Hexagram Four—Correcting Mistakes

There is danger in making mistakes, but one must be tolerant of others who make a mistake. Help may come from someone who does not know all the answers, just as a stream may come from the base of a mountain.

The first line, yin, shows the teacher correcting a mistake through punishment. Chastisement may be helpful, but only if the teacher is tolerant and firm, not angry.

The second line, yang, shows the child growing up to become head of the family. In the same way, with proper instruction and guidance, one can rise to a higher level. Knowledge does not discriminate on the basis or gender, race, religion, or wealth.

The third line, yin, shows a woman who is attracted to a man because of his money. No advantage will come from such a relationship, or any relationship based on ignorance.

The fourth line, yin, shows one who is unable to learn the lessons of life. This is an unfortunate situation, since they will repeat the same mistakes.

The fifth line, yin, shows a young person who has not yet known the trials of life. This is a fortunate position and one should not prematurely force young people to recognize life's pain.

The sixth line, yang, shows a young person who has fallen into difficult because they lack the wisdom to deal with life's situations. Rather than mock such a person, it is wise to help them.

Hexagram Four Commentary

In the previous hexagram, a generous prince saw his new beginning go wrong and crash. We don't know the details, but this next hexagram says we all make mistakes and need to learn perseverance. We must also remain humble, willing to accept help from unexpected sources, just as "a stream may come from the base of a mountain."

The first line, yin, shows a teacher chastising a student. This isn't the best approach, but is acceptable if the teacher acts professionally, not out of anger.

The metaphor in the second line, yang, is of a child who grows up to become the head of a family. This shows that with guidance, we learn as we grow, and we rise above childish behaviors.

The picture in the third line, yin, is of a woman attracted to a man for his money. This is a mistake of immaturity and no advantage will come of it. It will never become a relationship based on love and trust. Both of them will suffer if the woman's motives are exposed.

The fourth line, yin, explains the consequences of failing to learn from mistakes. The same person will continue to make the same mistakes until they get consequences that force change.

The fifth line, yin, shows an innocent young person who is growing stronger and wiser, but who has not yet had to face any devastating life problems. The I Ching says this is a fortunate position and it would be wrong to criticize an innocent young person or purposely force them to confront problems. They will learn about life soon enough.

In the sixth line, an underprepared young person is faced with life's problems beyond their ability to reconcile. Rather than mock the young person, or judge them, it's better to help and teach them.

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.

Click here for another hexagram.

A note about this interpretation of the I Ching: Nori Muster wrote this version of the I Ching in 1994 and put it online at in 2000. It is also available at Amazon: