57 Xun4

The lower: Xun (to enter, the wind). The upper: Xun (to enter, the wind).

Xun: the wind, to enter (i.e. to penetrate like the wind), to be modest and obedient; to carry out what is intended unobtrusively or without exposing one's intent, and to establish one's own undertaking by making use of an adversary's resources






Travelling (Lu), but there is no room to accommodate (it); therefore Xun is granted.  Xun is signified as to enter. Hexagram Lu journeyed for outward development but failed at position 6 due to losing submissiveness. Hexagram Xun must retrieve the modest and submissive character by returning to its abandoned home and seeking development internally.

Trigram Xun has one feminine line penetrating and staying beneath two heavy masculine lines, and is signified as entering. As feminine Yin is designated to submit to masculine Yang, one feminine line stays below two masculine lines showing that it prostrates itself beneath the masculine. Thus, it signifies devoutness and modesty as xun4 (self-effacing), or it can signify submissiveness and obedience as xun4 (the obedience of a horse) depending on the context. Both have the same pronunciation.

Trigram Xun also refers to plants growing together. According to Shou Gua Zhuan (Confucian commentary on the trigram), Xun is the beginning of summer, when plants are flourishing. Therefore, Xun is signified as a concerted undertaking under one order.

Hexagram Gu (18) is assigned to remove long standing bad practices; hexagram Ge (49) undertakes reform or revolution to overthrow the existing system, while hexagram Xun denotes wind penetrating every crevice, entering an organization and changing it (or involving into a problem and correcting it) from the inside.

The inner hexagram of Xun is Kui (38), alienation, signifying that Xun must be modest and submissive in order to forestall latent alienation. Its changing hexagram is Zhen (51), to move. Hexagram Xun suggests achieving power through internal reform, while hexagram Zhen suggests acting in the face of challenges and protecting the legitimacy of one's regime.


Text: Xun (to enter, the wind); (it will obtain) somewhat of smooth progress (or the small one, i.e. with a low profile, will progress smoothly); it is instrumental in going somewhere; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord (who has influence on the future of others, or who holds a high-ranking position).

Commentary on the text: Repeated Xun (to enter, the wind) continuously promulgates its mandate; (the one of) rigidity (i.e. line 5) submits (Xun) to moderation (or the core position) and righteousness, and then its aspiration is carried out.  (Those of) tenderness (lines 1 and 4) are all submissive to (those of) rigidity; therefore it is somewhat of smooth progress (or the small one, i.e. with a low profile, will progress smoothly); it is instrumental in going somewhere; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to see a great lord.

Text explanation:

Hexagram Xun is composed of the double trigram Xun, wherein both feminine lines (the representative lines of the upper and the lower trigrams) sustain and submit to the masculine lines. Therefore it can attain smooth progress but in a medium way as the feminine must act according to the masculine. Or, one with a low profile can progress smoothly. As its feminine relies on the masculine, submitting to the masculine is instrumental in undertaking what is intended. Masculine line 5, the host line at the axle centre and the masculine position, is a strong and firm man who possesses the principle of moderation (or dominant power) and righteousness; therefore it is advantageous to see line 5, the great lord, to receive assistance.

The wind repeatedly blows like one Xun trigram following the other; it can endure and penetrate every crevice. The king’s command is promulgated like the wind constantly blowing. Therefore it spreads widely and reaches people everywhere, including in their hearts. In the same way, the appeal of Xun which must be carried out repeatedly, in the manner of its strong and firm line 5 at the core position. This is the way to righteously and moderately carry out the mission.

Commentary on the image: The winds follow one after another; Xun.  A gentleman, in accordance with this, carries out his undertaking by repeatedly promulgating his command.

The wind of trigram Xun is a gentle breeze with firm penetration. Its ability to spread is due to its ceaseless blowing; in accordance with this a gentleman repeatedly promulgates his command to have people clearly understand and carry out his plan.


Xun represents the flexible wind. It is signified as to enter which suggests penetration (i.e. deep involvement). It acts like feminine Yin prostrated beneath masculine Yang, which symbolises modesty and obedience. Xun also denotes concerted action which is referred to as an order; repeated Xun continuously proclaims its mandate like a king promulgating his order.

