6. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth, unending as the flow of rivers and streams;
奇 is the universally accepted emendation for 兵, the reading of the 北堂書鈔.
like the sun and moon, they end but to begin anew; like the four seasons, they pass away to return once more.
Tu Yu and Chang Yü understand this of the permutations of 奇 and 正. But at present Sun Tzŭ is not speaking of 正 at all, unless, indeed, we suppose with 鄭友賢 Chêng Yu-hsien that a clause relating to it has fallen out of the text. Of course, as has already been pointed out, the two are so inextricably interwoven in all military operations, that they cannot really be considered apart. Here we simply have an expression, in figurative langauge, of the almost infinite resource of a great leader.
7. There are not more than five musical notes,
yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.
8. There are not more than five primary colours,
青黃赤白黑 blue, yellow, red, white and black.
yet in combination they produce more hues than can ever be seen.
9. There are not more than five cardinal tastes,
酸辛醎甘苦 sour, acrid, salt, sweet, bitter.
yet combinations of them yield more flavors than can ever be tasted.