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《農戰 - Agriculture and War》

English translation: J. J. L. Duyvendak [?] Library Resources
1 農戰:
凡人主之所以勸民者,官爵也;國之所以興者,農戰也。今民求官爵,皆不以農戰,而以巧言虛道,此謂勞民。勞民者,其國必無力。無力者,其國必削。
Agriculture and War:
The means whereby a ruler of men encourages the people are office and rank; the means whereby a country is made prosperous are agriculture and war. Now those who seek office and rank, never do so by means of agriculture and war, but by artful words and empty doctrines. That is called "wearying the people". The country of those who weary their people will certainly have no strength, and the country of those who have no strength will certainly be dismembered.

2 農戰:
善為國者,其教民也,皆從壹空而得官爵。是故不以農戰,則無官爵。國去言則民樸,民樸則不淫。民見上利之從壹空出也,則作壹,作壹則民不偷。民不偷淫則多力,多力則國強。
Agriculture and War:
Those who are capable in organizing a country teach the people that office and rank can only be acquired through one opening, and thus, there being no rank without office, the state will do away with fine speaking, with the result that the people will be simple; being simple, they will not be licentious. The people, seeing that the highest benefit comes only through one opening, will strive for concentration, and having concentration, will not be negligent in their occupations. When the people are not negligent in their occupations, they will have much strength, and when they have much strength the state will be powerful.
今境內之民,皆曰:「農戰可避,而官爵可得也。」是故豪傑皆可變業,務學詩書,隨從外權,上可以得顯,下可以得官爵;要靡事商賈,為技藝:皆以避農戰。具備,國之危也。民以此為教者,其國必削。
But now the people within the territory all say that by avoiding agriculture and war, office and rank may be acquired, with the result that eminent men all change their occupations, to apply themselves to the study of the Odes and History and to follow improper standards; on the one hand, they obtain prominence, and on the other, they acquire office and rank. Insignificant individuals will occupy themselves with trade and will practise arts and crafts, all in order to avoid agriculture and war, thus preparing a dangerous condition for the state. Where the people are given to such teachings, it is certain that such a country will be dismembered.

3 農戰:
善為國者,倉廩雖滿,不偷於農;國大民眾,不淫於言,則民樸一。民樸一,則官爵不可巧而取也。不可巧取,則姦不生。姦不生則主不惑。
Agriculture and War:
The way to organize a country well is, even though the granaries are filled, not to be negligent in agriculture, and even though the country is large and its population numerous, to have no licence of speech. (This being so), the people will be simple and have concentration; the people being simple and having concentration, then office arid rank cannot be obtained by artfulness. If these cannot be obtained by artfulness, then wickedness will not originate; and if wickedness does not originate, the ruler will not be suspicious.
今境內之民及處官爵者,見朝廷之可以巧言辯說取官爵也,故官爵不可得而常也。是故進則曲主,退則慮所以實其私,然則下賣權矣。夫曲主慮私,非國利也,而為之者,以其爵祿也。下賣權,非忠臣也,而為之者,以末貨也。
But now the people within the territory, and those who hold office and rank, see that it is possible to obtain, from the court, office and rank by means of artful speech and sophistry. Therefore, there is no permanency in office and rank, with the result that at court they deceive their ruler and, retiring from court, they think of nothing but of how to realize their selfish interests and thus sell power to their inferiors. Now deceiving the ruler and being concerned for their own interests is not to the advantage of the state, but those who thus act, do so for the sake of rank and emolument; selling power to inferiors is not proper for a loyal minister, but those who thus act do so for the sake of insignificant presents.
然則下官之冀遷者,皆曰:「多貨則上官可得而欲也。」曰:「我不以貨事上而求遷者,則如以狸餌鼠爾,必不冀矣。若以情事上而求遷者,則如引諸絕繩而求乘枉木也,愈不冀矣。之二者不可以得遷,則我焉得無下動眾取貨以事上,而以求遷乎!」
Consequently all the lower officials, who hope for promotion, say: 'If we send many presents, we may obtain the higher office which we desire.' They say too: 'To strive for promotion, without serving superiors with presents, is like setting a cat as bait for a rat - it is absolutely hopeless. To strive for promotion by serving superiors with sincerity is like wishing to climb a crooked tree by holding on to a broken rope - it is even more hopeless. If, to attain promotion, these two methods are out of the question, what else can we do, in striving for it, but bring the masses below us into action and obtain presents, for the purpose of serving our superiors?
百姓曰:「我疾農,先實公倉,收餘以事親,為上忘生而戰,以尊主安國也;倉虛,主卑,家貧,然則不如索官!」親戚交游合,則更慮矣。豪傑務學詩書,隨從外權;要靡事商賈,為技藝:皆以避農戰。民以此為教,則粟焉得無少,而兵焉得無弱也!
The people say: We till diligently, first to fill the public granaries, and then to keep the rest for the nourishment of our parents; for the sake of our superiors we forget our love of life, and fight for the honour of the ruler and for the peace of the country. But if the granaries are empty, the ruler debased and the family poor, then it is best to seek office. Let us then combine relatives and friends and think of other plans. Eminent men will apply themselves to the study of the Odes and History, and pursue these improper standards; insignificant individuals will occupy themselves with trade, and practise arts and crafts, all in order to avoid agriculture and war. Where the people are given to such teachings, how can the grain be anything but scarce, and the soldiers anything but weak?

