Hexagram #10 Treading

Even when they tread on a tiger's tail, it doesn't bite people. This is developmental.

EXPLANATION: Treading means forward progress. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Heaven ☰ strong ; and below is Lake ☱, joyous, yin is rejoicing in yang; with the advance of one yin, the hexagram will change into pure yang. Representing this, it is therefore called treading. This hexagram symbolizes progression of yang and prevention of danger. The true yang in people is inherent and need not be sought from another. When it mixes with acquired conditioning, true feeling is obscured and arbitrary feelings arise; then true yang runs away outside. This is likened to a tiger running off and staying elsewhere as a member of another house; though it is in another house, originally the tiger is one's own. It is just that people are not willing to call it back.

The way of calling it back is likened to treading on a tiger's tail without it biting people, and having a way of development and growth. A tiger is something that bites people; it is most dangerous to tread on it. If one can tread with harmony and joyfulness, without excessive ferocity, it is like treading on a tiger's tail. If one is careful, as if treading on a tiger's tail, looking ahead and behind, striking a balance without obsession or indifference, proceeding gradually in an orderly manner,
 forestalling danger, aware of perils, carrying out the firing process without error, then the yin can be transmuted into yang, and the yang can be restored to purity. Not only is one not bitten by the tiger — one can even take over the living energy in its killing, and preserve life and being whole. This path of development and achievement without obstruction or hindrance through advancement of yang, treading strongly with harmony and joy, is of great benefit.

What superior people see in this is that the metaphysical is called the Tao and the physical is called the vessel; there is a distinction between the greater and lesser, a difference between the noble and the base. The higher is not to be considered lower, and the lower is not to be considered higher.The celestial (yang) is the ruler; this is higher, above. The earthly (yin) is the citizenry; this is lower, below. When one can distinguish the higher and lower, then right and wrong, sanity and aberration, are clear; not doing anything inappropriate, sustaining the celestial (yang) and controlling the earthly (yin), cultivating the real and dissolving the false, thoughts not arising inwardly, external things not entering the mind, the ten thousand things are all empty, and all mundane feelings involved with objects are settled. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #10 Treading, The Taoist I Ching

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On the left the ancient shape of the
character for Hexagram #10 Treading. On the right the present-day shape.

Hexagram #10 Treading

Daniel in lion`s den, by Peter Paul Rubens. Lions (and tigers) symbolize spiritual danger.
(Click to enlarge)

The Return of the prodigal son by Rembrandt, symbolizing the return of true yang;
the Return of the mind of Tao.
(Click to enlarge)