9. Hsiao Ch’u / The Taming Power of the Small

This hexagram means the force of the small—the power of the shadowy—that
restrains, tames, impedes. A weak line in the fourth place, that of the
minister, holds the five strong lines in check. In the Image it is the wind
blowing across the sky. The wind restrains the clouds, the rising breath of the
Creative, and makes them grow dense, but as yet is not strong enough to turn
them to rain. The hexagram presents a configuration of circumstances in
which a strong element is temporarily held in leash by a weak element. It is
only through gentleness that this can have a successful outcome.


Has success.
Dense clouds, no rain from our western region.

This image refers to the state of affairs in China at the time when King Wên,
who came originally from the west, was in the east at the court of the reigning
tyrant Chou Hsin. The moment for action on a large scale had not yet
arrived. King Wên could only keep the tyrant somewhat in check by friendly
persuasion. Hence the image of many clouds, promising moisture and
blessing to the land, although as yet no rain falls. The situation is not
unfavorable; there is a prospect of ultimate success, but there are still obstacles
in the way, and we can merely take preparatory measures. Only through the
small means of friendly persuasion can we exert any influence. The time has
not yet come for sweeping measures. However, we may be able, to a limited
extent, to act as a restraining and subduing influence. To carry out our
purpose we need firm determination within and gentleness and adaptability
in external relations.


The wind drives across heaven:

Thus the superior man
Refines the outward aspect of his nature.

The wind can indeed drive the clouds together in the sky; yet, being nothing
but air, without solid body, it does not produce great or lasting effects. So also
an individual, in times when he can produce no great effect in the outer
world, can do nothing except refine the expression of his nature in small


Nine at the beginning means:
Return to the way.
How could there be blame in this?
Good fortune.

It lies in the nature of a strong man to press forward. In so doing he
encounters obstructions. Therefore he returns to the way suited to his
situation, where he is free to advance or to retreat. In the nature of things
this will bring good fortune, for it is wise and reasonable not to try to obtain
anything by force.

Nine in the second place means:
He allows himself to be drawn into returning.
Good fortune.

One would like to press forward, but before going farther one sees from the
example of others like oneself that this way is blocked. In such a case, if the
effort to push forward is not in harmony with the time, a reasonable and
resolute man will not expose himself to a personal rebuff, but will retreat
with others of like mind. This brings good fortune, because he does not
needlessly jeopardize himself.

Nine in the third place means:
The spokes burst out of the wagon wheels.
Man and wife roll their eyes.

Here an attempt is made to press forward forcibly, in the consciousness that
the obstructing power is slight. But since, under the circumstances, power
actually lies with the weak, this sudden offensive is doomed to failure.
External conditions hinder the advance, just as loss of the wheel spokes stops
the progress of a wagon. We do not yet heed this hint form fate, hence there
are annoying arguments like those of a married couple. Naturally this is not
a favorable state of thing, for though the situation may enable the weaker side
to hold its ground, the difficulties are too numerous to permit of a happy
result. In consequence even the strong man cannot so use his power as to
exert the right influence on those around him. He experiences a rebuff where
he expected an easy victory, and he thus compromises his dignity.

°Six in the fourth place means:
If you are sincere, blood vanishes and fear gives way.
No blame.

If one is in the difficult and responsible position of counselor to a powerful
man, on should restrain him in such a way that the threat of actual bloodshed
may arise. Nonetheless, the power of disinterested truth is greater than all
theses obstacles. It carries such weight that the end is achieved, and all danger
of bloodshed and all fear disappear.

°Nine in the fifth place means:
If you are sincere and loyally attached,
You are rich in your neighbor.

Loyalty leads to firm ties because it means that each partner complements the
other. In the weaker person loyalty consists in devotion, in the stronger it
consists in trustworthiness. This relation of mutual reinforcement leads to a
true wealth that is all the more apparent because it is not selfishly hoarded
but is shared with friends. Pleasure shared is pleasure doubled.

Nine at the top means:
The rain comes, there is rest.
This is due to the lasting effect of character.
Perseverance brings the woman into danger.
The moon is nearly full.
If the superior man persists,
Misfortune comes.

Success is at hand. The wind has driven up the rain. A fixed standpoint has
been reach. This has come about through the cumulation of small effects
produced by reverence for a superior character. But a success thus secured bit
by bit calls for great caution. It would be a dangerous illusion for anyone to
think he could presume upon it. The female principle, the weak element
that has won the victory, should never persist in vaunting it—that would lead
to danger. The dark power in the moon is strongest when the moon is
almost full. When it is full and directly opposite the sun, its waning is
inevitable. Under such circumstances one must be content with what has
been achieved. To advance any further, before the appropriate time has
come, would lead to misfortune.