The 45th Hexagram - CUI, Gathering

The texts and notes below are those of the Transliteration reading contained in the san shan software.

The 45th hexagram contains object lessons and advice for those who find themselves in a time of "gathering". CUI addresses any situation where people are being drawn together, or where the individual is preparing to focus his or her energies on a task. Actually, it is precisely this focus and attention that is the subject of the hexagram. Who or what are we focussing on? Is it worth our attention? Are we approaching the centre or being sidetracked by minor or inimical agencies? Are we centered enough to carry our plan through? Are we relying on the right people?

If nothing else, CUI cautions against entering lightly on any action without proper preparation and regard for the consequences. It is as true today as it was in Bronze Age China, that once the ball is rolling, no matter how much in control we feel we are at the beginning, we can be left at the mercy of events.

On the Structure of the hexagram

In this hexagram two strong YANG lines, one in the fourth place, that of the minister or helper, and one in the fifth place, or that of the ruler, stand in the middle of a group of YIN lines. The effect of this is that the YANGs, the able ruler assisted by his able minister, bring about a time of gathering together. Both in its form and in its overall meaning, this hexagram is closely related to the hexagram BI, Uniting, [KW08], where a single strong line in the fifth place finds itself in the midst of five YINs and collects them about it. Because here in CUI there are two such YANGs, the concept and movement of gathering together is implied with even more force. In addition, whilst in BI we have water (the trigram KAN) collecting over the earth (the trigram KUN), here we have a lake (the trigram DUI) collecting over the earth (the trigram KUN). Thus once again the idea of amassing and gathering is stronger and more powerful. The rulers of the hexagram are in fact these two YANGs in the fourth and in the fifth places, which gather all the YINs around them.

The upper trigram is Dui, the lake, joyousness, and the lower trigram is Kun, the earth, the masses. In this hexagram a lake is over the earth: as a lake is a place where water collects, the idea of gathering together is very strongly expressed, much more so than in the hexagram BI, Uniting, [KW08]. In this case we have two strong lines which bring about the gathering together, whereas in the latter case, there is only one strong line. The attributes of the trigrams suggest gathering, and the gathering crystallizes around the nine in the fifth place. This nine in the fifth place is the king, or the great man whom it is favourable to see. He stands on the mountain (the lower nuclear trigram is Ken, mountain or house) in the temple (house). This is the place to which offerings or sacrifices are brought. The upper nuclear trigram is Xun, the influence of what is above, which ensures that what is begun will meet with success. The mountain also indicates perseverance. The ruler is joyous and the people are therefore devoted.

The inverted hexagram is SHENG, Climbing, [KW46]. The opposite hexagram is WU WANG, Without Compromising, [KW26]. The exchanged hexagram is LIN, Nearing, [KW19]. The nuclear hexagram is JIAN, Developing, [KW53].

tuan (judgement)

gathering success . king supposing having temple . beneficial seeing great man . success . beneficial steadfast(ness) . employing great animal-sacrifice good-fortune . beneficial having undertaking going .

In order to be able to bring others together in the time of gathering that is presaged by this hexagram, this leader must first of all be collected within himself. He must be centred. The harmony of any group or gathering depends upon the strength of the person at its centre: a weak centre is surrounded by discord; a strong centre radiates outward and forms what is around it into a harmonious group, in much the same way as a star holds planets in their orbits through its gravitational force. What then is the true cohesive force of your association? Is it weak or strong? The centre must be strengthened before any problems can be solved. Therefore observation and contemplation of the centre, the motive force, or the central force of character is the keynote of the hexagram. Now is the time to accumulate the qualities of character which will be necessary for those times when we are in a position of leadership at the centre. Great things can only be accomplished when we have achieved inner stability.

