The Art of War (Sun)/Appreciations of Sun Tzŭ
Appreciations of Sun Tzŭ.
Sun Tzŭ has exercised a potent fascination over the minds of some of China’s greatest men. Among the famous generals who are known to have studied his pages with enthusiasm may be mentioned 韓信 Han Hsin (d. B.C. 196), 馮異 Fêng I (d. A.D. 34), 呂蒙 Lü Mêng (d. 219), and 岳飛 Yo Fei (1103-1141). The opinion of Ts‘ao Kung, who disputes with Han Hsin the highest place in Chinese military annals, has already been recorded. Still more remarkable, in one way, is the testimony of purely literary men, such as 蘇洵 Su Hsün (the father of Su Tung-p‘o), who wrote several essays on military topics, all of which owe their chief inspiration to Sun Tzŭ.
The following short passage by him is preserved in the Yü Hai: —
The 性理彚要, ch. 17, contains the following extract from the 藝圃折衷 “Impartial Judgments in the Garden Of Literature” by 鄭厚 Chêng Hou: —
Chu Hsi, commenting on this, fully admits the ﬁrst part of the criticism, although he dislikes the audacious comparison with the venerated classical works. Language of this sort, he says, “encourages a ruler’s bent towards unrelenting warfare and reckless militarism.”
- See p. 144.
- Hou Han Shu, ch. 17 ad init.
- San Kuo Chih, ch. 54, f. 10 vo (commentary).
- Sung Shih, ch. 365 ad init.
- The few Europeans who have yet had an opportunity of acquainting themselves with Sun Tzŭ are not behindhand in their praise. In this connection, I may perhaps be excused for quoting from a letter from Lord Roberts, to whom the sheets of the present work were submitted previous to publication: “Many of Sun Wu's maxims are perfectly applicable to the present day, and no. 11 on page 77 is one that the people of this country would do well to take to heart.”
- Ch. 140, f. 13 ro
- See IV. § 3.
- The allusion may be to Mencius VI. 2. ix. 2: 戰必克
- The Tso Chuan.