Hexagram #45 — Gathering

Gathering is developmental. The king comes to have a shrine. It is beneficial to see a great person; this is developmental. It is beneficial to be correct. It is good to make a great sacrifice. It is beneficial to go somewhere.

EXPLANATION: Gathering means assembly. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Lake ☱, joyful, and below is Earth ☷, amenable: When one accords with others, they are joyful; so it is called Gathering. This hexagram represents gathering the medicines together; it follows on the previous hexagram Parting. In Parting, one parts from mundanity (yin energy) by celestial energy (yang energy). The path of parting from mundanity is a task to be done after obtaining head of the elixir (丹頭). Before the head of the elixir (丹頭) is obtained, if not for the work of gathering together the medicines, the elixir will not form. After people are born, habit estranges them from what is essentially near; they forget the original reality and pursue external artificiality. So their mind and spirit are unstable, their vitality and energy are dissipated. It is not possible to immediately recover and concentrate the dissipated vitality and energy; it is important to be obedient and act harmoniously, progressing gradually in an orderly manner, not deviating from the firing process, applying the will single-mindedly, the longer the stronger, so that what was lost may be naturally recovered, what has gone may be restored.

This is like a king coming to have a shrine for spirits. Ancestors are people's roots; if they forget their roots, people are disrespectful and inhuman. When the king comes to have a shrine for spirits, this is how to let people know there is a basis to be grateful to. People's original natural reality is like their ancestral roots: When people abandon reality and accept falsehood, that is like forgetting ancestral roots. If people can gather in their spirit and energy, cultivate essence and life, and restore the original natural reality, that is like not forgetting ancestral roots.

When the king does not forget ancestral roots, he can unify the human heart; when practitioners of the Tao do not forget the fundamental, they can gather the great medicines of essence and life. But this matter of not forgetting the fundamental requires a great person to carry it out; it cannot be done by lesser people who do not know essence and life. Therefore it is beneficial to see a great person; this is developmental.

Indeed, the benefit of development by gathering what is right is no small matter. What heaven enjoins on humanity is rectitude alone, and it is only by rectitude that humanity can answer heaven. Responding to heaven with rectitude, not forgetting the fundamental, is like making a great sacrifice to offer to heaven; it will not fail to bring about good fortune. But the way to make a great sacrifice and bring about good fortune cannot be accomplished simply by the one thought of emptiness; it is necessary to tread the ground of reality step after step before one can achieve it. If you know but do not act on it, it is the same as not knowing — how can you then attain good fortune? So it is beneficial to go somewhere. The value of knowledge is only in its application. -- Liu Yiming, The Taoist I Ching

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Hexagram #45 Gathering

On the left the Liushutong character and on the right the present shape of the character
for Hexagram #45 gathering

Jacob's Dream, Six Angels or Spirits, St. Ambrogio Church, Milan, Italy

'Not forgetting the fundamental', an arhat with the Buddha within. Gohyaku Rakanji temple, Tokyo.