Kuai / Breakthrough (Resoluteness) Parting
This hexagram signifies on the one hand a breakthrough after
a long accumulation of tension, as a swollen river breaks
through its dikes, or in the manner of a cloudburst. On the
other hand, applied to human conditions, it refers to the time
when inferior people gradually begin to disappear.
influence is on the wane; as a result of resolute action, a
change in conditions occurs, a breakthrough. The hexagram
is linked with the third month (April-May).
BREAKTHROUGH. One must resolutely make the matter known
At the court of the king.
It must be announced truthfully. Danger.
It is necessary to notify one's own city.
It does not further to resort to arms.
It furthers one to undertake something.
Even if only one inferior man is occupying a ruling position in a city, he
is able to oppress superior men. Even a single passion still lurking in the
heart has power to obscure reason. Passion and reason cannot exist side
by side --therefore fight without quarter is necessary if the good is to
In a resolute struggle of the good against evil, there are, however,
definite rules that must not be disregarded, if it is to succeed. First,
resolution must be based on a union of strength and friendliness. Second,
a compromise with evil is not possible; evil must under all
circumstances be openly discredited. Nor must our own passions and
shortcomings be glossed over.
Third, the struggle must not be carried on
directly by force. If evil is branded, it thinks of weapons, and if we do it
the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose in the end because
thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion. Therefore it is
important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons against
the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the sharp
edges of the weapons of evil becomes dulled. For the same reasons we
should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with
them, they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to
make energetic progress in the good.
The breakthrough is a symbol of what could not be contained.
Breakthrough also means to cut off a wicked person from a high place.
To take the case to the court means to expose the risks sincerely, that
is to say to analyze all the potential danger that the situation implies. To
notify the own city means to take conscience, to put on alert, to order the
own circle before acting.
Not to resort to weapons means to avoid unilateral methods. The crisis
must be resolved by common accord at the court, not by brute force. To
undertake something means to face the situation in a direct way, without
In another interpretation level, the elimination of evil forces is a task that
each man must accomplish in his own spirit.
The lake has risen up to heaven:
The image of BREAKTHROUGH.
Thus the superior man
Dispenses riches downward
And refrains from resting on his virtue.
When the water of a lake has risen up to heaven, there is reason to fear a
cloudburst. Taking this as a warning, the superior man forestalls a violent
collapse. If a man were to pile up riches for himself alone, without
considering others, he would certainly experience a collapse. For all
gathering is followed by dispersion. Therefore the superior man begins
to distribute while he is accumulating. In the same way, in developing his
character he takes care not to become hardened in obstinacy but to
remain receptive to impressions by help of strict and continuous
Such a state of crisis, as the exposed in this hexagram, is the result of a
serious misbalance. This is a warning to correct it.
Resting on one's virtue means a selfish attitude, and it will be avoided.
Nine at the beginning means:
Mighty in the forward-striding toes.
When one goes and is not equal to the task,
One makes a mistake.
In times of resolute advance, the beginning is especially difficult. We
feel inspired to press forward but resistance is still strong; therefore we
ought to gauge our own strength and venture only so far as we can go
with certainty of success. To plunge blindly ahead is wrong, because it is
precisely at the beginning that an unexpected setback can have the most
To have mighty toes means to advance with the basic and elementary,
thus it is not made with enough force or it is not up to the situation.
Reality will prevail over the will.
Nine in the second place means:
A cry of alarm. Arms at evening and at night.
Readiness is everything. Resolution is indissolubly bound up with
caution. If an individual is careful and keeps his wits about him, he need
not become excited or alarmed. If he is watchful at all times, even before
danger is present, he is armed when danger approaches and need not be
afraid. The superior man is on his guard against what is not yet in sight
and on the alert for what is not yet within hearing; therefore he dwells in
the midst of difficulties as though they did not exist. If a man develops
his character, people submit to him of their own accord. If reason
triumphs, the passions withdraw of themselves. To be circumspect and
not to forget one's armor is the right way to security.
