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 with each phase; it will decline after having reached a peak. Da Guo (28) signifies that the masculine greatly exceeds the feminine in number, while Kan is the masculine being trapped by the feminine, like getting plunged into an abyss. Kan (坎) in Chinese is composed of two characters, short of (欠) and the soil (土); thus Kan is an abysmal trap and stands for peril. Hexagram Repeated Kan is constituted by two trigram Kans; therefore it is signified as multiple perils.
Trigram Kan is one masculine line seated between two feminine lines, which signifies that masculinity is trapped by femininity and in peril. One solid line moves between two broken lines also indicating a river streaming over the rapids; therefore the image of trigram Kan is water ( the oracle bone scrip of water 水shui3). Trigram Kan also denotes sincerity and trust as its masculine line is taken for a solid heart in the middle of human body.
The reversed hexagram of Repeated Kan is itself, signifying that it is still perilous from the other perspective of viewing. The changed and the next hexagram of Repeated Kan is Li (30), brightness and civilisation, which suggests that one should optimistically and faithfully undergo multiple perils. Its inner hexagram is Yi2 (27), to nourish, suggesting nourishing one's 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 (or anticipated).
Commentary on the text: 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 (or anticipated), there will be merit (obtainable) by going forth. The peril of the heavens cannot be surmounted; the peril of the 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 making (appropriate) use of (Kan) is momentous!
Trigram Kan denotes 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 Repeated Kan won’t brim, signifying that it won't be stopped and change its instinct (of flowing downward) in multiple perils, i.e. it acts constantly and consistently, which is signified as sincerity and trust denoted by trigram Kan. So do people should not change their virtue, values, principle, commitment, etc. when encountering peril.
Lines 2 and 5 are both the rigid masculine at the axle centre, i.e. they are firm and possess the principle of moderation, as well as represent sincerity and trust. With these virtues, there is nothing daunting or hesitant in the heart. To act with a fixed goal and according to the planned course, it can go forth and merit is attainable as the next hexagram Li is brightness and civilisation.
Peril in the sky, such as wind, rain, thunder and lightning, varies capriciously and cannot be surmounted. Peril on the earth, including mountain and river, is those which are difficult to cross and favour defence. The king and duke make use of these perilous terrains to protect the country; it is meaningful when peril is used as the protective measures.
Commentary on the image: Water is uninterruptedly approaching; Repeated Kan. A gentleman, in accordance with this, must act with his virtue as usual, and repeatedly review what is taught.
Repeated Kan in Chinese, 習xi2 (to review what has been learned) 坎kan3, can be literally translated 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.
Water like peril is approaching, one after another. A gentleman should not be frightened and change his virtue, but repeatedly learn what has been experienced in perils.
In multiple perils one must remain sincere and trustworthy (with respect to one’s virtue, values, principle, commitment, etc.), keep the heart progressing smoothly (i.e. be faithful and optimistic, not afraid of peril or affected by peril), and behave firmly and moderately (i.e. neither aggressively nor yieldingly), as well as act with a fixed goal and according to the advocated life course.
Repeated Kan only possesses the virtue of smooth progress as it is that which is required to leave the multiple perils.
. One can reach civilisation and one’s future will become bright after successfully undergoing and learning form the abysmal peril. The next hexagram Li (30), brightness and civilisation, is also the changed hexagram of Repeated Kan.
Line 6 of hexagram 28 (Da Guo) walks through water (and the water) overwhelms its head, (which is) an ominous omen, (but with) 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.
In Repeated Kan, all the lines are trapped in the abyss or river and must undergo peril. Line 1 lacks experience; therefore it is trapped while encountering peril. Lines 2 and 5 possess the masculine strength and the principle of moderation; they are able to accomplish achievements not aggressively and lessen the threat with the unyielding attitude. Line 3 must halt and remain alert when peril appears one after another. Line 4 approaches line 5 for assistance and succeeds in evading calamity. Line 6 doesn’t act according to the experiences learnt in peril; therefore it is put into the dark jail. However if it can take the lesson, it will see the sun at midday in the next hexagram Li (30), brightness.
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.
Line 1 enters multiple perils and falls into the pit of the abyss, like a person getting lost on his life course, arriving at a dangerous place and being 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 abysmal trap and peril.
The text can be also interpreted as (the subject is in a state of) learning how to tackle Kan, (but) falling into the pit of Kan, (which is of) an ominous omen, and which is due to lacking experience with Repeated Kan and failing to act according to its norm.
Commentary on the image: (Line 1 is in a state of) repeated Kan (multiple perils, or learning from Kan) and falling into Kan; losing the course (or, the norm) is ominous.
Though line 6 of Da Guo survived, it fails to reach position 2, of which the line represents Repeated Kan and possesses the norm of undergoing multiple perils, and falls into the pit of peril.
Line's behaviour (of six one) for divinatory reference: A person misses the right course and falls into the pit of the abysmal peril; this is ominous. Or, he is unable to act according to the norm of Repeated Kan while learning how to tackle Kan, which plunges him into peril; this is ominous. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Jie (60), to restrict, where one must abide by restriction as well as carry out self-restraint; this is possibly the advice. Recommendation at this stage: 1) don't risk peril, or 2) to restrain one's self.
The 2nd line
Text: Kan (the abyss) contains peril, (signifying) to seek a small attainment.
Line 2 reaches the middle of the abysmal peril. It isn't afraid of peril because it possesses masculine rigidity (i.e. strength and firmness). It has an opportunity to leave peril as the masculine tends to move; however it is still far from the end of the hexagram. It should not act aggressively but rather moderately, which suggests that it should engage in small achievements.
