Yi Jing Introduction Table of content – I Ching, the Book of Changes

This famous system of 64 hexagrams plus their commentaries and trans­for­mations is at the root of Chinese thought. Tr. Wilhelm (en, fr).

4. Mêng / Youthful Folly
Kên, Keeping Still
  third son Sky's two strokes trait 1 6      
trait 0 5 K´un, the Receptive
  devoted yielding

Chên, the Arousing
  inciting movement
  first son
Man's two strokes trait 0 4  
K´an, the Abysmal
  second son trait 0 3  
Earth's two strokes trait 1 2  
trait 0 1      

    current       binomial       swap trig.       opposite       flip   X leading master   X constituent master

The Hexagram

Mêng / Youthful Folly

In this hexagram we are reminded of youth and folly in two different ways. The image of the upper trigram, Kên, is the mountain, that of the lower, K'an, is water; the spring rising at the foot of the mountain is the image of inexperienced youth. Keeping still is the attribute of the upper trigram; that of the lower is the abyss, danger. Stopping in perplexity on the brink of a dangerous abyss is a symbol of the folly of youth. However, the two trigrams also show the way of overcoming the follies of youth. Water is something that of necessity flows on. When the spring gushes forth, it does not know at first where it will go. But its steady flow fills up the deep place blocking its progress, and success is attained.

The Judgment

YOUTHFUL FOLLY has success.
It is not I who seek the young fool;
The young fool seeks me.
At the first oracle I inform him.
If he asks two or three times, it is importunity.
If he importunes, I give him no information.
Perseverance furthers.

In the time of youth, folly is not an evil. One may succeed in spite of it, provided one finds an experienced teacher and has the right attitude toward him. This means, first of all, that the youth himself must be conscious of his lack of experience and must seek out the teacher. Without this modesty and this interest there is no guarantee that he has the necessary receptivity, which should express itself in respectful acceptance of the teacher. This is the reason why the teacher must wait to be sought out instead of offering himself. Only thus can the instruction take place at the right time and in the right way.

A teacher's answer to the question of a pupil ought to be clear and definite like that expected from an oracle; thereupon it ought to be accepted as a key for resolution of doubts and a basis for decision. If mistrustful or unintelligent questioning is kept up, it serves only to annoy the teacher. He does well to ignore it in silence, just as the oracle gives one answer only and refuses to be tempted by questions implying doubt.

Given addition a perseverance that never slackens until the points are mastered one by one, real success is sure to follow. Thus the hexagram counsels the teacher as well as the pupil.

The Image

A spring wells up at the foot of the mountain:
The image of YOUTH.
Thus the superior man fosters his character
By thoroughness in all that he does.

A spring succeeds in flowing on and escapes stagnation by filling up all the hollow places in its path. In the same way character is developed by thoroughness that skips nothing but, like water, gradually and steadily fills up all gaps and so flows onward.

Lower line

Six at the beginning means:
To make a fool develop
It furthers one to apply discipline.
The fetters should be removed.
To go on in this way bring humiliation.

Law is the beginning of education. Youth in its inexperience is inclined at first to take everything carelessly and playfully. It must be shown the seriousness of life. A certain measure of taking oneself in hand, brought about by strict discipline, is a good thing. He who plays with life never amounts to anything. However, discipline should not degenerate into drill. Continuous drill has a humiliating effect and cripples a man's powers.

Second line

° Nine in the second place means:
To bear with fools in kindliness brings good fortune.
To know how to take women
Brings good fortune.
The son is capable of taking charge of the household.

These lines picture a man who has no external power, but who has enough strength of mind to bear his burden of responsibility. He has the inner superiority and that enable him to tolerate with kindliness the shortcomings of human folly. The same attitude is owed to women as the weaker sex. One must understand them and give them recognition in a spirit of chivalrous consideration. Only this combination of inner strength with outer reserve enables one to take on the responsibility of directing a larger social body with real success.

Third line

Six in the third place means:
Take not a maiden who, when she sees a man of bronze,
Loses possession of herself.
Nothing furthers.

A weak, inexperienced man, struggling to rise, easily loses his own individuality when he slavishly imitates a strong personality of higher station. He is like a girl throwing herself away when she meets a strong man. Such a servile approach should not be encouraged, because it is bad both for the youth and the teacher. A girl owes it to her dignity to wait until she is wooed. In both cases it is undignified to offer oneself, and no good comes of accepting such an offer.

Fourth line

Six in the fourth place means:
Entangled folly bring humiliation.

For youthful folly it is the most hopeless thing to entangle itself in empty imaginings. The more obstinately it clings to such unreal fantasies, the more certainly will humiliation overtake it.

Often the teacher, when confronted with such entangled folly, has no other course but to leave the fool to himself for a time, not sparing him the humiliation that results. This is frequently the only means of rescue.

