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Both arms and armor are unblessed things. Not only men come to detest them, but a curse seems to follow them. Therefore, the one who follows the principle of TAO does not resort to arms. It is significant that in peaceful times, the place of honor is on the left and in war times it is on the right. For as arms are unblessed things, they are not the things that men of good character resort to.

It is of first importance for a gentleman to preserve his serenity and dignity; even when victorious, a good soldier does not rejoice, because rejoicing over a victorious battle is the same as rejoicing over the killing of men. If he rejoices over the killing of men, he will never be victorious.

Thus, in propitious affairs, the place of honor is on the left, but in unpropitious affairs, the right is the place of honor. In times of war, lesser officers are on the left of the ranks, a place of honor, while the commanding general is on the right, a place of less honor. This means that war is considered as a funeral ceremony.

Therefore, in battle the killing of many men should be honored by weeping and mourning, and the victor should be received as if he were attending a funeral ceremony.

Next: Chapter 32