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#6 訟 Song (Litigation)

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Song means litigation. Song also symbolises conflict, dispute, seeking justice, and lodging a complaint.

What is this?

This Gua describes King Wen's affiliation with the Shang government, where he was summoned to serve as ruler of the vassal state of Zhou. While in office, King Wen publicly opposed King Shang's ruthlessness. This led to a seven-year house arrest sentence.


6.0 有孚。窒惕—中吉, 終凶。利見大人。不利涉大川

Your sincerity is being obstructed. Do not follow through with legal proceedings. It is fortunate to meet with a great man. It is disadvantageous to cross the great stream. This is not a time to seek justice. Do not start a legal battle or a significant dispute. Do not be forceful or insistent. Such actions will cause regret. If the dispute cannot be resolved, compromise or withdraw. By all means, don't let emotions move you forward. Remain calm—partner with people who share your viewpoints.

6.1 初六不永所事。小有言終吉

Yin on Line 1: Do not prosecute. Although defamation may harm your reputation, seeking judicial retribution is a mistake. Express your complaint publicly. The outcome will be hopeful. Litigation against influential people or corporations will not lead to good results. Make your point public and cease further action.

6.2 九二不克訟。歸,而逋其邑人三百戶。无眚

Yang on Line 2: This is a no-win situation. Withdraw your case. Hide in a small town with only 300 families. There will be no misfortune. Although justice would have won, King Wen often held his tongue against King Shang. Fighting a winless battle against the powerful is unwise. Select your battle.

6.3 六三食舊德。貞—厲終。吉或從王事无成

Yin on Line 3: Return to your homeland and rally support. Dangerous as the situation may seem, there will be a fortune in the end. Continuing to serve the king will yield no reward. King Wen realised the Shang government was weak. Upon being released from house arrest, he returned to his homeland to rally support against King Shang. Create your own business and become a competitor. Give up a relationship and strike a new beginning.

6.4 九四不克訟。復即命。渝安。貞吉

Yang on Line 4: The case is not lost. Submit to Heaven's will. Keep quiet and remain peaceful. There will be good fortune. Do not engage in conflict with the illogical and foolish. They will reap what they plant. They are a lost cause.

6.5 九五訟元吉

Yang on Line 5: You will win the case. The outcome is fortunate. Although King Wen did not win King Shang's judgment, he won the people's support. Make your point of view known. The result will be positive.

6.6 上九或錫之鞶帶,終朝三褫之

Yang on Line 6: Although you are awarded the leather belt, it will be taken away thrice in one morning. Even if King Zhou of Shang granted King Wen honours and gifts for his loyal service, they would have been taken from him repeatedly. You cannot advance in your situation. Your award (promotion, price, inheritance) will be revoked thrice within a short period.


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