Hexagram #63 Settled

Settlement is developmental, but it is minimized. It is beneficial to be correct. The beginning is auspicious, the end confused.

Settlement means the mutual completion of yin and yang: Being settled is the culmination of the mutual completion of yin and yang. As to the qualities of the hexagram, above is Water ☵, a pitfall, and below is Fire ☲, luminous. Using danger to nourish illumination, using illumination to guard against danger, understanding is born from difficulty and difficulty is passed through by understanding: As illumination and danger, understanding and difficulty, offset each other, this is called Settled.

This hexagram represents forestalling danger, foreseeing perils, and stably completing the basis of the elixir; it follows on the preceding hexagram Faithfulness in the Center. Faithfulness in the Center involves joyful action of Wind ☴ leading to deep attainment of self-realization, so that any incompleteness of yin and yang can be settled. As long as there is incompleteness, one should seek completion; once complete, one should preserve completeness. Preserving completeness is the work of stabilizing and completing the basis of the elixir. Stabilizing the basis of the elixir is a matter of using illumination to guard against danger, holding off danger and nurturing illumination. Nurturing illumination means concealing illumination within, having knowledge but not using it, having ability but not employing it, clarifying the quality of illumination and resting in the ultimate good.

Forestalling danger involves being careful outwardly, not acting in any way that would be improper, not doing anything that would be unjust, living according to one's basic state and not wishing for anything else. Once one can nurture illumination inwardly, one can also ward off danger outwardly: Illumination has nourishment and is not damaged, danger dissolves on encountering illumination.

Illumination is the quality of Fire ☲ , positioned in the south; this is the spirit. Danger is the quality of Water ☵, positioned in The North, this is the vitality. When the spirit is prone to activity, fire flames up; using vitality to nurture the spirit, fire is treated with water and irritation vanishes. When vitality leaks out easily, water flows downward; when vitality is governed by the spirit, water is treated with fire and thoughts of lust disappear. When irritation vanishes, the spirit is peaceful, so the mind is empty; when lust disappears, the vitality is whole, so the belly is full. When the mind is empty, the human mentality is absent and true yin appears; when the belly is full, the mind of Tao emerges and true yang arises. With true yin following true yang, true yang governing true yin, true yin and true yang conjoin, and in ecstasy there is form, in trance there is vitality, crystallizing into a tiny pearl: Swallow this, and it will extend life infinitely.

So it is that settlement is certainly developmental . But once yin and yang are complete, illumination is vigorous, and when illumination is vigorous it is easy to presume upon illumination and act arbitrarily. Unless one is very careful, one is likely to slip, and illumination, having culminated, will turn to darkness; the mind of Tao again obscured, the human mentality again arises, and in the middle of settlement and completion there is unsettling and incompleteness. This is the minimization of the development of settlement.

Generally speaking, as long as things are unsettled, most people are careful and conscientious, using lucidity to prevent danger. Once things are settled, people relax, thereby endangering themselves, obscuring lucidity and inviting peril. So when the development is small and not great, and what is gained is again lost, it is all for this reason.

Therefore the developmental aspect of settlement is only beneficial if correctness is preserved. Correctly nurturing illumination, correctly preventing danger, naturally clarity will not be damaged and danger will not arise. But using illumination to forestall hazards is primarily beneficial in the beginning of settlement. The beginning is auspicious, the end is confused. That the beginning is auspicious means if one nurtures illumination early on, even if there is danger there is no peril. That the end is confused means that if you use clarity excessively, you invite danger where there is none. It is all this one clarity, all this one danger: If you can nurture clarity, there is no danger; if you use the clarity too much, there is danger. So practitioners of Tao should prevent the danger early on in the beginning of settlement. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #62 Predominace of the Small, The Taoist I Ching

Return to the Individual Hexagrams page

Hexagram #63 Settled

On the left the ancient shape of character
for Settled. 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.

The laughing Buddha has 'an empty mind' and 'a 'full belly'. The five children together
with the laughing Buddha represent
'six yangs' or 'pure yang'

The left hand of the monk has six fingers, representing the settlement of six yangs. However, the skeleton, representing
the lower self, is still creating danger.
The Dance of Death, The Munster of Bern, Switzerland, 15th C