King Ying of Wei made a treaty with Marquis T'ien Mou of Ch'i, but Marquis T'ien Mou violated it. King Ying, enraged, was about to send a man to assassinate him. Kung-sun Yen, the minister of war, heard of this and was filled with shame. "You are the ruler of a state of ten thousand chariots," he said to the king, "and yet you would send a commoner to carry out your revenge! I beg to be given command of two hundred thousand armored troops so that I may attack him for you, make prisoners of his people, and lead away his horses and cattle. I will make him burn with anger so fierce that it will break out on his back. Then I will storm his capital, and when T'ien Chi l tries to run away, I will strike him in the back and break his spine!"Just "try to find the Way?" It sounds so simple, but as we all know, it isn't as simple as it sounds. It can be difficult to discern the Way because our egos cloud up the picture and, frankly, it is hard to see over, under, around or through the damn things!
Chi Tzu, hearing this, was filled with shame and said, "If one sets out to build an eighty-foot wall, and then, when it is already seven-tenths finished, deliberately pulls it down, the convict laborers who built it will look upon it as a bitter waste. Now for seven years we have not had to call out the troops, and this peace has been the foundation of your sovereignty. Kung-sun Yen is a troublemaker - his advice must not be heeded!"
Hua Tzu, hearing this, was filled with disgust and said, "He who is so quick to say `Attack Ch'i!' is a troublemaker, and he who is so quick to say `Don't attack Ch'i!' is a troublemaker! And he who says that those who are for and against the attack are both troublemakers is a troublemaker, too!"
"Then what should I do?" said the ruler.
"Just try to find the Way, that's all."
~ Burton Watson translation ~
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