Hexagram Xun can only achieve slight smooth progress, as the invisible wind needs a physical object to evidence its existence. This is like its feminine (representative) line counting on the solid masculine to act. Or, one with a low profile, like the small feminine submitting to the masculine, can progress smoothly. Receiving masculine assistance is instrumental in undertaking what is intended; and it is advantageous to meet with someone powerful who can positively influence one's future.

Xun doesn't possess the virtues of origination and persistence but those of smooth progress and double benefit (expressed as: being instrumental and advantageous), signifying that it must follow and sustain the masculine in order to attain a mutually beneficial result.

Due to the penetrating property of wind, hexagram Xun can be also be seen as a subject assuming power through internal reform (or, solving a problem from the inside). The text can be understood as: the wind is continuously blowing; through stealth it penetrates the hexagram at position 1, progressing through the internal reform to become the masculine axle centre at position 5. This can progress smoothly as long as it is small, or keeps a low profile which will be instrumental in undertaking what is planned. It is advantageous to see the leader and win his support, and then disempower him.

Its changing hexagram is Zhen (51), to move and the thunder, which suggests acting like loud thunder; therefore Xun can no longer be an unobtrusive insider once it accomplishes its mission.






The invisible wind silently penetrates every point of entry; therefore the internal reform is being carried out in stealth, in such a way that eludes even the spirits. The contour from line 1 to 4 is similar to that of Da Guo (28), a crisis of overload which requires extraordinary action. Position 1 is the entry point, but line 1 isn't prepared. Line 2 carries out the reform. Line 3 arrives at the crossing – to continue or not? Line 4 re-enters where fruitful achievement can be attained by submitting to line 5. Line 5 is the great lord (or the main target of reform), through that the internal reform is successfully accomplished. As line 6 doesn't overthrow the old regime to establish its own base, it will face interaction with them in the next hexagram Dui (58).


The 1st line

Text: (The subject is in a state of) moving back and forth; it is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist like a warrior.

Text explanation:

Here is the entry point (of the internal reform), but line 1 hesitates to enter. It is advantageous if the mission can be carried out in the manner of a warrior.

Line 1 is the representative line of the lower trigram Xun, to enter. However, in the initial phase the line is less energetic, and feminine tends to remain still; therefore it acts without determination, like the wind moving back and forth.

Xun (modesty and obedience) doesn't mean hesitation, but will cause hesitation. One must be resolute in undertaking one’s mission, like a warrior.

Provided it can take action in moving forth along the timeline and exchange positions with line 2, it will become the representative line of the lower trigram Li (clinging, fire). Li denotes armour and weaponry, which here is referred to as the warrior. The hexagram now appears in the form of Jia Ren (37), where the household successfully achieves outward development through internal discipline.


Commentary on the image: (Line 1 is in a state of) moving back and forth, (signifying that) it still doubts its aspiration.  It is advantageous (or appropriate) to persist like a warrior, (so that) aspiration can be properly governed (i.e. directed).

Line 1 is moving back and forth because what is intended is still uncertain, i.e. its aspiration has not yet been fixed, so it acts without direction. After line 1 follows, and exchanges positions with line 2, the inner lower trigram becomes Kan (the abyss, water), a solid heart, and aspiration appears.

Enlightenment through six one: to make up one's mind, and bravely with intelligence move toward to the target. Moving back and forth like the wind is due to indecisiveness. It is advantageous to possess the warrior's persistence, signifying that one must be determined to undertake the assigned mission. If this line is activated, it will change to masculine, and the hexagram will appear as Xiao Chu (9), little feeding and restraint, which suggests the small playing games with the large, with respect to bravery and also wits.


The 2nd line

Text: Xun (the internal reform) is beneath the bed, (and) acts like a diviner and wizard in a flurry of activity (史巫紛若), (which must be of) auspiciousness, (and then there is) no calamity (or fault).

Text explanation:

While carrying out internal reform, one must become deeply involved in the problem; then one can distinguish good from bad in order to eradicate evil and enhance what is good.

The inner upper trigram Li (clinging, fire) denotes brightness; line 2 stays outside in the place of the shaded feminine. Therefore it is in darkness like staying underneath a bed. The dim space beneath the bed conceals evil and corruption, i.e. that which needs to be reformed.

