China

 

Li Po (Li Bai)

PoLiLi Po (or Li Bai, 701-762, Simplified Chinese: Pinyin: Lǐ Bái), Zi Taibai (Simplified Chinese: Pinyin: Tàibái), was a Chinese poet living in Tang Dynasty.

Renowned as the Poet Immortal, Li Po was among the most well-respected poets in China's literary history. Approximately 1,100 poems of his remain today. The western world was introduced to Li Po's works through the very liberal translations of Japanese versions of his poems made by Ezra Pound.

Li Po is best known for the extravagant imagination and striking Taoist imagery in his poetry, as well as for his great love for liquor. Like Du Fu, he spent much of his life travelling, although in his case it was because his wealth allowed him to, rather than because his poverty forced him. He is said to have drowned in the Yangtze River, having fallen from his boat while drunkenly trying to embrace (the reflection of) the moon.

Li Po was the son of a rich merchant; his birthplace is uncertain, but one candidate is Suiye in Central Asia (near modern day Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan). His family moved to Jiangyou, near modern Chengdu in Sichuan province, when he was 5 years old. He was influenced by Confucian and Taoist thought, but ultimately his family heritage did not provide him with much opportunity in the aristocratic Tang dynasty. Though he expressed the wish to become an official, he did not sit for the Chinese civil service examination. Instead, beginning at age 25, he travelled around China, affecting a wild and free persona very much contrary to the prevailing ideas of a proper Confucian gentleman. This portrayal fascinated the aristocrats and common people alike and he was introduced to the Emperor Xuan Zong around 742.

He was given a post at the Hanlin Academy, which served to provide a source of scholarly expertise for the emperor. Li Po remained less than two years as a poet in the Emperor's service before he was dismissed for an unknown indiscretion. Thereafter he wandered throughout China for the rest of his life. He met Du Fu in the autumn of 744, and again the following year. These were the only occasions on which they met, but the friendship remained particularly important for the starstruck Du Fu (a dozen of his poems to or about Li Po survive, compared to only one by Li Po to Du Fu). At the time of the An Lushan Rebellion he became involved in a subsidiary revolt against the emperor, although the extent to which this was voluntary is unclear. The failure of the rebellion resulted in his being exiled a second time, to Yelang. He was pardoned before the exile journey was complete.

Li Po died in Dangtu in modern day Anhui. Some scholars believe his death was the result of mercury poisoning due to a long history of imbibing Taoist longevity elixirs while others believe that he died of alcohol poisoning.

Source: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Li Po.

Nefarious War

Last year we fought by the head-stream of the So-Kan,
This year we are fighting on the Tsung-ho road.
We have washed our armor in the waves of the Chiao-chi lake,
We have pastured our horses on Tien-shan’s snowy slopes.
The long, long war goes on ten thousand miles from home.
Our three armies are worn and grown old.

The barbarian does man-slaughter for plowing;
On his yellow sand-plains nothing has been seen but blanched skulls and bones.
Where the Chin emperor built the walls against the Tartars,
There the defenders of Han are burning beacon fires.
The beacon fires burn and never go out.
There is no end to war!—

In the battlefield men grapple each other and die;
The horses of the vanquished utter lamentable cries to heaven,
While ravens and kites peck at human entrails,
Carry them up in their flight, and hang them on the branches of dead trees.
So, men are scattered and smeared over the desert grass,
And the generals have accomplished nothing.

Oh, nefarious war! I see why arms
Were so seldom used by the benign sovereigns.

Translated from the Chinese by Shigeyoshi Obata

    

Wei Chuang

Wei Chuang (836-910) was a Chinese poet and late Tang period historical figure.  He seems to have begun his official career at the age of forty-four, when he passed the metropolitan examination. His writings of the period are concerned with festive surroundings and friends. In the same year of 880 the Huang Chao's rebellion destroyed the capital and forced the court to remove itself to Sichuan. Wei himself was held captive by the rebels. Wei’s long poem Ballad of the Lady Qin perhaps recounts these events. Subsequently Wei wandered for ten years. In 894, Wei passed the Jinshi examination, enabling him to secure an official post. However in 896, the Li Maozhen's rebellion led to further dislocations. In 901, Wang Jian proclaimed himself ruler of the Shu court. Wei would eventually become prime minister of the Shu Kingdom. Wei had perhaps perceived the inevitable end of the Tang ruling house and attached himself to the new kingdom in Chengdu. He spent his final years in a compilation of Tang poems as well as his own collected verse.

Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wei_Zhuang

Frontier Soil

Has there ever been a time without war,
       an emperor without armies?

Soldiers have but one thing on their minds,
       the lookout for peace.

At the frontier they say the soil now
       is more bones than earth,

poor farmers dragged from their fields
       and marched off to death.

  

Huang Xiang

Huang Xiang2Huang Xiang was born in Hunan Province in China in 1941.Huang began writing poems in the 1950s. In 1978, he founded Enlightenment, China's first underground writers’ society during this era, and started a literary magazine with the same title. From 1959 to 1997, Huang was incarcerated six times and spent a total of 12 years in jail. He continued to write even though he was tortured for his work, which was completely banned.He has lived in exile in the United States since 1997. Huang has published poems and essays, and a bilingual edition of his Out of Communist China was published in 2003.

Source: https://pen.org/user/huang-xiang/

I See a War
I see a war, an invisible war

Being waged in everyone's facial expression
Being waged in countless loudspeakers
Being waged in the ever-frightened look in everyone's eyes
Being waged in the nerve stems beneath everyone's cerebral cortex
It is devastating everyone   Devastating every part end element of people's
      bodies and minds
It uses invisible weapons to press the attack, invisible bayonets, cannons
      and bombs to press the attack
This is an evil war
It is the intangible extension of a tangible war.
It is being waged in the front windows of bookstores
Waged in libraries, and in every song that is taught and sung
Waged in the first year textbooks of grade-schools
Waged in every actor's actions and lines and ever performer's posturing,
      all exactly the same

 

I see bayonets and soldiers patrolling the lines of my poems
To search into everyone's consience
A stupid, benighted and harsh power oppresses all, dominates all
In face of this terrible unprecedented attack
I see sexual relations in decay
The living in a state of mental disorder
Schizophrenia spreading unchecked, individuality eliminated
Ah, you invisible war, you evil war
You are the continuation and extension of 2,500 years of war to
      consolidate feudal power
You are the concentration and expansion of 2,500 years of war
      to enslave people's minds
You bomb   You blast   You kill   You slaughter
But human nature does not die, conscience does not die, people's
      freedom of spirit does not die
The natural instincts and desires of man's body and soul
Can never be wrenched away or wholly destroyed

Solitary Confinement

Water
Drops
Are daylight's only
Drops of
Scenery
Dreams
Sharp and clear like nighttime's
Bells
And gongs
Years of sibilant droplets'
Dripping
Sounds
Prisoners' bare heads
Ringing
Drops of
Deep
Penetrating
Gloom
A thousand prisoners in
This
Instant
A thousand dreams in
This
Drop

     

Bei Dao

bei daoZhao Zhenkai was born on August 2, 1949 in Beijing. His pseudonym Bei Dao literally means "North Island," and was suggested by a friend as a reference to the poet's provenance from Northern China as well as his typical solitude.

Dao was one of the foremost poets of the Misty School, and his early poems were a source of inspiration during the April Fifth Democracy Movement of 1976, a peaceful demonstration in Tiananmen Square. He has been in exile from his native China since the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.

His books of poetry include Unlock (2000); At the Sky's Edge: Poems 1991-1996 (1996), for which David Hinton won the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from The Academy of American Poets; Landscape Over Zero (1995); Forms of Distance (1994); Old Snow (1991); and The August Sleepwalker (1990). His work has been translated into over 25 languages.

He is also the author of short stories and essays. In 1978 he and colleague Mang Ke founded the underground literary magazine Jintian (Today), which ceased publication under police order. In 1990 the magazine was revived, and Bei Dao serves as the Editor-in-Chief.

In his foreword to At the Sky's Edge, Michael Palmer writes: "Anointed as an icon on the Democracy Wall and as the voice of a generation by the events of Tiananmen Square in 1989, and thereby also fated to exile, Bei Dao has followed a path of resistance that abjures overt political rhetoric while simultaneously keeping faith with his passionate belief in social reform and freedom of the creative imagination."

His awards and honors include the Aragana Poetry Prize from the International Festival of Poetry in Casablanca, Morocco, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been a candidate several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was elected an honorary member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters. At the request of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, he traveled to Palestine as part of a delegation for the International Parliament of Writers.

Bei Dao was a Stanford Presidential lecturer and has taught at the University of California at Davis, the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and Beloit College in Wisconsin. In 2006, Bei Dao was allowed to move back to China.

