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I Ching 201.6: Sung ("Strife") - hexagram number six

Sung (“Strife”) is the Sixth Hexagram. It is of course, the upside down version of Hsu, which precedes it. It is composed, thus, of the Creative above the Abyss. It is considered to be assigned to the Metal Element, and the Third Lunar Month, about April.



Hsu is descriptive of the way in which meat and drink are supplied. Over meat and drink there is sure to be Strife. Hence Hsu is followed by Sung.


Heaven and water go their opposite ways: The image of Strife. Thus in all his transactions the Sage carefully considers the beginning.


It is Time to be sincere one’s response to Strife even though there is opposition and obstruction. Stopping halfway through brings good fortune. Continuing through to the end brings misfortune. It advances to see the Sage. It does not advance to cross the river.

The Message of this Hexagram is to seek advice, and consider options.


Six at the beginning means: If he does not perpetuate the strife, there is a little criticism. In the end, good fortune comes.

It would be a good Time to ignore idle chatter. This behavior will be rewarded.

Nine in the second place means: He was unable to engage in Strife, surrendered, returning home, to his People in his village of three hundred households, remaining free from guilt.

This indicates a Time to be humble. Notice that our hero is not disgraced.

Six in the third place means: He recovers his strength while living on his family’s inheritance, nourishing himself until he can resume his life. He has been steadfast in the face of danger. In the end, good fortune comes. By chance, he finds himself in the service of a Monarch, not taking credit for past accomplishments.

Our hero was apparently injured. This line is on the top of the Kan Hexagram, thus the mention of danger. In a reading, this line indicates it it Time to regain one’s Power, perhaps asking family and friends for help and advice. In a Reading, this line could also indicate a new jo.

Nine in the fourth place means: He could not engage in Strife. He turned back and submitted to Destiny, Changing his attitude, finding peace in perseverance. There will be good fortune.

We have passed through Kan, the Sign of danger. We have avoided the conflict. This line is a good Omen.

Nine in the fifth place means: Knowing how to respond to Strife brings supreme good fortune.

Now the hero is a conqueror. This is even a more positive Omen than line Four. This line is considered the Ruler of the Hexagram. Notice that it is in the center of the Chien Trigram.

Nine at the top means: Even if by chance a leather belt is bestowed on him. By the end of the morning, it will have been snatched away three times.

There will be Fame and Honor, but fleeting. Everything is transitory.

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