I-Ching Hexagram Thirty Six, Smothered Light

I-Ching 64 Hexagrams > 36. Smothered Light

I-Ching-Hexagram Thirty Six – Smothered Light


Troubled times.

Chaos caused by war.

The dark side of society.

To eradicate kindness.


This hexagram (Smothered Light) in Chinese Ming Yi means brightness is eradicated.

Ming implies brightness which symbolizes talented people, gentlemen, a worthy person, wisdom or astuteness of a person.

Yi means eradication.


In this hexagram (Smothered Light), the upper trigram is Earth whereas the lower trigram is Fire.

This represents brightness is buried under the ground.

This means darkness.

It also represents talented people and wisdom.

The talented people are hidden in a group of common people.

Talented people cannot stand out among one’s fellows.

The society is dark and irrational.

Hexagram Thirty Five Advancing is opposite to this hexagram (Smothered Light).

In Hexagram Thirty Five Advancing, the sun is above the ground.

The ranks of worthy people are higher than common people.

Therefore, the talented people stand out among one’s fellows.

It is the right time to be bright.


It is dark and chaotic.

Kind people are being eradicated.

The divinator who has got this hexagram (Smothered Light) does not need to consider whether everything will go smoothly or not and whether one will become wealthy or not.

He or she should think about how to avoid disasters and how to be worldly wise and play safe.

In order to survive in the situation of this hexagram (Smothered Light), one is better to be arduous and keep quiet.

One should also correct one’s ambition and veil one’s intelligence.

Concealing one’s ability and biding one’s time to get over the age of darkness.

One bides one’s time to wait until the changes of the manners and morals have come.

When the time has come, one finds out how to get over everything smoothly.


This hexagram (Smothered Light) follows Hexagram Thirty Five Advancing.

The trigrams of both hexagrams are totally opposite.

After talented people have stood out among one’s fellows, the talented people will be eliminated.



[Summary of Hexagram Thirty Six– Smother Light]

Astute people will be eliminated.

It is better to be arduous and keep quiet.


1st Line

At this moment, it is like a bird with an injured wing which is heavy and difficult to move.

However, it flies to flee with difficulty.

When troubled times are coming, one urges to flee.

One hurries on one’s way without eating for three days.

There is a long way to go.

When one is staying in a hotel, the owner of the hotel makes a dig at one through conversations.



2nd Line

In troubled times, one’s leg is injured.

One cannot walk faster but it does not jeopardize one’s life.

If one is helped by a strong horse, one can turn peril into safety and change misfortune into good fortune.

It is good fortune as one flees in troubled times and has not been killed.

However, it is not totally good fortune.

It is just luck out of adversity.

The actual situation is misfortune.

Therefore, one can flee to survive.


3rd Line

Heading north and go to war in order to eliminate the chief offender and to get rid of evil for the people.

The main purpose of going to war is to kill and behead the chief offender.

This action is to comfort all people.

It is better to prevent oneself from being over irritated.

Otherwise, one will become replacing violence with violence.

One should uphold one’s standpoints and does not go against the correct path.

This way will comfort all people.


4th Line

A loyal courtier was trusted by King Zhou of Shang but the loyal courtier understood the King thoroughly.

He knew King Zhou of Shang was a cruel tyrant and Zhou dynasty would fall.

It was not worthy to help the King.

Therefore, the loyal courtier had left the King.

The one who has got this hexagram (Smothered Light) is better go away to avoid disaster.


5th Line


Troubled times of Ji Zi.

It is better to keep quiet.


It states how to live in troubled times through the story of Ji Zi.

Ji Zi is the uncle of King Zhou of Shang.

He knew the King was cruel but he could not bear to leave the King.

Therefore, he pretended to be a crazy guy to avoid disasters.

It implies that when one lives in troubled times, one should conceal one’s ability and bide one’s time.

One veils one’s intelligence.

Be righteous and wait for the change of the world situation.



6th Line

Extremely dark.

At the beginning, the position is as high as heaven but it drops into a gulf.

This situation is similar to the life of King Zhou of Shang.

The King had a prestigious position and took this as an advantage to harm others.

Be careful. One harms oneself at the end.

One will not only lose the country but also lose reputations.

This may cause one to have fatal disasters.


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