Hexagram 3



Difficulty at the Beginning


Other titles: Difficulty at the Beginning, The Symbol of Bursting, Sprouting, Hoarding, Distress, Organizational Growth Pains, Difficult Beginnings, Growing Pains, Initial Obstacles, Initial Hardship


If we persevere a great success is at hand.

The literal translation of “chun” is “a blade of grass pushing against an obstacle as it sprouts out of the earth.” Receiving this hexagram is a sign that beyond the difficulties and pressures that surround you, a success lies waiting. In order to bring it fully into the light, you must be patient and persevere in nonaction.

No matter how fervently one desires to resolve a situation, to intervene impatiently now will only hinder the progress of good fortune. Accept and bear with the discomfort of chaos without attempting to push it away. Allowing it to clear of its own accord, in its own time, is the only way of insuring a subsequent blossoming of success.

Hold to proper principles. In your actions, seek and respect the counsel of the Sage. Allow those whose hearts are true to assist you wherever possible; be tolerant of all others. In this way the blessing that now lies hidden will come into the open.

A difficulty at the beginning. Do not push aggressively, but do not give up. Accept the help of the Sage.

A solution presents itself. While relief would be welcome, undesirable obligations may be created. Wait patiently for a solution that is correct in every particular.

Do not act on your own. Seek the advice of the Sage and remain patient until the path is clearly shown.

An effort at union, made in humility and sincerity, and faithful to the principles of the Sage, will meet with good fortune.

Darkness distorts your light. Avoid attempting to force a completion. Go slowly, methodically, and with quiet balance.

Negative emotions tempt you to abandon your efforts. It is the greatest misfortune to do so. Hold fast to truth, and persevere.


Legge: Difficulty indicates progress and success through firm correctness. Action should not be undertaken lightly, and it is wise to seek help.

Wilhelm/Baynes:Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success, furthering through perseverance. Nothing should be undertaken. It furthers one to appoint helpers.

Blofeld: Difficulty followed by sublime success! Persistence in a righteous course brings reward; but do not seek some new goal (or destination); it is highly advantageous to consolidate the present position. [The fundamental idea of this hexagram is that of birth and growth amidst difficulty, as with a sprouting seed becoming a young plant and forcing its way through the earth. Our affairs, being still in their early stages, are vulnerable; we must not wander forth, but attend to them until they ripen; then, with proper care, the seed will bring forth a splendid tree. The upper trigram, a pit, suggests a need for caution; but, if we heed these omens, our success is assured.]

Liu: Difficulty in the Beginning : great success. It is of benefit to continue without planning to go someplace. One should find helpers.

Ritsema/Karcher: Sprouting . Spring Growing Harvesting Trial. No availing-of possessing directed going. Harvesting: installing feudatories. [This hexagram describes your situation in terms of beginning growth. It emphasizes that collecting potential in preparation for arduous labor is the adequate way to handle it…]

Shaughnessy: Hoarding : Prime receipt; beneficial to determine. Do not herewith have someplace to go; beneficial to establish a lord.

Cleary(1): In difficulty, creativity and development are effective if correct. Do not use. There is a place to go. It is beneficial to set up a ruler.

Cleary(2):Creativity is successful. It is beneficial to be correct. Do not make use of going somewhere. It is beneficial to set up lords.

Wu:Distress is primordial, pervasive, prosperous, and persevering. The subject should proceed with caution. It will be advantageous to establish marquisates.