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#19, line 6, #4
The Chinese word Lin has a range of meanings that is not exhausted by any single word of another language. The ancient explanations in the Yi Jing give as its first meaning, “becoming great.” What becomes great are the two strong lines growing into the hexagram from below; the light-giving power expands with them. The meaning is then further extended to include the concept of approach, especially the approach of what is strong and highly placed in relation to what is lower. Finally the meaning includes the attitude of condescension of a man in high position toward the people, and in general the setting to work on affairs. This hexagram is linked with the twelfth month (January-February), when after the winter solstice, the light power begins to ascend again.
APPROACH has supreme success.
When the eighth month comes,
There will be misfortune.
The hexagram as a whole points to a time of joyous, hopeful progress. Spring is approaching. Joy and forbearance bring high and low nearer together. Success is certain. But we must work with determination and perseverance to make full use of the propitiousness of the time. And one thing more: spring does not last forever. In the eighth month the aspects are reversed. Then only two strong, light lines are left; these do not advance but are in retreat [see next hexagram (20)]. We must take heed of this change in good time. If we meet evil before it becomes reality- before it has even begun to stir-we can master it.
The earth above the lake:
The image of APPROACH.
Thus the superior man is inexhaustible
In his will to teach,
And without limits
In his tolerance and protection of the people.
The earth borders upon the lake from above. This symbolises the approach and condescension of the man of higher position to those beneath him. The two parts of the image indicate what his attitude toward these people will be. Just as the lake is inexhaustible in depth, so the sage is inexhaustible in his readiness to teach mankind, and just as the earth is boundlessly wide, sustaining and caring for all creatures on it, so the sage sustains and cares for all people and excludes no part of humanity.
Six at the top means:
Good fortune. No blame.
A sage who has put the world behind him and who in spirit has already withdrawn from life may, under certain circumstances, decide to return once more to the here and now and to approach other men. This means great good fortune for the men whom he teaches and helps. And for him this greathearted humbling of himself is blameless.
Youthful folly has success.
It is not I who seek the young fool;
The young fool seeks me.
At the first oracle I inform him.
If he asks two or three times, it is importunity.
If he importunes, I give him no information.
IN THE TIME OF youth, folly is not an evil. One may succeed in spite of it, provided one finds an experienced teacher and has the right attitude toward him. This means, first of all, that the youth himself must be conscious of his lack of experience and must seek out the teacher. Without this modesty and this interest there is no guarantee that he has the necessary receptivity, which should express itself in respectful acceptance of the teacher. This is the reason why the teacher must wait to be sought out instead of offering himself. Only thus can the instruction take place at the right time and in the right way.
A teacher’s answer to the question of a pupil ought to be clear and definite like that expected from an oracle; thereupon it ought to be accepted as a key for resolution of doubts and a basis for decision. If mistrustful or unintelligent questioning is kept up, it serves only to annoy the teacher. He does well to ignore it in silence, just as the oracle gives one answer only and refuses to be tempted by questions implying doubt. Given in addition a perseverance that never slackens until the points are mastered one by one, real success is sure to follow. Thus the hexagram counsels the teacher as well as the pupil.
A spring wells up at the foot of the mountain:
The image of YOUTH.
Thus the superior man fosters his character
By thoroughness in all that he does.
A SPRING succeeds in flowing on and escapes stagnation by filling up all the hollow places in its path. In the same way character is developed by thoroughness that skips nothing but, like water, gradually and steadily fills up all gaps and so flows onward.
1. [“Fool” and “folly” as used in this hexagram should be understood to mean the immaturity of youth and its consequent lack of wisdom, rather than mere stupidity. Parsifal is known as the “pure fool” not because he was dull-witted but because he was inexperienced.]