I CHING

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I CHING


I CHING

22
Pi / Grace Adorning

This hexagram shows a fire that breaks out of the secret depths of the earth and, blazing up,
illuminates and beautifies the mountain, the heavenly heights. Grace-beauty of form-is
necessary in any union if it is to be well ordered and pleasing rather than disordered and
chaotic.





 

THE JUDGMENT

GRACE has success.
In small matters
It is favorable to undertake something.

Grace brings success. However, it is not the essential or fundamental thing; it is only the ornament and
therefore be used sparingly and only in little things. In the lower trigram of fire a yielding line comes
between two strong lines and makes them beautiful, but the strong lines are the essential content and the
weak line is the beautifying form. In the upper trigram of the mountain, the strong line takes the lead, so
that here again the strong element must be regarded as the decisive factor.

In nature we see in the sky the
strong light of the sun; the life of the world depends on it. But this strong, essential thing is changed and
given pleasing variety by the moon and the stars. In human affairs, aesthetic form comes into being when
traditions exist that, strong and abiding like mountains, are made pleasing by a lucid beauty. By
contemplating the forms existing in the heavens we come to understand time and its changing demands.
Through contemplation of the forms existing in human society it becomes possible to shape the world.(1)

 

 

The social etiquette norms are useful to fit the people behavior for the benefit of the common good. Thus
the grace helps to keep the social order.

THE IMAGE

Fire at the foot of the mountain:
The image of GRACE.
Thus does the superior man proceed
When clearing up current affairs.
But he dare not decide controversial issues in this way.

The fire, whose light illuminates the mountain and makes it pleasing, does not shine far; in the same way,
beautiful form suffices to brighten and to throw light upon matters of lesser moment, but important
questions cannot be decided in this way. They require greater earnestness.

The fire in the base of the mountain means to show, to highlight. It is by the enlightenment provided by
the grace that the sage shapes the behavior of people. Of course, such approach is useful only to handle
small matters. Controversial or hard issues can't be managed this way.

THE LINES

Nine at the beginning means:

He lends grace to his toes, leaves the carriage, and walks.

A beginner in subordinate place must take upon himself the labor of advancing. There might be an
opportunity of surreptitiously easing the way --symbolized by the carriage-- but a self-contained man
scorns help gained in a dubious fashion. He thinks it more graceful to go on foot than to drive in a
carriage under false pretenses.

To leave the carriage means that it has changed a way to behave for another. To ornament the toe
means to give place to the own initiative, to go for oneself, for that reason, he leaves the carriage, that is
to say, it is being taken no more. To abandon the carriage means to sacrifice certain things for other. But
there are circumstances in which it is unavoidable and necessary to take this kind of attitude, with the
result that it is their duty not to move in carriage (in ancient China common people wouldn't ride in a
carriage). To ornament their toes refers to use the own means and, in consequence, to appeal to the own
capacity. To leave the carriage means to avoid dependencies and commitment. To ornament their toes
implies to value the own steps.

Six in the second place means:

Lends grace to the beard on his chin.
The beard is not an independent thing; it moves only with the chin. The image therefore means that form is
to be considered only as a result and attribute of content. The beard is a superfluous ornament. To devote
care to it for its own sake, without regard for the inner content of which it is an ornament, would bespeak
a certain vanity.

To ornament their beard refers to adjust to certain rules or codes that are required to frequent certain
circles or to have to meet somebody who is in a higher position. This is a decorative line, but without
individual importance, as it is fully depending on third yang.

Nine in the third place means:

Graceful and moist.
Constant perseverance brings good fortune.

This represents a very charming life situation. One is under the spell of grace and the mellow mood
induced by wine. This grace can adorn, but it can also swamp us. Hence the warning not to sink into
convivial indolence but to remain constant in perseverance. Good fortune depends on this.

This person has a very elegant and comfortable way of life. However, it is so good to be real, he ought to
keep his constancy to avoid to be submerged in such charming environment. This means that, if he does
not lose his virtue because of comfort or luxury, he will continue being rich inwardly.

Six in the fourth place means:

Grace or simplicity?
A white horse comes as if on wings.
He is not a robber,
He will woo at the right time.

An individual is in a situation in which doubts arise as to which is better-to pursue the grace of external
brilliance, or to return to simplicity. The doubt itself implies the answer. Confirmation comes from the
outside; it comes like a white winged horse. The white color indicates simplicity. At first it may be
disappointing to renounce the comforts that might have been obtained, yet one finds peace of mind in a
true relationship with the friend who courts him. The winged horse is the symbol of the thoughts that
transcend all limits of space and time.

This is a state of indecision between following different influences. Close and powerful neighbors want to
draw this person to their elegant circle, arousing distrust and fear. But his sincere wish is to join with more
spiritual circles, even if he loses some comfort.

If he retains his inner sincerity, when the correct time comes, the obstructions and fear will disappear.
Anyway, at the end, he won't make errors.

Six in the fifth place means:

Grace in the hills and gardens.
The roll of silk is meager and small.
Humiliation, but in the end good fortune.

A man withdraws from contact with people of the lowlands, who seek nothing but magnificence and
luxury, in to the solitude of the heights. There he finds an individual to look up to, whom he would like to
have as a friend. But the gifts he has to offer are poor and few, so that he feels ashamed. However, it is not
the material gifts that count, but sincerity of feeling, and so all goes well in the end.

This has to do with leaving aside the preconceived structures, and to open up sensitively in a more
natural way. The gardens and the hills represent a new world to decipher, for that reason who goes
towards them, takes a small roll of silk. This means that it has been deprived of all material influence and
he has only kept the fair thing.

The small roll of silk represents the little thing that one needs to enter at a more spiritual level; also, the
little thing the fellow is before, with the result he sits down with shame. The small roll of silk also
represents the insignificant thing, which is the material thing before the spiritual thing, and also the
shame. But such a search is positive; therefore, the end is announcing good fortune and happiness.

In another interpretation level, to look for the ornamentation of the gardens and the hills would mean
search of tranquility, to move away from the mundane problems.

Nine at the top means:

Simple grace. No blame.

Here at the highest stage of development all ornament is discarded. Form no longer conceals content but
brings out its value to the full. Perfect grace consists not in exterior ornamentation of the substance, but
in the simple fitness of its form.

This person has reached the maximum degree of authenticity: he takes ornamentation only as simplicity.
He is on the outside as he is inside; he doesn't need postures or appearances.

(1) This hexagram shows tranquil beauty --clarity within, quiet without. This is the tranquility of pure
contemplation. When desire is silenced and the will comes to rest, the world-as-idea becomes manifest.
In this aspect the world is beautiful and removed from the struggle for existence. This is the world of art.
However, contemplation alone will not put the will to rest absolutely. It will awaken again, and then all the
beauty of form will appear to have been only a brief moment of exaltation. Hence this is still not the true
way of redemption. For this reason Confucius felt very uncomfortable when once, on consulting the
oracle, he obtained the hexagram of GRACE.