34 Da4 Zhuang2 大壯



The lower: Qian (perseverance, heaven). The upper: Zhen (to move, the thunder).

Da Zhuang: largeness and strength, or the masculine is strong; the great strength must be guided onto a right track.






Things cannot always retreat (Dun); therefore Da Zhuang is granted (with a view to reaching the next hexagram Jin, to advance). Retreat permits a future advance; a gentleman will be reinstated after having experienced a dark time, and his aspirations will become brighter after reclusion. Literally, Da means largeness and Zhuang signifies strength. Hexagrams Da Zhuang and Dun are mutually reverse. Hexagram Dun (33) suggests that the masculine Yang (or, a gentleman) should retreat while the feminine Yin (i.e. evil or the villain) starts prevailing, while hexagram Da Zhuang suggests that the masculine (or, a gentleman) should restrain itself (or himself) when it (or he) is in a large and strong state, as it (or he) has the tendency to be arrogant and belligerent.

The masculine is regarded as largeness, while the feminine is small; the masculine lines reach position 4, signifying the masculine grows strong; thus it is a strong largeness or large strength.

The internal trigram Qian, which is composed wholly of masculine rigidity, is signified as perseverance, while the external trigram Zhen is to move. To move with a strong and per-severing interior will create significant momentum.

The inner hexagram of Da Zhuang is Guai (43), (the masculine) to get rid of (the feminine). Therefore hexagram Da Zhung contains the risk of counterattack from the feminine like a dam bursting, which signifies that largeness and strength with no self-restraint will cause a disaster. Its changing hexagram is Guan (20), those above (i.e. the masculine lines) presenting a model (for those below, i.e. the feminine lines, to follow).


Text: Da Zhuang (largeness and strength); it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist.

Commentary on the text: Da Zhuang (largeness and strength), (signifying) the large one is strong.  (Da Zhuang exhibits its norm in the form of) move (as its external trigram Zhen acts) by means of rigidity (i.e. a strong and persevering manner like its internal trigram Qian); therefore it is strong.  Da Zhuang; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist, (signifying) the one large must be righteous.  (While) righteous largeness (is performing), the (noble) thoughts and deeds of heaven and earth can be seen.

Text explanation:

When one is large and strong, it is appropriate (or advantageous) to persist in acting righteously, i.e. not to do anything offensive to Heaven and hurt people; to make use of the large strength but not depend on it, and to create benefit not only for one's self but for others as well.

The masculine reaches position 4, indicating that the large ones are strong (in number and instinct). The lower trigram Qian is strong and persevering, while the upper trigram Zhen is to move; movement incorporating with strength and perseverance, and expressed in a large form is a mighty power.

Those (i.e. the masculine lines) which build largeness and strength must do it according to what is righteous, and the built large strength must be guided onto a righteous way; otherwise it would collapse, or it would become a bandit or tyrant.

Nothing can be larger than heaven and earth, and no righteousness can be in excess of that which heaven and earth perform. The interrelationship of largeness and righteousness is exhibited between heaven and earth.

Commentary on the image: Thundering on top of heaven; Da Zhuang.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, won’t do what isn't in compliance with etiquette.

A gentleman knows that roaring on top of Heaven is rude and arrogant behaviour; therefore he abides by etiquette and does nothing against it.


Largeness and strength signify that the large one is acting in a strong manner; it is advantageous to persist in acting righteously. Or, in other words, the power of largeness and strength must be guided onto the right track; otherwise it might lead to calamity as suggested by its inner hexagram Guai (43), (the masculine) getting rid of (the feminine power), which contains the possibility of backlash, like a torrential downpour sweeping away everything in its path. If the masculine line of hexagram Da Zhuang keeps on marching upward, the hexagram will change to Guai; then it becomes a showdown (with the feminine power).

The text of Da Zhuang possesses nothing but the virtues of advantage and persistence (expressed in the form of persistence bringing forth benefit); this emphasises the importance of persistence in righteousness.

Da Zhuang also implies the tendency of impulsivity and belligerence owing to its largeness and strength, akin to the ram described in the line texts below. The changing hexagram of Da Zhuang is Guan (20), to observe, where those above are being reviewed by those below. If the feminine of hexagram Guan continues increasing, the hexagram will become Bo (23), where the masculine is overpowered by the feminine.

Its commentary on the image also suggests: however strong one is, there is always someone stronger

The heavens of the lower trigram Qian, like the dome of the earth, can be referred to as the roof of a house which protects people from the thunder of the upper trigram Zhen; therefore according to Xi Ci Zhuan (Confucian commentary on the text tagging), Da Zhuang is regarded as a hexagram of architecture.






