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The original Richard Wilhelm translation for the hexagram line...


Hexagram 21
Shih Ho - Biting Through

yin above: Li / The Clinging, Fire
yin below: Chên / The Arousing, Thunder


Hexagram Twenty-One/Line One

Nine at the beginning [yang at bottom] means:
His feet are fastened in the stocks,
So that his toes disappear.
No blame.

If a sentence is imposed the first time a man attempts to do wrong, the penalty is a mild one. Only the toes are put in the stocks. This prevents him from sinning further and thus he becomes free of blame. It is a warning to halt in time on the path of evil.1

1. Apart from the meaning of the hexagram as a whole, the single lines are explained as follows: the persons represented by the first and the top line suffer punishment, the others inflict it (see the corresponding line 1 and line 6 in hexagram 4, Mêng, YOUTHFUL FOLLY).
It should be noted here that there is an alternative interpretation of this hexagram, based on the idea, "Above, light (the sun); below, movement." In this interpretation the hexagram symbolizes a market below, full of movement, while the sun is shining in the sky above. The allusion to meat suggests that it is a food market. Gold and arrows are the articles of trade. The disappearance of the nose means the vanishing of smell, that is, the person in question is not covetous. The idea of poison points to the dangers of wealth, and so on throughout.
Confucius says in regard to the nine at the beginning in this hexagram: "The inferior man is not ashamed of unkindness and does not shrink from injustice. If no advantage beckons he makes no effort. If he is not intimidated he does not improve himself, but if he is made to behave correctly in small matters he is careful in large ones. This is fortunate for the inferior man."

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