above: Li / The Clinging, Fire
below: K'un / The Receptive, Earth
The hexagram represents the sun rising over the earth. It is therefore the symbol of rapid, easy progress, which at the same time means ever widening expansion and clarity.
PROGRESS. The powerful prince
As an example of progress, this pictures a time when a powerful feudal lord rallies the other lords around the sovereign and pledges fealty and peace. The sovereign rewards him richly and invites him to a closer intimacy.
A twofold idea is set forth here. The actual effect of the progress emanates from a man who's in a dependent position and whom the others regard as their equal and are therefore willing to follow. This leader has enough clarity of vision not to abuse his great influence but to use it rather for the benefit of his ruler. His ruler in turn is free of all jealousy, showers presents on the great man, and invites him continually to his court. An enlightened ruler and an obedient servant - this is the condition on which great progress depends.
The sun rises over the earth:
The light of the sun as it rises over the earth is by nature clear. The higher the sun rises, the more it emerges from the dark mists, spreading the pristine purity of its rays over an ever widening area. The real nature of man is likewise originally good, but it becomes clouded by contact with earthly things and therefore needs purification before it can shine forth in its native clarity.1
1. This is the theme dealt with in detail in the Great Learning, Ta Hsüeh [The Chinese Classics, I: Confucian Analects, etc., translation James Legge, and edn., Oxford, 1893, pp. 355-81].