Largeness and strength must be guided onto the right track, i.e. to act according to what is righteousness. Da Zhuang is a hexagram advising people how to righteously make use of largeness and strength, especially to avoid counting on them which could lead to arrogance and belligerence.

The contour of Da Zhuang is similar to that of trigram Dui (joy, the marsh). Trigram Dui denotes the goat, impulsive and belligerent but with a pleasant face, suggesting masculine rigidity hiding behind feminine tenderness. Particularly, when two rams engage in horn wrestling for access to a nanny goat, they won’t give in until one of them damages a horn. Therefore the ram is characterised as masculine strength in the text. The animal pen symbolises constraint, restricting the large strength from wrongdoing; the ram butts up against the fence signifying that it is trying to break free. On the one hand the upper trigram Zhen, which denotes bamboo, looks like a fence, i.e. a sheepcote. On the other hand it is signified as to move, and acts with largeness and strength, based on the lower trigram Qian.

When masculine strength acts in a large manner, masculinity is excessive and must be restrained. In terms of self-cultivation, excessive masculinity can be counterbalanced by femininity when the masculine line is located at the feminine position, i.e. positions 2 and 4. On the other hand lines 1 and 3 are swollen with arrogance at the masculine position, which will lead to misfortune if they can't restrain themselves and act according to what is righteous. The principle of moderation is again called for to guide the line toward proper action. Shortly before the end, line 5 becomes feminine; it feels no regret but acts with moderation at the masculine position. At the end of largeness and strength, line 6, the feminine at the feminine position, is no longer large and strong; it must understand its status and endure flight.


The 1st Line

Text: Zhuang (strength) is at the toes; to undertake a venture is ominous, surely (what is stated will occur, or to be captured) (有孚).

Text explanation:

When strength is imposed on impulsivity, it is ominous to undertake an aggressive task as there is a high risk of being trapped if one is incapable of mastering the strength.

Line 1 is a masculine line at the masculine position, signifying that it takes a strong stand and acts rigidly. As it is at the bottom of the hexagram it is viewed as the toe. Toes always walk ahead of the body; therefore they are impulsive. On the other hand toes can't move by themselves, they must be carried by the foot, signifying that line 1 is incapable given its position of less energy and knowledge (of hexagram Da Zhuang). At the initial stage of largeness and strength, it must not act impulsively beyond what it can do or control; impulsively undertaking a venture while being incapable will definitely lead to peril.

The upper trigram Zhen denotes the foot and is signified as to move. If line 4, the representative line of trigram Zhen, moves (and exchanges positions with line 5), and line 1 follows it impulsively with no self-control, the hexagram will become Da Guo (28), masculinity in excess, which will cause overloading and bend the ridgepole.


you3fu2 are usually interpreted as sincerity and trustworthiness. However here it is paraphrased as: what is stated will definitely occur. Additionally also has the meaning of being captured, like the image of trigram Kan, i.e. a masculine line trapped between two feminine lines. Therefore the text can be also be paraphrased as: it is ominous to undertake a venture, such as taking military action, there is a risk of being captured as signified below.




Commentary on the image: Zhuang (strength) is at the toes; it is surely destitute (of the norm of Da Zhuang).

Line 4, the representative line of the upper trigram Zhen, to move, is free to move because it has learned how to make use of largeness and strength without counting on them, whereas line 1, at the beginning phase, doesn't know that.

The small pig had succeeded in running away and has grown fat at position 6 of hexagram Dun (33), to retreat. However now it has become a goat, and must not be impulsive, otherwise it will be captured.

Enlightenment through nine one: don't be impulsive, remain still with what is right and act according to one's ability. Zhuang (strength) at the toes signifies an impulse to advance. When one is unable to use the large strength properly, it is unwise to take aggressive action. The hexagram that forms after this line is activated, changing to feminine and remaining still, is Heng (32), to endure and be long lasting.


The 2nd Line

Text: To persist is auspicious.

Text explanation:

The text provides a conclusion without any explanation because the status that line 2 possesses is self-explanatory.

Line 2 is a masculine axle centre at the feminine position. As it stays at the position of feminine its rigidity is lessened by the feminine. Being in the middle (of the lower trigram), it can act moderately. While the masculine is large as well as strong, it is auspicious to persist by acting moderately and with a balance of masculinity and femininity.

