Hexagram #9 Nurturance by the Small

Nurturance by the small is developmental. Dense clouds do not rain, proceeding from one's own western province.

EXPLANATION: Nurturance by the small is making the small one's nourishment. As for the qualities of the hexagram, above is Wind ☴, submissive, below is Heaven ☰, strong: Being strong, yet acting submissively, the submissiveness subdues the strength, and strength cannot act on its own. Therefore it is called nurturance by the small, which also means being held back by the small.

This hexagram represents nurturing the great by the small; it follows on the previous Hexagram Army. The path of the army is using yang to repel yin, for which it is important to first nourish the yang. When one is able to nourish the yang, then one keeps to oneself by the small, full but not overflowing, firm but not aggressive, having, yet appearing not to have, full yet seeming empty. The heart grows daily humbler, while the virtue grows daily higher. One can thereby gradually get to the realm of sages. This is why nurturance by the small is developmental.

What superior people see in this is that the science of fulfilling nature and comprehending life is the great work of appropriating yin and yang, taking over evolution, reversing the process of life and death, taking charge of the pivotal mechanism; it cannot be carried out by those who have not received mental transmission of the science, but if great nurturance is impossible, then small nurturance is still called for, whereby to beautify cultured qualities.

Beautification means adornment; culture means the pattern of manners and conduct. Even though manners and conduct are not the great matter of cultivation of spiritual virtue, nevertheless those who cultivate spiritual virtue should not slight manners and conduct. Examples of cultured qualities are being equanimous and agreeable in dealing with people, being respectful and serious in performing service, being thorough and precise in activity, being careful and prudent in speech.

Concealing one's strength and acting with flexibility, observing what has gone before and being mindful of consequences, being serene and unhurried, one will naturally not act in any way that is impetuous or causes loss of character. This is like the wind blowing in the sky, relieving the heat. When one cultivates one's character to the point where irascibility and impetuosity vanish, then one is capable of small nurturance and also capable of great nurturance. -- Liu Yiming, Hexagram #9 Nurturance by the Small, The Taoist I Ching

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On the left the ancient shape of the
character for #9 Nurturance of the Small. On the right the present-day shape.



Hexagram #9 Nurturance by the Small











Dense clouds, by the Celestial
Master Zhang Yucai
(Click to enlarge)












When one 'loses one`s character' one has
only yin energy, and the Great Tao
is nowhere to be find.