4 農戰:
善為國者,官法明,故不任知慮;上作壹,故民不偷淫,則國力搏。國力搏者強,國好言談者削。故曰:農戰之民千人,而有詩書辯慧者一人焉,千人者皆怠於農戰矣。農戰之民百人,而有技藝者一人焉,百人者皆怠於農戰矣。
Agriculture and War:
The way to administer a country well, is for the law for the officials to be clear; therefore one does not rely on intelligent and thoughtful men. The ruler makes the people singleminded, and therefore they will not scheme for selfish profit. Then the strength of the country will be consolidated. A country where the strength has been consolidated, is powerful, but a country that loves talking is dismembered. Therefore is it said: If there are a thousand people engaged in agriculture and war, and only one in the Odes and History, and clever sophistry, then those thousand will all be remiss in agriculture and war; if there are a hundred people engaged in agriculture and war and only one in the arts and crafts, then those hundred will all be remiss in agriculture and war.
國待農戰而安,主待農戰而尊。夫民之不農戰也,上好言而官失常也。常官則國治,壹務則國富,國富而治,王之道也。故曰:王道作,外身作壹而已矣。
The country depends on agriculture and war for its peace, and likewise the ruler, for his honour. Indeed, if the people are not engaged in agriculture and war, it means that the ruler loves words and that the officials have lost consistency of conduct. If there is consistency of conduct in officials, the country is well-governed; and if single-mindedness is striven after, the country is rich; to have the country both rich and well governed is the way to attain supremacy. Therefore is it said: 'The way to supremacy is no other than by creating single-mindedness!'

5 農戰:
今上論材能知慧而任之,則知慧之人希主好惡使官制物,以適主心。是以官無常,國亂而不壹,辯說之人而無法也。如此,則民務焉得無多,而地焉得無荒?
Agriculture and War:
However, nowadays, the ruler, in his appointments, takes into consideration talent and ability and cleverness and intelligence, and thus clever and intelligent men watch for the likes and dislikes of the ruler, so that officials are caused to transact their business in a way which is adapted to the ruler's mind. As a result there is no consistency of conduct in the officials, the state is in disorder and there is no concentration. Sophists (are honoured) and there is no law. Under such circumstances, how can the people's affairs be otherwise than many and how can the land be otherwise than fallow?
詩、書、禮、樂、善、修、仁、廉、辯、慧,國有十者,上無使守戰。國以十者治,敵至必削,不至必貧。國去此十者,敵不敢至;雖至,必卻;興兵而伐,必取;按兵不伐,必富。國好力者,曰「以難攻」,以難攻者必興;好辯者,曰「以易攻」,以易攻者必危。故聖人明君者,非能盡其萬物也,知萬物之要也。故其治國也,察要而已矣。
If, in a country, there are the following ten things: odes and history, rites and music, virtue and the cultivation thereof, benevolence and integrity, sophistry and intelligence, then the ruler has no one whom he can employ for defence and warfare. If a country is governed by means of these ten things, it will be dismembered as soon as an enemy approaches, and even if no enemy approaches, it will be poor. But if a country banishes these ten things, enemies will not dare to approach, and even if they should, they would be driven back. When it mobilizes its army and attacks, it will gain victories; when it holds the army in reserve and does not attack, it will be rich. A country that loves strength makes assaults with what is difficult, and thus it will be successful. A country that loves sophistry makes assaults with what is easy, and thus it will be in danger. Therefore sages and intelligent princes are what they are, not because they are able to go to the bottom of all things, but because they understand what is essential in all things. Therefore the secret of their administration of the country lies in nothing else than in their examination of what is essential.