Commentary on the image: It is auspicious for line 2 to persist by virtue of (the principle of) moderation.

In a time of largeness and strength, if one can't act righteously, one must act moderately.

Enlightenment through nine two: to act moderately, and with self-restraint. It is auspicious to persist by acting moderately, and combining hardness with softness. The hexagram after this line is activated, changing to feminine and acting righteously as well, becomes Feng (55), a grand and abundant state. Here it exhibits sincerity and trust to eliminate suspicion and dissolve resistance in its way.


The 3rd Line

Text: A villain will make use of Zhuang (strength), (but) a gentleman won’t; to persist is stern and cruel.  A ram butts against the fence, (and) gets its horns entangled (羸其角).

Text explanation:

Line 3 is a masculine line at a masculine position over the middle (of the lower trigram, i.e. the principle of moderation), signifying it is extremely rigid. It is also at the position for marching upward. During a time that strength is available, a villain will make use of it and behave capriciously; but a gentleman won't. A gentleman will deny himself and comply with etiquette (i.e. what is right) instead of being wilful. To persist in abusing strength, like a belligerent ram is stern and cruel.

From the viewpoint of role play, usually the feminine line is taken to mean a villain. If line 3 changes to feminine like a villain in a strong state, the lower trigram will become Dui, a goat, while the upper trigram Zhen looks like a fence. The scenario suggests a goat butting up against a fence. If line 3 doesn't remain still and act properly, if it advances in a belligerent manner and exchanges positions with line 4, the inner upper trigram will become Zhen and the inner lower trigram, Dui, which will result in the goat getting stuck in the fence.




lei2 of 羸其qi(its) jiao3 (horn) signifies to weaken. The horns of the goat are weakened; it won't be able to make use of its strength, symbolised by its horns getting caught in the fence.

Commentary on the image: A villain will make use of Zhuang, but a gentleman won’t (君子用罔).

A villain who makes use of strength will lose it and get himself stuck, but a gentleman won't. wong3 of junzi3 (the gentleman) yong4 (to use) is a net, which can be used to trap an animal, and is also signified as nil. If the masculine 3, a gentleman, moves to position 6, the upper trigram will become Li (clinging, fire), a net, wherein the goat halts in front of the net. This can be paraphrased as the gentleman righteously using strength won't be trapped.



Enlightenment through nine three: not to flaunt one's strength and behave wilfully, but to act according to what is right. The villain will make use of strength and become belligerent, but the gentleman won’t (since he acts righteously according to the norm of Da Zhuang, i.e. persistence in righteousness brings forth benefit). To persist in abusing strength will be stern and cruel, like a ram butting up against a fence and getting its horns stuck. The hexagram that forms after this line is activated and changes feminine is Gui Mei (54), the younger sister accompanies her older sister in marriage to her brother-in-law as a concubine. This is also a kind of impulsivity because the younger sister get married in one step rather than gradually and sequentially following the prescribed procedure as her older sister does; the text states that it is ominous to undertake a venture (similar to that of line 1), and nothing is favourable.


The 4th Line

Text: To persist is auspicious; regret will be gone.  The fence is broken and won’t have the horns be entangled in it.  Zhuang (strength) is at the connecting part between a big cart and its wheel-shaft.

Text explanation:

Line 4 which left the rigid masculinity of Qian is a masculine line at the feminine position, wherein masculinity is balanced with femininity. Therefore it is auspicious to maintain this state, i.e. be active but not belligerent.

Line 4 has passed the trial at position 3; now it reaches the upper trigram Zhen, to move, and represents Zhen. Provided that line 4 goes further and exchanges positions with line 5, the fence (i.e. trigram Zhen) will disappear and the upper trigram will become Kan (the abyss, water), which is a wheel. Strength (i.e. masculine line 5) firmly connects the wheel-shaft to the big cart, so the cart can travel far.



Commentary on the image: The fence is broken and won’t have the horns be entangled in it, which encourages moving forward.

The barrier is broken, strength becomes available and the goat is free, like a big, sturdy cart traveling freely and far. The masculine strength is cultivated and accompanied by tender femininity. Then it moves to position 5, where it can act righteously and with the principle of moderation, this way it can undertake what is intended.  

Enlightenment through nine four: be active but not belligerent, and use, without abusing, one's given talent. It is auspicious to remain in a state of balanced masculinity and femininity, and being active but not aggressive with strength. Regret will be gone (after action is taken following what is right and moderate). The fence is broken and strength is available. The strength is available to a big cart so it can travel freely and far. The hexagram forms after this line is activated, changing to feminine and act righteously, Tai (11), where the masculine Qian and the feminine Kun engage in a smooth, unobstructed, harmonic and peaceful state. 


