I Ching 50 Hexagram dǐng (Holding)
I Ching 50 Hexagram dǐng (Holding)
Order. Structure. Rationality.
Short Interpretation of Hexagram 50 – The Crucible
Eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones.
I Ching – General Description
The whole sign is the image of a crucible, under the legs, then the belly, then the ears or handles, and above the passing rings to carry it. At the same time, the image of the crucible suggests the idea of nutrition. The crucible, cast in bronze, was the utensil that contained cooked foods in the temple of the ancestors and at banquets. From it the host drew the dishes to put in the bowls of the guests. The well also contains the secondary concept of providing food, but it refers more to the people. The crucible, as a tool of refined culture, suggests the care and nutrition of capable men, which then redounded to the advantage of the state government (cf. the four signs of nutrition: nos. 5, 27, 48, 50). This sign and the Well sign are the only two signs in the Book of Changes that represent concrete artificial objects. However, here too the idea has its abstract side. Sunn, below, is wood and wind. There, above, is the flame; they therefore represent the flame stoked by wood and wind, which also suggests the idea of preparing food.
I Ching – Comment on sentence
The Crucible. Sublime health. Successful.
While the well deals with the social foundation of the community, which is like water used as food for wood, this sign refers to the cultural superstructure of society. Here it is wood that serves as food for the flame, for the spiritual. All that is visible must overcome itself by penetrating deeply into the invisible as well. With this he attains true sacral character and true clarity, and takes root firmly in universal connections. Thus it becomes clear here how culture has its culmination in religion. The crucible was used to sacrifice to God. The most sublime earthly thing must be sacrificed to the divine. But the truly divine does not manifest itself segregated from the human. God’s greatest revelation is in the prophets and saints. Their veneration is the true worship of God.
I Ching – Image
Above the wood there is fire: the image of the crucible. Thus the noble by settling the position consolidates destiny.
Wood is the destiny of fire: as long as there is wood underneath, the fire above burns. And this also applies to human life. In man too there is a destiny that gives strength to his life. And when one succeeds in assigning one’s life and destiny their right positions, we consolidate destiny, and then the interpenetration of life with destiny results. These words contain hints to the cure of life which the secret doctrine of the Chinese practice of Yoga transmits orally.
I Ching – Series
Nothing transmutes things as much as the crucible. For this he follows the sign: the Crucible.
I Ching – Single Lines
Analytical description of each individual line
I Ching – First line:
Six at the beginning means:
A crucible with legs upside down. Propitious for eliminating lumps. He takes a concubine for the sake of his son. No stains.
If the crucible is overturned before using it, this does not mean anything; on the contrary, the filth comes out in this way. A concubine is inherently a short being, but rises in honor because she has a son. These two parables express the thought that in times of high culture, as indicated by the sign, anyone of good will can find something to settle down. However low you are, as long as you are ready to purify yourself, you are accepted. We arrive at a condition in which we can prove ourselves fruitful in our work, thus obtaining recognition.
I Ching – Second line:
Nine in the second place means:
In the crucible there is food. My comrades are envious, But they can’t do anything to me. Health.
In times of high culture, everything depends on actually doing something. Relying only on this real work, one will perhaps be envied and frowned upon, but this is not dangerous. The more we limit ourselves to our own positive work, the less the envious can harm us.
I Ching – Third line:
Nine in the third place means:
The crucible handle is altered. We are prevented from progressing. Pheasant fat is not eaten. Then when the rain falls, then repentance vanishes. Health finally comes.
The handle is the point from which the crucible is lifted. When the handle is altered, the crucible can no longer be lifted and used, and the fine food it contains, such as pheasant fat, unfortunately does not serve as food for anyone. A man is drawn here who in times of high culture finds himself in a position where no one cares or recognizes him. This is a serious obstacle to its operation. All his good qualities and talents are thus lost without profit for anyone. However, it is sufficient that we take care to really possess spiritual values. Then the time will certainly come to an end when the hindrances dissolve and all is well. The release of tension is symbolized here as elsewhere with the falling rain.
I Ching – Fourth line:
Nine in the fourth place means:
The crucible breaks the legs. The food destined for the prince is overturned, and the figure is smeared with it. Woe!
You have a serious and responsible task that you are not equal to fulfill. Since then, in addition to this, we do not dedicate ourselves to this task with all our strength, as instead we are busy with men of a lower nature, the execution fails. With this you get insult and disgrace for yourself. Kung Tse says: “Weak character and honorable position, petty knowledge and grandiose plans, small forces and grave responsibilities will seldom escape disaster”.
I Ching – Fifth line:
Six in the fifth place means:
The crucible has yellow handles, golden passers rings. Auspicious is perseverance.
In a dominant position here stands a man of an approachable and modest nature. Through this interior attitude he is able to find strong and capable helpers who complement him and assist him in his work. It is important not to be shaken into this stance, which requires lasting inner self-denial, and instead stick firmly to it.
I Ching – Sixth line:
Nine above means:
The crucible has jade rings. Great health! Nothing that is not propitious.
At the previous line the passing rings are said to be gold to designate their solidity. Here they are called jade. Jade excels in combining hardness with soft luster. From the point of view of the man who accepts the advice, this advice works in a very propitious and favorable sense. Here the advice is drawn from the point of view of the sage who gives it. By following him he will be mild and pure like noble jade. In this way the work meets satisfaction in front of the gaze of the divinity, which bestows great health, becoming grateful to men; and all is well.