July 22nd, 2010

Chapter 69

On military operations we have:
"I do not boldly attack others first,
But take action only after being attacked."
" I do not boldly move forward even an inch,
But withdraw a foot."
This is called the operation of non-operation,
Bearing the arms of non-arms,
Charging the enemy of non-enemy,
Carrying the weapons of non-weapons.
There is no more serious misfortune
Than to engage in war lightly.
To engage in war lightly is to violate my essential teachings of compassion, renunciation, and never wanting to be first in the world.
Therefore, when two armies join in battle,
The one that is compassionate wins.

                    translated by Chang Chung-yuan, 1975.


There is a saying among soldiers:
I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest;
I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost lost what I value.

Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.
There's an old military saying:
"I'd rather face an attack
than have to make one.
I'd rather retreat a foot
than try to advance an inch."

That's the secret to moving forward
while staying put,
preparing for battle
without revealing your strength.

When you defend yourself
without any show of force,
you give your opponent
nothing to fight.

Attacking an enemy
you've underestimated
is a costly mistake.
When two forces oppose each other,
the winner is the one most reluctant to fight.

The first version is from the Fortune files. The second version is the Beatrice Tao.