pensées aléatoires

Saturday 30 August 2008


Filed under: 漢語 — skolem @ 12:45 pm
Tags: , , ,

Ugh… It was tougher than i had hoped…

anyway, i directly tried to translate the sentence, let’s see what i got:

善 (shàn) means well/kind or good,

守 (shǒu) is guard,

and 者 (zhě ?) is roughly that which is…

So we get 善守者: That which guards well,


藏 (cáng) to hide conceal

于 (yú) is a connector/ preposition

九 (jiǔ) nine

地 (dì): place/ location (I suppose here ground would be a good translation)

之 (zhī) connector see the last post

下 (xià) bottom, under, down.

Sooo… That which guards well hides under the 9 places. My french book who is very poetic says:

He who excels at defence, hides deep under the nine folds of the earth;

Qui excelle à la defensive se cache au plus profond des 9 replis de la terre.


善 (shàn)  kind/good

攻 (gōng) attack

者 (zhě ?) as before.

We get: he who attacks well,

动 (dòng) move or act

于 (yú) is a connector/ preposition

九 (jiǔ) nine

天 (tiān) sky

之 (zhī) connector see the last post

上 (shàng)  top/upper part

He who attacks well, move/act at the top of the 9 skies ?


故 (gù) ancient/old; reason or because 

能 (néng)  ability/ capable of, can

自 (zì) certainly

保 (bǎo) protect/keep/ensure/guaranties (quite a lot of choices uh)

而 (ér) connector: and /and then 

全 (quán) complete/whole/entirely

胜 (shèng) win

地 (dì): place/ location.

This time i’m at a loss. The begining is probably: This is the reason why… (very loosely translated) he can certainly protect… Because of the connector here, there is a “second” sentence here and he wins completely… the 地 here makes no sense to me, is it suppose to mean “in any place”? That would give us

This is the reason why he can certainly protect and can win completely in any location.

This would make sense. To make it clearer, i’d like to focus on the first two part:

善守者,藏于九地之下 and



He who defends well, hides below the 9 grounds,  he who attacks well, moves above the 9 skies.


While i would love to hear about why there are 9 skies and grounds, ( i haven’t found any explanation for it till now), this is classicaly something that derails the european reader. Luckily there are comments by 曹 操; (Cáo Cāo) you can read about him on the wikipedia article, basically he was an important figure during the period of the three kingdom and his son created the empire of wei. He is also a commenter of 孫 子 (Sūn Zǐ)’s work. About the matters at hand he said: to profit from the peculiarities of the terrain, that is hiding under the nine ground; using the variations of the climate to your profit, that is moving above the nine skies. While Li Quan seems to disagree with him, and continue his comment focusing on divination; one station after the divine palast correspond to the nine skies; two station after the divine palast correspond to the nine grounds. The earth, peacefull, is a place of strong stability; the sky, affected by revolution, is a sign of movement. Here revolution has to be read in the original sense, of circular movement, or period. Anyway i would rather talk about 曹 操‘s version, since i think it harbours some interesting thoughts:


Basicaly what it said is that, if being attacked, we have the choice of the place or field where the confrontation will take place, on the other side if we attack, we can’t choose where, but we can choose the timel. This is a more general thought even. To choose the right place when something or someone come to us, and to choose the right time to go to someone or to do something, that is, to me, 善守者,藏于九地之下,善攻者,动于九天之。


Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: