that books on war have to do with such things as opportunism in designing plans, and the conversion of spies, they hold that the art is immoral and unworthy of a sage. These people ignore the fact that the studies of our scholars and the civil administration of our officials also require steady application and practice before efficiency is reached. The ancients were particularly chary of allowing mere novices to botch their work. Weapons are baneful and ﬁghting perilous; and unless a general is in constant practice, he ought not to hazard other men’s lives in battle. Hence it is essential that Sun Tzŭ’s 13 chapters should be studied. Hsiang Liang used to instruct his nephew Chi in the art of war. Chi got a rough idea of the art in its general bearings, but would not pursue his studies to their proper outcome, the consequence being that he was ﬁnally defeated and overthrown. He did not realise that the tricks and artiﬁces of war are beyond verbal computation. Duke Hsiang of Sung and King Yen of Hsü were brought to destruction by their misplaced humanity. The treacherous and underhand nature of war necessitates the use of guile and stratagem suited to the occasion. There is a case on record of Confucius himself having violated an extorted oath, and also of his having left the Sung State in disguise. Can we then recklessly arraign Sun Tzŭ for disregarding truth and honesty?
- This is a rather obscure allusion to Tso Chuan, 襄公, XXXI. 4, where Tsü-ch‘an says: 子有美錦不使人學製焉 “If you have a piece of beautiful brocade, you will not employ a mere learner to make it up.”
- Cf. Tao Tê Ching, ch. 31: 兵者不祥之器.
- Sun Hsing-yen might have quoted Confucius again. See Lun Yü, XIII. 29, 30.
- Better known as Hsiang 羽 Yü [B.C. 233—202].
- The third among the 五伯 (or 霸) enumerated on p. 141. For the incident referred to, see Tso Chuan, 僖公, XXII. 4.
- See supra, p. xvi, note 4.
- Shih Chi, ch. 47, f. 7 ro
- Ibid., ch. 38, f. 8 vo