Hexagram #44 MEETING

Meeting, the woman is strong. Don't get married.

EXPLANATION: Meeting means encounter, unexpected encounter. In the body of the hexagram, there is one yin, which enters under five yangs ䷫; five yangs meet one yin, so it is called meeting. This hexagram represents warding off mundanity and preserving celestial energy; it follows on the previous hexagram increase ䷩. Increase means augmenting insufficient celestial energy; to augment 'what is insufficient means adding from one yang until there are six yangs, so that finally positive celestial yang is pure and complete. However, when yang culminates, yin is inevitable; one yin surreptitiously arises, and the yang energy is damaged. This is why the text says "meeting, the woman is strong.

However, the inevitability of yin when yang culminates is the path of the temporal, going along with creation; if one can borrow the earthly to complete the celestial, the sages' science of reverse operation to get back to the primordial, one can thereby go in and out of yin and yang without being constrained by yin and yang. Using yin without being used by yin is like meeting a woman but not marrying her. Though earthly yin energy be strong, after all it will obey celestial yang energy. Not only will the yang energy not be damaged, the yin energy will gradually sublimate. This is why the work of warding off mundanity is valued.

5th line yang: Wrapping a melon in river willow. Hiding embellishments, being detached, one realizes the celestial self. 

EXPLANATION: When firm strength is balanced correctly, heaven and humanity merge; one controls the human mentality by the mind of Tao, like wrapping up the yin of a melon with the yang of river willow. Expelling intellectualism, concealing illumination within, mundanity cannot get near: Dealing with meeting in this way, one can return to heaven by human power; celestial energy is not damaged, and earthly energy spontaneously sublimates. This is preventing negative mundanity by positive celestial energy and suffering no damage.

Top yang line: Meeting the horn is humiliating. No blame.

When strong but arrogant, one is unable to prevent mundanity (yin energy) early on. When yang reaches the extreme it must turn to yin; when strength reaches the extreme, it will be defeated. The gold elixir, once attained, is again lost, and it is one's own fault. But there is no blame on the yin. This is suffering damage in the end by tardiness in preventing mundanity. 
In the six lines, there is knowledge of preventing negative mundanity, lack of knowledge of preventing it, preventing it early on, preventing it too late. If we look for where negative mundanity is prevented early on so that it cannot arise, we find it only in the yang in the second place, where yang controls yin, causing it to sublimate spontaneously. As for the attainment of proper balance, we find it only in the yang in the fifth place. Preventing negative mundanity with proper balance, using yin without being used by yin, borrowing yin to preserve yang, seems to lie in this.
-- Liu Yiming, The taoist I Ching

Return to the Individual Hexagrams page

Hexagram #44 Meeting

The Monkey King from Journey to the West (representing the mind of Tao), kills a demon (representing yin energy) disguised
as a beautiful woman.

The body of pure yang was happy in the sun, the yin demons dared not use their might.
-- Journey to the West Ch.99

River willow shielding a melon

Prince Siegfried with the white swan
(Click to enlarge)