Hexagram Twenty-eight shows imperfection in great places. Despite the weaknesses there will be success, so it is better to keep going. Imperfection exists in every situation.
The first line, yin, shows the offerings of sacrifice placed on clean grass mats on the ground. The offering shows purity and the ceremony is proper.
The second line, yang, shows an old man with a young wife, or an old willow tree producing new shoots. Despite the age and condition of the subject, there are auspicious signs of growth and renewal.
The third line, yang, shows the supporting beam of a structure that is weak. When the key person or element of a situation is weak, there will be misfortune.
The fourth line, yang, shows the supporting beam bowing slightly upward, as Chinese temple roofs bow upward. This is auspicious, and good fortune will come from the mood of the pure offering of the first line.
The fifth line, yang, shows a dying willow that produces a few shoots, or an old woman with a young husband. There is some advantage, but it does not last. Once a tree is dying, a few new shoots will not save it.
The sixth line, yin, shows its subject struggling too hard, as one may wade bravely into a stream until they drown. Although no one would cast blame for a great person trying too hard, no good will come of it.
Hexagram Twenty-eight Commentary
Every system and every hero, mentor, teacher, and guru ultimately has clay feet. In some instances the imperfections are glaring, while in other situations, this hexagram confirms it is better to ignore it and keep going.
The first line, yin, shows a ceremony with offerings "placed on clean grass mats on the ground." This is a symbol of purity and the rest of the lines address situations that are either worthy or unworthy of pure offerings.
The second line, yang, offers an example of imperfection that can be overlooked. The metaphor is of "an old man with a young wife," also compared to "an old willow tree producing new shoots." Because there is growth and renewal, the situation is acceptable.
The third line, yang, is an example of weakness and imperfection that goes too far, leading to possible failure. The metaphor is of "the supporting beam of a structure that is weak."
The fourth line, yang, shows the right way to create strength. In Chinese temples, the supporting beam bows slightly upward. In this case, the imperfection is deliberate and adds strength to the structure. This is befitting to the pure offering of the first line.
The firth line, yang, is another example of imperfection that goes too far to overlook. The metaphor is of "an old woman with a young husband," which is compared to "a dying willow that produces few shoots." It says there is some advantage, but overall this situation will not work out. It says, "Once a tree is dying, a few new shoots will not save it." Note, it's unclear why an older man with a younger wife, seen in line two, is acceptable, but an older woman with a younger man is unacceptable. It may refer to the possibility of offspring, or "new shoots." The couple in line two could have children, because the woman is younger. There is no possibility of offspring in a union where the woman is too old.
The sixth line, yin, shows when enough imperfection is enough. It says the subject of this line is "struggling too hard, as one may wade bravely into a stream until they drown." Although there is no blame for trying too hard, ultimately there is no way to struggle against a situation that crosses the line of too much imperfection.
To the reader: Most of the hexagrams have at least one line that predicts bad results, but that does NOT mean you are fated to that result. The hexagrams illustrate different attitudes, so study the actions and reactions to learn the attitudes that will lead to better outcomes.
The I Ching teaches you to flow with changes and create positive change from the inside through conscious living. Your future is in your hands. Consult the I Ching for ideas that lead to clear thinking and positive mental attitude. Reading the I Ching helps you take the time to reflect on your attitudes and ideas. Continue asking until you feel positive about your course.
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A note about this interpretation of the I Ching: Nori Muster wrote this version of the iChing in 1994 and put it online at Surrealist.org in 2000. It is now available as an e-book. Click here to see Learning to Flow with the Dao at Amazon.com..