6 農戰:
今為國者多無要。朝廷之言治也,紛紛焉務相易也。是以其君惛於說,其官亂於言,其民惰而不農。故其境內之民,皆化而好辯樂學,事商賈,為技藝,避農戰,如此則亡國不遠矣。國有事,則學民惡法,商民善化,技藝之民不用,故其國易破也。
Agriculture and War:
But now, those who run a state for the most part overlook what is essential, and the discussions at court, on government, are confused, and efforts are made to displace each other in them; thus the prince is dazed by talk, officials confused by words, and the people become lazy and will not farm. The result is that all the people within the territory change and become fond of sophistry, take pleasure in study, pursue trade, practise arts and crafts, and shun agriculture and war; and so in this manner (the ruin of the country) will not be far off. When the country has trouble, then because studious people hate law, and merchants are clever in bartering and artisans are useless, the state will be easily destroyed.
夫農者寡,而遊食者眾,故其國貧危。今夫螟螣蚵蠋春生秋死,一出而民數年乏食。今一人耕,而百人食之,此其為螟螣蚼蠋亦大矣。雖有詩書,鄉一束,家一員,獨無益於治也,非所以反之之術也。故先王反之於農戰。故曰:百人農,一人居者,王;十人農,一人居者,強;半農半居者,危。
Indeed, if farmers are few, and those who live idly on others are many, then the state will be poor and in a dangerous condition. Now, for example, if various kinds of caterpillars, which are born in spring and die in autumn, appear only once, the result is that the people have no food for many years. Now, if one man tills and a hundred live on him, it means that they are like a great visitation of caterpillars. Though there may be a bundle of the Odes and History in every hamlet and a copy in every family, yet it is useless for good government, and it is not a method whereby this condition of things may be reversed. Therefore the ancient kings made people turn back to agriculture and war. For this reason is it said: 'Where a hundred men farm and one is idle, the state will attain supremacy; where ten men farm and one is idle, the state will be strong; where half farms and half is idle, the state will be in peril.
故治國者欲民之農也。國不農,則與諸侯爭權不能自持也,則眾力不足也。故諸侯撓其弱,乘其衰,土地侵削而不振,則無及已。聖人知治國之要,故令民歸心於農。歸心於農,則民樸而可正也。紛紛,則不易使也;信,可以守戰也。壹,則少軸而重居;壹,則可以賞罰進也;壹,則可以外用也。
That is why those who govern the country well, wish the people to take to agriculture. If the country does not take to agriculture, then in its quarrels over authority with the various feudal lords, it will not be able to maintain itself, because the strength of the multitude will not be sufficient. Therefore the feudal lords vex its weakness and make use of its state of decadence; and if the territory is invaded and dismembered, without the country being stirred to action, it will be past saving. A sage knows what is essential in administrating a country, and so he induces the people to devote their attention to agriculture. If their attention is devoted to agriculture, then they will be simple, and being simple, they may be made correct. Being perplexed, it will be easy to direct them; being trustworthy, they may be used for defence and warfare. Being single-minded, opportunities of deceit will be few, and they will attach importance to their homes. Being single-minded, their careers may be made dependent on rewards and penalties; being single-minded, they may be used abroad.

