Page:Sun Tzu on The art of war.djvu/50

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xlviii
Introduction

quer.”[1] And Jan Yu also said: “The Sage exercises both civil and military functions.”[2] Can it be a fact that Confucius never studied or received instruction in the art of war? We can only say that he did not specially choose matters connected with armies and fighting to be the subject of his teaching.[3]

Sun Hsing-yen, the editor of Sun Tzŭ, writes in similar strain: —

Confucius said: “I am unversed in military matters.”[4] He also said: “If I fight, I conquer.”[4] Confucius ordered ceremonies and regulated music. Now war constitutes one of the five classes of State ceremonial, [5] and must not be treated as an independent branch of study. Hence, the words “I am unversed in” must be taken to mean that there are things which even an inspired Teacher does not know. Those who have to lead an army and devise stratagems, must learn the art of war. But if one can command the services of a good general like Sun Tzŭ, who was employed by Wu Tzŭ-hsŭ, there is no need to learn it oneself. Hence the remark added by Confucius: “If I fight, I conquer.”[6]

The men of the present day, however, wilfully interpret these words of Confucius in their narrowest sense, as though he meant that books on the art of war were not worth reading. With blind persistency, they adduce the example of Chao Kua, who pored over his father’s books to no purpose,[7] as a proof that all military theory is useless. Again, seeing


  1. have failed to trace this utterance. See note 2 on p. xliii.
  2. See supra.
  3. 性理彙要, loc. cit.: 昔吾夫子對衛靈公以軍旅之事未之學答孔文子以甲兵之事未之聞及觀夾谷之會則以兵加萊人而齊侯懼費人之亂則命将士以伐之而費人北晉曰我戰則克而冉有亦日聖人文武並用孔子豈有真未學未聞哉特以軍旅甲兵之事非所以爲訓也.
  4. 4.0 4.1 See supra.
  5. Viz.,軍禮, the other four being , , and "worship, mourning, entertainment of guests and festive rites." See Shu Ching, II. 1. iii. 8, and Chou Li, IX. fol. 49
  6. Preface to Sun Tzŭ: 孔子曰軍旅之事未之學叉曰我戰則克孔子定禮正樂兵則五禮之-不必以爲專門之學故云未學所為聖人有所不知或行軍好謀則學之或善将将如伍子胥之用孫子又何必自學之故叉日我戰則克也,
  7. See p. 166.