After propriety is established in the hexagram Lu (10), the masculine, bottom trigram Qian (the sky, which is designated to stay above and therefore moves upward) and the feminine, upper trigram Kun (the earth, which is designated to stay below and moves downward) interplay with each other in harmony, which results in Tai (11), a smooth, unobstructed, harmonious and peaceful state.
In addition to building Tai (11) and maintaining Tai (as 11.2 does), people must prepare for danger in times of peace (therefore 11.3 gives the warning and 11.4 makes a return voyage to the bright phase of the masculine, bottom trigram Qian) because Tai will collapse once people get used to seek ease and comfort (11.5 condescends to line 11.2 in seeking peace like the younger sister of King Di Yi of Shang married Zhou Wen Wang to attain truce), become slack and overlook the latent crisis (and Tai reaches extremity and the end will reverse). After the hexagram Tai turns upside down, the hexagram Pi (13): blockage and stagnant, appears. Tai refers to the state of prosperity, while Pi is adversity. Tai and Pi are mutually reversed and interchangeable hexagrams.
The norm of villains is prevailing and the norm of gentlemen becomes stagnant in the era of Pi (12). While the masculine starts appearing after the bottom trigram Kun, Pi is being stopped; however Pi won’t collapse of itself but must be toppled by joint forces. Therefore the hexagram Tong Ren (13) comes next, wherein people make friends by virtue of putting aside differences and seeking common ground. With the joint forces, line 1 of the hexagram Tai builds Tai at position 2, and with the joint forces, line 1 of the hexagram Pi starts its journey in Pi, and with the joint forces, 12.6 topples Pi.
The ideal of Tong Ren (13) is peoples over the world are one family. The feminine line 2 staying below is designated to makes friends with all masculine lines; however due to discrimination, self-imposed restriction, indifference, etc., the fellowship is built but not as what is expected (i.e. line 6 reaches the suburbs instead of the countryside as stated in the hexagram text). While the hexagram Tong Ren is presented in a reversed form, the feminine line at position 5 possesses all the masculine lines, and the hexagram becomes Da You (14): abundant possessions; the goal of Da You is abundant possessions shared by all peoples
The hexagram Qian (15), humility, steps onto the stage of the I Ching after the abundance possessions of the hexagram Da You (14), signifying humility is a behavior of the most esteemed virtue. Line 3, the representative line of Qian, works hard but doesn’t exaggerate it, and attains merit or achievement but doesn’t take it as one’s own credit. A person who behaves like this will be supported by hundreds of thousands of people
After a person well cultivates himself in the hexagram Qian (15), he can march to the next hexagram Yu (16), wherein it is instrumental in establishing the ducal state and dispatching the troops. Friends of line 4, the representative line of Yu (a person of political charismas), will gather like the hair bound by a clasp, and by virtue of which it can attain great achievements.
All the lines which are inspired by line 4 of Yu (16) (the source of Yu, a person of political charismas or personal cult) are of ominous omens because they ignore the legitimacy of line 5, the king. Therefore one must be prudent in selecting the right one to follow, and the hexagram Sui (17) means to follow. The masculine line (line 6 of hexagram 12: Pi) descending to the bottom position and the feminine line (line 1 of hexagram 12) ascending to the top position create the bottom trigram Zhen and the upper trigram Dui; the one below moves in following the one above and the one above feels joyful, signifying Sui.
According to Za Gua Zhuan (the commentary on the coupled hexagrams), Sui (17) is regarded as no past, which is signified as ‘to make adjustments timely and perform correctly according to occasions’, and the mission of hexagram Gu (18) is to remove old aged malpractices, and to put things in order. While the follow of the hexagram Sui is reversed, the bottom trigram Xun prostrates itself in exhibiting submissiveness to the upper trigram Gen: to stop, signifying Gu.
After those of the hexagram Gu (18) left over by the old generations have been successfully removed, the sovereign returns and descends to the world, wherein masculine lines 1 and 2 occupies the earth domain and move toward the sky domain, like the large ones (the masculine) approaching the small ones (the feminine), and the hexagram of which is named Lin (19): to approach. In Chinese culture the approach of Lin is usually taken for an action which is from an honored position or a higher position.
Lines 4, 5 and 6 of the hexagram Lin (19) approaching the lines below, like those above approaching those below so as to supervise and manage them, must be done righteously; otherwise calamity exists in August. Once the hexagram Lin is reversed, it becomes hexagram 20, Guan: observation, wherein the masculine line 5 and 6 stays atop like receiving a review or trial on their performances from those below, and the hexagram Guan represents August.