48. Ching - The Well

The Abyss Over The Gentle
The Deep/Water Above, The Wind Below


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-------- Danger Ear Wood Red Winter North Middle Son
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-------- Penetration Thighs Air White Early Summer South East Eldest Daughter
-- x --

MOVING LINES are read from the bottom up in the hexagram and represent change. Weak becomes strong or strong becomes weak.
The moving lines in the hexagram are -- X -- a weak (broken) line becoming strong (solid) and -- 0 -- a strong (solid) line becoming weak (broken).

Water above the wood.
The great man stimulates others at their tasks,
And persuades them to collaborate together.
The Well. The city could be moved,
But the well remains in its place.
It does not rise or fall.
People may travel long distances,
In order to extract water from the well.
If nears the water and the line does not reach,
Or the vessel shatters, it will bring misfortune.

Wood naturally draws water upwards through its roots. It resembles the operation of a well. No one part of the plant or the well can accomplish the task by itself. There must be cooperation of all parts in order for the plant or well to accomplish its purpose. The great man understands this principle and structures society so that its parts collaborate together in order to promote the good of the whole. The well is a symbol of the stability of mans positive creations but, also a symbol of the inexhaustible source of nourishment which lies within the earth. The principal function of the well was to nourish the people and this in itself was a proper function. When dealing with the society built by men, one must be able to source from within the very foundation of human knowledge in order to reach the goal of understanding human behaviour. One must also be careful not to shatter the fabric of social interaction through a negligent and thoughtless attitude towards its members. On the individual level, although men can have different schooling and attitudes, the core essence of human nature remains the same in every man. All of us can draw from this well of human knowledge when trying to decipher the cause of human conditions. The man must be careful not to let himself be fooled by customs and get to the heart of the matter. He must also take care of his own self improvement and not disregard his duties towards his own well being. This situation relates to the nourishment of the social foundation of our lives.


1 --X-- The well is full of mud. No man or animal can drink from it.

The man who lets himself sink down to the level where mud lays will find that no one wants to be associated with him. He will lose the respect of others and eventually no one will be concerned about his welfare.

2 --0-- The well is filled with fish. The vessel is cracked and springs a leak.

The well is filled with clear and pure water. Unfortunately no one uses it and it only serves to hold fish. However the cracked vessel signifies the end of the useful period of the well. The man is abounding with positive attributes which he has so far ignored. Others will not be concerned about him. This will cause him to let his mind degenerate. He has been consorting with lowly men and because of this will no longer be able to contribute anything of significance to others.

3 --0-- The water in the well is clear, But no man draws from it. This is a sad occurrence. If the ruler possessed a clear state of mind, Auspicious times could be savored by all.

A competent man is ready to serve others but no one sees this. He is like a well filled with water of the purest nature. Those who know of him will feel sadness for his particular predicament. If those who have authority and influence where to learn about this man good fortune would come upon the whole of the whole community.

4 --X-- The well is being repaired. No blame.

While a well is being repaired no one can benefit from it. However this work is not pointless. Because of this restoration the water within the well will remain clear and pure. During one lifetime a man may also need to take a rest period where he will need to put his own existence into proper perspective. When undergoing such a period the man can do nothing to help others but the work he is doing on himself is yet a constructive contribution. Once he has gathered a better understanding of his own role and experience within the grand scheme of things he will be able to return at a later time wiser and stronger because he has attended to his own inner growth and needs.

5 --0-- The well water is clear and cold. Everyone can draw nourishment from it.

A well which is sustained by a spring of cold running water will always remain pure. If a man can let the source of his inspiration issue forth into the world of men and events this will be a great spring of refreshment for those around him. His merit will be acknowledged by all. However, the most important aspect of a well is the mechanism by which water can be drawn. Without this the well may be pure but no one will be able to benefit from it. It is the same in this case, the knowledge must be brought forth to the others if it is to be of any consequence. It is also important that the others are ready to accept the guidance of such a man.

6 --X-- There is no obstruction. He can draw water from the well. Very auspicious.

The well is a source of refreshment for all those who wish to benefit from it. Its spring will never dry out. This is an exceptional source of bounty for the whole community. A man who is genuinely wise will also be an boundless source of knowledge and inspiration for all those who seek his insight. For such a man finds himself enriched by giving to others.

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