Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sun Bin: The Art of Warfare (Military Methods) (3)

Sun Bin was famous for the Shedding Shell Like a Cicada tactic (金蝉脱壳 Jin Chan Tuo Ke). It is best used when one is in a disadvantageous position.

Sun Bin possessed exceptional talent in the area of strategy and tactics even in his early years. As a reward, he was given a copy of the Art of War by Wang Xu, his military studies professor.

There were stories of Sun Bin having the ability to recite Sun Tzu (Sunzi): The Art of War and other Chinese classics by verbatim. His genius was envied by a classmate, Pang Juan, who later became a strategic general in the state of Wei. Afterward, Pang Juan deceived Sun Bin into going to Wei country and then framed him for being a traitor. Sun Bin suffered the corporal punishment of having his kneecap chopped off and the Chinese character "Traitor" stamped on the side of his head.

Pang Juan later convinced Sun Bin that he saved him from the death penalty. In return, Sun Bin decided to reproduce the entire Art of War (AoW) manual for him.

As the Art of War manual was being jotted, Pang's servant informed Sun Bin on the true intent behind Pang Juan's sincerity.

Sun Bin became furious, burned his copy of the Art of War and pretended to be insane. Pang Juan was surprised about this occurrence and angrily sent him to the private prison of Wei's state's . During that period, he consistently portrayed the disposition of insanity while waiting for the right opportunity to escape. Years later, he was rescued by a Qi's state representative and became their chief strategist and served as a deputy to Tian ji, the military general.

Thoughts from the Compass Desk
We contemplated that Sun Bin analyzed the configurations of his situation during the book burning process and consciously realized that he must not be a threat to Pang Juan in order to survive. We realized that it took a high state of conscious awareness for him to be so methodical especially during a highly stressful situation. ...

So, what is the "connective" lesson behind Sun Bin's displaying of intelligence and then Pang Juan's deceiving him?

A reader asked us this question, "How does one get this high state of conscious awareness? ..."

Hint: One does not get it from reading the Art of War, 24/7. 

Updated note
Click here for a more thorough reading on Sun Bin.

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