指桑骂槐

 
zhǐ sāng mà huái (zhi sang ma huai)
point at the mulberry while cursing the locust tree (make oblique accusations)

To discipline, control, or warn others whose status or position excludes them from direct confrontation; use analogy and innuendo. Without directly naming names, those accused cannot retaliate without revealing their complicity.

Han Dynasty China

After Gaozu had become Emperor he invested many of his followers. One day while he was strolling along the balcony of his palace he noticed several ministers milling about below speaking in hushed tones. "What are they talking about?" he asked his advisor Chang Liang. "Your majesty does not know? They are plotting a revolt."

"But peace has been restored to the empire. Why should they be planning a revolt?"

"When your majesty rose from among the common people, it was through these men that you seized control of the empire. You have become the Son of Heaven, but those whom you have invested have all been close friends from the old days. Now these younger officers of your army, reckoning up the merits they have won, believe that there is not sufficient land in the whole empire to invest them all. So some of them fear they will not receive their just allotment. Therefore they plot rebellion."

"What should I do?" asked the Emperor

"Among all your followers whom do you dislike the most?"

"Yong Chi and I are ancient enemies," replied the Emperor.

"You must hurry and invest Yong Chi before anyone else, and make known what you have done to your other followers. When they see Yong Chi has been invested, they will all feel assured of their own rewards." said Chiang

The emperor agreed and held a feast honoring Yong Chi with lands and titles. When the other ministers left the banquet they said to each other happily, "If even Yong Chi can become a marquis, the rest of us have nothing to worry about!"

Usage

When the powerful wants to rules over the weak, he will sound a warning. One's uncompromising stand will often win loyalty, and one's resolite action, respect.

Spring and Autumn period

During the Spring and Autumn period, Duke Huan of the prosperous Qi made Guan Zhong his chief minister.

Duke Huan wanted to be dominant and invited the eight states to a meeting on forming an alliance. Chen, Cai, Zhu and Song attended the meeting. Lu, Wei, Zheng, Cao did not attend the meeting.

Duke Huan told those who attended the meeting that he wanted their support to deal with Lu first. The duke of Song however did not want part of it and left. This greatly angered Duke Huan.

Duke Huan was about to launch an attack to punish Song when Guan Zhong stopped him, "Song is far, Lu is near. Let's deal with Lu first. We can attack Lu's vassal Sui." Sui was small and easy to conquer.

Guan Zhong also said, "We can strike at Sui first to scare Lu. Lu will then pay allegience to us. Song will also feel intimidated."

Duke Huan sent his army to attack Sui. The duke of Lu was told that the Qi army had subdued Sui. The duke of Lu quickly apologised to Qi. Wei and Cao also apologised for their absence at the meeting. Lu, Wei, Cao and Qi joined forces to attack Song. The duke of Song was terrified and quickly mend fences with Qi.

In 678 BC, Duke Huan succeeded in forming an alliance of eight states with barely any fighting.

Meaning: 指着桑树骂槐树。比喻表面上骂这个人,实际上是骂那个人。

Context: 清·曹雪芹《红楼梦》第十六回:“咱们家所有的这些管家奶奶,那一个是好缠的?错一点儿他们就笑话打趣,偏一点儿他们就指桑骂槐的抱怨。”

Synonyms: 指鸡骂狗、旁敲侧击、借题发挥

Antonyms: 直言不讳、直截了当、指名道姓

Grammar: 连动式;作主语、谓语、状语;含贬义

大凌小者,警以诱之①。刚中而应,行险而顺②。

【注释】

①大凌小者,警以诱之:强大者要控制弱下者,要用警戒的办法去诱导他。

②刚中而应,行险而顺:语出《易经.师》卦。师卦名。本卦为异卦相叠(坎下坤上)。本卦下卦为坎为水,上卦为坤为地,水流地下,随势而行。这正如军旅之象,故名为“师”。本卦《彖》辟说:“刚中而应,行险而顺,以此毒天下,而民从之。”“刚中而应”是说九二以阳爻居于下坎的中信,叫“刚中”,又上应上坤的六五,此为此应。下卦为坎,坎表示险,上卦为坤,坤表示顺,故又有“行险而顺”之象。以此卦象的道理督治天下,百姓就会服从。这是吉祥之象。“毒”,督音,治的意思。

此计运用此象理,是说治军,有时采取适当的强刚手段便会得到应和,行险则遇顺。

【按语】

率数未服者以对敌,若策之不行,而利诱之,又反启其疑,于是故为自误,责他人之失,以暗警之。警之者,反诱之也。此盖以刚险驱之也。或曰:此遣将之法也。

【解析】

统率不服从自己的部队去打仗,如果你调动不了他们,这时你想用金钱去利诱他们,反而会引起他们的怀疑。正确的方法是:你可以故意制造些错误,然后责备别人的过失,借此暗中警告那些不服自己指挥的人。这种警戒,是从反面去诱导他们。迄就是用强硬而险诈的方法去迫使士兵服从。或者说,这就是调遣部将的方法。

对待部下将士,必须恩威并重,刚柔相济。军纪不严,乌合之众,哪能取胜?如果只是一味地严厉,甚至近于残酷,也难做到让将士们心服。所以关心将士,体贴将士,使将士们心中感激敬佩,这才算得上是称职的指挥官。《孙子兵法》中对此早有名训:“约束不明,申令不熟,将之罪也。”这就是强调治军要严。“视卒如爱子,故可与之俱死。”这就是强调要关心将士,使他们愿意与将帅一同战死。

