Sunday, February 7, 2010

Welcome to my first Blog members!

I am thrilled that you came by. This is new for me, so both scary and exciting. Throughout the day, words and phrases jumped through my head, begging to be written. But here I am, a bit tired. Rats! However, there are some things that need to be said.

As I mentioned in my profile, I am interested in Religion, Philosophy and Spiritual journeys. This has led me to begin reading literature related to Eastern Philosophy, specifically The Tao. I began by reading the mind-blowing book, The Art of War, by Sun Tzu (or Master Sun)translated by Thomas Cleary. I recommend this man's translations. If you read the comments about them on Amazon, or if you read his own EXTENSIVE introductions to his books, you will see why he is a fantastic choice for an English reader (like myself).

The Art of War was left around the house by one of my children. I picked it up, never dreaming it would contain wisdom that could be relevant to me in this modern, high-tech society. To say I was was stunned would be an understatement. Page by page- one page a day, I ate up the thoughts. Often I re-read a page for several days. With note paper and a pen nearby I copied out the passages that blew my mind. Here a just a few of my favorites. I put them here, hoping they encourage you to pick up a copy of this unusual book.

The Art of War by Master Sun (Sun Tsu)

It does not take much strength to lift a hair, it does not take sharp eyes to see the sun and the moon, it does not take sharp ears to hear a thunder clap (Master Sun) What everyone knows , is not called wisdom. Victory over others by forced battle is not considered good. (Wang Xi)

Advantages and disadvantages are interdependent-first know the disadvantages, then you know the advantages. (Li Quan) Therefore it is said that victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. (Yhang Yu)

Leadership is a matter of intelligence, trustworthiness, humaneness, courage and sternness. (Master Sun) The ancient documents say, “The one who treats me well is my leader, the one who treats me cruelly is my enemy,” The question is, which side has a humane government, and which side has a cruel government. (Ho Yanxi) When it comes to establishing rules and regulations, high and low, should be treated alike. (Du Mu) Make everyone equal under the law. (Mei Yaochen)

When the speed of rushing water reaches the point where it can move boulders, this is the force of momentum. When the speed of the hawk is such that it can strike and kill, this is precision. So it is with skillful warriors-their force is swift like drawing a catapult, their precision is like releasing the trigger. (SunTzu)
Some may be clumsy in attack but they get the upper hand through extraordinary swiftness, because they are not subject to the problems of wearing out their forces and using up their resources. (Du Mu) As it is said, be swift as the thunder that peals before you have a chance to cover your ears, fast as the lightening that flashes before you can blink your eyes.( Chen Hao)

The lowest [means of victory] is to attack a city. Siege of a city is only done as a last resort. If the general cannot overcome his anger and his army swarms over the citadel, killing a third of his soldiers, and yet the citadel is not taken, this is a disastrous attack. Therefore one who is good at martial arts overcomes other’s forces without battle, conquers other’s cities without siege, destroys other’s nations without taking a long time. (Master Sun)

It is never beneficial to a nation to have military operations continue for a long time. (Master Sun) A Government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist if it is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight but a nation destroyed cannot be restored to life. Therefore an enlightened government is careful about this; a good military leadership is alert to this. This is the way to secure a nation and keep the armed forces whole. (Sun Tzu)

Taoist philosophy, one can accomplish the most by doing the least. One can win without fighting. Therefore truly skilled warriors won each battle easily and thus were not known for cunning or bravery.
Hence the old legend: A lord of ancient China asked his physician, a member of a family of healers, which one of them was the most skilled in the art. The Physician, whose reputation was such that his name became synonymous with medical science in China replied, “My eldest brother sees the spirit of sickness and removes it before it takes shape, so his name does not get out of the house. My elder brother cures sickness when it is still extremely minute, so his name does not get out of the neighborhood. As for me, I puncture veins, prescribe potions and massage skin, so from time to time my name gets out and is heard among the lords.”

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