Fifth line

° Six in the fifth place means:
Childlike folly brings good fortune.

An inexperienced person who seeks instruction in a childlike and unassuming way is on the right path, for the man devoid of arrogance who subordinated himself to his teacher will certainly be helped.

Upper line

Nine at the top means:
In punishing folly
It does not further one
To commit transgressions.
The only thing that furthers
Is to prevent transgressions.

Sometimes an incorrigible fool must be punished. He who will not heed will be made to feel. This punishment is quite different from a preliminary shaking up. But the penalty should not be imposed in anger; it must be restricted to an objective guarding against unjustified excesses. Punishment is never an end in itself but serves merely to restore order.

This applies not only in regard to education but also in regard to the measures taken by a government against a populace guilty of transgressions. Governmental interference should always be merely preventive and should have as its sole aim the establishment of public security and peace.

Une suggestion pour les personnes qui écrivent dans les commentaires : plutôt que d'écrire des choses incompréhensibles vous pourriez plutôt, par exemple : 1) ajouter un texte ou un proverbe qui illustre bien l'hexagramme ou qui va dans le même sens. 2) Enoncer la question que vous avez posée à l'oracle et comment vous avez reçu la réponse. 3) Ajouter un commentaire explicatif qui complète la réponse : une histoire vécue qui illustre la portée de l'hexagramme. A vous. Merci.
Tao-In – 9 – 2009/12/01
Une suggestion pour les personnes qui écrivent dans les commentaires : plutôt que d'écrire des choses incompréhensibles vous pourriez plutôt, par exemple : 1) ajouter un texte ou un proverbe qui illustre bien l'hexagramme ou qui va dans le même sens. 2) Enoncer la question que vous avez posée à l'oracle et comment vous avez reçu la réponse. 3) Ajouter un commentaire explicatif qui complète la réponse : une histoire vécue qui illustre la portée de l'hexagramme. A vous. Merci.
Anon. – 9 – 2009/12/01
felicitation a l'ecrivain really mais pour ma part je prefere la version original par ce qu'elle moins dirigiste et laisse ce fichu "libre arbitre" au demander aussi il a la possibilité de commettre des erreures mais de les rectifier de lui meme quand il en prend conscience cela dit faut il encore qu'on ne le me prise pas au point de le considerait uniquement comme le fils du vent
Anon. – 5 – 2008/11/02
Anon. – 7 – 2008/11/02
Anon. – 2008/11/02
prendre le train de noël
Anon. – 2008/11/02
confusius commentary on line 6:
The hawk is the object of the hunt; bow and arrow are the tools and means. The marksman is man (who must make proper use of the means to his end). The superior man contains the means in his own person. He bides his time and then acts. Why then should not everything go well? He acts and is free. Therefore all he has to do is to go forth, and he takes his quarry. This is how a man fares who acts after he has made ready the means.
Priya – 0 – 2008/11/02
Ces précédents messages ne me semblent guère propices à de plus sages commentaires que je souhaite. Qui est cet Orsus qui parle ? Un inconnu vulgaire qui ne connait rien à la paix de Confusius.
Heraclite – 3 – 2008/12/09
Je commande un Choki
algiz – 2008/12/09
La liberation de cet envoutement tenace ? hilda
algiz – 0 – 2008/12/08
je suis tombée sur ce tirage en de mandant si je devais retourner vers mon âme soeur pour nous unir à présent (nous nous étions séparés car je ne voulai spas d'enfant mais aujourd'hui je me sens prête à passer le pas) C'est notre unique objet de rupture...Que pouvez-vous me conseiller , je suis novice avec l'oracle! merci d'avance et bonne nuit dans la joie et la tranquillité.
nacrine – 2 – 2008/12/07
de la réfection du puit à la puissance du grand, un pas , un renouveau
algiz – 8 – 2008/12/06
Oracle du Dieu vivant, t'es un enfoiré. les signes sont inconstants. c invivable pour qui te suit. Orsus ! ou rien
1p0 0rsus – 3 – 2008/12/06
loic – 2 – 2008/12/05
Je l'attends...
algiz – 2 – 2008/12/05
Je m'épuise à vouloir boire de ton eau...
lyliade – 8 – 2008/12/04
dommage que l'eau soit brouillé, les gens ont trop soif abandonne le puit inutilement ...
felip69 – 8 – 2008/12/04
Ce site est tres interessant et bien constitue!
... les commentaires: nonsense!!!  ?!?!
Anon. – 9 – 2008/12/04
Extremadura ! - Per espera ad astra -
1.0 – 0 – 2008/12/03
Normalement t'es rousse
1p0 – 9 – 2008/12/03
Yi Jing I. 4. (4) IntroductionTable of content
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I Ching, the Book of Changes – Yi Jing I. 4. – Chinese off/onFrançais/English
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