Commentary on the image: To seek a small attainment, (which is due to) 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 (to move); thus it is only permitted to advance with the principle of moderation (i.e. neither haste nor hesitation) and step-by-step.
Line's behaviour (of nine two) for divinatory reference: Although one possesses strength and firmness, one should act moderately and make small achievements, 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) coming and going (between) Kan and Kan (the abysmal peril), (it is) in peril but tentatively taking a rest. (It ought to avoid) falling into the pit of Kan (the abyss), do not act.
One is in peril and in dilemma as well because 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 to leave the lower trigram Kan and for march to the upper trigram. However the upper trigram in front is Kan as well; therefore it moves back and forth between two Kans. Since 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 trigram Kan.
Commentary on the image: (Line 3 is in a state of) coming and going (between) Kan and Kan (the abysmal peril), (signifying) no merit is achievable in the end.
There is no access to reach position 6 and leave hexagram Repeated 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 behaviour (of six three) for divinatory reference: Peril lies 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 (becoming active and in correlation with line 6), 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 time.
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 (or fault).
One jug of wine with two bowls of rice, both contained in the earthen utensils, is a simple gift. It is difficult to prepare munificent or eye-catching gifts in the period of multiple perils; therefore the gift must be clearly presented through a right channel and to the right person, which signifies that the act aiming to resolve the crisis and evade peril must be done in a simple and effective way. In ancient times many houses were built with a window for ambient lighting; it is the brightest place in a room where things can be clearly seen.
The feminine line 4 is still in the peril of the upper trigram Kan, although it has left the lower trigram Kan. It is friendly next to, and sustains, line 5; therefore it seeks shelter from line 5, the masculine axle centre, by submitting some simple gifts through a 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, and the hexagram becomes Xie (40), alleviation of the crisis.
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 Zhen, the reversed trigram of Gen (keeping still, the mountain, the hand), also resembles 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 denotes the 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.
Commentary on the image: (By virtue of presenting) one jug of wine, (and) two bowls of rice, (line 4 breaks) the boundary between (those of) rigidity and tenderness.
By virtue of presenting a simple gift, line 4 breaks the boundary between the masculine and feminine. Lines 4 and 5 start to interact; this creates cooperation and offers an opportunity to leave peril.
Line's behaviour (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 those above and below act together; as a result one can be rescued from the plight. Should this line change (i.e. act without such an approach), the hexagram would become Kun4 (47), to be besieged. Recommendation at this stage: to act in a sincere and effective way 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 (祇既平), (which is of) no calamity (or fault).
The water of the abyss is ebbing; thus the sandbank emerges with its flat top. As the sandbank is available, there is no imminent peril. 祇gi2 of 祇既ji4 (already) 平ping2 (flat) is the deity of earth, which here is signified as the land. The inner upper trigram Gen (keeping still, the mountain) denotes the mountain and line 5 looks like a sandbank emerging from the river.
Even though line 5 is the masculine strength and at the sandbank, it is still in peril as the sandbank might be deluged becoming a hidden reef; therefore it must still exert itself unyieldingly to turn peril into safety, and then it can be completely free from calamity.
Commentary on the image: Kan (the abysmal peril or water) doesn't brim, yet the middle isn't big enough.
Owing to the principle of moderation available at position 5, the water of the abyss won’t brim. However since the sandbank only emerges with its flat top, i.e. the masculine strength of line 5 isn't large enough and peril still exists, it must strengthen itself (i.e. its masculinity) in order to enlarge the sandbank.
Line's behaviour (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 should enlarge victories in order to secure complete freedom from peril. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Shi (7), the army. Recommendation at this stage: keep on doing what is right.
The 6th line
Text: (The subject is in a state of) being fastened by the cord and rope, (and) put in thorn bushes; (release is) not (possible) to be obtained within three years, (which is of) an ominous omen.
Thorn bushes here refer to those planted on the wall of a prison for preventing escape. A person is fastened and put in jail for three years, signifying he is a felon and won’t be released shortly. The figures from one to ten are one unit; five is half and three precedes half. Three years means a time period that is neither short nor too long.
Trigram Kan can be referred to as the law as water can be used as a tool to check the level. 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. These construct the image of a prison.
Line 6 reaches the end of hexagram Repeated Kan. Supposedly peril is about to end and the situation will turn to safety. However, contrarily it becomes more serious and time is seemingly frozen like being put in jail; this is because it doesn’t act according to what is taught along the course.
Commentary on the image: Line 6 loses the norm (or, Line 6 gets lost on the course); (so it will remain) ominous for three years.
The feminine line 6 rides on the masculine line 5, signifying that inferiority oppresses and bullies superiority; so the norm represented by line 5, the host line of Repeated Kan that lessens the multiple perils, is humiliated.
Since it doesn’t act according to what is taught, it gets lost in peril and is put into the dark 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 for its missteps.
Line's behaviour (of six six) for divinatory reference: One gets lost on the journey (again) and can’t leave peril, like a repeated offender being fastened and put in jail; this is ominous. The hexagram after this line changes is Huan (59), where the wind is dispersing the water of the lower trigram Kan, signifying one can be back to the correct trend and find a way to reach the next hexagram Li, brightness, if one can learn from the experiences in Repeated Kan and behave like line 6 of hexagram Huan. Recommendation at this stage: 1) to learn from experiences and avoid the same fault, or 2) to depart, and stay far, as well as to get out from peril.