Fri, 16 Dec 2005
I just finished reading a translated version of Sima Qian's 'records of a historian' and found it very insightful into the strategy and mindset of the Chinese in and around 300-50bc. Wrote a few quotes down on the comp. for further reference (aka future msn names).
Sima Qian Quotes
“Once during a hunt Li Guang shot a rock in the grass which he had mistaken for a tiger, the entire tip of his arrow penetrating the boulder. But when he discovered that it wa a rock, he shot again, he could no longer pierce it.”
“Scribes simply make lists of names, and swordsmen fight single foes – that is not worth learning. I want to be able to beat ten thousand men.”
“What use are wealth and rank if you do not go home. That is like wearing embroidery at night – no one can see your splendour.”
My strength uprooted mountains,
My ambition embraced the world;
But fortune is against me.
Chen Ying’s mother: “It is not good to win fame overnight. Better to serve as a subordinate. Then if you win, you will become a noble; if you lose, you will escape more easily if your name is not known to all.”
Anonymous: “If someone does you a good deed, by all means remember it; but if you do someone else a good deed, then forget it.”
Old Chinese Proverb: “The peach and plum trees cannot speak, yet a path is trodden out to them.”
Ju Wu: “This is a dangerous way of winning safety, stirring up trouble for the sake of peace.”
2nd Emperor: “If a private citizen is influential enough to prevail on your lordship to speak for him, he cannot be poor.”
Sun Wu: “If discipline if lax and orders are not understood, the commander is to blame. But when orders are understood yet not carried out, it is the officers who are to blame.”
“Run your worst against their best, your best against their second-best, and your second-best against their worst.” (re: Horse racing)
“To unravel a knot you must not hold it too tight. To settle a quarrel you must not join in the fighting. If we leave what is knotted and attack what is loose, making further entanglement impossible, matters can be sorted out.”
Yu Rang: “A wise master does not conceal men’s virtues, while a loyal subject will die for a good name.”
Sunshu Ao’s Son:
It is rough work farming the hills,
Hard to get food.
One who becomes and official may grasp at wealth;
And, dead to shame, leave his family well-off;
Or for taking bribes and breaking the law
He may be put to death and his clan wiped out.
Do not be a rapacious official!
What then of a good official
Who abides by the law, does his duty,
And makes no wrong move all his life?
His case is no better.
For Sunshu Ao was honest to the end,
But his wife and son are left destitute,
Forced to subsist by carrying firewood,
Why then follow his example?