Hexagram #57 Wind

Wind is small but developmental. It is beneficial to have somewhere to go. It is beneficial to see a great person.

EXPLANATION: Wind is penetration and laying low, meaning gradually making progress by flexible obedience. In the body of the hexagram, one yin lies below two yangs; traveling the path of firmness by means of the path of flexibility, not hurrying yet not lagging, gradually progressing step by step, obedient within and obedient without, obedient below and obedient above, going from near to far, rising from low to high, like the wind going farther and higher as it blows, reaching everywhere, therefore this is called Wind.

This hexagram represents progressing on the path by flexible obedience; it follows on the previous hexagram Richness. In Richness, illumination and action are united, so that one can deal with things adaptively, passive or active at will, essence and life depending on oneself and not on fate. However, the path of uniting illumination and action is not easily accomplished; it cannot be done without the work of gradual progress by flexible obedience. If one is flexible and obedient, one can endure long; by gradual progress one can penetrate. Flexible obedience making gradual progress, getting stronger with persistence, working without slacking off, will eventually arrive at deep attainment of self-realization. Therefore "wind is small but developmental."

But though the ability to obey is a way of development, there are those who know about obedience but cannot practice it, there are those who can follow the low but not the high, there are those who can follow the high but not the low, there are those who can obey when it is pleasant but not when it is unpleasant, there are those who can obey in the beginning but not in the end —all of these are unable to really carry out the path of obedient progress, so even though they try to follow it they do not get through.

When we look for obedience in which knowledge and action are both effective, firmness and flexibility are employed together, able to be above and below, competent in both ease and adversity, effective both inwardly and outwardly, unified from start to finish, we find that only great people with balance and right orientation are capable of this. Therefore "it is beneficial to have somewhere to go," and "it is beneficial to see a great person."

A great person considers essence and life important, considers the Tao and its qualities valuable, looks upon the ephemeral body as like a dead tree, looks upon wealth and status as like floating clouds, is inwardly always more than fulfilled while outwardly appearing insufficient, truly applies real practical steps making gradual progress, mind firm and will far-reaching, determined not to rest until the great Path is completed. Therefore there is benefit. Those who are not great people cling to partiality; they obey and follow without balance or correct orientation-how can they get anywhere, to any benefit? So the benefit of going somewhere is only for the great person.

So the path of progress through obedience gradually penetrating requires recognition of when to hurry and when to relax, discernment of what is conducive to good results and what leads to bad results, and the knowledge to stop at sufficiency. One must be firm when necessary, be flexible when necessary, using firmness and flexibility at the appropriate times, accordingly advancing to the balance of firmness and flexibility. This is the ultimate accomplishment.
-- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #57 Wind, The Taoist I Ching

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Hexagram #57 wind






On the left the ancient shape of character for Wind (巽-xun). On the right the presents-day shape. The ideograph employs the image
of two snakes to represent the act
of proceeding together.







Two snakes representing the beginning and end of the path. Isis as Agathe Tyche and Osiris as Agathos Daimon in serpent form, Egyptian Museum, Egypt.








Limestone relief with Serapis-Dionysos and Isis, British Museum




A small shrine in the Koryuji temple, Kyoto



The shrine contains two snakes, one with the mouth open, representing the beginning and one with the mouth closes,
referring to the end of the path.
(Click to enlarge)