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#15 謙 Qian (Modesty)

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Qian means modesty. In Chinese culture, being modest is a virtue and a strategic tactic when dealing with others.

What is this about?

This Gua describes King Wen's humility. The evil King Shang never felt threatened by such a humble man.


15.0 亨君子有終

The virtuous man will eventually reign victorious. Set aside your ego and pride. Being second in command enables you to observe and then outsmart your opponent. Act with dignity. Be gracious and sincere. Your commendable behaviour will be awarded tenfold.

15.1 初六謙謙君子用涉大川。吉

Yin on Line 1: The nobleman is humble and gentle. He aspires to cross the great stream (accomplish something great). There will be a future. Admired of humility and justice, King Wen concealed his ambition to overthrow the Shang dynasty. While masking your talent and ambition will help you pave the way for success, bragging intentions will cause failure and rejection.

15.2 六二鳴謙。吉

Yang on Line 2: His humility will carry his name far and wide. His determination will bring him great fortune. People everywhere adored King Wen. While you can appreciate your stellar reputation, remain humble. This is the correct behaviour. You will be blessed with good fortune.

15.3 九三勞謙,君子有終吉

Yang on Line 3: The nobleman is hardworking and humble. He will be successful. King Wen was determined. He was a man of actions, not words. This led to his success. Work quietly behind the scenes, and your efforts will be recognised.

15.4 六四无不利撝謙

Yin on Line 4: He set the standard for modest behaviour. There will not be disadvantaged. King Wen's followers modelled their behaviour after his. Following his example is helpful.

15.5 六五不富以其鄰。利用侵伐。无不利

Yin on Line 5: A lack of wealth leads a person to ally with his neighbours. After a successful win, let them have their fair share. The Zhou were not rich. After a successful attack, King Wen shared the wealth with his allies. Such action strengthened the partnership. Be fair to your friends and co-workers; they will support you wholeheartedly.

15.6 上六鳴謙。利用行師征邑國

Yin on Line 6: His humility is well-known. His allies are willing to participate in the military campaign. Being humble and approachable, King Wen invoked his strength to avenge King Shang. Be humble, and people will work with you to achieve something great. Have an open-door policy.

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