It is essential at a time of amassing and gathering together that there is a focal point around which it takes place, which provides the centre of gravity so that the form of movement of individual bodies is cohesive. If the inner power and mass of any body, whether planetary or that of the human personality, is great enough, then it will attract others around it. In terms of inner development a man first has to collect himself, he has to seek out the focal point within his own soul. Only when the inner personality has been collected does a man have enough weight of personality to gather others around him. Such a man can truly be called a "king". In human societies these gatherings take many forms. In the case of the family, the family members gather around the father who is the head of the family. In the case of a society, the citizens gather around the head of state, who, in a feudal system, is the king. This is why the text speaks of the "king", in that he represents the individual around whose centre of gravity all members of society amass together.

However, being the most powerful member of any group is not enough. Such an individual must also represent, and be seen to represent, something greater, something which endures beyond the physical existence of that individual. He must embody the moral force of the mass of the people within himself in order to inspire their devotion so that they follow him with joy. It is this moral force which endures outside of him and beyond him. This is why the text speaks of the "temple". The temple represents that which is the unifying factor of a group of people which is beyond time, in that it stretches back into the past and forward into the future. It represents the gathering together of a people throughout time, from their remote ancestors to all future generations. In the tribal sense it has certain limitations, but in terms of the common unifying themes of human existence it transcends one time and one place. There are needs and feelings which are common to all human beings, and always have been and always will be. The "great" "man" is called "great", because he finds within himself his own basic humanity and develops it in such a way that his fellow men cannot help but be drawn to him and around him, because he embodies and articulates nothing more than the deepest aspirations of their own selves. What the text means by "seeing" this great man, is that we should seek out one whose advice we trust. This promises "success".

In Shang and Zhou times, the perpetuity of the power of the king and the tribe were ensured by performing sacrifices to the spirits of the ancestors at the temple. The whole tribe would be present at such ceremonies, the focus of whom was the king. and the moral force he represented. Such was the concentration of those watching the rites and the sacrifices that the clan or tribe became indissolubly bound up both in and through the spirits of the ancestors. The text, when it refers to "animal-sacrifice", means on the one hand the offerings given up to the sprits of the ancestors at these ceremonies, but on the other hand it also means how we are to relate to our fellow human beings. If we are generous to them at a time of gathering, if these sacrifices are "great", then all will share in the wealth of the time of amassing and this will lead to "good fortune".

At such times of unification, it is possible to accomplish great things, and this is why the text states that it will be "beneficial" to "have" an "undertaking" or a direction in which to "go".

first six . having sincerity not ending . because-of disorder because-of gathering . as weeping one hand committing laughing . no worrying . going without error .

This YIN is weak in a firm place and it is therefore not correct. Whilst there is a relationship of correspondence with the fourth YANG, it is connected even more strongly with the second and third YINs.

The subject of this line is as one of the great mass who, at such a time as is presaged by this hexagram, feels himself drawn (by correspondence) to the leader (the fourth YANG) who is amassing together his followers, and proving himself to be the lodestar for the group. The subject of this line is therefore described as having “sincerity”, that is to say, a strong and natural desire or impulse to join with the great one. However, the mass in which one finds oneself (represented by the trigram KUN, and its three YINs) also possesses its own inherent centre of gravity, and so one is also drawn to this. Therefore the texts states "not" "ending", because the desired end of reaching the leader or central point is not reached.

This of course creates confusion ("disorder"), as members of the group come together ("gathering") and then disperse again. In this group of fellows at this moment in time there is no central point to gather around. Understandably, there is also a certain amount of anguish ("weeping"). What one has to do is give voice to this need and then the leader will stretch out his arm ("hand" "committing") in order to help, in order to pull us up into his sphere. This will of course give rise to cause for celebration or, as the text puts it, "laughter". Because this is in harmony with the time, we do not need to concern ourselves about whether or not we are doing the right thing, and therefore the text says "no" "worrying". When the text states that "going" is "without" "error", it means that to attach oneself to such a leader is right in every sense.

six two . prolonging good-fortune without error . sincerity because-of beneficial employing small-offering .

This YIN is weak in a yielding place and therefore it is correct. Furthermore it is central and has the relationship of correspondence with the fifth YANG, which is the ruler of the hexagram.

