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#4 蒙 Meng (Ignorance)

Updated: May 30


Meng means ignorance. It connotes immaturity, youthful unawareness, undeveloped potential and foolishness.

What is this about?

This Gua describes how the Zhou leaders used the name of Heaven (divide authority) to control, educate and gain ordinary people's trust.



As the diviner, I am not requesting advice from inexperienced young individuals; I am instructing them. It is imprudent and disrespectful if they disregard my guidance and persist with the identical inquiry. I will not offer guidance a second time. It is advantageous to be resolute and explicit with your apprentices, subordinates, and those entrusted to your guidance to convey the seriousness of your words. Establishing organisation and regulations will result in a structured environment, fostering development and wisdom. Your unwavering determination will earn you respect and admiration.

4.1 初六發蒙,利用刑人。用說桎梏。以往吝

Yin on Line 1: Punishment is best suited for correcting those who lack tact. Nevertheless, guiding them towards the correct path can prevent them from facing consequences. Excessive penalties can diminish their effectiveness. While the Chinese historically utilised punishment to reform the defiant, it was not employed as a standard response to misconduct. Set clear rules and guidelines to prevent undesirable behaviour among those you oversee or care for. Communicate the repercussions of violating these rules. Lead and counsel with honesty and integrity. Your words and deeds will be observed and mirrored.

4.2 九二包蒙吉。納婦吉。子克家

Yang on Line 2: Being patient and forgiving towards the ignorant is a blessing. Marrying a woman and having children to assist in providing for the family is a stroke of luck. Therefore, demonstrate patience with those younger than you. Teach them how to carry out their responsibilities most effectively and with integrity.

4.3 六三勿用取女。見金夫。不有躬,无攸利

Yin on Line 3: Avoid marrying a woman looking for a wealthy and influential man; as such, a union will not be advantageous. Similarly, marrying someone who is focused on material gain and social/professional/political status will lead to regret. If that individual encounters a partner who is wealthier and more powerful, they are likely to leave you. This advice can also be applied when selecting a suitable business partner.

4.4 六四困蒙。吝

Yin on Line 4: Enclosing yourself in ignorance leads to remorse. This statement pertains to the individuals devoted to the Shang dynasty who resisted embracing positive change. If you choose to remain oblivious, unfortunate outcomes will follow. Put your ego aside, practice patience, and cultivate a receptive mindset.

4.5 六五童蒙。吉

Yin on Line 5: It is advantageous to possess the innocence and naivety of a child. Teaching someone willing to learn and without prior knowledge is more straightforward than trying to change the mindset of a person who is set in their ways. Opt for the inexperienced individual. You will be pleased with your choice.

4.6 上九擊蒙. 不利為寇, 利禦寇.

Yang on Line 6: Combat ignorance. While it is regrettable to engage in an attack, it is commendable to defend oneself. Avoid the urge to be the first to strike when it comes to verbal and physical aggression. If necessary to protect, be prepared to retaliate effectively.


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