Source: Poets.org: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/774

Requiem (for victims of June Fourth)

 

Not the living but the dead
under the doomsday-purple sky
go in groups
suffering guides forward suffering
at the end of hatred is hatred
the spring has run dry, the conflagration stretches unbroken
the road back is even further away

Not gods but the children
amid the clashing of helmets
say their prayers
mothers breed light
darkness breathes mothers
the stone rolls, the clock runs backwards
the eclipse of the sun has already taken place

Not your bodies but your souls
shall share a common birthday every year
you are all the same age
love has founded for the dead
an everlasting alliance
you embrace each other closely 
in the massive register of deaths

Translators. Bonnie McDougall and Chen Maiping

The Double-Side Mirror

We've seen in the mirror
things from a distant past:
a forest of steles, the surviving legs
of desks that were set on fire
and undried ink marks in the sky
The noise comes from the other side of the mirror
The upward path of the future
is a gigantic slippery slide
after knowing delirious joy
from the sage's position
we are born from the mirror
And stay here forever watching
the things from a distant past

Translation:. Bonnie McDougall and Chen Maiping

On The Wrong Road

days gone-by rail against
the moment's flower
night that does youth proud
tumbles hugging stones
breaking glass in dreams

why linger on here?
mid-life letters circulate
vast sorrows
shoes of certainty pour out
sand, or schemes

completely unprepared
I walk further out
in some statement at a conference
tracing the twist in a preposition
joining ghosts
on the wrong road to greet sunset

translated by David Hinton

The Answer

Debasement is the password of the base,
Nobility the epitaph of the noble.
See how the gilded sky is covered
With the drifting twisted shadows of the dead.
The Ice Age is over now,
Why is there ice everywhere?
The Cape of Good Hope has been discovered,
Why do a thousand sails contest the Dead Sea?
I came into this world
Bringing only paper, rope, a shadow,
To proclaim before the judgment
The voice that has been judged:
Let me tell you, world,
I—do—not—believe!
If a thousand challengers lie beneath your feet,
Count me as number thousand and one.
I don't believe the sky is blue;
I don't believe in thunder's echoes;I don't believe that dreams are false;
I don't believe that death has no revenge.
If the sea is destined to breach the dikes
Let all the brackish water pour into my heart;
If the land is destined to rise
Let humanity choose a peak for existence again.
A new conjunction and glimmering stars
Adorn the unobstructed sky now;
They are the pictographs from five thousand years.
They are the watchful eyes of future generations.

Translation:. Bonnie McDougall

   

lao tzu2Lao Tzu

Good words shall gain you honor in the market-place, but good deeds shall gain you friends among men. ~Lao Tzu

 

Although ascetics and hermits such as Shen Tao (who advocated that one 'abandon knowledge and discard self') first wrote of the 'Tao' it is with the sixth century BCE philosopher Lao Tzu (or 'Old Sage' -- born Li Erh) that the philosophy of Taoism really began. Some scholars believe was a slightly older contemporary of Confucius (Kung-Fu Tzu, born Chiu Chung-Ni). Other scholars feel that the Tao Te Ching, is really a compilation of paradoxical poems written by several Taoists using the pen-name, Lao Tzu. There is also a close association between Lao Tzu and the legendary Yellow Emperor, Huang-ti.

According to legend Lao Tzu was keeper of the archives at the imperial court. When he was eighty years old he set out for the western border of China, toward what is now Tibet, saddened and disillusioned that men were unwilling to follow the path to natural goodness. At the border (Hank Pass), a guard, Yin Xi (Yin Hsi), asked Lao Tzu to record his teachings before he left. He then composed in 5,000 characters the Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power).

Whatever the truth, Taoism and Confucianism have to be seen side-by-side as two distinct responses to the social, political and philosophical conditions of life two and a half millennia ago in China. Whereas Confucianism is greatly concerned with social relations, conduct and human society, Taoism has a much more individualistic and mystical character, greatly influenced by nature.

In Lao Tzu's view things were said to create "unnatural" action (wei) by shaping desires (yu). The process of learning the names (ming) used in the doctrines helped one to make distinctions between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, high and low, and "being" (yu) and "non- being" (wu), thereby shaping desires. To abandon knowledge was to abandon names, distinctions, tastes and desires. Thus spontaneous behavior (wu-wei) resulted.

The Taoist philosophy can perhaps best be summed up in a quote from Chuang Tzu:

"To regard the fundamental as the essence, to regard things as coarse, to regard accumulation as deficiency, and to dwell quietly alone with the spiritual and the intelligent -- herein lie the techniques of Tao of the ancients."

