隔岸观火

 
gé àn guān huǒ (ge an guan huo)
observer the fire on the opposite shore (look on someone's trouble with indifference)

Delay entering the field of battle until all the other players have become exhausted fighting amongst themselves. Then go in full strength and pick up the pieces.

Hojo Regency Japan

In 1583 the great general Toyotomi Hideyoshi was positioning his forces against Akechi Mitsuhide in what would be the battle of Yamazaki. Shortly after the battle had engaged, Tsetsui Junkeian, an ally of Mitsuhide arrived on the scene. Impressed by the superior forces of Hideyoshi, he refused to attack but instead ordered his men to line up in battle formation on a hill above the Hora-ga-toge pass where he could watch the battle before deciding which general to side with. Seeing Hideyoshi gaining the advantage he betrayed his ally and sent his troops over to Hideyoshi's side. This incident was never forgotten and henceforth the Japanese equivalent of `Watching the fire...' is known as `To wait at Hora-ga-toge.'

Eastern Han Dynasty

Towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, Cao Cao defeated Yuan Shao's forces in the Battle of Guandu. After Yuan Shao's death, his three sons fought among themselves in a battle of succession.

Cao Cao took advantage of the chaos and attacked, but the brothers united against their common enemy.

Cao Cao's strategist, Guo Jia suggested, "The Yuan brothers were fighting among themselves and our attack only caused them to unite against us. If we retreat, they'll fight among themselves again. Once they are weakened, it'll be easy to win."

After Cao Cao's troops withdrew, the Yuan brothers fought among themselves for control of Fen province. The eldest brother Yuan Tan was angry because their father had made the second son Yuan Shang his heir. The youngest son Yuan Xi supported Yuan Shang.

In the meantime, Cao Cao conquered Qing, Fen, Bing and You provinces. Yuan Tan was killed. Yuan Shang and Yuan Xi fled to Liaodong in the north-east to seek the help of nomadic chieftain Gongsun Kang. Instead of pursuing the Yuan brothers, Cao Cao summoned his forces back saying that Gongsun Kang would send the heads of the Yuan brothers to him.

After some time, Gongsun Kang indeed sent the heads of the two Yuan brothers to Cao Cao. Cao Cao later explained, "Gongsun Kang was afraid he'd be my next target; he was also afraid that the Yuan brothers would annex his territory. If I attacked him, he would need the help of the brothers. But if I withdrew... Tough luck for the brothers.

Meaning: 隔着河看人家着火。比喻对别人的危难不去求助,在一旁看热闹。

Context: 唐·乾康《投谒齐已》:“隔岸红尘忙似火,当轩青嶂冷如冰。”

Example: 他原是在~呀。 ◎郭沫若《南冠草》第二幕

Synonyms: 冷眼旁观、见死不救

Antonyms: 见义勇为、身临其境

Grammar: 偏正式;作谓语、宾语、定语;含贬义

阳乖序乱①,明以待逆②。暴戾恣睢③,其势自毙。顺以动豫,豫顺以动④。

【注释】

①阳乖序乱:阳,指公开的。乖,违背,不协调。此指敌方内部矛盾激化,以致公开地表现出多方面秩序混乱、倾轧。

②阴以待逆:阴,暗下的。逆,叛逆。此指暗中静观敌变,坐待敌方更进一步的局面恶化。

③暴戾恣睢:戾,凶暴,猛烈。睢,任意胡为。

④顺以动豫,豫顺以动:语出《易经.豫》卦。豫,卦名。本卦为异卦相叠(坤下震上)。本卦的下卦为坤为地,上卦为震为雷。是雷生于地,雷从地底而出,突破地面,在空中自在飞腾。《豫卦》的《彖》辞说“豫,刚应而志行,顺以动。”意即豫卦的意思是顺时而动,正因为豫卦之意是顺时而动,所以天地就能随和其意,做事就顺当自然。

此计正是运用本卦顺时以动的哲理,说坐观敌人的内部恶变,我不急于采取攻逼手段,顺其变,“坐山观虎斗”,最后让敌人自残自杀,时机—到而我即坐收其利,一举成功。

【按语】

乖气浮张,逼则受击,退则远之,则乱自起。昔袁尚、袁熙奔辽东,众尚有数千骑。初,辽东太守公孙康,恃远不服。及曹操破乌丸,或说曹遂征之,尚兄弟可擒也。操曰:“吾方使斩送尚、熙首来,不烦兵矣。”九月,操引兵自柳城还,康即斩尚、熙,传其首。诸将问其故,操日:“彼素畏尚等,吾急之,则并力;缓之,则相图,其势然也。”或曰:此兵书火攻之道也,按兵书《火攻篇》前段言火攻之法,后段言慎动之理,与隔岸观火之意,亦相吻合。

