28. Ta Kuo / Preponderance of the Great

This hexagram consists of four strong lines inside and two weak lines outside.
When the strong are outside and the weak inside, all is well and there is
nothing out of balance, nothing extraordinary in the situation. Here,
however, the opposite is the case. The hexagram represents a beam that is
thick and heavy in the middle but too weak at the ends. This is a condition
that cannot last; it must be changed, must pass, or misfortune will result.


The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

The weight of the great is excessive. The load is too heavy for the strength of
the supports. The ridgepole on which the whole roof rests, sags to the
breaking point, because its supporting ends are too weak for the load they
bear. It is an exceptional time and situation; therefore extraordinary measures
are demanded. It is necessary to find a way of transition as quickly as possible,
and to take action. This promises success. For although the strong element is
in excess, it is in the middle, that is, at the center of gravity, so that a
revolution is not to be feared. Nothing is to be achieved by forcible measures.
The problem must be solved by gently penetration to the meaning of the
situation (as is suggested by the attribute of the inner trigram, Sun); then the
change-over to other conditions will be successful. It demands real
superiority; therefore the time when the great preponderates is a momentous


The lake rises above the trees:
Thus the superior man, when he stands alone,
Is unconcerned,
And if he has to renounce the world,
He is undaunted.

Extraordinary times when the great preponderates are like flood times when
the lake rises over the treetops. But such conditions are temporary. The two
trigrams indicate the attitude proper to such exceptional times: the symbol of
the trigram Sun is the tree, which stands firm even though it stands alone,
and the attribute of Tui is joyousness, which remains undaunted even if it
must renounce the world.


Six at the beginning means:
To spread white rushes underneath.
No blame.

When a man wishes to undertake an enterprise in extraordinary times, he
must be extraordinarily cautious, just as when setting a heavy thing down on
the floor, one takes care to put rushes under it, so that nothing will break.
This caution, though it may seem exaggerated, is not a mistake. Exceptional
enterprises cannot succeed unless utmost caution is observed in their
beginnings and in the laying of their foundations.

Nine in the second place means:
A dry poplar sprouts at the root.
An older man takes a young wife.
Everything furthers.

Wood is near water; hence the image of an old poplar sprouting at the root.
This means an extraordinary situation arises when an older man marries a
young girl who suits him. Despite the unusualness of the situation, all goes

From the point of view of politics, the meaning is that in exceptional times
one does well to join with the lowly, for this affords a possibility of renewal.

Nine in the third place means:
The ridgepole sags to the breaking point.

This indicates a type of man who in times of preponderance of the great
insists on pushing ahead. He accepts no advice from others, and therefore
they in turn are not willing to lend him support. Because of this the burden
grows, until the structure of things bends or breaks. Plunging willfully ahead
in times of danger only hastens the catastrophe.

Nine in the fourth place means:
The ridgepole is braced. Good fortune.
If there are ulterior motives, it is humiliating.

Through friendly relations with people of lower rank, a responsible man
succeeds in becoming master of the situation. But if, instead of working for
the rescue of the whole, he were to misuse his connections to obtain personal
power and success, it would lead to humiliation.

Nine in the fifth place means:
A withered poplar puts forth flowers.
An older woman takes a husband.
No blame. No praise.

A withered poplar that flowers exhausts its energies thereby and only hastens
its end. An older woman may marry once more, but no renewal takes place.
Everything remains barren. Thus, though all the amenities are observed, the
net result is only the anomaly of the situation.

Applied to politics, the metaphor means that if in times of insecurity we
give up alliance with those below us and keep up only the relationships we
have with people of higher rank, an unstable situation is created.

Six at the top means:
One must go through the water.
It goes over one’s head.
Misfortune. No blame.

Here is a situation in which the unusual has reached a climax. One is
courageous and wishes to accomplish one’s task, no matter what happens.
This leads into danger. The water rises over one’s head. This is the
misfortune. But one incurs no blame in giving up one’s life that the good
and the right may prevail. There are things that are more important than