One element of Taoism is a kind of existential skepticism, something which can already be seen in the philosophy of Yang Chu (4th century B.C.) who wrote:

"What is man's life for? What pleasure is there in it? Is it for beauty and riches? Is it for sound and color? But there comes a time when beauty and riches no longer answer the needs of the heart, and when a surfeit of sound and colour becomes a weariness to the eyes and a ringing in the ears.

"The men of old knew that life comes without warning, and as suddenly goes. They denied none of their natural inclinations, and repressed none of their bodily desires. They never felt the spur of fame. They sauntered through life gathering its pleasures as the impulse moved them. Since they cared nothing for fame after death, they were beyond the law. For name and praise, sooner or later, a long life or short one, they cared not at all."

Contemplating the remarkable natural world Lao Tzu felt that it was man and his activities which constituted a blight on the otherwise perfect order of things. Thus he counseled people to turn away from the folly of human pursuits and to return to one's natural wellspring.

The five colors blind the eye.
The five tones deafen the ear.
The five flavors dull the taste.
Racing and hunting madden the mind.
Precious things lead one astray.
Therefore the sage is guided by what he feels and not by what he sees.
He lets go of that and chooses this.

The central vehicle of achieving tranquillity was the Tao, a term which has been translated as 'the way' or 'the path.' Te in this context refers to virtue and Ching refers to laws. Thus the Tao Te Ching could be translated as The Law (or Canon) of Virtue and it's Way. The Tao was the central mystical term of the Lao Tzu and the Taoists, a formless, unfathomable source of all things.

Look, it cannot be seen - it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard - it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held - it is intangible.
These three are indefinable, they are one.
From above it is not bright;
From below it is not dark:
Unbroken thread beyond description.
It returns to nothingness.
Form of the formless,
Image of the imageless,
It is called indefinable and beyond imagination.
Stand before it - there is no beginning.
Follow it and there is no end.
Stay with the Tao, Move with the present.
Knowing the ancient beginning is the essence of Tao.

Source: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/lao.html

laozaThe Sayings of Lao-Tzu

Weapons are the tools of violence;
all decent men detest them.
Weapons are the tools of fear;
a decent man will avoid them
except in the direst necessity
and, if compelled, will use them
only with the utmost restraint.
Peace is his highest value.
If the peace has been shattered,
how can he be content?
His enemies are not demons,
but human beings like himself.
He doesn't wish them personal harm.
Nor does he rejoice in victory.
How could he rejoice in victory
and delight in the slaughter of men?
He enters a battle gravely,
with sorrow and with great compassion,
as if he were attending a funeral."


Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about other people's approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.

On War

HE who serves a ruler of men in harmony with Tao will not subdue the Empire by force of arms. Such a course is wont to bring retribution in its train.

Where troops have been quartered, brambles and thorns spring up. In the track of great armies there must follow lean years.
The good man wins a victory and then stops; he will not go on to acts of violence. Winning, he boasteth not; he will not triumph; he shows no arrogance. He wins because he cannot choose; after his victory he will not be overbearing.

Weapons, however beautiful, are instruments of ill omen, hateful to all creatures. Therefore he who has Tao will have nothing to do with them.

Where the princely man abides, the weak left hand is in honour. But he who uses weapons honours the stronger right. Weapons are instruments of ill omen; they are not the instruments of the princely man, who uses them only when he needs must. Peace and tranquillity are what he prizes. When he conquers, he is not elate. To be elate were to rejoice in the slaughter of human beings. And he who rejoices in the slaughter of human beings is not fit to work his will in the Empire.

On happy occasions, the left is favoured; on sad occasions, the right. The second in command has his place on the left, the general in chief on the right. That is to say, they are placed in the order observed at funeral rites. And, indeed, he who has exterminated a great multitude of men should bewail them with tears and lamentation. It is well that those who are victorious in battle should be placed in the order of funeral rites.

A certain military commander used to say: "I dare not act the host; I prefer to play the guest. * I dare not advance an inch; I prefer to retreat a foot."

There is no greater calamity than lightly engaging in war. Lightly to engage in war is to risk the loss of our treasure. †
When opposing warriors join in battle, he who has pity conquers.

