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Of all things, soldiers are instruments of evil,

Hated by men.

Therefore the religious man (possessed of Tao) avoids them.

The gentleman favors the leftin civilian life,

But on military occasions favors the right.

Soldiers are weapons of evil.

They are not the weapons of the gentleman.

When the use of soldiers cannot be helped,

The best policy is calm restraint.

Even in victory, there is no beauty,

And who calls it beautiful

Is one who delights in slaughter.

He who delights in slaughter

Will not succeed in his ambition to rule the world.

[The things of good omen favor the left.

The things of ill omen favor the right.

The lieutenant-general stands on the left,

The general stands on the right.

That is to say, it is celebrated as a Funeral Rite.]

The slaying of multitudes should be mourned with sorrow.

A victory should be celebrated with the Funeral Rite.


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