29 Repeated Kan3 習坎

The lower: Kan (the abyss, water). The upper: Kan (the abyss, water).

Repeated Kan: multiple perils, or learning from peril






Things cannot always remain excessive (Guo), therefore Kan is granted; Kan is the abyss. Life is a course that varies phase-by-phase; it will decline after having reached a peak. Hexagram Da Guo signifies that masculinity is greatly excessive, while trigram Kan is the masculine plunged into the abyss. Kan () in Chinese is composed of two characters: short of (), and the soil (); thus Kan means the abysmal trap and stands for peril. Hexagram Repeated Kan is constituted by two trigram Kans, and thus it is signified as multiple perils. 

Trigram Kan is one masculine line seated between two feminine lines, a scene of the masculine getting bogged down in peril. One solid line moves between two broken lines also presenting a river streaming in the ravine; therefore the image of trigram Kan is water. Trigram Kan also denotes sincerity and trust, as the masculine line is taken for a solid heart in the middle of human body, while the tender feminine is flesh.

The reversed hexagram of Repeated Kan is itself, signifying it is still perilous from the other perspective of viewing. The changed hexagram of Repeated Kan is Li (30), brightness and civilization; thus undergoing multiple perils entails faith, optimism and a firm goal, which are also those that will lead to bright civilization. Its inner hexagram is Yi2 (27), to nourish, which suggests nourishing the body in order to undergo multiple perils.


Text: Repeated Kan (multiple perils); (undergoing it requires to possess) sincerity and trust, to keep the heart progressing smoothly, (and) to act according to what is advocated.

Judgment remarks: Repeated Kan, (signifying) multiple perils.  Water (continues to) flow and won’t brim; it travels in peril but won’t lose sincerity and trust.  To keep the heart progressing smoothly, which is due to (the ones of) rigidity (line 5 as well as line 2) in the middle.  To act according to what is advocated, there will be merit (obtainable) by going forth.  The peril of heaven cannot be surmounted; the peril of earth includes the mountain, the river and the hill.  The king and duke employ the perilous terrain to protect the country; In the time of Kan to make (appropriate) use of (Kan) is momentous!

Text explanation:

Kan is water, which flows downward. The water of the lower trigram Kan flows downward, and the water of the upper trigram Kan flows down to the lower trigram Kan; they are flowing without stop. The flowing water will brim when it is stopped and contained. The water of hexagram Repeated Kan travels in peril and doesn't brim, signifying it won't change its instinct of flowing downward, i.e. it acts constantly and consistently, which is symbolic of sincerity and trust like the two trigram Kans.

Lines 2 and 5, especially line 5, the host line, are both the rigid masculine and at the axle center, i.e. they possess the principle of moderation, and represent the solid heart: sincerity and trust. With straightness but moderation as well as sincerity and trust, there is nothing daunting or hesitant in the heart. To act according to the planned course sincerely and trustworthily, it can go forth and merit is attainable, i.e. the mission can be achieved, as position 5 is teeming with merits.

Peril in the sky, such as the wind, the rain, the thunder and lightning, varies capriciously and cannot be surmounted. Peril on the earth, including the mountain and river, is those which are difficult to cross and favor defense. The king and duke make use of these perilous terrains to protect the country; therefore it is meaningful when peril is correctly used as a protective measures.

Phenomenon advice: Water is uninterruptedly approaching; Repeated Kan.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, must constantly act with virtue, and repeatedly carry on teaching (or, review what is taught).

Water is approaching, one after another, ceaselessly. A gentleman should constantly cultivate himself and act according to virtue (in peril), as well as repeatedly teach people in this respect (or always keep in mind what is leant from the experiences in peril).

Divinatory reference:

In multiple perils one must be sincere and trustworthy (or, faithful), keep the heart processing smoothly, i.e. be optimistic and not afraid of peril or affected by peril, and behave firmly and moderately, as well as act according to the advocated life course.

Repeated Kan only possesses the virtue of smooth progress, which is the one required to leave the multiple perils.

