Hexagram 39. Halting (Trouble)

When halted, the southwest is beneficial, not the northeast. It is profitable to see a great person; innocence is auspicious.

EXPLANATION: Halting means forward progress is difficult. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Water ☵, dangerous, and below is Mountain ☶, stopping: stopping in the midst of danger, it is therefore called Halting.

This hexagram represents preserving the primordial in the midst of the temporal; it follows on the previous hexagram People in the Home. In People in the Home, illumination is not used outwardly; it is the work of refining the self. Refining the self is only refining the acquired yin. From the time people lose the primordial and temporal conditioning takes charge, the human mind is perilous, like the two yins being outside one yang in Water ☵; the mind of Tao is faint, like the one yang fallen between two yins in Water. With yang fallen into yin, the mind of Tao is burdened by the human mentality and cannot manifest actively — it is all the human mind that does things; this is the extreme of danger.

But as long as there is danger, it is necessary to be able to stop in danger. If one can stop in danger, then the human mentality gradually evaporates, and the mind of Tao gradually grows; it is possible thereby to deal with danger, and to leave danger, without being injured by the negative energy of acquired conditioning. The statement when halted, the Southwest is beneficial, not the northeast is precisely the secret of dealing with danger and leaving danger. The Southwest is the province of Earth ☷, the homeland of utter emptiness and complete stillness. Utter emptiness beckons fulfillment; when stillness is complete, then action goes into motion.

The primordial energy comes from within empty nothingness; as the mind of Tao appears, the human mind naturally recedes. This is the place that gives life to the self, so it is called beneficial. The Northeast is the direction of Mountain ☶, has nearly stripped yang completely away. Yin energy stripping away yang, following its desires the human mind takes charge of affairs and the mind of Tao is on the verge of disappearance. This is the place that kills the self, so it is called not beneficial. It is beneficial to enliven the mind of Tao and withdraw the human mind; it is not beneficial to arouse the human mind and damage the mind of Tao. If you enliven the mind of Tao, then you can deal with danger; if you can withdraw the human mind, then you can get out of danger.

So the fact that it is surely profitable to see a great person and innocence is auspicious is because a great person is one who has not lost the mind of an infant. The mind of an infant does not discriminate or cognize, has no greed or ambition — this is the mind of Tao. When one has the mind of Tao one is a great person; without the mind of Tao one is a petty person. Getting rid of the human mentality is not possible without seeing the mind of Tao; only when seeing the mind of Tao can one get rid of the human mind. So it is profitable to see a great person simply means it is beneficial to see the mind of Tao.

Once one has seen the mind of Tao, false and true are distinguished; at peace, in accord, essence is stabilized and feelings forgotten. No longer seduced by the human mentality, by stillness one can control danger, and by action one can solve danger. Stillness and action are both functions of the mind of Tao. Meeting danger with rectitude, maintaining rectitude in the midst of danger, eventually one will surely get out of danger, resolve danger, and fulfill the great path, completing it auspiciously.

So the way to get out of trouble and solve it requires learning the secret to break through the gate of life and the door of death from a genuine teacher; only then can the task be done. If you do not know the gate of life and the door of death, not only do you not know the mind of Tao, you do not even know the human mind. If you do not know the mind of Tao, how can you bring it to life? If you do not know the human mind, how can you get rid of it? If the mind of Tao is not brought to life and the human mind is not dismissed, only fooling around in deviated methods, you will bring on trouble where there was none. This is of no benefit to essence and life, and is in fact harmful. How can we not beware?

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Hexagram # 39. Halting

On the left the Liushutong character and on the right the present shape of the character
for Hexagram #39 Halting

In the Postcelestial arrangement of the eight trigrams the trigram Earth is in the Southwest.

'A great person', the Mind of Tao, got rid of the human mind. A Heavenly guardian, by Kokei, Kofukiji. Nara, Japan

If you want to restore the mind of Tao, it is necessary to first understand the human mind. But to understand it, it is important to see it: Seeing it as a pig, as devilish, is truly seeing the human mentality and how injurious it is. -- Liu Yiming, the Taoist I Ching, hexagram #38, Disharmony