Hexagram #32 Constancy

Constancy is developmental. Impeccable. It is beneficial to be correct. It is beneficial to have a place to go.

EXPLANATION:Constancy means long persistence. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Thunder ☳, active, and below is Wind ☴, penetrating: Acting gently as the breeze, active yet serene, neither identifying nor detaching, the mind steadfast and the will far-reaching, it is therefore called constancy.

This hexagram represents genuine application in real practice; it follows on the previous hexagram fire. Fire means illumining the inward as well as the outward, aiming at profound attainment of personal realization, so that illumination is all-pervasive. But the path of pervasive illumination is not possible without a constant mind. Constancy means single-mindedly applying the will, the longer the stronger, not becoming lazy and slacking off. Thereby one can comprehend essence and life; so there is a path of development in constancy, and it is also possible to be impeccable thereby.

However, though constancy can lead to development and impeccability, it is only beneficial if constancy is correct. If it is not correct, abandoning the real and entering into the false, then it is not developmental, and is faulty. The blind practitioners in the world who go into deviant paths, taking what is wrong to be right, aggrandizing themselves, boasting of their practices and cultivating vain reputations, striving all their lives without ever awakening, most assuredly are capable of constancy, but they are constant in aberrated paths, not constant in the right path. If you want to seek eternal life in this way, you will on the contrary hasten death; when your time is up, you will have no way out, and cannot escape the blame-how could you gain good fortune? Therefore constancy in the developmental, impeccable way is only brought to fruition by correctness.

Even so, the benefit of correctness of constancy is preeminently the benefit in correctness of constant practice; so the text says "it is beneficial to have a place to go." The benefit lies only in constant practice of what is correct. What is correct is true principle, which is the Tao of body and mind, essence and life. This path appropriates yin and yang, takes over creation, sheds birth and death, escapes compulsive routine (the wheel of life). This is a great work involving constancy and persistence; it cannot be accomplished in a day and a night. It requires flexible, gentle, gradual advance, ascending from low to high, going from shallow to deep, step by step treading in the realm of reality; only then can one be effective.

Generally speaking, a great affair which endures and is long and unchanging requires great work that endures and is long and unceasing before it can be achieved. The constancy that is beneficial if correct is the constancy that is beneficial if it is going somewhere. But if you want to practice what is right, first you must know what is right, investigating truth, reaching the basis of essence, thereby arriving at the universal order. The work of comprehending essence and arriving at the universal order of life is all a matter of thoroughly penetrating truth. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching, Hexagram #32 Constancy
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Hexagram #32 Constancy

The trigram Wind

Ungyo, the King of Light (Nio), saying Un, representing the firm yang energy of the end of the path of Constancy, Todaji temple, Nara, Japan, 13th C. AD, by the Kei school of sculptures.

A chaste woman, Mary Magdalene, by Titian, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Italy.