Hexagram 29. Mastering Pitfalls 


In mastering pitfalls there is truthfulness; thus the mind develops. There is excellence in practice.


EXPLANATION:
 Pitfalls means danger, as of a precipice or pitfall; mastering pitfalls means getting through danger. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Water ☵, dangerous, and below is also Water ☵ dangerous; going from 
one danger to another, yet able to get through successfully in spite of danger, it is therefore called mastering pitfalls.

This hexagram represents the presence of white within black, restoring yang within yin; it follows on the previous hexagram nourishment. Nourishment means seeking fulfillment by emptiness, seeking the true yang that has fallen in a pit. In human beings, after heaven and earth interact, the one point of original yang runs to the palace of earth ☷; earth is filled in and becomes water ☵, and heaven ☷ changes into fire ☲. At this point yin traps the yang; the celestial root is obscured the mind gets involved with things. Though near to reality by nature, people become estranged from it by habit — descending lower and lower by daily repetition of habit, they fall into a state of ignorant obstinacy and do not know how to stop.

However, if one practices evil one becomes evil; if one practices good one becomes good — it is simply a matter of how people habitually act. Practice of evil is a way into danger, practice of good is a way out of danger. Getting out of danger requires that one believe it is dangerous — belief is the ruler of the mind. If one can believe in the danger, then one will not be seduced by external things. Practicing good, one can then be good; as it is said, once you reform, it is the same as if you were originally thus. Therefore in mastering pitfalls there is truthfulness; thus the mind develops.

If there is truthfulness, then the mind develops; without truthfulness, the mind does not develop. The mind with truthfulness is the mind of Tao; when the mind of Tao becomes manifest, the human mentality does not arise — sane energy grows, aberrant energy recedes, and one can thus go in and out of yin and yang without being constrained by yin and yang.

But believing there is danger requires one to practice so as to get out of danger; believing but not practicing is like not believing. Once one can believe and can practice, without hypocrisy or deception, practicing truly, one improves daily with daily practice, rising from lowliness to loftiness, gradually learning a state of exalted illumination, developing one's essence to the fullest extent and realizing one's purpose in life, returning one`s origin, without difficulty. Therefore the text says, There is excellence in practice. If one practices this one can rise; without practice one does not rise. Knowing this is only valuable when one puts it into practice. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching, Hexagram #29 Mastering Pitfalls
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Hexagram #29 Mastering Pitfalls








The Taiji (yin/yang) symbol






Six blind men falling into a pit, revering to the six yangs not getting through danger.
(The blind leading the blind,
Pieter Bruegel the Elder)
Click to enlarge






Excellence in practice — The monk Kuya intoning the name of Amida Buddha six times , representing six yangs. (Rokuharamitsuji temple, Kyoto, Japan)