Footnotes

:* According to Chinese etiquette, it is for the master of the house to make advances, and his guest follows suit. Thus "host" here means the one who takes the initiative and begins the attack; "guest," the one who acts on the defensive. The passage may be merely figurative, illustrating the conduct of those who practise Tao.
† I.e., humanity or gentleness, mentioned above as one or "three precious things."

Translation: The Sayings of Lao-Tzu, Lionel Giles translation [1905]
Painting: Lao Tzu, Century Mountain Project, William Rock, artist, Huang Xiang, calligraphy

  

qiu jin 600Qiu Jin

A Chinese poet and a revolutionary, Qiu Jin was born in 1875 into a moderately wealthy family. While growing up she enjoyed riding horses and playing with swords. She also liked to read. Her family insisted that she receive good education and she was able to socialize with other well-educated people.

At the age of twenty-one Qiu Jin was married to an older man. He had a more conventional outlook on life than she did and she felt stifled in this relationship. She left her husband in 1903 and went to study in Japan where she was vocal in her support for women's rights and pressed for improved access to education for women. To provide female role models, she wrote articles about historical Chinese women.

In 1906 she returned to China and started publishing a women's magazine in which she encouraged women to gain financial independence through education and training in various prefessions. She encouraged women to resist oppression by their families and by the government. At the time it was still customary for women in China to have their feet bound at the age of five. The result of this practice was that the feet were small but crippled. Women's freedom of movement was severely restricted and left them dependent on other people. Such helpless women were, however, more desired as wives, so their families continued the practice to protect their daughters' future security.

Qiu Jin felt that a better future for women lay under a Western-type government instead of the corrupt Manchu government that was in power at the time. She joined forces with her male cousin Hsu Hsi-lin and together they worked to unite many secret revolutionary societies to work together for the overthrow of the Manchu government. On July 6, 1907 Hsu Hsi-lin was caught by the authorities before a scheduled uprising. He confessed his involvement under interrogation and was executed. Immediately after, on July 12, the government troops arrested Qiu Jin at the school for girls, where she was a principal. She refused to admit her involvement in the plot, but they found incriminating documents and she was beheaded. Qiu Jin was acknowleged immediately as a heroine and a martyr who died fighting enemies of the Chinese people and she became a symbol of women's independence.

Source: Distinguished Women of Past and Present, contributed by Danuta Bois, 1997; http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/biographies/qiujin.html.  

References: Herstory. Women Who Changed the World, edited by Ruth Ashby and Deborah Gore Ohrn, Viking, 1995. Qiu Jin profile by Lynn Reese.

While Qiu Jin (秋瑾) is mainly remembered in the West as revolutionary and feminist, one aspect of her life that gets overlooked is her poetry and essays. Having received an exceptional education in classical literature, reflected in her writing of more traditional poetry (shi and ci) Qiu composed verse with a wide range of metaphors and allusions; mixing classical mythology along with revolutionary rhetoric.

Capping Rhymes with Sir Shih Ching From Sun's Root Land" (日人石井君索和即用原韵)

漫云女子不英雄,万里乘风独向东。
诗思一帆海空阔,梦魂三岛月玲珑。
铜驼已陷悲回首,汗马终惭未有功。
如许伤心家国恨,那堪客里度春风。

Don't tell me women
are not the stuff of heroes,
I alone rode over the East Sea's
winds for ten thousand leagues.
My poetic thoughts ever expand,
like a sail between ocean and heaven.
I dreamed of your three islands,
all gems, all dazzling with moonlight.
I grieve to think of the bronze camels,
guardians of China, lost in thorns.
Ashamed, I have done nothing;
not one victory to my name.
I simply make my war horse sweat.
Grieving over my native land
hurts my heart. So tell me;
how can I spend these days here?
A guest enjoying your spring winds?

(translated by Zachary Jean Chartkoff)
 

qiujinaviolentdancingspirit.executed1907Untitled

Riding a white dragon up to the sky,
Striding deep in the mountains on a fierce tiger.

I am born in a roaring storm with a violent dancing spirit
I shall be holy on the earth.

How could I ever be satisfied with settling down!
Without witnessing Commander Xiang win his great battles,
Or hearing Liu Xiu rumbling war drums
They were only twenty years old but could make their countries flourish.
Don’t blame them for bloodshed but admire them for bravery.

Shame and failure!
I am already twenty-seven
Yet have no glory to my name.
I only worry for my country and do not know how to expel these invaders.
I am glad my great ambitions will not rot and waste away,
Not when I hear the roar of war drums.

