Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/18

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XVI
INTRODUCTION

The Shih Ching says: “The King rose majestic in his wrath, and he marshalled his troops.”[1] The Yellow Emperor, T‘ang the Completer and Wu Wang all used spears and battle-axes in order to succour their generation. The Ssŭ-ma Fa says: “If one man slay another of set purpose, he himself may rightfully be slain.”[2] He who relies solely on warlike measures shall be exterminated; he who relies solely on peaceful measures shall perish. Instances of this are Fu Ch‘ai[3] on the one hand and Yen Wang on the other. [4] In military matters, the Sage’s rule is normally to keep the peace, and to move his forces only when occasion requires. He will not use armed force unless driven to it by necessity.[5]

Many books have I read on the subject of war and fighting; but the work composed by Sun Wu is the profoundest of them all. [Sun Tzŭ was a native of the Ch‘i state, his personal name was Wu. He wrote the Art of War in 13 chapters for Ho Lü, King of Wu. Its principles were tested on women, and he was subsequently made a general. He led an army westwards, crushed the Ch‘u State and entered Ying the capital. In the north, he kept Ch‘i and Chin in awe. A hundred years and more after his time, Sun Pin lived. He was a descendant of Wu].[6] In his treatment of deliberation and planning, the importance of rapidity in taking the field,[7] clearness of conception, and depth of design, Sun


  1. 詩經 III. I. vii. 5.
  2. 司馬法 ch. 1 (仁本ad init. The text of the passage in the 圖書 T‘u Shu戎政典, ch. 85) is: 是故殺人安人殺之可也.
  3. The son and successor of Ho Lu. He was finally defeated and overthrown by 勾踐 Kou Chien, King of Yüeh, in 473 B.C. See post.
  4. King Yen of Hsü, a fabulous being, of whom Sun Hsing-yen says in his preface: 仁而敗 "His humanity brought him to destruction." See Shih Chi, ch. 5, f. 1 vo, and M. Chavannes' note, Mémoires Historiques, tom. II, p. 8.
  5. T‘u Shu, ibid. ch. 90: 操聞上古有弧矢之利論語曰足兵尚書八政曰師易曰師貞丈人吉詩曰王赫斯怒爰征其旅黃帝湯武咸用干戚以濟世也司馬法曰人故殺人殺之可也恃武者滅恃文者亡夫差偃王是也聖人之用兵戰而時動不得已而用之
  6. The passage I have put in brackets is omitted in the T‘u Shu, and may be an interpolation. It was known, however, to 張守節 Chang Shou-chieh of the T‘ang dynasty, and appears in the T‘ai P‘ing Yü Lan.
  7. Ts‘ao Kung seems to be thinking of the first part of chap. II, perhaps especially of § 8.