The subject of this line is moved by a strong inner compulsion to attach himself to one with whom he inwardly belongs. In contrast with the first YIN, where there is a very strong warning, here for the second YIN, the warning is very slight and subtle. Because of the centrality of the line it will not allow itself to deviate from its true path of joining with its fellow, but nevertheless, because there is always the possibility of falling by the way, the text speaks of the necessity of remaining "without" "error". However, allowing oneself to be drawn like this brings "good fortune", because by remaining open and receptive, the influence of the great prince in the fifth place can be felt, even though he is remote ("prolonging") and even though one is surrounded by YINs. Another suggestion is that in order to perpetuate the good fortune, it is necessary to ensure that one's actions are blameless ("without" "error"). Furthermore, what counts above all else is "sincerity", the inner truth of the heart; if one possesses this, then even the smallest offering will suffice in order to make clear the intentions to the spirits. What is more "beneficial" than anything is to have sincerity, for then no outer embellishment is necessary.

In connection with "small-offering", see the second line of SHENG, Climbing, [KW46], and the fifth line of JI JI, Not-yet Crossing, [KW63], where a similar idea is expressed.

six three . gathering in-this-way bewailing in-this-way . without undertaking beneficial . going without error . small shame .

This YIN is weak in a firm place and is therefore not correct. Moreover, there is no relationship of correspondence.

The subject of this line wants to gather together with those around him, for that is the tendency of the moment, as is presaged by the hexagram. However, the second YIN will have nothing to do with him for it has a strong relationship with the fifth YANG, and the fourth YANG will have nothing to do with him either. Because neither those above nor those below will associate with them, they get nowhere, which is why the text states that nothing is beneficial ("without" "undertaking" "beneficial"). It seems that everyone around us has already formed their alliances. This situation is extremely distressing ("bewailing"), because we seem to be rejected by one and all. When the text says that "going" is "without" "error", what it means is that we should strive to join with the one who is at the centre of the group (the fifth YANG). The only way we may be able to do this is by forming a relationship with one who stands near to him (the top YIN). Although it may be slightly humiliating ("small" "shame") because we are still regarded initially as an outsider, it is not really a mistake because it is the only way to bring about a gathering together.

nine four . great good-fortune without error .

This YANG is strong in a yielding place and therefore it is not correct.

The subject of this line is one who strives to bring about a general unity is his sphere of influence. However, like the good minister working on behalf of his prince, he is doing this not for his own personal aggrandizement or accumulation of wealth, but in order to increase general prosperity. The reason the text states that this is "without" "error" is because the position of the line is not correct. Normally this would be a cause of some regret because one's attitude and actions would be similarly questionable. Because of the overall considerations of the time of the hexagram, however, it is fortune or Fate itself which allows the subject to act in such a selfless way. This is why the text states not simply "good-fortune", but "great" good fortune. An interpretation could therefore be “fortune is on your side and so you remain faultless”.

nine five . gathering having status . without error emphatically-not sincerity . sublime perpetuating steadfast(ness) . remorse disappearing .

This YANG is strong in a firm place and it is therefore correct. Furthermore, it is central.

At such a time as is presaged by this hexagram, people will spontaneously gather around a man who possesses the innate qualities which lend gravity to his personality. The subject of this line is such a one whose inner development and position within his sphere draw others to him. This is what the text means when it says that one "has" "status". Occupying this position he finds that he has a certain amount of influence which he can use to the advantage of all. However, it is vitally important that in such a position one constantly reflects on the quality of this basis, so as to maintain its stability and correctness. If one does this, then one can perpetuate one’s position in the right way, and any occasion there may be for regret will vanish. This is the reason the text includes the statement "without" "error".