To be alarmed implies reasons to worry. To put on in guard to the
evening means possible attack and, also, not to be neglected, not to
give opportunity, to make sure.
Nine in the third place means:
To be powerful in the cheekbones
The superior man is firmly resolved.
He walks alone and is caught in the rain.
He is bespattered,
And people murmur against him.
Here we have a man in an ambiguous situation. While all others are
engaged in a resolute fight against all that is inferior, he alone has a
certain relationship with an inferior man. If he were to show strength
outwardly and turn against this man before the time is ripe, he would
only endanger the entire situation, because the inferior man would too
quickly have recourse to countermeasures. The task of the superior man
becomes extremely difficult here. He must be firmly resolved within
himself and, while maintaining association with the inferior man, avoid
any participation in his evilness. He will of course be misjudged. It will
be thought that he belongs to the party of the inferior man. He will be
lonely because no one will understand him. His relations with the
inferior man will sully him in the eyes of the multitude, and they will
turn against him, grumbling. But he can endure this lack of appreciation
and make no mistake, because he remains true to himself.
To be powerful in the cheekbones means a very rigid attitude, which can
originate some conflict with the associates (the other yang lines). On the
other hand, this line has a link with the top yin that will raise some
suspicion between the associates.
To walk alone under the rain and to get soaked means to have to
support some inconveniences by following the own way, but it is the
price that is to be paid to be loyal to one's own essence. To be
bespattered is surely an inconvenience, but it doesn't constitute a
serious problem rather a simple annoyance.
Nine in the fourth place means:
There is no skin on his thighs,
And walking comes hard.
If a man were to let himself be led like a sheep,
Remorse would disappear.
But if these words are heard
They will not be believed.
Here a man is suffering from inner restlessness and cannot abide in his
place. He would like to push forward under any circumstances, but
encounters insuperable obstacles. Thus his situation entails an inner
conflict. This is due to the obstinacy with which he seeks to enforce his
will. If he would desist from this obstinacy, everything would go well.
But this advice, like so much other good counsel, will be ignored. For
obstinacy makes a man unable to hear, for all that he has ears.
The skin symbolizes the sensibility, therefore, to have lost the skin of
the thighs represents the lack of orientation, and thus walking becomes
hard, because the same disorientation does not allow one a sure and
To be led as a sheep means to follow others, to be driven by those who
knows more and, this way, not to be strayed. But, apparently, his attitude
is obstinate, fool, for that reason, no matter how much he hears the
advice he won't believe it.
Nine in the fifth place means:
In dealing with weeds,
Firm resolution is necessary.
Walking in the middle
Remains free of blame.
Weeds always grow back again and are difficult to exterminate. So too
the struggle against an inferior man in a high position demands firm
resolution. One has certain relations with him, hence there is danger that
one may give up the struggle as hopeless. But this must not be. One must
go on resolutely and not allow himself to be deflected from his course.
Only in this way does one remain free of blame.
The weed represents the bad elements; therefore, to cut the weed with
resolution means not to allow them to grow, not to give them the
possibility to advance.
Six at the top means:
In the end misfortune comes.
Victory seems to have been achieved. There remains merely a remnant
of the evil resolutely to be eradicated as the time demands. Everything
looks easy. Just there, however, lies the danger. If we are not on guard,
evil will succeed in escaping by means of concealment, and when it has
eluded us new misfortunes will develop from the remaining seeds, for
evil does not die easily. So too in dealing with the evil in own's own
character, one must go to work with thoroughness. If out of carelessness
anything were to be overlooked, new evil would arise from it.
Here reference is made to the fact that nobody collaborates to
culminate with a certain matter. This means lack of cohesion,
negligence, to abandon what had been determined as objective, thus, at
the end bad fortune will come, because it has been unconcluded what
has been begun.
Other authors, besides Wilhelm, think this line shows the end of the
inferior man, that is rejected by all the others yang lines.