here reference is made to the fact of going in a sense that doesn't allow
the integration with other but rather, on the contrary, it makes people
come apart. This is symbolized by somebody who has a splendid
house, but keeps his family hidden.

The three-year without seeing anything mean a necessary transition

To be secluded in a time of abundance means to go against the sense
of the time, thus the misfortune will come.