䷃ Meng
🗻
🌊
Gen-Mountain
Kan-Stream

Meng I Ching Gua Meaning

蒙 Meng ䷃ hexagram meanings:

Childhood, Neophytes, Youthful Folly, Immaturity

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Meng is the fourth gua and the inverse to the previous gua, Zhun. Similar to Qian and Kun, Meng is Zhun’s opposite as well as its complement. This gua represents a stream flowing out of a mountain, a mountain above water. It also represents the concealed and yet undiscovered wisdom of Childhood. Meng is associated with the first month of the lunar year, or February (in the solar calendar). The inspiration for this gua comes from a time of peril and significant change in leadership in ancient China. When it comes to new leadership, knowing the right time to teach one’s subjects new ways is a lesson that Meng teaches.

The image of Meng is water flowing from the base of a mountain. It is the pure and fresh spring water representing the innocence of a child’s mind. Meng, Childhood, follows Zhun, the beginning, and represents childhood ignorance growing to become enlightened. The image of the mountain spring is vital to the meaning of Meng. Picturing a pure mountain stream gradually picking up sediments as it flows gives us a way to visualize the concept of childhood wisdom as it is revealed over time. Just as the spring collects sediment the further it flows, education and learning are an integral part of childhood. This is why Meng’s meaning also includes wisdom.

The yang elements in the fourth gua represent a teacher to educate and enlighten those who are ignorant. On the other side of Meng, the yin elements are the uneducated and the ignorant. The ancient Chinese believed that every ignorant person is different and should be taught according to their aptitude. Meng reminds us that the teacher must be patient and forgiving to educate the uneducated or else it will not be effective. The origin of this gua has to do with the educational relationship between a leader and his people. To lead people the leader must be patient with everyone’s ability to follow and adjust. People will follow at different paces and must be accepting of this leader in the first place. A harsh rule and punishment will not do any good when trying to lead or educate people, they will not accept it. This must be a consensual relationship, otherwise attempts to teach will fail.

On the other side of this relationship, the ignorant should make the first step in seeking enlightenment. A teacher can do their best to teach an ignorant person with no success if that person does not wish to learn. Alternatively, one who is willing to learn should not accept a cruel teacher because this education will not favor them. Similarly, the people should not accept a cruel dictator, it would be against their own interests. These are the lessons Meng hopes to teach as it uncovers our hidden brilliance.

䷃ Meng hexagram

Meng ䷃ Meng hexagram Illustration

䷃ Meng hexagram meaning

Let not the blind lead the blind.
Of my own will,
I never ask a simpleton to tell my fortune;
Rather, let him come to me,
And I will foretell his fate.
The first telling tells best
(And may this knowledge help you) – 
The bright view dims with straining
To re-see destiny,
Like a mirage receding into the distance.
Only a fool asks you to cast the stones again.

Bottom Line

Meng Bottom Line Illustration

Bottom Line meaning


The shackled convict serves as a warning:
Oh, ignorant one, avoid these fetters!
But mere unknowing is not innocence,
And past lapses are not forgiven.  

Line Two

Meng Line Two Illustration

Line Two meaning


No one puts the bruised apple on top.
If you conceal your flaws to wed a girl,
You can still have the joy of a son
Raising his own family.

Line Three

Meng Line Three Illustration

Line Three meaning


When your wife shows respect,
Your fortunes advance.
When she defies those in power
Your fortunes retreat.
Marry well if you would prosper.

Line Four

Meng Line Four Illustration

Line Four meaning


Oblivious, the fool invites the wolf to tea,
Seeing only a dog.

Line Five

Meng Line Five Illustration

Line Five meaning


Scorn the fool who invites a wolf to tea,
But love the trusting child
Who casts aside his broomstick horse
And mounts a goat to be his steed.

Top Line

Meng Top Line Illustration

Top Line meaning


The ignorant man waiting judgment
Stands at a crossroad:
Botched punishment makes rebels.
Right punishment makes allies.

Comments: I Ching Illustrated Book of Changes

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