SUN ZI'S ART OF WAR:
DEADLY ORIENTAL STRATEGIES for SUCCESS, CAREER & BUSINESS

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Breakthrough in Oriental Philosophy:
ORIGINS OF SUN ZI'S ART OF WAR FROM I CHING
Part 1: Beginnings of Sun Zi's Art of War

Dr. Ong Hean-Tatt. 27th July 2001

Sun Zi Art of War,
the world oldest military strategy manual


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MYSTERY OF ORIGIN OF SUN ZI'S ART OF WAR

The Mystery

Recently discovered ancient historical documents show that the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War were used by Yellow Emperor Huang Di (2685 B.C.), Tang, founder of the Shang dynasty (1700 B.C.), and Wu Wang, founder of the Chou dynasty (1126 B.C.). The origin of Sun Zi's Srt of War thus went back far before Sun Zi himself (circa 507 B.C.), for these documents show that Yellow Emperor Huang Di was the original author of Sun Zi's Art Of War.

The reference to the fact that Wu Wang used the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War leads to implications that there is a close link between Sun Zi's Art Of War and the I Ching. The one breakthrough is the astonishing finding that Duke Chou's lines to the two hexagrams 51, Chen, and 52, Ken, of the I Ching, are paralleled by Sections 1 to 12 of Sun Zi's Art Of War. Sun Zi's Art Of War offers an objective method to begin decoding the meanings of the hexagrams of the I Ching and this could facilitate the objective understanding of both ancient texts.


Appendix 3:
"Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor"

In 1972, 4,942 bamboo slats were dug out from an ancient Han tomb site at Linyi (Huang 1993 p.21). These include some two hundred slats with twenty four hundred characters which were the remnants of an ancient version of Sun Zi's Art Of War, dating between the Chin and Han dynasties. These ancient slats, although containing only one third of the current modern edition, confirm that the current thirteen sections format of the war manual was correct. The Linyi text also contains five appendices related to the war manual:

  • Appendix 1: King Wu's Queries
    Appendix 2: Four Adaptations
    Appendix 3: Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor
    Appendix 4: Terrain II
    Appendix 5: Audience with King of Wu

One of the appendices, Appendix 3: "Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor", is interesting, as it indicates the real origins and potency of the strategic style of Sun Zi's Art Of War. Why was there the Appendix 3: "Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor"? It must have a significant link with the war manual Sun Zi's Art Of War. The appendix text, which is fragmentary, is given below (after Huang 1993 p.266):

  • Sun Zi said... [The Yellow Emperor attacked the Red Emperor in the south. He reached]... The battle occurred on the Banshan plain. He positioned to the right of the lowlands, had perpendicular arrays, and had a main route to his back. He annihilated and conquered the enemy. Over... [years] relieved the people from public labor... developed agriculture, and pardoned prisoners.

    Then he attacked the ... [Green] Emperor in the east. He arrived at Xiangping. They fought at Bing... [He positioned to the right of the lowland, had perpendicular arrays, and had a main route to his back. He annihilated ... [and conquered the enemy]. Over... years he relieved the people from public labor, developed agriculture, and pardoned prisoners.

    Then he attacked the Black Emperor in the north. He arrived in Wusui... [They fought at].... [He positioned to the right of the lowlands, had perpendicular arrays, and had a main route to his back. He annihilated and conquered the enemy. Over... [years] relieved the people from public labor... developed agriculture, and pardoned prisoners].

    [Then he] attacked the White Emperor in the west. He arrived at Wugang. They fought at .... [He positioned to the right of the lowlands, had perpendicular arrays, and had a main route to his back. He annihilated and conquered the enemy]...

    ... [He] had defeated four emperors and had conquered all of China. The tyrants... brought progress to China, and all of China obeyed him in every land.

    Tang [the Emperor of the Shang] attacked Jie [the King of Hsia] ... [He arrived in].. They fought at Botian. He positioned to the right of the lowlands, had perpendicular arrays, and had a main route to his back. He annihilated and conquered the enemy.

    Wu Wang [of the Chou] attacked Zhou the King of the Shang]. He arrived at Chinsui. They fought on the field of Mu... [He positioned] to the right of the lowlands, had perpendicular arrays, and had a main route to his back. He annihilated and conquered the enemy. This one emperor and the two emperors all knew [how to] take advantage of the way of Heaven.. of... and the people's needs, therefore...


What the Appendix 3 indicates is that the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War went back long before Sun Zi himself and were already used by Yellow Emperor Huang Di, circa 2685 B.C. It indicates that Yellow Emperor Huang Di was the original creator of the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War, a deduction supported by the internal evidence of Section 9 of Sun Zi's Art Of War:

  • These are the four useful methods of positioning armies used by the Yellow Emperor when he conquered the four neighbouring countries. Sun Zi 9:10.

