Category Archives: 10. Lü – Treading (Conduct)

Lü – Treading (Conduct)


The name of the hexagram means on the one hand the right way of conducting oneself. Heaven, the father, is above, and the lake, the youngest daughter, is below. This shows the difference between high and low, upon which composure, correct social conduct, depends [and as the social conduct relates in devotion to its structure, and also and most importantly by “continuous complementary encompassing” of many threads that relate both to the Creative having in mind Earth as the low and Starry Heavens as high, the foundations established for traditions, organization, or religion are merely approximations of observed, discovered, reasoned and matured proportion and a reflected mirroring through self-reflection deep within, and observing the world of events and phenomena without, and reforms indicated by change of the settings]. On the other hand, the word for the name of the hexagram, TREADING, means literally treading upon something. The small and cheerful [Tui] treads upon the large and strong [Ch’ien] [as the daughter is captured by the father climbing upon him and lifted up]. The direction of movement of the two primary trigrams is upward. The fact that the strong treads on the weak is not mentioned in the Book of Changes, because it is taken for granted. For the weak to take a stand against the strong is not dangerous here, because it happens in good humor [Tui] and without presumption, so that the strong man is not irritated but takes it all in good part.


TREADING. Treading upon the tail of the tiger.It does not bite the man. Success.The situation is really difficult. That which is strongest and that which is weakest are close together. The weak follows behind the strong and worries it. The strong, however, acquiesces and does not hurt the weak, because the contact is in good humor and harmless [in understanding].In terms of a human situation, one is handling wild, intractable people. In such a case one’s purpose will be achieved if one behaves with decorum. Pleasant manners succeed even with irritable people.


Heaven above, the lake below:The image of TREADING.Thus the superior man discriminates between high and low,And thereby fortifies the thinking of the people.Heaven and the lake show a difference of elevation that inheres in the natures of the two, hence no envy arises [order is taken as natural and each has his position due, no disparity arises, “classless societies breed classless people” – different author and “contempt and envy for superiority above mediocrity” – different author, what it inclines is also that if the elites are classless themselves, they are not mounted on social respect, and thus there are no better then their inferiors and oft much worse]. Among mankind also there are necessarily differences of elevation; it is impossible to bring about universal equality [differences in minds, hearts and natures are obvious in the world of nature, but that should not bring scorn nor contempt, or false pride and elevation, all should be accommodated and as in Confucian China – with changes afford mobility, forced equality is oft killing natures and characters, justice should be regularing fairness of distribution of rank]. But it is important that differences in social rank should not be arbitrary and unjust, for if this occurs, envy and class struggle are the inevitable consequences. If, on the other band, external differences in rank correspond with differences in inner worth, and if inner worth forms the criterion of external rank, people acquiesce and order reigns in society [such unison agreeability within and without furthers the feeling of parity and fairness].


Nine at the beginning means:Simple conduct. Progress without blame.The situation is one in which we are still not bound by any obligations of social intercourse. If our conduct is simple, we remain free of them. We can quietly follow our predilections as long as we are content and make no demands on people.The meaning of the hexagram is not standstill but progress. A man finds himself in an altogether inferior position at the start. However, he has the inner strength that guarantees progress. If he can be content with simplicity, he can make progress without blame. When a man is dissatisfied with modest circumstances, he is restless and ambitious and tries to advance, not for the sake of accomplishing anything worth while, but merely in order to escape from lowliness and poverty by dint of his conduct [thus chasing abstracts and attachments, trading his life for things unworthy, losing all composure, and blinding himself by hopeless agitation over things that are in their essence empty, or tying himself up in relations and contracts that are making him into a slave, a subject of someone else’s will]. Once his purpose is achieved, he is certain to become arrogant and luxury-loving. Therefore blame attaches to his progress. On the other hand, a man who is good at his work is content to behave simply. He wishes to make progress in order to accomplish something. When he attains his goal, he does something worthwhile, and all is well.Nine in the second place means:Treading a smooth, level course.

Resolute conduct.Perseverance with awareness of danger.This refers to the ruler of the hexagram as a whole. One sees that one has to be resolute in conduct. But at the same time one must remain conscious of the danger connected with such resoluteness, especially if it is to be persevered in [if resolutness becomes too stiff, one’s perseverance may be used against him by schemes, one should be also prudent and cautious]. Only awareness of the danger makes success possible.Nine at the top means:Look to your conduct and weigh the favorable signs.When everything is fulfilled, supreme good fortune comes.The work is ended. If we want to know whether good fortune will follow, we must look back upon our conduct and its consequences. If the effects are good, then good fortune is certain. No one knows himself [and that is true, that one may build an image of himself or herself, knowing the genii, but in sum – that is unknown, we receive and give away impressions to ourselves and to other people]. It is only by the consequences of his actions, by the fruit of his labors, that a man can judge what he is to expect.