For a man in such a position at such a time as this, there is the danger that there will be those who are drawn to him not because of their commitment to him or his work, but solely because of the influential position he holds. These people would like to use their relationship with him to gain influence for themselves or to advance themselves in other selfish ways. These people are referred to in the text with the words "emphatically-not" "sincerity". How is the man of qualities to conduct himself with such people? It is necessary to be "steadfast", so that firstly one is not diverted from one’s position and indulges also in unseemly behaviour. It would be tempting, as one sees one’s position being exploited by others for their own selfish ends, to leave the correct way in order to combat their influence in the situation. Secondly, only by continuing to adhere to what is correct, can one hope to so influence these others that they change their ways and relate correctly both to oneself and to the time. To accomplish this, one needs not only steadfastness, but "sublime" steadfastness which has the additional property of being able to endure ("perpetuating"). Only if one’s steadfastness is able to endure, that is to say, it reflects values which are enduring, will all occasions for regrets and remorse disappear ("remorse" "disappearing"). This is because one will not behave in such a way which gives cause for later remorse. Only through such devotion to what is good will the secret and inner lack of trust displayed by these people be transformed into a healthy relatedness.

above six . homage sighing tear mucus . without error .

This YIN is weak in a yielding place and it is therefore correct. Furthermore, it holds together with the fifth YANG. There is however, no relationship of correspondence with the third YIN.

The subject of this line, in keeping with the trends depicted in the general situation, would like to join together with another who is greater than he. In respect of this he has prepared his tribute ("homage"). This is altogether good, but unfortunately these intentions are misunderstood (there is no correspondence with the third YIN). This is course is an occasion for sadness, and accordingly the text states that there is "sighing", "tears" and "mucus". The situation therefore is that by being true to oneself and to the greater and good values one represents, one finds oneself isolated and solitary. Although this causes great sadness, it is altogether the right thing to do. Only by maintaining inner rectitude can that which one desires come to pass, for it enables the true companion to come. It may transpire that the other person revises his first misunderstandings and sees us in a truer light. Or it may be that another who was at first unknown to us arrives and fulfils our hopes. This is why the text states that this is "without" "error", because what was at first a lamentable situation turns out well in the end. Through this line’s relationship of holding together with the fifth YANG (the "great" "man" mentioned in the text of the overall judgement), this happy turn of events comes to pass. Thus, the joining together is achieved.

xuan (Greater Image text)

above lake with-reference-to earth . gathering . noble son using eradicating weaponry instrument . alerting not vigilance .

The lower trigram is KUN, the Earth, which spreads out expansively in all directions, representing the broad mass, the common man, the multitude, the field. The earth spreads in all directions without limit, carrying and supporting all things. The upper trigram is DUI, the Lake, the still and vast body of water, together with its evaporative moisture, whose attribute is depth and joy. Within the depths of the placid Lake move the regenerative and cumulative powers of rest and recuperation. Progressive accumulation or "gathering" of water within the lake leads to the water rising above the earth, such as we have here. Although the earth is vast, when the waters of the lake rise too high, even earth cannot contain it. There is then the danger that the water will break through the dike, overflow and cause destruction.

What is the precept here for the "noble" "son"? The developed man understands that where men gather together in great numbers, there is also the likelihood of conflict and destruction. Just as great masses of water flowing over the earth cause great damage, so too can large numbers of people. And within large groups of people deep and unconscious emotions can come to the fore with destructive consequences. Furthermore, the developed man understands the subtle links between gathering and dispersion, he knows that things come together in order that they may move apart, and that all accumulation is followed by loss. Knowing this, the developed man is able to take precautions in advance, he is as it were, fore-armed. His knowledge is like a weapon ("weaponry") or an "instrument" which he can use to "eradicate" the danger of loss. A further meaning is that he is constantly renewing ("eradicating") his weapons: even though all around him might be proceeding well, he continues to arm himself against misfortune. Whilst others might continue to accumulate and pay no heed of eventual loss, the developed man is constantly ready to defend himself against robbers.

Being fore-armed he is thus forewarned. Because of his superior understanding of the nature of accumulation and loss, he always possesses presence of mind. Because he is always prepared for ("alerting") the unforeseen ("not" "vigilance"), he is always autonomous and independent. In this way he is able to rise above the purely mundane, and ensure that he is not damaged by considerations such as gain and loss.


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