Qian, the sky and the first hexagram, acts like a founder and leader, who exerts himself strongly and untiringly in order to establish his world. While all the six lines of the hexagram Qian (1) are changing to the feminine, those founders and leaders won’t fight one another for the leadership, since the hexagram is appearing in the form of Kun (2), which is the earth and designated to be submissive, like the earth sustaining the sky.
The hexagram Kun (2), the earth and the 2nd hexagram, acts like an assistance and adherent, who accommodates all things with a breadth of virtue, and by virtue of which it can be submissive in following the founder and leader, Qian. While 2.6 reaches the top, it fights with the dragon of Qian; however eventually the masculine Qian will still be the desired end of the feminine Kun while all the lines of Kun are changing to the masculine. The mate of the masculine Qian and the feminine Kun creates life; therefore Zhun (3) is given birth.
However the hexagram Zhun (3) is signified as difficulty in initiating, because Kun (2) moved to the northeast, the direction of the trigram Gen, a masculine trigram but with only one masculine line, instead of the northwest, the direction of Qian; therefore Zhun lacks the momentum of masculinity (which tends to move) and must accrue it to be given birth. Line 2 of Zhun in correlation with the masculine line 5 commits to its mission and after ten years (ten steps forward from position 2 of Zhun) the ignorance child of the hexagram Meng (4) is borne and ready for education.
Upbringing is first important thing to the newborn life. The hexagram Meng (4) offers education, while the hexagram Xu (5) provides food and drinks as signified by Xu Gua Zhuan (i.e. the commentary on the sequence). In the era of various schools of thoughts existing and differing from one another, the education offered by Meng is exclusive, which will create conflict. Therefore the hexagram Xu is also signified to wait (as peril lies in front). Only after line 6 of Xu learns to share food and drinks with others at position 5; then it can move forth to the next hexagram Song (6): litigation due to conflict, wherein it can avoid litigation and seek harmony. The food of Xun can enhance life to cross the peril, while drinking with others will smoothen the relation.
All the lines of the hexagram Song (6) seek reconciliation, therefore 6.6 wins what it wants and believes in litigation; but it will lose all shortly, because people of the same ground or interest are grouped with a view to joining forces in defending themselves; thus the hexagram Shi (7) is formed.
In fact, most of time the act of Shi (7) is doomed to defeat or retreat; only the marshal, 7.2, who possesses the military power and correlates with the king is awarded with the bestowments three times. Therefore the hexagram Bi (8): imitate and interdependent relationship, steps onto the stage of the I Ching, wherein its lines are designated to seek the intimately independent relation with others, and line 5, the king, recruits or allies others in an open attitude. Usually Bi is taken for the diplomatic measures, while Shi is the military action,.
Water drops flowing to a low-lying land due to the gravity, like that of the dukes submitting to the call of the king, is Bi (8), while the converged water drops become a stream and are reserved in a dam, which is Chu, storage and restraint (to herd the livestock, feed and make them grow stronger). The hexagram Xian Chu (9) means little feeding and storage, as well as the restraint of the small one, wherein the small one (the feminine line 4) services the big ones (the masculine lines) but the small one is not dependable and the masculine will be restrained by the feminine if it counts too much on the feminine. On the other hand, after the small one knows how to play the game with the big one, it can walk behind a tiger and tread the tiger’s tail but it won’t be bitten.
Things being converged and stored (Chu) without the order of arrival will cause disarray; thus it must be done systematically and orderly, i.e. according to propriety. As a result, the hexagram Lu (10) is granted; Lu is signified as to ‘act in accordance with propriety’, like the tender trigram Dui joyfully walking behind the rigid trigram Qian. In the era of Lu, people’s aspirations are determined according to their ranks (as said in Da Xiang Zhuang: the commentary on the image of the hexagram). Therefore people of those below must be pragmatic and without undesired ambition; after having learnt the lesson of being bitten by tiger in seeking the way moving upward (to the upper trigram, where they must accompany the tiger and the king, line 5), they can and will do what they should, prudently and with dread, and will have no remorse at end.