The changed hexagram is Li (30), clinging, which denotes fire and is signified as brightness and civilization. Repeated Kan in Chinese, xi2 (to review what has been learned) kan3, can be literally understood as 'learning from Kan’, i.e. to learn how to travel in the abyss but not be trapped, and to act in peril but not be hurt. A person can reach brightness and achieve civilization after having successfully undergone the abysmal peril.






Line 6 of hexagram 28 (Da Guo): Wading the river (and water) over the head, (which is of) an ominous omen, (but) no calamity. Although it can be free from calamity, it is still trapped in the river after it left hexagram Da Guo and arrives at hexagram Repeated Kan.

Trigram Kan is the abysmal peril, wherein all the lines are trapped in the abysses of peril. People can’t live without hope; therefore line 2 offers a hope but only small achievements are permitted. People should not have insatiable desires to acquire more; thus line 3 should take no action. The point is that people should seek a measures to leave peril like line 4. Seemingly peril is lessened as the sandbank emerges at position 5. In actuality time is frozen in multiple perils, and line 6 is put into jail. Both lines 1 and 6 get lost on their life journeys; or, both lose the norm of repeated Kan; line 1 is trapped in multiple perils, while line 6 can't leave them. Though line 6 is imprisoned for three years, the hexagram coming next is Li, brightness, signifying one can pass all the ordeals if one can learn what one has experienced in hexagram Repeated Kan.

From the viewpoint of the line's behavior, the masculine rigidity with the principle of moderation is capable of seeking small achievements in peril or alleviating the threat of peril, while the tender feminine bogged down in peril has to live with peril, except for line 4 which has the access to the masculine axle center, line 5. From the viewpoint of divination, lines 4 and 5 should cooperate with each other, since provided that they change together, the hexagram will become Xie (40), alleviation.


The 1st line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) repeated Kan (multiple perils, or learning from Kan); (it is) falling into the pit of Kan (the abyss and peril), (which is of) an ominous omen.

Text explanation:

The feminine line 1 enters multiple perils and falls into the pit of abyss, like a person gets lost on his life course, arrives at a dangerous place and is plunged into peril, which is ominous. The broken line stroke of line 1 is referred to as the pit of the lower trigram Kan, the abyss and peril.

The text can be also interpreted as: (the subject is in a state of) learning what is Kan (peril), (but) falling into the pit of Kan, (which is of) an ominous omen, and which is due to its missing the right course (i.e. to keep a distance from peril).

Phenomenon advice: Repeated Kan (multiple perils, or learning from Kan) and falling into Kan; to lose the norm (or, the course) is ominous.

Line 1 getting lost on its journey and falling into peril can be understood that line 1 fails to reach position 2, of which the line represents Repeated Kan and possesses its norm: to be sincere and trustworthy and keep the heart processing smoothly, as well as act firmly and moderately according to the advocated life course, but falls into the pit of peril.

Line's behavior (of six one) for divinatory reference: A person gets lost on his life’s course and falls into the pit of the abysmal peril, which is ominous. Or, he is unable to act according to the norm of learning from Kan or repeated Kan while staying in multiple perils, which plunges him into peril, and which is ominous. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Jie (60), to restrict, wherein one must abide by restriction as well as carry out self-restraint; this is possibly the advice for a person who has the journey in peril. Recommendation at this stage: 1) don't risk peril, or 2) to remain optimistic and behave self.


The 2nd line

Text: Kan (the abyss) contains peril, (signifying) to seek a small attainment.

Text explanation:

Kan (the abyss) signifies peril; the masculine line 2 reaches the middle of the abysmal peril. It isn't afraid of peril because of its masculine rigidity (or, strength and firmness in terms of human personality), and it possesses the opportunity of leaving peril as the masculine tends to move. However, it is trapped between two feminine lines and plunged in the place of femininity; it should not act aggressively but rather moderately, which suggests that it should exert itself only for a small achievement.

Phenomenon advice: To seek a small attainment, (which is due to its) not departing from the middle (of peril, or the principle of moderation) yet.

It is still in peril although it represents the inner lower trigram Zhen; thus it is only permitted to make some small achievements with the principle of moderation.


