Hexagram #27 Lower Jaw (Nourishment)

There is Thunder beneath the Mountain. Superior people are careful about what they say, and moderate in eating and drinking.

 Jaws has the meaning of taking nourishment. Above is Mountain ☶, below is Thunder ☳, there is thunder beneath the mountain. A mountain is still, thunder is active. Using stillness to nurture activity, activity being based on stillness, is like the upper jaw being still while the lower jaw moves, stillness awaiting movement. This is the image of jaws, it is therefore called nourishment. Nourishment means nourishing what is right and getting rid of what is not right.

What the superior people see in this is that the mouth is a passageway through which things may exit or enter, and it is the door of right and wrong, the root of calamity, and fortune; therefore, they are careful about what they say, and they are moderate in eating and drinking.

What is right is beneficial to body and mind; what is not right is harmful to body and mind — therefore the path of nourishment requires correctness to be good. So if you want nourishment to be correct, first you must observe whether the way of nourishment is true or false. Observing does not mean looking with the eyes; it means distinguishing in the mind what is so and what is not so, in order to find out truth. When truth is clear, then with real knowledge and lucid perception, in action one cultivates what is right, and in stillness one nourishes what is right. When one attains what is properly nurtured in both action and stillness, one can thereby seek fulfillment by oneself.

Speech is the voice of the mind; when speech is correct the mind is correct. and when speech is incorrect the mind is incorrect. Every word should be spoken only if it is of benefit to the course of the world and to people's minds. Speech should be guarded and not uttered at random.

Food and drink are important to the body; if food and drink are appropriate they benefit the body, and if food and drink are not appropriate they harm the body. Food and drink should be taken only after consideration of the reason. One should not crave too much, and should be moderate in eating and drinking.

When one is careful of speech, then the mind has nourishment; when one is moderate in eating and drinking, then the body has nourishment. When mind and body both have their nourishment, inside and outside are free from injury; then nature and life can be cultivated. This is what is meant by the saying, When one eats at proper times, the body is healthy; when one acts at the appropriate moment, the course of affairs runs smoothly. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #27 Jaws (Nourishment), The Taoist I Ching
Return to the Individual Hexagrams page

Hexagram #27 Lower Jaw (Nourishment)

On the left the Liushutong character, in the middle another ancient shape and on the right the present shape of the character
for Hexagram #27 Lower jar

A Shinto gate, symbolizing the passage way from the mundane to the sacred. It is square like the character for mouth (口—ko).

Food and drink were not appropriate and harmed the (Dharma) body. The Hours
of Catherine of Cleves, a 15th c.
Dutch illuminated manuscript.