2016/01/02

Sun Bin - Outstanding Military Strategist of Ancient China

 

Sun Bin was believed to be a direct descendant of the distinguished military theorist Sun Tzu (Sun Wu), who flourished during the mid-fourth century B.C. during China's Warring States Period, a period of unprecedented violence. He was named Sun Bin in ancient historic books because he suffered corporal punishment, which is named Bin, a form of punishment in ancient China.

The Warring States era was a period "…where independent nation states attempted to annihilate each other through incessant and escalating battles, and military tactics increased exponentially in sophistication and brutality (especially with the development of new war technologies). During mid-fourth century B.C. in China, it was common to see 80,000 soldiers perishing in a single defeat." At the same time, these wars of appropriation reduced the number of states to a group of seven powerful states. For that era, warfare was increasingly a way of life as well as a way of death. This quality of influence is found throughout Sun Bin's book.

Sun Bin was considered by many scholars as one of the most outstanding military strategist after Sun Tzu.

In April 1972 a large number of bamboo strips were unearthed by chance in an archeological find from a western Han (206 BC - 25 AD) tomb at Yin-ch'eh-shan (Silver Sparrow Mountain) in Linyi County, Shan-dong Province in China. (The strips were dated somewhere between 140 - 118 BC.) Among the strips were Sun Tzu: The Art of War and Sun Bin: Military Methods (also know as The Art of Warfare). The simultaneous discovery of both works from the same tomb provided conclusive evidence that both Suns existed in history, and that each had written a thesis on military strategic affairs. A millennium-long dispute was thus settled. A descendant of Sun Tzu, Sun Bin, summed up the military experiences prior to and during the mid-Warring States period (475 BC - 221 BC) on the basis of inheriting and enhancing the military thinking of Sun Tzu.

Scholars who analyzed the book, found that it was either technically uncompleted or in the process of being finished. Regardless of the incompleteness, the Sun Bin book on military strategy is now recognized as one of the essential texts of classical Chinese military philosophy.

More


Story of Sun Bin

Sun Bin possessed exceptional talent even in his early years. There were stories of Sun Bin having the ability to recite Sun Tzu: The Art of War and other Chinese classics by verbatim.