Line's behavior (of nine two) for divinatory reference: Although one possesses strength and firmness like the masculine rigidity, one should moderately engage in making some small achievements only, as the environment still is perilous. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Bi3 (8), intimate interdependence, which suggests mutual help or alliance. Recommendation at this stage: to secure safety and then seek a small achievement.


The 3rd line

Text: (The subject is in a state of moving) back and forth (between) Kan and Kan (the abysmal peril), (it is) in peril but tentatively taking a rest.  (To avoid) falling into the pit of Kan (the abyss), do not act.

Text explanation:

One is in peril and in dilemma, as there is no way to get out from the plight. It is better to remain still and alert; otherwise one will be plunged deeper into peril.

The feminine line 3 is at the position ready to leave the lower trigram Kan and at the position for marching up to the upper trigram. However the upper trigram in front is Kan as well; therefore it moves back and forth between two Kans. As the inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) signifies stop and the feminine tends to remain still, it had better take a rest; otherwise by keeping on going forth it will fall into the pit of the upper Kan.

Phenomenon advice: Back and forth (between) Kan and Kan (the abysmal peril), (signifying) no merit is achievable at the end.

 There is no access to reach position 6 and leave hexagram Kan but a possibility of falling into the pit of the upper trigram Kan, i.e. position 4 which has the same setup as position 1 of the lower trigram. Hence it should not make a trial.


Line's behavior (of six three) for divinatory reference: Peril lies both in front and at rear; one is in peril and in dilemma. Even though one struggles back and forth but there is no way to get out from the plight, so it is better to tentatively take a rest but remain alert. No matter what is to be done, there is nothing achievable and one will be plunged further into peril. Should this line ignore the warning and change to the masculine, the hexagram would become Jing (48), the well, wherein the earthen bucket breaks before the rope reaches the top of the well. Recommendation at this stage: to secure safety and wait for the right timing.


The 4th line

Text: One jug of wine, (and) two bowls of rice, (the subject ought) to use the earthen utensil, (and) to hand in concisely through the window (for ambient lighting); eventually there will be no calamity.

Text explanation:

One jug of wine with two bowls of rice, both contained in the earthen utensils, is signified as a simple gift. Although it is difficult to prepare munificent gifts in the period of multiple perils, the gift must be clearly presented through the right channel and to the right person, signifying the act aiming to dissolve the crisis and evade peril must be done in a simple and effective manner. In ancient times many houses were built with a window for ambient lighting; it is the brightest place in the room where things can be clearly seen.

The feminine line 4 is still in peril, i.e. the upper trigram Kan, although it has already left the lower trigram Kan. It is friendly next to line 5, as well as sustains line 5; therefore it seeks shelter from line 5, the masculine axle center, by submitting some simple gifts through the channel by which line 5 can be clearly reached. After line 4 has successfully approached line 5, the upper Kan disappears and changes to Zhen (to move, the thunder); hereafter it can move away from peril.


The upper trigram Kan, water, is taken for wine, and the contour from line 2 to 5 is similar to that of hexagram Yi (27), nourishment, i.e. food, while the inner lower trigram Zhen (to move, the thunder) is the ritual utensil. Trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) is the hand; the inner lower trigram Zhen looks like a hand turning upward and moves (wine and food) upward, while the hand of the inner upper trigram Gen receives them.


The inner upper trigram Gen looks like a door and here is taken for the window. After lines 4 and 5 exchange positions, the inner lower trigram appears in the form of Li (clinging, fire), brightness, signifying the act of giving gift is clearly expressed.


Phenomenon advice: (By virtue of presenting) one jug of wine, (and) two bowls of rice; (those of) rigidity and tenderness adjoin (each other).

The masculine and the feminine adjoin each other offering an opportunity to associate. By virtue of presenting a simple gift, the masculine and the feminine start to interact; this creates a change as well as an opportunity to leave peril.  

Line's behavior (of six four) for divinatory reference: One jug of wine and two bowls of rice, both are contained in the earthen utensils and presented clearly through the right channel and to the right person, signifying simpleness but sincerity, as well as a correct action at the correct moment; thus the one above and the one below act together; as a result one can be rescued from calamity. Should this line change, i.e. without such an approach, the hexagram would become Kun4 (47), to be besieged. Recommendation at this stage: to act in a sincere and effective manner to obtain alliance for leaving peril. 


