Water on top of a mountain - it starts to go down, in any way it can find. Cascading down precipices or meandering through the grass, rushing among rocks or filling gaps before it can go on. Many little streams even disappear, they follow cracks in the rocks and show up at the foot of the mountain as springs.
Life seldom is an easy road, it is rather like this little stream. Obstructions everywhere. If you can handle them like the little stream does, your life or ventures will be an adventurous beautiful voyage. When you reach the valley and you look back at the big mountain you conquered, you will know your value, even when you often despaired.
The meaning of life is living it.
JIAN: The character represents a man upside down (2) with a big mouth -
complaining? - in a hut (1) filled with grass or straw (3). (4) is maybe
the floor? This drawing is the only old one I could find, it has no feet:
'cold, wintry'. With feet it has the meanings below:
JIAN: lame. crippled, feeble, slow, difficult, hard, trouble, danger, haughty, lofty.
The trigrams: Water above Mountain.
There is water on top of the mountain: limping. The noble one "reverses his being to cultivate virtue" (făn shēn xiū dé).
Făn: turn over, return; counter, revolt; rebel, oppose; combat
Shēn: body, personally.
Together as two-syllable word: făn shēn: self, reflexive.
Dé: morality, heart, kindness
Together as two-syllable word: xiū dé: cultivate virtue
In old texts characters are often on their own, not combined to one two-syllable meaning. I think of the little mountainstream: combats self, cultivates virtue. If you tackle the big struggle for life yourself, you build up your character.