The Book of Changes

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Chi Chi / After Completion Already Fording

This hexagram is the evolution of T'ai PEACE (11). The
transition from confusion to order is completed, and
everything is in its proper place even in particulars. The
strong lines are in the strong places, the weak lines in the
weak places. This is a very favorable outlook, yet it gives
reason for thought.

For it is just when perfect equilibrium
has been reached that any movement may cause order to
revert to disorder. The one strong line that has moved to the
top, thus effecting complete order in details, is followed by
the other lines. Each moving according to its nature, and thus
suddenly there arises again the hexagram P'i, STANDSTILL

Hence the present hexagram indicates the conditions of a
time of climax, which necessitate the utmost caution.

"In dealing with this lineal figure, king Wên was thinking of
the condition of the kingdom, at length at rest and quiet. The
vessel of the state has been brought safely across the great
and dangerous stream.

The distresses of the kingdom have
been relieved, and its disorders have been repressed.
Does anything remain to be done still? Yes, in small things.
The new government has to be consolidated. Its ruler must,
without noise or clamour, go on the perfect what has been
wrought, with firmness and correctness, and ever keeping in
mind the instability of all human affairs. That every line of
the hexagram is in its correct place, and has its proper
correlate is also supposed to harmonize with the intimation
of progress and success." James Legee translation.


AFTER COMPLETION. Success in small matters.
Perseverance furthers.
At the beginning good fortune.
At the end disorder.

The transition from the old to the new time is already accomplished. In
principle, everything stands systematized, and it is only in regard to
details that success is still to be achieved. In respect to this, however, we
must be careful to maintain the right attitude. Everything proceeds as if
of its own accord, and this can all too easily tempt us to relax and let
things take their course without troubling over details. Such indifference
is the root of all evil. Symptoms of decay are bound to be the result.
Here we have the rule indicating the usual course of history. But this rule
is not an inescapable law. He who understands it is in position to avoid
its effects by dint of unremitting perseverance and caution.

This means that what has been made should be accompanied until
achieving stabilization. This is a warning not to neglect what has been
summed up.


Water over fire: the image of the condition
Thus the superior man
Takes thought of misfortune
And arms himself against it in advance.

When water in a kettle hangs over fire, the two elements stand in relation
and thus generate energy (cf. the production of steam). But the resulting
tension demands caution. If the water boils over, the fire is extinguished
and its energy is lost. If the heat is too great, the water evaporates into
the air. These elements here brought into relation and thus generating
energy are by nature hostile to each other. Only the most extreme
caution can prevent damage. In life too there are junctures when all
forces are in balance and work in harmony, so that everything seems to
be in the best of order. In such times only the sage recognizes the
moments that bode danger and knows how to banish it by means of
timely precautions.

As a boiling caldron must be tended with care to obtain proper results,
thus in this time all the involved people must take care to preserve the
achievement from declination.


Nine at the beginning means:

He breaks his wheels.
He gets his tail in the water.
No blame.

In times following a great transition, everything is pressing forward,
striving in the direction of development and progress. But this pressing
forward at the beginning is not good; it overshoots the mark and leads
with certainty to loss and collapse. Therefore a man of strong character
does not allow himself to be infected by the general intoxication but
checks his course in time. He may indeed not remain altogether
untouched by the disastrous consequences of the general pressure, but
he is hit only from behind like a fox that, having crossed the water, at the
last minute gets its tail wet. He will not suffer any real harm, because his
behavior has been correct.

This means to contain the advance, not pressing forward for more
achievements. It is time to stop, not to continue, because there are
things to repair and to put in order before.

Wheels are the means to move, thus here there are an additional mean
of insufficient power or damaged means.

Six in the second place means:

The woman loses the curtain of her carriage.
Do not run after it;
On the seventh day you will get it.

When a woman drove out in her carriage, she had a curtain that hid her
from the glances of the curious. It was regarded as a breach of propriety
to drive on if this curtain was lost. Applied to public life, this means that
a man who wants to achieve something is not receiving that confidence
of the authorities which he needs, so to speak, for his personal
protection. Especially in times "after completion" it may happen that
those who have come to power grow arrogant and conceited and no
longer trouble themselves about fostering new talent.

This as a rule results in office seeking. If a man's superiors withhold
their trust from him, he will seek ways and means of getting it and of
drawing attention to himself. We are warned against such an unworthy
procedure: "Do not seek it." Do not throw yourself away on the world,
but wait tranquilly and develop your personal worth by your own efforts.
Times change. When the six stages of the hexagram have passed, the new
era dawns. That which is a man's own cannot be permanently lost. It
comes to him of its own accord. He need only be able to wait.