Deep inside I am outraged
I cannot get help from my own people

I feel so helpless, so weak.
It is for that reason alone that I am going
to Japan: to rally up aid, to look for assistance.

Untitled

“Our skulls pile up in mounds;
our blood billows in cresting waves
and the ghosts of all the millions massacred
still weep…”

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1101/S00512/poems-of-political-prisoners-twelve-poets.htm
Painting: Panagiota Koyvari and Gigas

     

sun tzuSun Tzu

Sun Tzu was a Chinese military general and is foremost known as a strategist who authored “The Art of War” (around 500 BC), an ancient book on military strategy. His principles have been used for war by many legendary warriors, including Japanese Samurai Oda Nobunaga and French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, his principles are used by many creative strategists who wish to get a lead in their industry. Perhaps we can think of how they might be paths leading to alternatives to war.

“Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”When you know your opponent's position and your own it’s easy to figure out their tactics and how to overthrow them with your own. When researching your fellow competitors’ goals and aims, you can strengthen your own strategy. This is best done by looking at their actions in relation to the market. Reading their vision and mission statements will not help you with this. So, know your competition's strategy once, and beat them a thousand times.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”You simply cannot trust luck. It is better if we work with the perception that luck will never be by our side. This will force you to stand on your own feet. You will feel more unstable, which is a good thing, now you need to depend on your strategy of attack.Getting into a competition without really knowing what is going on; will result in a most definite lose on your behalf. Thus, do your research well before acting, this is how you win. 

”All war is deception”You should constantly use deception on your competition. This does not mean that you should play a deceiving role in the eyes of your clients. It simply means that when you are weak you should show your competition a façade that implies that you are strong. When strong you should ease your competition by seeming weak so that when they will be defeated by a strong force in which was hidden by your part. When competing within the design industry you cannot be too predictable, the competition is far too vast and if you are not ready to work hard you will be brought down.  

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”You need to know your strategy before you act. A strategy sets out your vision and goals. Strategy is the foundation in which the tactics are born. It is after you have set out a strategy that the “how tos” will become clear.

“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”Many people are interested in asking how something has been made, so if you have a successful business, people will try to copy your work by looking at actions, but they will not be successful if they do not understand your strategy. Therefore, it is very important that you stay distinctive in your style and elaborately set out your goals so that you can offer designs that are difficult to duplicate.

“Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.”You can't be too predictable. Have the same strategy, but differ your tactics. Avoid what is in your opponent's eyes expected from you.

“If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbids it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight, even at the ruler's bidding.”Do not bend for authority but do what the situation requires from you. Listen to the problem; don't just do what you are told, that is hardly the way of a creative person.

In peace prepare for war, in war prepare for peace. The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence under no circumstances can it be neglected.”Always be aware of your surrounding and the people that want to take your place. At times like these it is rather typical to forget the underdogs that are dissecting every movement you make.

“You have to believe in yourself.”If you do not believe in what you do and your own abilities then do not you expect others to trust you. Everything begins with you, first you believe in yourself, take responsibility for yourself and then you can start taking responsibility for others as a designer.

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”When you have found a great opportunity you should implement it, put it to action directly. If it is a success, you will find tons of other creative ideas and opportunities turning up because of it. You have to start by pushing the wheel, before it rolls on by itself.

You can also reference: https://www.davidbrim.com/sun-tzu-lessons-on-strategy/

 

Yuan Chen

Yuan Chen was a politician of the middle Tang Dynasty, but is more known as an important Chinese writer and poet, particularly for his work Yingying's Biography (鶯鶯傳), which was often adapted for other treatments, including operatic and musical ones. He was briefly chancellor during the reign of Emperor Muzong.

A native of Luoyang, Yuan Zhen was a descendant of Northern Wei's imperial family. He lost his father at the age of seven and moved to Fengxiang, near today's Baoji, Shanxi with his mother Lady Zheng. Yuan began his writings at the age of fifteen. He was a member of Bai Juyi's literary circle and a key figure in the ancient literature revival. He was a friend of Bai Juyi and also of Xue Tao, a courtesan and famous poet who might have been his lover. Bai Juyi and Yuan Zhen made a "Green Mountain pact" to retire together as Taoist recluses once they had accumulated enough funds, but Yuan's untimely death kept them from achieving that dream.  In 813, Yuan wrote a grave inscription for Du Fu, which contains some of the earliest known praise for his predecessor's works.

Sources: Wikipedia and "Social Identity and Self-Imagery in Yuan Chen's Poetry."

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