Category Archives: 26. Ta Ch’u – The Taming Power of the Great

Ta Ch’u – The Taming Power of the Great


The Creative is tamed by Kên, Keeping Still. This produces great power, a situation in contrast to that of the ninth hexagram, Hsiao Ch’u, THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL, in which the Creative is tamed by the Gentle alone. There one weak line must tame five strong lines, but here four strong lines are restrained by two weak lines; in addition to a minister, there is a prince, and the restraining power therefore is far stronger. The hexagram has a threefold meaning, expressing different aspects of the concept “holding firm.” [holding firm is also expanding within, it is a highly focused enterprise in which our inner strenght grows with time, an activity, not a passive enterprise] Heaven within the mountain gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding together; the trigram Kên, which holds the trigram Ch’ien still, gives the idea of holding firm in the sense of holding back; the third idea is that of holding firm in the sense of caring for and nourishing. This last is suggested by the fact that a strong line at the top, which is the ruler of the hexagram, is honored and tended as a sage. The third of these meanings also attaches specifically to this strong line at the top, which represents the sage.


THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT. Perseverance furthers.Not eating at home brings good fortune.It furthers one to cross the great water [undertake an endeavour, a great or small enterprise] .To hold firmly to great creative powers and store them up, as set forth in this hexagram, there is need of a strong, clearheaded man who is honored by the ruler. The trigram Ch’ien points to strong creative power; Kên indicates firmness and truth [if firmness and truth are abandoned, one pursues wrong images with strenght – it all goes to the wrong]. Both point to light and clarity and to the daily renewal of character. Only through such daily self-renewal can a man continue at the height of his powers. Force of habit helps to keep order in quiet times; but in periods when there is a great storing up of energy, everything depends on the power of the personality. However, since the worthy are honored, as in the case of the strong personality entrusted with leadership by the ruler, it is an advantage not to eat at home but rather to earn one’s bread by entering upon public office. Such a man is in harmony with heaven; therefore even great and difficult undertakings, such as crossing the great water, succeed.


Heaven within the mountain [the spirit of Heavens is contained in the mountain-like man]:The image of THE TAMING POWER OFTHE GREAT. Thus the superior man acquaints himself with many sayings of antiquity And many deeds of the past,In order to strengthen his character thereby [what is pondered and resolved within as right and wise is of greatest assistance throughout life].Heaven within the mountain points to hidden treasures. In the words and deeds of the past there lies hidden a treasure that men may use to strengthen and elevate their own characters. The way to study the past is not to confine oneself to mere knowledge of history but, through application of this knowledge, to give actuality to the past.


Nine at the beginning means:Danger is at hand. It furthers one to desist.A man wishes to make vigorous advance, but circumstances present an obstacle. He sees himself held back firmly. If he should attempt to force an advance, it would lead him into misfortune. Therefore it is better for him to compose himself and to wait until an outlet is offered for release of his stored-up energies. [such a composition is also a thing of self-sacrifice, when it is to long, one loses the momentum, but retains a sagely position, when it is to short, it ruins the composition]

Nine in the second place means:The axletrees are taken from the wagon.Here advance is checked just as in the third line of THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL (9). However, in the latter the restraining force is slight; thus a conflict arises between the propulsive and the restraining movement, as a result of which the spokes fall out of the wagon wheels, while here the restraining force is absolutely superior; hence no struggle takes place. One submits and removes the axletrees from the wagon—in other words, contents himself with waiting. In this way energy accumulates for a vigorous advance later on.

Nine in the third place means:A good horse that follows others.Awareness of danger,With perseverance, furthers.Practice chariot driving and armed defense daily.It furthers one to have somewhere to go.The way opens; the hindrance has been cleared away. A man is in contact with a strong will acting in the same direction as his own, and goes forward like one good horse following another. But danger still threatens, and he must remain aware of it, or he will be robbed of his firmness [if he lets his composure go by anger, or irritation, or aversion, of what good is his firmness from before? he must retain it or return to it all the time]. Thus he must acquire skill on the one hand in what will take him forward, and on the other in what will protect him against unforeseen attacks. It is good in such a pass to have a goal toward which to strive.

Six in the fourth place means:The headboard of a young bull.Great good fortune.This line and the one following it are the two that tame the forward-pushing lower lines. Before a bull’s horns grow out, a headboard is fastened to its forehead, so that later when the horns appear they cannot do harm. A good way to restrain wild force is to forestall it. By so doing one achieves an easy and a great success.

Six in the fifth place means:The tusk of a gelded boar.Good fortune.ere the restraining of the impetuous forward drive is achieved in an indirect way. A boar’s tusk is in itself dangerous, but if the boar’s nature is altered, the tusk is no longer a menace [change of the direction of nature, the opponent is disarmed, as if appeasing an armed man with diplomacy and mediating]. Thus also where men are concerned, wild force should not be combated directly; instead, its roots should be eradicated [one cannot fight with a greater force with equal force not possessing one, thus one should gather strenght and think of approach, only in chance one if destiny wills one has a chance at defeating the strenght of the opponent by hitting at the root of his strenght, it should be done in wisdom, better to have an ally, then the opponent dead] .

Nine at the top means: One attains the way of heaven. Success. The time of obstruction is past. The energy long dammed up by inhibition forces its way out and achieves great success. This refers to a man who is honored by the ruler and whose principles now prevail and shape the world.