䷌ Tong Ren
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Tong Ren I Ching Gua Meaning

同人 Tong Ren ䷌ hexagram meanings:

Seeking Harmony, Assembling, Fellowship with Men, Lovers, Friends, Like-Minded Persons

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The thirteenth gua is Tong Ren, which can be translated to seeking harmony, fellowship with men, lovers, friends, or like-minded people. Tong Ren is associated with the seventh month of the lunar year, or August in the solar calendar. The character tong in Chinese means alike or same while ren means a person or people. This is why tong ren can also mean people with the same interests. Throughout each of these translations is the connotation of forming alliances. Tong Ren follows Pi, hindrance, indicating that people must collaborate harmoniously and create alliances to overcome a difficult time.

The ideograph representing Tong Ren is a three-part image. The first piece of the ideograph resembles a house or a door frame. Within this rectangle there are two symbols, one is the number one and the other is a mouth. This was how counting people was expressed in China (a household of four mouths would be a household of four people). However, in the ideograph, a group of people is depicted. This implies that they are speaking together as one mouth, in harmony with one another.

Heaven above and fire below is the image representing Tong Ren. Heaven in this image implies ascension while the fire also reaches upward with its flames. The fire ascends with Heaven in harmony just as people working towards the same interests do. Heaven is strong and firm, favorable for overcoming difficulties and the fire is inner brightness. It is this image that King Wen tapped into as he sought harmony between the people of different clans. At first, this was no easy task, and seemed to make no progress, in seeking harmony with his own clan. It was only after the struggle to unite with other clans did his plan reach success.

The I Ching reminds us that there is no absolute sameness between people, every person is completely unique on the inside as well as the outside. Instead, the I Ching considers this sameness to be about major issues, it would be impossible to convince a group of people to have the same opinions on every minor issue. In fact, Tong Ren expresses the idea that sameness originates from difference and difference originates from sameness. Because of this, Tong Ren emphasizes the “seeking” part of seeking harmony. Despite the different wants and needs of every individual and of every clan, Tong Ren teaches us that we should seek out common interests in order to reach a harmonious state.

To seek harmony with others, one must do so unselfishly and not to satisfy their personal desires. True harmony between people can only happen when it is done for the interest of the majority. With equality in mind, great advancement and good fortune are likely to follow. If this is not the case, conflict and other obstacles of bad fortune will follow.

䷌ Tong Ren hexagram

Tong Ren ䷌ Tong Ren hexagram Illustration

䷌ Tong Ren hexagram meaning

Good fellowship makes good fortune,
A good foundation for bigger goals.
Cross the big river, try your luck.

Bottom Line

Tong Ren Bottom Line Illustration

Bottom Line meaning


One tribe, one mind.
People of shared belief,
Together, defend their ways. 

Line Two

Tong Ren Line Two Illustration

Line Two meaning


A fire without new fuel dies.
So the imagination shrivels
Without new blood and ideas.

Line Three

Tong Ren Line Three Illustration

Line Three meaning


When will you trust?
Your soldiers command the hills
And lie hidden for ambush,
Though they’ve been idle 
Through three long years.

Line Four

Tong Ren Line Four Illustration

Line Four meaning


Scaling the enemy’s city walls
Is not the final victory.
To take the city, you must attack.

Line Five

Tong Ren Line Five Illustration

Line Five meaning


Weeping and laughter,
Struggle then victory,
People under that banner
Stand together as the 
Triumphant main force arrives.

Top Line

Tong Ren Top Line Illustration

Top Line meaning


Birds of a feather
Flock together,
Without regret for the past.

Comments: I Ching Illustrated Book of Changes

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