The 5th Line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) losing the goat in Yi (); (this is of) no regret.

Text explanation:

The goat is symbolic of impulsivity and belligerence; losing the goat signifies that line 5 no longer behaves belligerently and impulsively. Yi () is the change between masculine and feminine.

The line reaches position 5 and changes from masculine to feminine. It is not the strong masculine any longer but a feminine axle centre at the position of masculine, i.e. it acts tenderly with the principle of moderation, based on largeness and strength.

Line 3 suggests that a gentleman shouldn't make use of strength (or, he can righteously use it but won't be trapped), so regret is gone when he acts at position 4; now he feels no regret even though he completely loses the large and strong instinct.

From the images presented below, line 5 is seemingly stuck in the fence.



However, once the goat changes its bellicose and impulsive character, it is able to retreat when advance is not possible. After line 5 exchanges positions with line 2, the hexagram appears in the form of Ge (49), reform, and the upper trigram becomes Dui, the goat, while the lower trigram changes to Li (clinging, fire), a net; the goat stays above the net, signifying that it runs away after a thorough change.



Commentary on the image: Losing the goat in Yi (), (which is due to) the position (where it stays) is inappropriate (to it).

It is at a position for masculine but it changes from masculine to feminine, supposedly it should feel regretful. However it will arrive at its right position after it realises that it is no longer suited for largeness and strength, and retreats to position 2.

Enlightenment through six five: to act moderately with a tender attitude and strong stand. Losing the goat in the change between masculine and feminine signifies that one changes one’s belligerent and impulsive character, and behaves tenderly and moderately. Even though one is not large and strong any longer, there will be no regret. Should this line change to masculine, the hexagram would become Guai (43), (the masculine) getting rid of (the feminine), and risk backlash.


The 6th Line

Text: The ram butts against the fence; it can neither retreat nor advance; nothing is favourable; (this will become) auspicious if it can adamantly endure the plight.

Text explanation:

Line 6 reaches the top of largeness and strength and occupies the extreme moving position of trigram Zhen. However this is the end of a hexagram, i.e. it is not possible to move any further. Also because it is approached by the masculine strength below, it is not possible to retreat either. No matter what is to be done, there will be nothing favourable. Now it is a feminine line at the position of feminine; as long as it can realise that largeness and strength are not to be counted on, this will turn out to be auspicious after it successfully undergoes its plight.

Hexagram Da Zhuang is an enlarged form of trigram Dui, the goat, and the upper trigram Zhen, the fence. Line 6 can be taken for the horns of the goat extending to the end of the fence; they are deeply stuck and can neither retreat nor advance.




Commentary on the image: (Line 6) can neither retreat nor advance, (since it acts with) no contemplation.  (This will become) auspicious if it can adamantly endure the plight; the calamity won’t last long.

The ram can neither advance nor retreat because it doesn’t properly evaluate its situation, i.e. it loses masculine strength but still acts in a large and strong manner; therefore it is trapped by the masculine strength. However predicaments can make people contemplate what has gone wrong and what should be corrected. This will turn out to be auspicious if one can realise that one must count on one's self and not be belligerent in abusing largeness and strength, by which one can undergo this plight and march to the next hexagram Jin, to advance (with brightness) but in a tender manner.

Enlightenment through six six: to reflect on one's self and make corrections accordingly. The line reaches the end of a hexagram in a large and strong manner but with no masculine strength, like a ram butting up against the fence. It can neither retreat nor advance; no matter what can be done, there is nothing favourable. The crisis will disappear as long as one can reflect on oneself and undergo the plight, since after this line is activated accordingly and becomes masculine again; the hexagram becomes Da You (14), abundant possessions, wherein a feminine line at the dominant position possesses all masculine lines with the principle of moderation.





The heavenly domain of hexagram Da Zhuang is still occupied by the feminine power; thus one should gently make use of largeness and strength, i.e. masculine strength. As for hexagram Dun, it has already lost its earthly domain and foundation to the feminine; thus those above must seek retreat. In hexagram Guan (20), the masculine takes charge of the heavenly domain; thus Guan signifies a model for those below to follow. The earthly domain of the hexagram of Lin (19), to approach, has been taken over by the masculine; thus Lin suggests one marching ahead bravely but prepared for misfortune.