On the other hand, masculine line 2 is an axle centre but not at its right place. If it can take action (i.e. enter where the problem resides) by exchanging positions with line 1, it will act righteously at the core position, and the lower trigram will become Li. This signifies that it illuminates what was shaded like a diviner who has insight into fortune (to deter people from doing wrong). In this way it acts with righteousness like a wizard giving blessings for good fortune and driving off misfortune (i.e. expelling evil and bringing about the good). This is auspicious and will be free from calamity.



shi3 is the historical official who prepared memoranda of events. The post prior to that was occupied by those etching the oracle bone, referred to here as diviners. It is paired with wu, a wizard. fen is the cloth used to wrap horses' tails and is commonly used to describe things numerous and disorderly. Here 紛若ruo4 (as if) refers to the various actions (of the diviner and wizard) like the numerous and disordered hairs of the horse’s tail wrapped and swinging together in the same direction. The trigram Li denotes the tortoise whose shell was used as an oracular tool in ancient China. Here it is taken for diviner and wizard.

Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of acting in a flurry of activity (toward one aim), (signifies that) it acquires the middle (of the lower trigram which possesses the principle of moderation or the dominant power, or it acquires the centre of the problem).

The principle of moderation that masculine line 2 possesses in the time of Xun is neither strong and rigid (like the masculine) nor obedient and submissive (like trigram Xun).

Enlightenment through nine two: to involve oneself deeply in the matter, and carry out the task through concerted effort. Entering the darkness beneath the bed signifies that one must enter deeply into the problem at hand, or the matter that requires internal reform. Then one is able to distinguish good from bad like the diviner, and do away with evil to augment goodness like the wizard; this is auspicious if the efforts are united and directed at one target. Then it will be free from calamity, i.e. those in that position will never suffer defeat. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Jian4 (53), to progress gradually and sequentially according to the prescribed procedure.

The 3rd line

Text: Frequent Xun (internal reforms or commands), (which is of) resentment.

Text explanation:

It vacillates without resolution. The internal reform can’t progress evenly so nothing is achieved. This will be resented.

The line entered the lower trigram Xun at position 1. Now it has reached a position for leaving the lower trigram, only to enter the upper trigram Xun again. In this way it enters Xun more than once, i.e. frequently.

Frequently entering Xun can signify that commands change arbitrarily; this will confuse people who have no guide. It will lead to discontent and eventually resentment.

Commentary on the image: The resentment of frequent Xun, (which is due to the fact that one is) destitute of aspiration.

The first-step toward reform took place at position 2. Line 3 is now at the position for marching to the upper trigram, upper society and the centre of power, signifying the target along with more challenges. 

The goal of internal reform can't last as the reformer can't maintain his aspiration. Wavering aspiration is like having no aspiration.

Enlightenment through nine three: to progress with a firm commitment. The internal reform proceeds inconstantly because the reformer lacks commitment. So the command changes frequently. This will result in no achievement and eventually lead to resentment (as significant accomplishments are available at the next position). The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Huan (59), to disperse. Like sincerity and trust being required to unite the scattering people, endurance is needed here to continue the mission.


The 4th line

Text: Regret will be gone; (the subject is) acquiring three kinds (of game while hunting) in the field (田獲三品).

Text explanation:

Line 4 re-enters upper trigram Xun, where it acts righteously and sustains line 5, the great lord. Therefore it attains significant achievements and will accomplish its mission successfully; in this way regret will be gone.

The phrase, tian2 (field) huo4 (to acquire) san (three) pin3 (articles), literally means “while hunting in the field, (it) acquires three kinds of game”. In actuality, is composed of 9, while 3 is equal to 9 , signifying that it acquires all big, medium and small in the field (). Historically, game that was caught during the hunt was classified into three grades and used respectively for: worshiping in sacrificial ceremonies, catering to guests, and feeding one’s own household. Acquiring three kinds of game symbolises that achievements cover all needs.

The inner upper trigram Li (clinging, fire) represented by line 4 denotes weaponry which here refers to hunting, and the pheasant. Line 4 also represents the upper trigram Xun, the chicken, and the inner lower trigram Dui (joy, the marsh), the goat, respectively.



