The Book of Changes

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Hsiao Ch'u / The Taming Power of the Small Little Accumulation

This hexagram means the force of the small --the power of the shadowy-- that restrains,
tames, impedes. A weak line in the fourth place, that of the minister, holds the five strong
lines in check. In the Image it is the wind blowing across the sky. The wind restrains the
clouds, the rising breath of the Creative, and makes them grow dense, but as yet is not strong
enough to turn them to rain.

The hexagram presents a configuration of circumstances in which
a strong element is temporarily held in leash by a weak element. It is only through gentleness
that this can have a successful outcome.


Has success.
Dense clouds, no rain from our western region.


This image refers to the state of affairs in China at the time when King Wên, who came originally from
the west, was in the east at the court of the reigning tyrant Chou Hsin. The moment for action on a large
scale had not yet arrived. King Wên could only keep the tyrant somewhat in check by friendly persuasion.
Hence the image of many clouds, promising moisture and blessing to the land, although as yet no rain
falls. The situation is not unfavorable; there is a prospect of ultimate success, but there are still obstacles
in the way, and we can merely take preparatory measures.



Only through the small means of friendly
persuasion can we exert any influence. The time has not yet come for sweeping measures. However, we
may be able, to a limited extent, to act as a restraining and subduing influence. To carry out our purpose
we need firm determination within and gentleness and adaptability in external relations.

There is no time to carry out big projects, but preliminary works can be done, working in small matters.
Sometimes, to have them resolved will assure the base to further acts, carrying out the final effort and
obtaining, in consequence, the achievement.

For that reason, it is expressed that there are dense clouds,
but no rain yet in the western region. The dense clouds symbolize the partial result of the force exercised
in the small things, it has been able to bring a situation that, although it has not ended up causing a rain,
the conditions are given so and, sooner or later, this will be an unavoidable process. The rain
symbolizes the achievement; the western area represents the objective where this effect should take


The wind drives across heaven:
Thus the superior man
Refines the outward aspect of his nature.

The wind can indeed drive the clouds together in the sky; yet, being nothing but air, without solid body, it
does not produce great or lasting effects. So also an individual, in times when he can produce no great
effect in the outer world, can do nothing except refine the expression of his nature in small ways.

Although there are not means to produce big effects, a capable person meanwhile uses his knowledge to
conserve and improve its image.


Nine at the beginning means:

Return to the way.
How could there be blame in this?
Good fortune.

It lies in the nature of a strong man to press forward. In so doing he encounters obstructions. Therefore he
returns to the way suited to his situation, where he is free to advance or to retreat. In the nature of things
this will bring good fortune, for it is wise and reasonable not to try to obtain anything by force.

It is preferable to go back instead of being exposed to danger. This means self-restraint.

Nine in the second place means:

He allows himself to be drawn into returning.
Good fortune.

One would like to press forward, but before going farther one sees from the example of others like
oneself that this way is blocked. In such a case, if the effort to push forward is not in harmony with the
time, a reasonable and resolute man will not expose himself to a personal rebuff, but will retreat with
others of like mind. This brings good fortune, because he does not needlessly jeopardize himself.

Here reference is made to probable rehearsals that can be practiced with the purpose of trying the
means towards where one wants to be projected. As the results obtained are not promising, but in fact
dangerous, one retreats to its previous path. To be attracted towards the own path also means to realize
the own limitations and the true dimension of the own capacity.

Nine in the third place means:

The spokes burst out of the wagon wheels.
Man and wife roll their eyes.

Here an attempt is made to press forward forcibly, in the consciousness that the obstructing power is
slight. But since, under the circumstances, power actually lies with the weak, this sudden offensive is
doomed to failure. External conditions hinder the advance, just as loss of the wheel spokes stops the
progress of a wagon. We do not yet heed this hint form fate, hence there are annoying arguments like
those of a married couple. Naturally this is not a favorable state of thing, for though the situation may
enable the weaker side to hold its ground, the difficulties are too numerous to permit of a happy result. In
consequence even the strong man cannot so use his power as to exert the right influence on those around
him. He experiences a rebuff where he expected an easy victory, and he thus compromises his dignity.

The wagon with broken wheels symbolizes a project that has stopped. The wagon means the project; its
broken wheels symbolize that it is no longer viable. Also, there is not will of fixing it, nor interest. This is
meant by the man and the woman who do not look at each other. This suggests that their objectives are
different, for that reason they look towards different places. The fact they don't look at themselves
represents also a conflict or indifference as well as lack of communication.

Six in the fourth place means:

If you are sincere, blood vanishes and fear gives way.
No blame.

If one is in the difficult and responsible position of counselor to a powerful man, on should restrain him
in such a way that the threat of actual bloodshed may arise. Nonetheless, the power of disinterested truth
is greater than all theses obstacles. It carries such weight that the end is achieved, and all danger of
bloodshed and all fear disappear.

Here reference is made to the sincerity as a distension factor, and because of this attitude the risk of
spilling blood is avoided. The sincerity means not to hide things which can contribute to confusions and,
in consequence, to untie tragic episodes; for that reason it is enunciated that the danger of spilling blood
is avoided with this attitude.

Nine in the fifth place means:

If you are sincere and loyally attached, you are rich in your neighbor.

Loyalty leads to firm ties because it means that each partner complements the other. In the weaker person
loyalty consists in devotion, in the stronger it consists in trustworthiness. This relation of mutual
reinforcement leads to a true wealth that is all the more apparent because it is not selfishly hoarded but is
shared with friends. Pleasure shared is pleasure doubled.

To share own prosperity only increases it.

Nine at the top means:

The rain comes, there is rest.
This is due to the lasting effect of character.
Perseverance brings the woman into danger.
The moon is nearly full.
If the superior man persists,
Misfortune comes.

Success is at hand. The wind has driven up the rain. A fixed standpoint has been reach. This has come
about through the cumulation of small effects produced by reverence for a superior character. But a
success thus secured bit by bit calls for great caution. It would be a dangerous illusion for anyone to think
he could presume upon it. The female principle, the weak element that has won the victory, should never
persist in vaunting it --that would lead to danger. The dark power in the moon is strongest when the moon
is almost full. When it is full and directly opposite the sun, its waning is inevitable. Under such
circumstances one must be content with what has been achieved. To advance any further, before the
appropriate time has come, would lead to misfortune.

This symbolizes the effect that finally took place by the force of the small thing. A rain that has brought
tranquility represents this.

However, one is in danger of overestimating the real achievement and looking for an even bigger
endeavor that exceeds its own forces; with the result that one is in danger because of its insistence.
Sometimes, success causes certain emotion that does not allow recognizing the appropriate roads to