Hexagram #5 Attending

In attanding there is sincerity and great development. It is good to be correct. It is beneficial to cross a great river. 

EXPLANATION: Attending (需) means there is dealing with (待). As to the qualities of the hexagram, above is Water ☵ a pitfall, below is Heaven which is sound and strong. Being sound and strong and able to manage in the midst of danger, it is therefore called Attending.

People give rise to yin from the culmination of yang. The yang in the center of Heaven ☰ runs into the palace of Earth ☷, so that Earth is filled in and becomes Water ☵. The yin in the center of Earth enters the palace of Heaven, so that Heaven is hollowed and becomes Fire ☲. At this
 point, working with false yin and false yang, the strong becomes weak and the submissive becomes stubborn; the intent is not sincere, and the mind is not right. Being aggressive, one is not aware of danger, and is not receptive enough to notice obstacles; one acts dangerously, hoping for the remote chance of luck, knowing no limits.

Now if you want to get out of danger, it is necessary to know danger. Being able to recognize danger is being able to believe it is dangerous. Once you believe in the danger, you have inner control; being careful and wary, you refine yourself and wait for the proper time. Every act is confined to its proper place, and one is not damaged by external influences. Therefore in the path of Attending there is sincerity and great development, gaining good fortune by being correct.

Having sincerity and great development means believing in danger and being able to cope with it; that correctness is good means that by maintaining correctness you can be free from danger. Once you believe in the danger, and keep to what is right, you fend off danger by strength and firmness, and use danger to nurture strength and firmness, awaiting the time to move forward, and enter the lair looking for the tiger. Not only are you able to avoid being injured by yin energy, you can also take the true yang fallen into water and return it to the palace of heaven. This is the reason that it is beneficial to cross a great river.

A great river is most dangerous; this is the image of water, which is something that fells and traps yang. That danger is most great: Believing in the danger, you cross it correctly; when the time is not yet ripe, you nurture strength, and when the time comes you advance strength. Advancing it and nourishing it at the proper times is how you can be in danger yet cope with it, and how you can get out of danger. That strength is beneficial wherever it goes.

Top yin: Entering a cave. Three people come, guests not in haste: Respect them, and it will turn out wen.

EXPLANATION: At the end of Attending, one should get out of danger, as opposed to the danger of cultivating oneself, which is like entering a cave. One goes into a cave because of inability to refine oneself. If you can refine yourself and you have refined yourself to the point of having no self, it`s like light appearing in an empty room, and spiritual illumination comes of itself. At the beginning one goes into a cave, at the end, one comes out of the cave. Therefore three people come, guests not in haste: Respect them, and it will turn out well. The guests who are not in haste are the three yangs of heaven away to other houses after birth and become guests; awaiting the time to Return ䷗, from one yang you gradually arrive at the pure completeness of the three yangs - then as before they belong to your home. Let them be the hosts and yourself be the guest. They are to be respected and not defied. If you respect and obey them, yin and yang merge, the golden elixir crystallizes, life and health are preserved and completed - this is great fortune. This is the Attending of cultivating oneself and crystallizing the elixir.

So in the path of advancing the fire, sometimes you nurture strength, sometimes you use strength, sometimes you leave strength be, sometimes you balance strength; each has its time. If you wait for the proper time to act. always in the appropriate way, strong, cognizant of danger, even though you cross a great river, it will be beneficial.
-- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #5 Attending, The Taoist I Ching

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

Hexagram #5 Attending

Danger: the lower self is whispering in
the ear of the "Yellow Wife" so that the
"true intent" becomes the "errant intent".
(Chartre Cathedral, Chartre, France)

The seeker must reject evil whisperings of the lower self. He might reject them before they reach him; or he might reject them after they reach him but before they control him.
-- Shah Naqshband

Milarepa in a cave, Tibetan tanka