above: Li / The Clinging, Fire
below: Sun / The Gentle, Wind, Wood
The six lines construct the image of Ting, THE CAULDRON; at the bottom are the legs, over them the belly, then come the ears (handles), and at the top the carrying rings. At the same time, the image suggests the idea of nourishment. The ting, cast of bronze, was the vessel that held the cooked viands in the temple of the ancestors and at banquets. The head of the family served the food from the ting into the bowls of the guests.1
THE WELL (48) likewise has the secondary meaning of giving nourishment, but rather more in relation to the people. The ting, as a utensil pertaining to a refined civilisation, suggests the fostering and nourishing of able men, which redounded to the benefit of the state.2
This hexagram and THE WELL are the only two in the Yi Jing that represent concrete, man-made objects. Yet here too the thought has its abstract connotation.
Sun, below, is wood and wind; Li, above, is flame. Thus together they stand for the flame kindled by wood and wind, which likewise suggests the idea of preparing food.
THE CALDRON. Supreme good fortune.
While THE WELL relates to the social foundation of our life, and this foundation is likened to the water that serves to nourish growing wood, the present hexagram refers to the cultural superstructure of society. Here it is the wood that serves as nourishment for the flame, the spirit. All that is visible must grow beyond itself, extend into the realm of the invisible. Thereby it receives its true consecration and clarity and takes firm root in the cosmic order.
Here we see civilisation as it reaches its culmination in religion. The ting serves in offering sacrifice to God. The highest earthly values must be sacrificed to the divine. But the truly divine does not manifest itself apart from man. The supreme revelation of God appears in prophets and holy men. To venerate them is true veneration of God. The will of God, as revealed through them, should be accepted in humility; this brings inner enlightenment and true understanding of the world, and this leads to great good fortune and success.
Fire over wood:
The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there is wood below, the fire burns above. It is the same in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life. And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These words contain hints about fostering of life as handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.
'Melting Pot' - Laura Barbosa
1. [There are beautiful examples of the ting in most of our museums, where they are classified as ritual vessels. The German word used by Wilhelm for ting is Tiegel, meaning literally "caldron" and, in another sense, "crucible." Since this characteristic Chinese vessel is unique in form, so different from either a caldron or a crucible in the usual sense, the word ting has been retained wherever feasible here.]
2. Cf. the other three hexagrams dealing with nourishment, viz., hexagrams WAITING (5), PROVIDING NOURISHMENT (27), THE WELL (48).