Hexagram #16 Joy

It is advantageous to set up a ruler and mobilize the army.

Joy is happiness. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Thunder active, and below is Earth compliant: acting in accord with 
the time, active yet also compliant, it is therefore called joy. This hexagram represents summoning yang by yin; it follows on the previous hexagram great possession. In great possession, strength and understanding are employed together; it is the path of wealth and daily renewal. For wealth to be daily renewed it is necessary to act in accord with the time; only then can one succeed.

If one can accord with the time, then the promotion of strength can be correct, and the use of brightness (明 - awareness) can be appropriate: The firing process does not go wrong, the measure of the elements is regulated, haste and relaxation are in order, and advance and withdrawal accord with the appropriate time and measure; reaching non-action by way of action, there is no problem of losing what one has gained.

What is the happiness of obedient action like? As an image of obedient action, nothing compares to setting up a ruler and mobilizing the army. The mind is the leader of the body, like the ruler and the general. As it is beneficial to set up a ruler and mobilize the army for obedient action, so is it beneficial to rectify the mind and train the body. If one acts in accord with the time, it is beneficial; if one's action is not in accord with the time, it is not beneficial. When it is beneficial, one attains happiness; when it is not beneficial, one is not happy. The path of producing happiness is the consummation of obedient action. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #16 Joy, The Taoist I Ching

First yin: Trumpeting is inauspicious. 

EXPLANATION: In the beginning of joy, also at the bottom of three yins, this represents being foolish and moreover associating with petty people, ruining oneself. taking misery for happiness. This is called trumpeting joy. Trumpeting joy means considering oneself happy when in fact one has no happiness, ultimately to enter the state of inflexible ignorance and not attain happiness. This is happiness that is not true and brings misfortune. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #16 Joy, The Taoist I Ching

Top yin: Oblivious in joy. What comes about has change; there is no blame.

: At the end of joy, only knowing how to go along with enjoyment, not knowing how to operate enjoyment in reverse, is called oblivious joy. When joy reaches oblivion, and one clings obstinately to it and doesn't pass through it, submitting to the enjoyment of what one desires, although what one enjoys comes to be, it must undergo change; when happiness culminates, that gives rise to sadness. After all it is self-defeating; it is not the fault of other people. This is pursuing what one likes and losing happiness. 

So happiness as a path is all a matter of compliance; the way to bring about happiness is to be able to act in accord with the time. When one acts in accord with the time, the yang energy is expansive, like thunder going out of the earth and rising forcefully into the sky, startling an area of a hundred miles with its rumble, so that all demons flee. The life-giving potential continues increasing, and the earth is always covered with yellow sprouts, the world blooms with golden flowers. Wherever one may walk, everywhere is the Tao. No happiness is more delightful than this. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #16 Joy, The Taoist I Ching

Return to the Individual Hexagrams page

The hexagram 16 Joy

On the left the ancient shape of the
character for Hexagram #15 Humility.
On the right the present-day shape.

Six yangs acting in accord with time, The Battle of Kadesh, wall painting in the
Abu Simbel temple, Egypt

The laughing Buddha, symbolizing the joy of having conscious awareness.

The ten oxherding pictures by Tomikichiro Tokuriki. At picture six the lower self is under control and one has true happines, the presence of the Original Spirit.