象曰 the great images says:
君子 noble one
常德 constant virtue
行 move, perform
習 exercise, habit, expertise in a certain field
教事 teach events
Ban Xiang (trigrams) water-water
Hu Gua (nuclear hex) 27
Qian Gua (inverse hex) 29
Jiao Gua (reverse hex) 29
Pang Tong Gua (opposite/complementary hex) 30
Kan is about that, which is hidden and often dangerous, which can evoke fear or disbelief. But the name of this hexagram is not only kan, danger, but also xi, repeating. One of the meanings of xi is teaching or learning, and danger is a powerful incentive and tool to learn.
Kan is also a sound. Kankan is the sound of hammering or percussion. In the face of danger, the heart "kankans". Everything which repeats itself is governed by kan: vibrations, memories, patterns, habits, skills.
XI KAN: The name of the hexagram is not Kan - it is Xi Kan. Xi is repeating, skill, routine, learning something by training or exercise. The same character is used in hex.2 line 2. Xi is composed of 1: 'wings' or flying, and 2: nose ("me": MY wings).
Kan is a bank, ridge, pit or danger, crisis, a burial pit, physical deficiency, depression; the sound of percussion; a snare. Kan is composed of 3: earth, and 4: exhale, exhausted, lack (of breath or money), debts.
So Xi Kan means repeated pit, habitual danger, but it may also mean: the danger of routine. In the MaWangDui YiJing this hexagram has the name Gan: pay taxes. A distress that will come back again and again, and certainly in old times it could be life-threatening. Its other meaning is to pay for the music, maybe also like 'to pay the piper'.
I was browsing through a book, which had been recommended to me. "In search of excellence", by Thomas Peters and Robert Waterman. Just opening it at random, a page here, a page there, to figure out if it would make sense to start reading. It seemed such a huge amount of words, and there is so much else to do...
On one of the pages, I got intrigued. Someone, who was in search of artificial intelligence, studied the problem of programming computers to play chess. He started out assuming that it could be played on a rational basis, but had to abandon that idea. The computer would need something like a century to calculate all possible moves.
So instead, he investigated what good chess players do. He asked them to look at a half-way chess game, just for a very short period, like 10 seconds. They could recall the locations of virtually all the pieces. Players of one rank below the best players scored a lot lower. But the masters could not remember where the pieces were, if they were placed on the board at random. So something else than short-time memory had to be at work.
He believed that the 'something else' was, that the masters had highly developed long-term memories, in the form of subconsciously remembered patterns. He called it chess "vocabularies". The class A players had a memory of around 2,000 patterns, but the masters of around 50,000 patterns.
The mark of the true professional in any field is the rich vocabulary of patterns, developed through years of education and especially through years of experience.
I had to think of hexagram 29, water repeated. The character translated as 'repeat' also means skill, routine, learning something by training or exercise.
Years ago I read another book, "Das sensible Chaos" by Schwenk. It seems that water has a memory for patterns. That goes for the streams in the oceans, but just as well for the water in our bodies.
The pit, a place of danger, but maybe also the huge reservoir of everything we learned through 'repeating', seeing it again and again, experience.
"The noble man moves according to principles and virtue", both might have a lot to do with patterns which proved effective, and which make up that reservoir.
And finally it might be the answer to 'how' people read the Yijing for others. Some know the rules, what comes first, what then. Others have developed patterns. And for working with patterns, the thinking mind has to be silent, and let the memory do the talking.
The trigrams: Water repeated:
All living creatures are mostly water. We humans about 70 to 80 percent. The substance of memory. When water is shaken, it will 'remember' the situation of that moment. Not as facts, but as vibrations, patterns. It is why the moment of birth decides a lot about your mind: the water in your body is shaken by the birth itself. Every moment of high intensity will resonate for a long time - until a new shock brings new patterns.
象曰 the great images says:
大人 great man
繼明 continuous brightness
于四方 to four regions
Ban Xiang (trigrams) fire-fire
Hu Gua (nuclear hex) 28
Qian Gua (inverse hex) 30
Jiao Gua (reverse hex) 30
Pang Tong Gua (opposite/complementary hex) 29
Moments fly past like birds. You will have to catch them right now, to enjoy something when it happens, to seize an opportunity, to realize a flash of insight. Life is full of those bright little birds.
If you can seize them and care for them, they may turn into big things, feeding your life and soul. The sum of all those small things will make your life to a bright and shining one.
The mind can discern and catch those moments. It filters out what is not relevant by letting it slip through the net. The Bright Birds are what is relevant and visible.
Lí is about the moment, the one bright opportunity. As opposed to water which talks about dark patterns and memories.
LÍ: At right a bird, and at left a bird-net: to catch or having caught a bird. Nowadays the net-part means: a bogey, bright, elegant, to oppose. Meanings: name of a bird, Oriole. Loan for leave, depart from, to be dispersed, distribute, arrange, vis à vis, meet with, fall into, fasten, attach, pass through, droop, hang down, light, brilliance, to be separated from, differ from, to defy, to go against, paired, hedge. In the MaWangDui YiJing the name of this hexagram is Luo, a snare, net, to catch: the picture at right.
The trigrams: Fire repeated.
Brightness doubled brings the Bright Bird. The great man illumines the four regions by his continuous brightness.
Fire brings clarity and order and a solid footing. Raise female cattle to create a herd, a living. Male cattle is for sacrifices, for showing off.