The 5th line

Text: Kan (the abysmal peril or water) doesn't brim, (and) the land emerges with its flat top (既平), (which is of) no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

The water of abyss is ebbing; thus the sandbank emerges with its flat top. As the sandbank emerges, it is not in imminent peril; however it must still keep doing what is right, i.e. not to let the sandbank be deluged and become a hidden reef, and then it can be free from calamity.

gi2 of ji4 (already) ping2 (flat) is the deity of earth, and which here is signified as the land. The inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) is the mountain and line 5 looks like the sandbank emerging from the river. Even though it is the masculine axle center at its right place, and the crisis is less critical, it is still in peril and must continue strengthening itself to survive the peril.


Phenomenon advice: Kan (the abysmal peril or water) doesn't brim, yet the middle isn't big enough.

Owing to the principle of moderation, the water of abyss won't brim. However since the sandbank only emerges with its flat top, i.e. the sandbank isn't big enough and the abysmal peril still exists, that which one can achieve now is only freedom from calamity.

Line's behavior (of nine five) for divinatory reference: The sandbank emerges, so it is not in imminent peril. However the sandbank is not big enough, so one still has to take correct action in order to secure complete freedom from peril. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Shi (7), the army; the army signifies a defensive force as well as peril. Recommendation at this stage: keep on doing what is right.


The 6th line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) being fastened by cords and ropes, (and) put in thorn bushes; (release is) not (possibly) to be obtained within three years, (which is of) an ominous omen.

Text explanation:

Thorn bushes here mean a prison which is surrounded by the thorn bushes. A prisoner is fastened, put into the jail and won't be released for three years, signifying he is a felon, like repeated perils reach its upper extremity, and relief from peril won't occur within the foreseen future.

Trigram Kan is water, which can be used as a tool to check the level; therefore the upper trigram Kan here refers to the law. The inner upper trigram Gen looks like a door and here stands for a house. Trigram Kan is also a rigid tree with lots of thorns, which can be taken for the thorn bushes. All these construct an image of prison, as usually the wall of the prison is planted with thorn bushes to prevent escape.


The line reaches the end of hexagram Repeated Kan. Supposedly the situation is going to change and peril will turn into safety; however in multiple perils time is seemingly frozen like put into jail. Should line 6 change to the masculine for dismissing the upper trigram Kan, the upper trigram would become Xun (to enter, the wind), which is the cord, while the inner upper and the lower trigram are still Gen and Kan, respectively, i.e. the prison. Consequently it is still fastened by the cord and rope, and put into the jail.


The figure from one to ten is one unit; five is half and three precedes half. Three years signifies a time period that is neither short nor long.

Phenomenon advice: Line 6 loses the norm (or gets lost on the course); (so it will remain) ominous for three years.

The feminine line 6 rides on the masculine line 5, signifying inferiority oppresses and bullies superiority, so the norm represented by line 5, the host line of Repeated Kan, is humiliated.

Line 6 gets lost on its life journey; therefore it is put into jail. This will last till it passes three steps (i.e. three years) and reaches position 2 of the next hexagram Li, wherein the sun at midday is seen after it pays respect to the missteps and is released from the jail.

Line's behavior (of six six) for divinatory reference: While multiple perils reach the upper extremity, one loses the norm of Repeated Kan and gets lost on one's life journey (again), like a repeated offender is fastened and put into the jail; he is plunged into peril and loses freedom totally; he won't be released for three years, i.e. within the foreseen future, which is ominous. The hexagram after this line changes is Huan (59), to disperse, wherein the wind is dispersing the water of the lower trigram Kan, signifying if one is capable of learning from Repeated Kan and behaves like line 6 of hexagram Huan, one can be back to the correct trend and find a way to reach the next hexagram Li, brightness. Recommendation at this stage: 1) to learn from experience and avoid the same fault, or 2) not to buck the trend but leave, and keep a distance from, as well as be never plunged into peril again.