I Ching 20 Hexagram guān (Contemplation)
I Ching 20 Hexagram guān (Contemplation)
Observation. Perspective. Recollection.
Short Interpretation of Hexagram 20 – Contemplation
Friendship could become love. Sometimes what we had planned in professional life could be temporarily influenced by other commitments.
I Ching – General Description
The Chinese name of the sign has, by slightly changing the tone, a double meaning. On the one hand it means contemplating, on the other, being seen, the model. These ideas are suggested by the fact that the sign can be interpreted with the image of a tower as it was often found in ancient China. From such towers there was a wide view all around, and vice versa such a tower on a mountain was visible from afar. Thus the sign depicts a sovereign who contemplates the law of heaven upwards and the customs of the people downwards, and whose good governance is a sublime model for the masses. The sign is coordinated with the eighth month (September-October). The light force withdraws, the dark is rising again. But this fact does not enter into consideration here for the explanation of the total sign.
I Ching – Comment on sentence
Contemplation. The washing has already taken place, but not yet the offering. Trustful look up at him.
The sacrificial action began in China with a washing and a libation, which were intended to evoke the divinity. Then the sacrifices were offered. The moment between the two actions is the most sacred, it is that of the supreme interior recollection. When piety is full of faith in God and sincere, contemplating it transforms those who witness it and fills them with veneration. Thus in nature we see a sacred seriousness in the regularity with which all natural events proceed. Contemplation of the divine sense of cosmic events confers on the one who is called to influence men the means to exercise the same effects. To do this, an interior recollection is necessary such as religious contemplation produces in men who are great and strong in faith. Thus they penetrate with their gaze into the mysterious divine laws of life and make them operative in their own personality by means of the utmost seriousness in interior recollection; and from their aspect emanates a mysterious spiritual power which acts upon men and subdues them without their being aware of the way in which this happens.
I Ching – Image
The wind blows on the earth: The image of contemplation. Thus the ancient kings visited the regions of the world, Contemplated the people and spread teaching.
When the wind blows on the earth it reaches everywhere, and the grass must bend to its power. These two processes find their confirmation in the sign. They were transformed into reality into the institutions of the kings of antiquity, who on the one hand obtained a direct view of their people by periodic journeys, so that nothing of what lived in the people as custom could escape them, while on the other they did to use their influence to change those customs which were defective. All of this hints at the power of a higher personality. Such a personality will possess a broad vision of the true feelings of the great human multitude, so that no deception will be worth before it, and on the other hand it will make an impression on them by mere presence, by the grandeur of its personality;
I Ching – Series
When things are great they can be contemplated. This is why the sign follows: Contemplation.
I Ching – Single Lines
Analytical description of each individual line
I Ching – First line:
Six at the beginning means:
Childish contemplation. For a man of little no stain For a noble shame.
Here a distant contemplation is designated, completely in vain. There is someone who works, but his actions are not understood by little people. This doesn’t really matter to the mass. Whether it includes the actions of the reigning sage or not: these are equally in their favor. But for a superior man this is a shame. He must not be content with a foolish and foolish contemplation of the ruling influences; he must contemplate them in their assemblage and try to understand them.
I Ching – Second line:
Six in the second place means:
Contemplation through the crack of the door. Auspicious is the perseverance of a woman.
Through the opening of a door one has a limited view. It is seen from the inside out. The way of contemplating is subjectively limited. It all refers to oneself. One is not able to identify with the other and his movements. This is fine for a good housewife. It need not understand anything about world affairs. For a man who has to operate in public life such a limited and selfish understanding is of course bad. (The diversity of the assessment of man’s and woman’s behavior is not limited to ancient China. The figure of the housewife that Schiller paints in the “Bell” moves completely within this vision).
I Ching – Third line:
Six in the third place means:
Contemplation of my life Decides to progress or retreat.
This is the place of transit. One no longer looks outwards obtaining more or less limited or confused images, but one directs contemplation on oneself to obtain the directives for one’s decisions. Precisely this inversion of contemplation is the overcoming of the naive egoism of one who contemplates everything only from his personal point of view. With it we come to reflection and then to objectivity. Self-knowledge, however, does not consist in dealing only with one’s own thoughts, but with the effects that come from ourselves. Only the effects exerted in life give a vision of things that gives us the right to decide whether there is progress or regress.
I Ching – Fourth line:
Six in the fourth place means:
Contemplation of the light of the empire. It is propitious to operate as a guest of a king.
Here we designate a man who knows the secrets of making a kingdom flourish. Such a man must be placed in a decisive position where he can act. He must be a guest so to speak, that is, he must be able to operate independently and be honored, and not used as a mere tool.
I Ching – Fifth line:
Nine in the fifth place means:
Contemplation of my life. The noble is spotless.
A man in a decisive position towards which others look up must always be ready to examine himself. The real way of self-examination, however, does not consist in meditating on oneself without doing anything, but in observing the effects that come from us. Only if these effects are good, if one exerts a good influence on others, will the contemplation of one’s life grant the satisfaction of finding oneself without blemish.
I Ching – Sixth line:
Nine above means:
Contemplation of his life. The noble is spotless.
While the preceding line represents a man contemplating himself, here, in the supreme place, all that is personal, which refers to his own self, is eliminated. A wise man is shown who, outside the comings and goings of the world, free from the self, contemplates the laws of life and thus recognizes that the supreme thing is to know how to become free from stain.