7 農戰:
夫民之親上死制也,以其旦暮從事於農。夫民之不可用也,見言談游士事君之可以尊身也,商賈之可以富家也,技藝之足以餬口也。民見此三者之便且利也,則必避農;避農則民輕其居,輕其居則必不為上守戰也。
Agriculture and War:
Indeed, the people will love their ruler and obey his commandments even to death, if they are engaged in farming, morning and evening; but they will be of no use if they see that glib-tongued, itinerant scholars succeed in being honoured in serving the prince, that merchants succeed in enriching their families, and that artisans have plenty to live upon. If the people see both the comfort and advantage of these three walks of life, then they will indubitably shun agriculture; shunning agriculture, they will care little for their homes; caring little for their homes, they will certainly not fight and defend these for the ruler's sake.
凡治國者,患民之散而不可搏也,是以聖人作壹,摶之也。國作壹一歲者,十歲強;作壹十歲者,百歲強;作壹百歲者,千歲強,千歲強者王。
Generally speaking, in administrating a country, the trouble is when the people are scattered and when it is impossible to consolidate them. That is why a sage tries to bring about uniformity and consolidation. A state where uniformity of purpose has been established for one year, will be strong for ten years; where uniformity of purpose has been established for ten years, it will be strong for a hundred years, where uniformity of purpose has been established for a hundred years, it will be strong for a thousand years; and a state which has been strong for a thousand years will attain supremacy.
君修賞罰以輔壹教,是以其教有所常,而政有成也。王者得治民之至要,故不待賞賜而民親上,不待爵祿而民從事,不待刑罰而民致死。國危主憂,說者成伍,無益於安危也。
An ordinary prince cultivates the system of rewards and penalties in order to support his teaching of uniformity of purpose, and in this way his teaching has permanency and his administration is successfully established. But he who attains supremacy, succeeds in regulating those things which are most essential for the people, and therefore, even without the need of rewards and gifts, the people will love their ruler; without the need of ranks and emoluments, the people will follow their avocations; without the need of penalties, the people will do their duty to the death.When a country is in peril and the ruler in anxiety, it is of no avail to the settling of this danger for professional talkers to form battalions.
夫國危主憂也者,強敵大國也。人君不能服強敵,破大國也,則修守備,便地形,摶民力以待外事,然後患可以去,而王可致也。是以明君修政作壹,去無用,止畜學事淫之民,壹之農,然後國家可富,而民力可摶也。
The reason why a country is in danger and its ruler in anxiety lies in some strong enemy or in another big state. Now if a prince is unable to vanquish that strong enemy or to destroy that big state, he improves his defences, makes the best use of the topographical conditions, consolidates the strength of the people and thus meets the foreign attack. After this the danger may be averted and supremacy yet attained. That is why an intelligent prince, in improving the administration, strives for uniformity, removes those who are of no use, restrains volatile scholars and those of frivolous pursuits, and makes them all uniformly into farmers. Thereafter the reigning dynasty may become rich and the people's strength may be consolidated.

8 農戰:
今世主皆憂其國之危而兵之弱也,而強聽說者。說者成伍,煩言飾辭,而無實用。主好其辯,不求其實。說者得意,道路曲辯,輩輩成群。民見其可以取王公大人也,而皆學之。夫人聚黨與說議於國,紛紛焉小民樂之,大人說之。故其民農者寡,而游食者眾;眾則農者怠,農者怠則土地荒。學者成俗,則民舍農,從事於談說,高言偽議,舍農游食,而以言相高也。故民離上而不臣者,成群。此貧國弱兵之教也。夫國庸民以言,則民不畜於農。故惟明君知好言之不可以強兵闢土也。惟聖人之治國,作壹,摶之於農而已矣。
Agriculture and War:
Nowadays, the rulers of the world are all anxious over the perilous condition of their countries and the weakness of their armies, and they listen at all costs to the professional talkers: but though these may form battalions, talk profusely and employ beautiful expressions, it is of no practical use. When a ruler loves their sophistry and does not seek for their practical value, then the professional talkers have it all their own way, expound their crooked sophistries in the streets, their various groups become great crowds, and the people, seeing that they succeed in captivating kings, dukes and great men, all imitate them. Now, if men form parties, the arguments and dissensions in the country will be of confusing diversity; the lower classes will be amused and the great men will enjoy it, with the result that amongst such a people farmers will be few and those who, in idleness, live on others will be many. These latter being numerous, farmers will be in a perilous position, and this being so, land will be left lying fallow. If study becomes popular, people will abandon agriculture and occupy themselves with debates, high-sounding words and discussions on false premises; abandoning agriculture, they will live on others in idleness, and seek to surpass one another with words. Thus the people will become estranged from the ruler, and there will be crowds of disloyal subjects. This is a doctrine which leads to the impoverishment of the state and to the weakening of the army. Indeed, if a country employs people for their talking, then the people will not be nurtured in agriculture; so it is only an intelligent prince who understands that by fondness for words one cannot strengthen the army nor open up the land. Only when a sage rules the country will he strive for singleness of purpose and for the consolidation of the people in agriculture, and for that alone.

URN: ctp:shang-jun-shu/agriculture-and-war