Hexagram #62 Predominance of the Small

Predominance of the small is developmental, beneficial - if correct. It is suitable for a small affair but not for a great one. The call left by a flying bird should not rise but descend. This is very auspicious.

EXPLANATION: Predominance of the small means that yin exceeds yang. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Thunder ☳, active, and below is Mountain ☶, still: Acting with restraint, basing action on stillness, stillness is stable and action is not on a large scale. Also, in the body of the hexagram, two yangs are inside four yins: Inwardly fulfilled, outwardly empty, inwardly firm, outwardly flexible, using the small to nurture the great, it is therefore called Predominance of the Small.

This hexagram represents being fulfilled and thus acting empty; it follows on the previous hexagram Discipline. In Discipline, one can be joyful even in danger, inwardly one has a master, using things of the world to practice the principles of the Tao, using social activities to restore celestial qualities; the foundation of life stable, one can enter from doing into non-doing.

In spiritual alchemy, before primordial true yang has been restored, one should empty the mind to seek to fill the belly. Once primordial true yang has returned, one should fill the belly and also empty the mind. The achievement of emptying the mind is the means to operate the natural true fire, to burn away the mundane energy of acquired conditioning until one is freed from it. This is why Predominance of the Small is developmental. However, though Predominance of the Small is developmental, it is only beneficial if correct; if it is not correct, it is not developmental. The correct way of predominance of the small is that action not stray from tranquility, that action be carried out with tranquility; with movement and stillness as one, "the real person plunges into the profound depths, floating about yet keeping within the circle (the compass)," neither indifferent nor obsessed, keeping a very subtle consistency.

This is suitable for a small affair, but not a great one, a small affair means non-doing, a great affair means doing. Doing is the way to find yang, non-doing is the way to nurture yang. Once one has filled the belly, it is appropriate that the small predominate to nurture yang. If you are capable of the great but not the small, you will not only be unable to preserve yang, yang will even be damaged.

Predominance of the small being beneficial when correct means it is beneficial in small action, not in great action, beneficial in small stillness, not in great stillness. When one acts yet is able to be still, being active in the midst of stillness, stopping in the appropriate place and acting on that, even as one acts one does not go beyond the appropriate position. This is like "the call left by a flying bird should not rise but descend." Though a bird flies up, its call goes down; this means action not straying from tranquility. Action not straying from tranquility should not rise but descend, the small predominating and nurturing the great; extracting lead and adding mercury, incubating for ten months, when the spiritual embryo is completely developed, with a thunderous cry the infant appears. When nurturance is sufficient, the auspicious outcome is great; the small predominates, but the good it does is great. Sublime and subtle indeed is the predominance of the small that is beneficially correct. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #62 Predominace of the Small, The Taoist I Ching

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Hexagram #62 Predominance of the Small

On the left the ancient shape of character
for Predominace of the Small. On the right
the present-day shape.

The laughing buddha symbolizes 'Emptying the Mind and Filling the Belly'. The five children together with the laughing Buddha represents six yang lines, when primordial yang has returned.

Sun Wukong, the Monkey King is drawing a circle to protect Sanzang from wild animals and demons. Form the Chinese TV series
'Journey to the West'.

An infant appears after taking of a mask. A boy with Mask of Silenus (1st c.AD Capitoline museum, Rome)

A boy with Mask of Silenus (1st c. AD Capitoline museum, Rome)