The carriage represents what goes in course, what is on the road. The
woman, a yin element, here is a symbol of weakness act. The curtain
that gets lost means to be exposed, to attract attention. The seven days
represent a cycle in which everything will be gradually ready for one.
The woman who loses the curtain of her carriage also means anxiety,
little patience, to want to stand out quickly. But the own time should be
awaited because the conditions will be given seven days later.

Nine in the third place means:

The Illustrious Ancestor
Disciplines the Devil's Country.
After three years he conquers it.
Inferior people must not be employed.

"Illustrious Ancestor" is the dynastic title of the Emperor Wu Ting of the
Yin dynasty. After putting his realm in order with a strong hand, he waged
long colonial wars for the subjection of the Huns who occupied the
northern borderland with constant threat of incursions.

The situation described is as follows. After times of completion, when a
new power has arisen and everything within the country has been set in
order, a period of colonial expansion almost inevitably follows. Then as
a rule long drawn-out struggles must be reckoned with. For this reason, a
correct colonial policy is especially important. The territory won at such
bitter cost must not be regarded as an almshouse for people who in one
way or another have made themselves impossible at home, but who are
thought to be quite good enough for the colonies. Such a policy ruins at
the outset any chance of success. This holds true in small as well as large
matters, because it is not only rising states that carry on a colonial
policy; the urge to expand, with its accompanying dangers, is part and
parcel of every ambitious undertaking.

This line illustrates a hard and expensive enterprise. The three years
symbolizes one period, a cycle of long disputes. The triumph can be
achieved, but not without high costs ("He was exhausted", says
Confucius). This stabilization time should be consolidated with capacity
without leaving room for low or mediocre attitudes that can make lose
the great effort.

Six in the fourth place means:

The finest clothes turn to rags.
Be careful all day long.

In a time of flowering culture, an occasional convulsion is bound to
occur, uncovering a hidden evil within society and at first causing a great
sensation. But since the situation is favorable on the whole, such evils
can easily be glossed over and concealed from the public. Then
everything is forgotten and peace apparently reigns complacently once
more. However, to the thoughtful man, such occurrences are grave
omens that he does not neglect. This is the only way of averting evil

This line can be read in two different ways. In some versions, the
heading in the following way is expressed: "the most beautiful clothes
become rags." In other, the line says: "somebody that uses rags to
cover the hole of its boat." Both cases introduce the idea of the rags like
significant axis in common. The most beautiful clothes become rags
refers to a disappointment which has been in evidence and it is not
really like it is presented. That somebody uses rags to cover the hole of
its boat refers to the fact of not really using what it is necessary to use to
correct an inconvenience, but rather something which is just used;
although it serves as substitute, it is not reliable nor it guarantees and
that, besides engendering risk, can unchain a fatality, mainly because
the idea of the hole in the boat gives a sinking image; that is to say, it is
a patch without bringing no poise. With the result that it should be
vigilant, because it is neither something resistant nor lasting. Both
readings seem to be two sequences of only one plot, since somebody
who uses rags to cover the hole of its boat would be the first phase,
when reality hides and nobody knows the truth about what is really going
on. On the other hand, the most beautiful clothes become rags would be
the second phase, when things are known; for that reason, they lose
their appearance and they are shown as they are. In the first phase the
rags hide and, later, they leave to the light of their own nature. The rags
represent what is worn out, which no longer serves the obsolete and
mediocre thing.

Nine in the fifth place means:

The neighbor in the east who slaughters an ox
Does not attain as much real happiness
As the neighbor in the west
With his small offering.

Religious attitudes are likewise influenced by the spiritual atmosphere
prevailing in times after completion. In divine worship the simple old
forms are replaced by an ever more elaborate ritual and an ever greater
outward display. But inner seriousness is lacking in this show of
magnificence; human caprice takes the place of conscientious obedience
to the divine will. However, while man sees what is before his eyes, God
looks into the heart. Therefore a simple sacrifice offered with real piety
holds a greater blessing than an impressive service without warmth.

This means that the positive effect is not achieved with mere
appearances, but by force of will doing as much as possible. Also, the
allusion to the east and the west of both fellows has the meaning of
opposed attitudes (usually the eastern neighbor is identified with the
brutal Tyrant of Shang, but the western neighbor with king Wên).

Six at the top means:

He gets his head in the water. Danger.

Here in conclusion another warning is added. After crossing a stream, a
man's head can get into the water only if he is so imprudent as to turn
back. As long as he goes forward and does not look back, he escapes this
danger. But there is a fascination in standing still and looking back on a
peril overcome. However, such vain self-admiration brings misfortune. It
leads only to danger, and unless one finally resolves to go forward
without pausing, one falls a victim to this danger.

Here it refers to the fact of not ending up a voyage, with the result that it
is spoken of somebody with the water covering him up to the head. The
water covering his head means not to be up to the circumstance, not to
be able to culminate what has been started. It also indicates negligence
and suffocating situation.