Hexagram #4 Darkness

In darkness is development. It is not that I seek naive innocence; naive innocence seeks me.

EXPLANATION: Darkness means obscurity and unknowing. In the body of the hexagram, Mountain is above, with two yin advancing under one yang; Water ☲, is below, with one yang fallen between two yins. Both have forms of yin injuring yang; therefore it is called Darkness. As for the qualities of the hexagram, danger is within stillness; there is danger, yet ability to stop - this includes the meaning of stopping darkness.
 This hexagram represents starting the operation of yin convergence. Carrying out yin convergence means returning recalcitrant yin to submission.

After primordial yang in people culminates, conditioned yin arises; the original spirit is obscured and discriminatory awareness does things. One drops the real and recognizes the false, using intellect mistakenly, producing all sorts of cleverness; though overtly there is light, inside is really dark. This is where darkness comes from. Once you have entered darkness, essence is disturbed and life is destabilized; in a single day you are born a thousand times and die ten thousand times, not knowing how to stop. This is most perilous.

If you know there is danger and are able to stop it, silencing the intellect, being as though ignorant and dumb, though you be without knowledge outwardly, inwardly you really have knowledge. From false darkness you return to true darkness. Thus it is that in darkness there is paradoxically a way of development.   

The best development of darkness is innocence. The darkness of innocence follows the laws of God without discriminating awareness, tranquil and unstirring, yet sensitive and effective. All actions flow from the fundamental essence. This is the dignified status of a sage, the aspect of the celestial human. Those who travel the path of darkness must go back to the darkness of innocence; only then is it the darkness that is returning to the origin. However, this darkness of return to the origin is not a matter of seeking naive innocence oneself — it is naive innocence that seeks oneself. Not seeking innocence oneself means that it does not come about by formal effort, and is not attached to forms. Innocence seeking oneself means that it comes naturally and does not fall into voidness.

Top yang: Attacking darkness, what is not helpful is inimical, what is helpful prevents enmity.

EXPLANATION: Firmness at the culmination of darkness is ability to control anger and desire, and to powerfully repel external influences. This is like attacking darkness. On the path of withdrawing yin, the human mentality is not helpful, so it is inimical; it is the mind of Tao which is helpful, defending against what is inimical. If one removes the human mentality, activates the mind of Tao, yin energy recedes and yang energy becomes pure and complete. Then you again see what you were originally like. This is darkness ultimately being able to not be dark.

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On the left the ancient shape of the
character for Darkness. On the right,
the present-day shape.

Hexagram #4 Darkness

Jupiter and Io by Correggio

The mind of Tao has removed the human mentality. A Heavenly King, 13th c. AD,
Todaiji temple, Nara Japan

The character for yin — 阴 — is made up of the character for 'now' and the character for 'cloud'. This means that there is no illumination, no self-awareness,
and that it is dark now.