Hexagram #26 Nurturance of the Great

In nurturance of the great it is beneficial to be chaste. It is good not to eat at home; it is beneficial to cross great rivers.


EXPLANATION: Nurturance of the great means taking care of the great. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is mountain ☶, still, above is Heaven ☰ strong; having strength yet being able to be still, it is therefore called nurturance of the great.

This hexagram represents incubation nurturing the spiritual embryo; it follows on the previous hexagram Return. Return means restoration of the primordial energy. When the primordial energy returns within, slight and vague to begin with, then becoming clearly evident, it restores the original self; the foundation of life is stabilized, the spiritual embryo is formed, and one enters from action into non-action. Then one should carefully seal it and store it securely, forestalling danger, incubating and bathing, aiming for the great transformation, the unfathomable state of spiritual sublimation, making it indestructible and incorruptible.

On this path, it is beneficial to still strength, not to use strength. Therefore the text says "it is beneficial to be chaste." Chastity here means quietude. Stilling strength is nurturing strength. The work of nurturing strength is the work of keeping centered, embracing unity; to keep centered and embrace unity, it is good to be still, not active-if one is still, this preserves strength; if one is active, this damages strength. 

Stilling is not leaving the world, quietude is not empty inaction: Therein there is a way of adjustment, addition and subtraction; therefore one should not "eat at home." Only thus is one capable of great nurturance, producing good fortune. Not eating at home means externally adjusting the furnace while internally operating the true fire, still within and also still without, continuing subtly, not forgetting, not forcing. Then when one encounters great danger and difficulty one is unmoved, unshaken — only then is it real nurturing, only then is it greatness of nurturance. Therefore it is also "beneficial to cross great rivers."

The crossing of great rivers is that whereby inner nurturance and outer effectiveness is accomplished. This is the work referred to as nine years facing a wall. Facing a wall is the state of being like a wall of immense height, detached from all kinds of biases and extremes, stopping in unknowing, breaking through space. When you break through space, the spiritual potential is freed, both body and mind are sublimated, merging with the Tao in reality. With greatness of nurturance comes greatness of development, and one becomes a companion of heaven.  -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #26, Nurturance of the Great The Taoist I Ching
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Hexagram #26 Nurturance of the Great










The trigram Heaven










Fudo Myo, The Immovable King of Light, symbolizing the still mind. The flame in the background represents the firing process.
(by Unkei, 1195 AD. Jyōraku-ji Temple, Kanagawa, Japan)