Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/109

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
53

  1. 夫兵形象水水之行避高而趨下
  2. 兵之形避實而擊虛
  3. 水因地而制流兵因敵而制勝
  4. 故兵無常勢水無常形
  5. 能因敵變化而取勝者謂之神
  6. 故五行無常勝四時無常位日有短長月有死生


29. Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards.

is 劉晝子 Liu Chou-tzŭ’s reading for in the original text.

30. So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak.

Like water, taking the line of least resistance.

31. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows;

The T‘ung Tien and Yü Lan read 制形, — the latter also 制行. The present text is derived from Chêng Yu-hsien.

the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.

32. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions.

33. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.

34. The five elements

Water, fire, wood, metal, earth.

are not always equally predominant;

That is, as Wang Hsi says: 迭相克也 “they predominate alternately.”