L5R - Great Stone Bridge
Lies was the title of Bayushi Tangen’s most famous treatise. The intent of Lies was, in Tangen’s words, to “bring wisdom to the Emperor, to show him the errors of other’s “wisdom”, in addition to educating him on the nature of treacherous men, so he may root out duplicity and kill it before this bitter fruit has a chance to spread its seeds".
Lies And Truth
Akodo speaks eloquently of the virtue of honesty. “No harm can come of the truth,” he says, “and a lie kills someone in the world.” If a lie were to save the Emperor and the truth doom him, I would ask the Lion what he might choose. A lie does indeed kill someone in the world, but what if it saved the Emperor? Who would not give his life for the Son of Heaven? If Lord Akodo is unwilling to do so, I certainly shall take his place.
On The Nature Of Leadership
There are some who would have my lord believe that a leader must be virtuous. Generosity breeds contempt. If a man has everything but the throne, what does he desire? He desires what all men desire: to obtain what he does not have.
Give Fools What They Want
Let an ambitious man dig his own grave. Let the general appeal to the people, then watch his own foolishness doom him. You appear to be a beneficent ruler, and he becomes a martyr whose memory you can call upon for sympathy.
Cruel But Just
Fear is more powerful than love, and the more desired emotion. Lords who are loved can fail, and like a lover, a lord who disappoints his people will earn nothing but hatred. A lord who is feared for his abject cruelty, however, is never spoken against. What’s more, a lord who is cruel but just is always admired.
You may always trust a peasant over a nobleman. The nobleman is ambitious. The peasant only wants to eat. In other words, the nobleman has betrayal in his blood while the peasant only wishes not to be betrayed.
Force And Fraud
Akodo tells you: “Pure force cannot succeed alone. One needs strategy as well.” I tell you: If you are wise, fraud alone is necessary. As noble Akodo has said, “It is right and proper to use fraud on the battlefield, for it saves the lives of those who follow us.” I say this: if a man has used fraud against me, I consider him a wretch and a scoundrel, and I will not adhere to rules that he ignores. I will not put myself at the disadvantage of free action. The world is filled with evil men, my lord. To refuse an advantage because it is “underhanded” is not only disrespectful of those whom you protect and lead, it is also the most selfish act I can think of.
It is never shameful to break a promise made under duress of force. If the source of duress is killed, the promise never need be kept. If the promise is broken publicly and you reveal the source of the duress, you are made a hero for your display of honesty and courage, and he a villain for his cowardice.
My Enemy’s Enemy
You do not need to be stronger then your enemy; you need to be stronger than his enemy. If my enemy is the Lion and his enemy is the Crane, I should crush the Crane. Thereby, my enemy owes me a favor.
A weak man uses threats. A powerful man has no need for threats. If you confront a man with the threats of force and he concedes, it is because he fears you. The threat was unnecessary. Never threaten an enemy. It will anger him. A man who has been threatened feels the need to do something to erase the stain on his honor. If you have the force to destroy an enemy, destroy him. A living enemy is dangerous. A dead enemy is dead. Better to have a graveyard of dead enemies than a single angry one.
Pity is not a virtue. To pause when causing my enemy pain is weakness. He would not do so for me, and if he did, I would smite him for his stupidity.
The generous lord bestows gifts and must raise taxes so that he can afford them. The greedy lord, however, grabs land and treasure when he can – thus removing the need to over-tax his people.
The Hatred Of My Enemy
It is always better to focus on what is to be done than what is to be said. Make your actions swift and certain. Explanations can always follow, and may even take days. If your mind is uncertain about what is to be done, you will falter. But once it has been done, you will find the fortunes always provide for explanations.
Kill A Man’s Wife
Kill an ambitious man’s wife and his life will turn to revenge… and away from ambition. All his focus will be on you… and not on those around him. This is how you kill an ambitious man. This is also how you kill any man.
Impetuousness Always Triumphs
When you must ask a favor from another, do not allow him time to consider, especially if you make certain he understands that refusal shall draw disfavor from you. Mother Sun is a woman, after all, and what impresses a woman more than bold, impetuous man?
Two Men At The River
Two men, in the heart of winter, on either side of a river. One has flint, the other steel. And neither of them are willing to cross the cold water. So are we all.
Never presume a man is incapable of treachery. If one man is capable of it, all men are capable of it. But you do not need to fear all men. You only need to concern yourself with men of cunning, strong heart, will and determination. These men are capable of true treachery. Other men are only capable of low treachery. Weak men are not capable of true treachery; neither are men of low means. Only those who are brave are capable of it. The cowardly do not have the stomach for it. Men of weakness will always wait for another to take risks. This is the way of the world. Great men may employ weak men to spill blood for them, however. Even still, do not confuse the hand for the blade; it still belongs to a man of means and will. It takes power to convince another man to take risks. More than anything, you must fear those upon whom you have bestowed great favor, those you hold close and capable men of courage and will. Do not fear men who are distant, or who bear you ill will. The desire to rule has always been greater than the desire for revenge.
One Calamity Is Invitation For Another
If – upon observing your enemy – he makes a blatantly catastrophic error, assume that he is drawing you in. No man makes public his errors. Never take opportunity upon the misfortune of another. Do not advance upon what cannot be hidden; it is of no value to you. Only advance upon mistakes that could have been hidden.
Rooting Out Treachery
If you fear a man is guilty of treachery, place him with your lieutenants and treat him like a dog. Soon, he will begin to seek others to conspire against you. That is how you root out a rat.
Many generals and daimyos spend days figuring their plans, calculating every chance, preparing for the course of events. But how little time they spend preparing contingent plans. Contingencies are part of the plan. One fly spoils the ointment. Spend little time on the plan, for the only thing that is certain is that something will go wrong. Spend all your time on contingencies.
Men Act Slowly When They Think They Have Time
There are two ways to allow a man a make a decision. The first is to let him brood over it. The second is not to give him a breath. Our way is the second way. When men are forced to make decisions at a moment’s notice, they make mistakes. When they have time to think, they have time to sort out the details and calm any foul temper they may be carrying. Therefore, I say force a man to make a decision without a moment of thought. And force him to do it in public.
Peasants And Soldiers
Peasants do not understand what it means to be a soldier. They do not understand bushido. To them, our ways are foreign ways. They are a simple people and will never understand us. Alienation causes fear. This is how revolts are formed. Not among lieutenants, but among farmers. For every twenty samurai there are two hundred farmers. Two hundred angry men – be they farmers or samurai – are an army.
Do not fear your enemies. Only a friend can betray you.
“Cut off the right arm and the left will be wholly occupied trying to stop the flow of blood.”
“How easily mortals are corrupted, and how difficult it is to make them just.”
“The face is the first traitor.”
“The best mask is no mask at all.”
“Better to have a graveyard of dead enemies than a single living one.”
“When shame falls upon you, share it with an enemy. How readily others will believe a dishonest man.”
“Victory does not always go to the strongest of two opponents.”
“A sudden change in command can prove most advantageous to one’s enemies.”