I-Ching Hexagram Forty-Seven, Distress

I-Ching 64 Hexagrams > 47. Distress

I-Ching-Hexagram Forty-Seven - Distress


In poverty and distress.

The end of hills and rivers.

The lake dries out.


This hexagram (Distress) in Chinese, Kun, means poverty.

The image of this hexagram (Distress) is that water is flowing under a lake.

That means this lake cannot reserve water so water penetrates into the ground under the bottom of the lake.

Therefore, the lake is exhausted.

If Water is above Lake, water is flowing into the lake.

This lake becomes another source of water which is similar to a reservoir.

It changes and regulates the supply of water.

Then, it becomes Hexagram Sixty Regulation.

However, in this hexagram (Distress), one distresses when a lake is exhausted.


In terms of sequence of hexagrams, this hexagram (Distress) follows Hexagram Forty-Six Rising.

For example, if one is promoted to the top of an organisation, one cannot be promoted again.

That is the end of hills and rivers – if one is a director, there is no other position on top of the director for him to be promoted.

The trigrams of this hexagram (Distress) and Hexagram Forty Eight Well are totally opposite.

In this hexagram (Distress), its upper trigram is Lake and its lower trigram is Water.

This is the image of a dry lake.

In Hexagram Forty Eight Well, its upper trigram is Water and its lower trigram is Wind (representing wood).

It is water on wood.

This is the image of a wooden bucket filled with water and drawing water.

This is the image of a well.

This hexagram (Distress) describe the source of water is exhausted where as Hexagram Forty Eight Well is the unlimited source of water.


This hexagram (Distress) states a poor gentleman who is looking for the change of life.

The situation of poverty reveals one’s degree of integrity and self-cultivation.

A gentleman maintains his personal integrity and struggles to improve his life in poverty.

Therefore, it is good for him.


Generally speaking, a questioner who has this hexagram (Distress) will be unable to achieve many projects reaching a death end.

One is running short of money or one will become bankrupt and poor.


Although one is poor and is unable to earn more money, one shall let it be.

In future, there is a chance to change your life.

When one is poor, one should maintain one’s integrity and try to improve one’s life.

If one speaks cautiously, one will have good fortune.

No one believes in the opinions of the poor.

Therefore, the poor should never try to convince others to help him.

The poor should not ask others to give him food and something for living.

Otherwise, the poor will be insulted and has faults.



[Summary of Hexagram Forty-Seven – Distress]


Poverty but everything goes smoothly.

Be righteous. Being a gentlemen and it is good fortune.

There is no fault.

However, no one believes what you say.


The poor maintaining integrity can make everything going smoothly.

It is a way of changing and being a gentleman.

Then, one is good fortune and has no fault.

When one is poor, no one believes what you say.

In this case, as a gentleman, one should speak cautiously.

If one tries to solve problems by speaking, it ruins everything.

That is the real life of poverty.


1st Line


One enters a deep and secluded valley.

One loses his way in a dead wood and cannot take a rest.

Therefore, one can neither go forward nor ask for help.

One cannot get out of it in 3 years.


2nd Line


One is eating and drinking too much so one is extremely full.

One has got a red clothes wearing to offer sacrifices to gods or ancestors.

This is a sign to attend sacrificial rites to ask for improving one’s life.

If one is aggressive and goes to war, it is misfortune.

No fault.


3rd Line


One is trapped inside a heap of big rocks. (One is trapped and difficult to get out of it)

One uses caltrops with thorns to protect oneself.  (One is trapped in a dangerous place)

Rocks and thorns can harm people.

Although one goes back to the palace, one cannot see his wife.

This is a sign that the time of death is coming soon.



4th Line

Because a metal car which carries soldiers is trapped, soldiers cannot come to help.

They are trapped for a long time and have not come to help.

Regret but problems are solved.


5th Line


People are punished by cutting a nose and legs.

Therefore, one loses general approval or acceptance.

In this case, a red clothes being worn to offer sacrifices to gods or ancestors cannot be delivered.

One does not have the clothes to carry out sacrificial rites.

If one is patient and progresses gradually, things will be done and one will be accepted by people.

Then, one is able to carry out rites to bless for good fortune.



6th Line


If one walks downward, one will be trapped in vines and cannot move around.

If one walks upwards, it is dangerous and shakes violently.

In this situation, if one can review his past, one will correct one mistakes proactively.

If one changes from being passive to being proactive and goes to war bravely, one will have good fortune.


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