The Appendix 3 also shows that the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War were used by founding Shang Emperor Tang, circa 1700 B.C., and founding Chou Emperor Wu Wang, circa 1126 B.C., to establish their dynasties. The last section, Section 13, of Sun Zi's Art Of War refers to the strategic mechanisms by which Tang and Wu Wang won their empires:

  • Of old, when Yin succeeded in power due to I Chih who as Chief Minister of Hsia was responsible for the State's affair. Chou succeeded due to Lu Ya, the former Minister of Yin Sun Zi 13:26.

HUANG DI FACTOR IN ORIGIN OF
SUN ZI'S ART OF WAR FROM I CHING

The Sun Zi's Art Of War Appendix 3: "Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor" describes the positioning of the colours which show that the great war strategy of Huang Di adopted the Mutual Destruction Relationship of the Five Elements and was also used by Tang and Wu Wang. This indicates that Huang Di was the real author of the strategies in Sun Zi's Art Of War. The Mutual Destruction Relationship of the Five Elements was also the basis of King Wen I Ching. Thus, it appears that Sun Zi's Art Of War belongs to the same common traditions as King Wen I Ching.

The first two hexagrams of King Wen I Ching refer to the fourth Moon followed by the fifth Moon, that is the King Wen I Ching starts with the Summer Solstice. Appendix 4: "Terrain 2" indicates the events of Sun Zi's Art Of War also started with the Summer Solstice (Huang 1993 p.268):

  • ... the fifth lunar month to cross... land, the seventh lunar month... the armies set their battle arrays regardless of the morning or the evening...

The events and struggles in both King Wen I Ching and Sun Zi's Art Of War concern the Summer Solstice. The Summer Solstice, the longest day in the year when darkness begins to increase, symbolises the most evil period of the year, when the power of goodness is on the wane and the power of evil is on the ascendancy. Hence, both King Wen I Ching and Sun Zi's Art Of War had to address the philosophy of war. The strategies of both the King Wen I Ching and Sun Zi's Art Of War are of the most potent types, for they were designed to destroy this great evil of the Summer Solstice, which is an evil of the most powerful and malevolent kind.

There are some implications about the relationships between King Wen I Ching and Sun Zi's Art Of War:

  • Huang Di was involved in the origins of both King Wen I Ching and Sun Zi's Art Of War.

  • The real author of Sun Zi's Art Of War is not Sun Zi but the Yellow Emperor Huang Di. Sun Zi's family preserved at least part of that common tradition originating from Huang Di. It was Sun Zi who finally compiled the current thirteen sections of Sun Zi's Art Of War. Some of the appendices were also from Huang Di.

  • Huang Di, through his creation of the Mutual Destruction relationship of the Five Elements, was involved in the origins of King Wen I Ching.

  • Both the King Wen I Ching, and Sun Zi's Art Of War share several significant features:

    • Cultural symbolism of the Yin Yang, Five Elements, Four Cardinal Directions.
    • The struggles in both texts started in the Summer Solstice.

    • It is evident that King Wen I Ching, and Sun Zi's Art Of War are of the same pool of traditions. The ancient Chinese traditions depict the I Ching as the source of all Chinese wisdom. As Sun Zi's Art Of War was a later document than King Wen I Ching, it is likely that Sun Zi's Art Of War originated from King Wen I Ching!

    • As we shall see later, two of the sixty four hexagrams of King Wen's I Ching could be shown to illustrate the step by step strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War!

    The evidence indicates that the origins of both the King Wen I Ching and the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War involve the same mind, that of Yellow Emperor Huang Di. The I Ching encompasses a much wider range of themes than Sun Zi's Art Of War. As the I Ching is regarded as the source of all wisdom, it could well mean that, through Huang Di, parts of the I Ching could form the real sources of the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War!


    LINK BETWEEN
    SUN ZI'S ART OF WAR AND I CHING.

    The Appendix 3: "Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor" not only shows that Sun Zi's Art Of War has origins from Yellow Emperor Huang Di, but also that the strategies of Sun Zi's Art Of War were used by Tang to establish the Shang dynasty (circa 1700 B.C.) and then later by Wu Wang to establish the Chou dynasty (circa 1126 B.C.).

    The father of Wu Wang happened to be King Wen, the author of the King Wen I Ching. Father and son must have shared the same family heritage of philosophy and strategies. Thus, there must be some family based links between Sun Zi's Art Of War and King Wen I Ching.

    It is quite clear that both King Wen and his son Wu Wang were familiar with both Sun Zi's Art Of War and King Wen I Ching!

    Sun Zi's Art Of War had different versions down the ages, for the Appendix 3: "Yellow Emperor Attacks Red Emperor" indicates that the Sun Zi strategies were used by Tang who founded the Shang dynasty and by Wu Wang who founded the Chou dynasty, and then by Yellow Emperor Huang Di. The present Sun Zi's Art Of War was compiled by Sun Zi in the later half of the Chou dynasty. Thus, this Sun Zi's Art Of War would most likely draw from the Chou version of the pool of I Ching traditions.


    Part 2

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