Hexagram 31, Lake over Mountain

Hexagram 31, Lake over Mountain, hsien or xian, is rendered in English as “influence, wooing”*.
A lake over a mountain is a mountain lake, like Lake Victoria on the African Continent with the Nile as the only outlet.

The hexagram Lake over Mountain consists of one broken female line over three solid male lines over two broken female lines. The first two Earth Lines are the bottom lines that are broken female lines. The middle two Man Lines are solid and the first of the Heaven Lines (top two lines) is also solid. Of the top two Heaven Lines only the uppermost line is a broken line. This indicates that the “heart” of the hexagram is very strong. There is a strong bond* between the middle two Man Lines and the first of the Heaven Lines. In classical Chinese interpretation, this hexagram has a “full heart.” In one English rendition, a note to this hexagram says: “Good fortune to those whose hearts are correct.”

The classical name of this hexagram is “xian” (hsien). *The classical definition of this hexagram is “the union of the soft and the hard.” The Lake symbolizes softness, and the Mountain symbolizes hardness. Their “perfect union” (classical definition) is called xian, meaning *mutual influence, mutual understanding, having mutual feelings and emotions, in harmony, harmoniously joined.

The classical Xiang annotations describes the hexagram’s image as a lake on top of a mountain. This describes a person who is humble on the outside but determined on the inside. The classical Xiang annotations also describe this hexagram as “the water of the lake nurtures the mountain, and the mountain returns this favor by having trees grow on it.”

The classical Xiang annotations also describes this hexagram as “a gentleman who is like the lake and the mountain”. The lake is the ideal haven of aquatic life and aquatic plants and the water murtures the plant life of the mountain which is also a haven for animals and insects. Therefore the “gentleman” has an abundance of generosity, tolerance, foregiveness, and humility.

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About masterchensays

Victor Chen, herbalist, alternative healthcare lecturer, Chinese affairs analyst, retired journalist
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