Commentary on the image: (Line 4 is) acquiring three kinds (of game while hunting) in the field, (signifying that) merit has been achieved.

Enlightenment through six four: do what is assigned and share what has been achieved (as the internal reform, still underway is now exposed.). Regret will be gone as one resumes the internal reform. The effect appears from the inside to the outside. Three kinds of game are caught in the hunt, signifying that the internal reform is successful and benefits all people. The hexagram that appears while this line is activated is Gou (44), to meet, where the wind blows under the sky reaching everywhere, symbolising that the order, issued by a female ruler, has an extensive effect.


The 5th line

Text: To persist is auspicious; regret will be gone, (and) nothing is unfavourable.  (There is) no beginning but an ending.  Three days before Geng (i.e. the seventh stem of the ten Heavenly stems), (and) three days after Geng, (which is of) auspiciousness.

Text explanation:

Line 5 reaches the dominant position and the core of reform; it persists in its mission and finally accomplishes it. It penetrates as if no one were watching, and finishes with remarkable success.

Line 5 is the host line whose rigidity (i.e. strength and firmness) submits to the principle of moderation and righteousness, and who completes the mission as assigned. Therefore all regret it had (while assuming power) will leave; no matter what action is taken, it will be favourable.

It isn’t in correlation with line 2 as if it had nothing to do with the reform. When it reaches the climax of the hexagram, it reaches its goal as planned.

Geng is the seventh stem of the ten Heavenly stems. Three stems before Geng is Jing, i.e. the fourth stem. Three stems after Geng is Gui, i.e. the last stem (see hexagram Gu (18) for more details on the Heavenly Stems). Three days before Geng and three days after Geng signify that it starts the internal reform and establishes its stronghold before the first half of hexagram Xun (i.e. the internal trigram) ends. Then it strikes a fatal blow when it reaches the main target, and accomplishes the task.

Commentary on the image: The auspiciousness of line 5, (which is due to the fact that) the position (where it stays) is right (to it) and in the middle (of the upper trigram which possesses the principle of moderation or the dominant power, or the centre of the internal reform).

Enlightenment through nine five: to accomplish the task through careful preparation. Due to one's right position and dominant power, or acting righteously and moderately, to persist in realising one's mission is auspicious. All regrets will be gone after the task is successfully accomplished, and there will be nothing unfavourable. The task is quietly undertaken before-hand and accomplished when the time is right; this is auspicious as power is smoothly transferred. The hexagram that forms after this line is activated accordingly is Gu (18), where those bad and bred a long time are eradicated.


The 6th line

Text: Xun (the internal reform) is beneath the bed, (and) loses its sharp axe; to persist is ominous.

Text explanation:

After internal reform has been achieved at position 5, the reformer should be visible, converting his adversary's resource for his own use, and establishing his own regime to realise his ideals. If he remains concealed, he will lose his position and power which will cause misfortune if he persists.

Line 6 is a bright masculine; however it stays at the place of the shaded feminine, outside the brightness of the inner upper trigram Li (clinging, fire). Therefore it is in darkness again, like line 2 hiding beneath the bed, and conceals itself behind the scenes.

Commentary on the image: Xun (the internal reform) is beneath the bed, (which is due to the fact that) the one on top is destitute (of aspiration).  Losing its sharp axe, (signifying that) it is ominous to remain righteous (at one’s position).

Line 6 reaches the upper extremity of Xun (submissiveness and obedience) losing the masculine rigidity of a sharp axe. It should officially lead the reformed Xun and inaugurate a new era, but it gets used to being out of sight. If it still persists in following the way of quiet penetration, as well as obedience and submissiveness designated to Xun, there will be misfortune. This is because the upper trigram would become Kan (the abyss, water), peril, if line 6 changed to feminine staying at its right position and acting righteously according to the norm of Xun.   


Enlightenment through nine six: to establish one's own undertaking and realise one's ideal. One should start one’s own undertaking after reform has been accomplished. It will cause misfortune if one persists in acting behind the scenes. Then the hexagram would become Jing (48), the well, where the earthen bucket breaks before reaching the top of the well. This signifies that people fight against each other for water after the well is drilled.