Sequence of the Gua
Events cannot continue in motion without stopping; they must take a rest. Thus, after Taking Action, Keeping Still follows.
Keeping Still, at his back.
Feels not his body.
Walking in his courtyard.
Sees not his people.
Commentary on the Decision
It is keeping still.
Keep still when it is time to keep still.
Remain active when it is time to remain active
When action and resting do not miss their time.
Their way becomes promising and brilliant.
Keeping still in stillness
Is keeping still in the place where one should be still.
The corresponding lines above and below are repelling.
They do not respond to each other.
Thus he is no longer feeling his body.
Even walking in the courtyard
He is no longer seeing his people.
There is no fault.
Commentary on the Symbol
Mountains, one over the other.
An image of Keeping Still.
In correspondence with this,
Whatever the superior person thinks
Does not go beyond his duties in his position.
Honestly and sincerely keeping still.
He keeps these virtues to the end.
This is one of the eight among the sixty-four accomplished gua that is made by doubling one of the eight primary gua. Here, the accomplished gua is Gen, Keeping Still, and the primary gua is Mountain. Keeping Still expounds the truth of know when and where to stop before one’s action goes too far. According to the structure of the gua, when a solid line appears at the bottom of Earth, it becomes Thunder. Its attribute is taking action. The action builds. When the solid line advances to the central position, it becomes Water. Its attribute is flowing. The action continues; it flows onward. When the solid line advances to the top, it becomes Mountain. Its attribute is keeping still. In this situation, one must stop flowing forward and remain at rest. The key to success is to advance when it is time to advance and to stop when it is time to stop. Every action should accord with the time and situation. Never act subjectively and blindly. Keeping still means to be tranquil and stable. It is a phase of advancement. Advance and stillness complement each other. Keeping still is preparing oneself for a new advance. All the lines of this gua take images of different parts of the body to indicate particular times and situations.
When King Wen abolished slavery and reestablished the Jing land system, people were shocked, as if a thunderstorm had struck. Those who were liberated were happy, but not the slave owners—especially those who were close to the tyrant. Dangerous counterattacks were anticipated. King Wen retreated, sitting in stillness to contemplate the situation and foresee the future. The Duyke of Zhou describes King Wen’s different stages and moods of stillness. Eventually his honesty and sincerity brought good fortune. He remained virtuous to the end. In this gua, King Wen employed the word “his” four times in the Decision, and the Duke of Zhou used it eight times in the Yao Text. For this reason, it is believed that a specific person is being referred to, and this is thought to be King Wen himself.
Top Nine. Keeping Still alternates to Humbleness (15)
The topmost line represents the final stage of keeping still, and is thus the host. In his treatise The Great Learning, Confucius says,
The way of the Great Learning is to illustrate brilliant virtue.
to love people, and to rest in conduct that is perfectly good.
By knowing how to keep still,
one is able to determine what objects he should pursue.
By knowing what objects he should pursue,
one is able to attain calmness of mind.
By knowing how to attain calmness of mind,
one is able to succeed in tranquil repose.
By knowing how to succed in tranquil repose,
one is able to obtain careful deliberation.
By knowing how to obtain careful deliberation,
one is able to harvest what he really wants to pursue.
In the final stage of one’s life, if one can manifest one’s brilliant virtue,
love people, and maintain one’s goodness till the end, it is a true blessing,
and these will be good fortune.