【解析】

按语提到《孙子.火攻篇》,认为孙子言慎动之理,与隔岸观火之意,亦相吻合。这是很正确的。在《火攻篇》后段,孙子强调,战争是利益的争夺,如果打了胜仗而无实际利益,这是没有作用的。所以,“非利不动,非得(指取胜)不用,非危不战,主不可以怒而兴师,将不可以愠(指怨愤、恼怒)而致战。合于利
而动,不合于利而止。”所以说一定要慎用兵,戒轻战。战必以利为目的。当然,隔岸观火之计,不等于站在旁边看热闹,一旦时机成熟,就要改“坐观”为“出击”,以取胜得利为目的。

【探源】

隔岸观火,就是“坐山观虎斗”,“黄鹤楼上看翻船”。敌方内部分裂,矛盾激化,相互倾轧,势不两立,这时切切不可操之过急,免得反而促成他们暂时联手对付你。正确的方法是静止不动,让他们互相残杀,力量削弱,甚至自行瓦解。

东汉末年,袁绍兵败身亡,几个儿子为争夺权力互相争斗,曹操决定击败袁氏兄弟。袁尚、袁熙兄弟投奔乌桓,曹操向乌桓进兵,击败乌既,袁氏兄弟又去投奔辽东太守公孙康。曹营诸将向曹操进君,要一鼓作气,平服辽东,捉拿二袁。曹操哈哈大笑说,你等勿动,公孙康自会将二袁的头送上门来的。于是下令班师,转回许昌,静观辽东局势。

公孙康听说二袁归降,心有疑虑。袁家父子一向都有夺取辽东的野心,现在二袁兵败,如丧家之犬,无处存身,投奔辽东实为迫不得已。公孙康如收留二袁,必有后患,再者,收容二袁,肯定得罪势力强大的曹操。但他又考虑,如果曹操进攻辽东,只得收留二袁,共同抵御曹操。当他探听到曹操已经转回许昌,并无进攻辽东之意时,认为收容二袁有害无益。于是预设伏兵,召见二袁,一举擒拿,割下首级,派人送到曹操营中。曹操笑着对众将说,公孙康向来俱怕袁氏吞并他,二袁上门,必定猜疑,如果我们急于用兵,反会促成他们合力抗拒。我们退兵,他们肯定会自相火并。看看结果,果然不出我料。

【故事】

战国后期,秦将武安君白起在长平一战,全歼赵军四十万,赵国国内一片恐慌。白起乘胜连下韩国十七城,直逼赵国国都邯郸,赵国指日可破。赵国情势危急,平原君的门客苏代向赵王献计,愿意冒险赴秦,以救燃眉。赵王与群臣商议,决定依计而行。

苏代带着厚礼到咸阳拜见应侯范睢,对范睢说:“武安君这次长平一战,威风凛凛,现在又直逼邯郸,他可是秦国统一天下的头号功臣。我可为您担心呀!您现在的地位在他之上,恐怕将来您不得不位居其下了。这个人不好相处啊。”苏代巧舌如簧,说得应侯沉默不语。过了好一会儿,才问苏代有何对策。苏代说:“赵国已很衰弱,不在话下,何不劝秦王暂时同意议和。这样可以剥夺武安君的兵权,您的地位就稳如泰山了。”

范睢立即面奏秦王。“秦兵劳苦日久,需要修整,不如暂时宣谕息兵,允许赵国割地求和。”秦王果然同意。结果,赵国献出六城,两国罢兵。

白起突然被召班师,心中不快,后来知道是应侯范睢的建议,也无可奈何。

两年后,秦王又发兵攻赵,白起正在生病,改派王陵率十万大军前往。这时赵国已起用老将廉颇,设防甚严,秦军久攻不下。秦王大怒,决定让白起挂帅出征。白起说:“赵国统帅廉颇,精通战略,不是当年的赵括可比;再说,两国已经议和,现在进攻,会失信于诸侯。所以,这次出兵,恐难取胜。”秦王又派范睢去动员白起,两人矛盾很深,白起便装病不答应。秦王说:“除了白起,难道秦国无将了吗?”于是又派王陵攻邯郸,五月不下。秦王又令白起挂帅,白起伪称病重,拒不受命。秦王怒不可遏,削去白起官职,赶出咸阳。这时范睢对秦王说:“白起心怀怨恨,如果让他跑到别的国家去,肯定是秦国的祸害。”秦王一听,急派人赐剑白起,令其自刎。可怜,为秦国立下汗马功劳的白起,落到这个下场。

当白起围邯郸时,秦国国内本无“火”,可是苏代点燃范睢的妒忌之火,制造秦国内乱,文武失和。赵国隔岸观火,使自己免遭灭亡。

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