【探源】

指桑骂槐,此计的比喻意义应从两方面广为理解。一是要运用各种政治和外交谋略,“指桑”而“骂槐”,施加压力配合军事行动。对于弱小的对手,可以用警告和利诱的方法,不战而胜。对于比较强大的对手也可以旁敲侧击威慑他。春秋时期,齐相管仲为了降服鲁国和宋国,就是运用此计。他先攻下弱小的遂国,鲁国畏惧,立即谢罪求和,宋见齐鲁联盟,也只得认输求和。管仲“敲山震虎”,不用大的损失就使鲁、宋两国臣服。

  另外,作为部队的指挥官,必须做到令行禁止,法令严明。否则,指挥不灵,令出不行,士兵一盘散沙,怎能打仗!所以,历代名将都特别注意军记严明。管理部队,刚柔相济,关心和爱护士兵,假决不能有令不从,有禁不止。所以,有时采用“杀鸡儆猴”的方法,抓住个别坏典型,从严处理,就可以震慑全军将士。

春秋时期,齐景公任命田禳苴为将,带兵攻打晋、燕联军,又派宠臣庄贾作监军。禳苴与庄贾约定,第二天中午在营门集合。第二天,禳苴早早到了营中,命令装好作为计时器的标杆和滴漏盘。约定时间一到,禳苴就到军营宣布军令,整顿部队。可是庄贾迟迟不到,禳苴几次派人催促,直到黄昏时分,庄贾才带着醉容到达营门。禳苴问他为何不按时到军营来,庄贾无所谓,只说什么亲威朋友都来为我设宴饯行,我总得应酬应酬吧?所以来得迟了。禳苴非常气愤,斥责他身为国家大臣,有监军重任,却只恋自已的小家,不以国家大事为重。庄贾以为这是区区小事,仗着自己是国王的宠臣亲信,对禳苴的话不以为然。禳苴当着全军将士,命令叫来军法官,问:“无故误了时间,按照军法应当如何处理?”军法官答道:“该斩!”禳苴即命拿下庄贾。庄贾吓得浑身发抖,他的随从连忙飞马进宫,向齐景公报告情况,请求景公派人救命。在景公派的使者没有赶到之前,禳苴即令将庄贾斩首示众。全军将士,看到主将杀违犯军令的大臣,个个吓得发抖,谁还再敢不遵将令。这时,警公派来的使臣飞马闯入军营,拿景公的命令叫禳苴放了庄贾。禳苴沉着地应道:“将在外,君命有所不受。”他见来人骄狂,便又叫来军法官,问道:“乱在军营跑马,按军法应当如何处理?”军法官答道:“该斩。’来使吓得面如土色。禳苴不慌不忙地说道:“君王派来的使者,可以不杀。”于是下令杀了他的随从和三驾车的左马,砍断马车左边的木柱。然后让使者回去报告。禳苴军纪严明,军队战斗力旺盛,果然打了不少胜仗。

【故事】

春秋时期,吴王阖庐看了大军事家孙武的著作《孙子兵法》,非常佩服,立即召见孙武。吴王说:“你的兵法,真是精妙绝伦。你能不能当面给我演示一下,让我开开眼界呢?”孙武说:“这个不难。您可以随便找些人来,我马上操练给您看看。” 吴王一听,好生好奇。随便找些人来就可操练?吴王存心为难—下孙武,说道:“我的后宫里美女多得很,先生能不能让她们来操练操练?”孙武一笑说:“行呀!任何人都可以操练。”

于是,吴王从后宫叫来180名美女。众美女一到校军场上,只见旌旗招展,战鼓排列,煞是好看。她们嘻嘻哈哈,东瞅西瞧,漫不经心。孙武下令180名美女编成两队,并命令吴王的两个爱姬作为队长。两个爱姬哪里作过带兵的官儿,只是觉得好笑好玩。好不容易,才把稀稀拉拉、叫叫嚷嚷的美女们排成两列。

孙武十分耐心地、认真细致地对这些美女们讲解操练要领。交待完毕,命令在校军场上摆下刑具。然后威严地说:“练兵可不是儿戏!你们一定要听从命令,不得马马虎虎,嘻笑打闹,如果谁违犯军令,一律按军法处理!”

美女们以为大家是来做做游戏的,不想碰见这么个一脸正经的人!这时,孙武命令擂起战鼓,开始操
练。孙武发令:“全体向右转!”美女们一个也没有动,反而轰然大笑。孙武并不生气,说道:“将军没有把动作要领交待清楚,这是我的错!”于是他又一次详细讲述了动作要领,并问道:“大家听明白了没有?”众美女齐声回答:“听明白了!”

鼓声再起,孙武发令:“全体向左转:”美女们还是一个未动,笑得比上次更加厉害了。吴王见此情景,也觉得有趣,心想:你孙武再大的本领,也无法让这些美女们听你的调动。

孙武沉下脸来,说道:“动作要领没有交待清楚,是将军的过错,交待清楚了,而士兵不服从命令,就是士兵的过错了。按军法,违犯军令者斩,队长带队不力,应先受罚。来人,将两个队长推出斩首!”吴王一听,慌了手脚,急忙派人对孙武说:“将军确实善于用兵,军令严明,吴王十分佩服。这次,请放过寡人的两个爱姬。”孙武回答道:“将在外,君令有所不受。吴王既然要我演习兵阵,我一定要按军法规定操练。”于是,将两名爱姬斩首示众,吓得众美女魂飞魄散。孙武命令继续操练。他命令排头两名美女继任队长。全场鸡雀无声。

鼓声第三次响起,众美女精神集中,处处按规定动作 ,一丝不苟,顺利地完成了操练任务。

吴王见孙武斩了自己的爱姬,心中不悦,但仍然佩服孙膑治兵的才能。后来以孙武为将,终使吴国挤进强国之列。

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