Reading for today: hexagram 34, judgment text:
Great Strength. Divining benefits.
Great Strength. Rectification benefits.
All that remains of this text is the divining tag ‘consulting benefits’. Apparently if there were additional texts attached to the place they were lost before 165 BCE, the time of the Han Dynasty copies of the Yi Jing found in tombs at Fuyang and Mawangdui (it is missing from the Shanghai Museum Yi fragments), since the text is identical in those editions. Opinions differ on the name of the hexagram. The standard is Great Strength, but some scholars call it Greater Wounding (Fuyang) and Great Maturity (Mawangdui), both found in the translations of Edward Shaughnessy.
This is an image hexagram. The four Yang lines represent the body of a ram and the two Yin lines show his horns. The Yang lines are in the majority and the situation has ‘turned the corner’ toward the positive.
Note that the ‘great’ in the name of the hexagram is not the sense of ‘exalted, superior’, but large. The strength is large. What a person does with that strength is what decides the good or bad outcome for this situation. The interplay here is between potential and kinetic energy. In Yi Dao, as in the martial arts, we base our actions on timing. To have great potential strength is a valuable resource, but if it is released against an immovable object it is useless, perhaps even harmful.
Forest of Changes verse:
34 - 34
To the left biting bears,
To the right snapping tigers,
Iron staves before,
Stumbling back into those holding crossbows,
Surrounded on all sides,
No way out.