yǐ wǔ wéi zhí, yǐ wén wéi zhǒng 以武为植，以文为种
Military Action Is like Planting; Good Rule Is like the Seed.
When there are armed conflicts, military action is only supplementary to good rule, which is the basis for unity and governance. Wu (武) means armed force or military means, and wen (文) means benevolent rule and edification. This notion was first proposed by the military strategist Yuliaozi of the Warring States Period. He said that how well plants grow depends more on the quality of the seeds than on the skill and care by the farmer. He used this analogy to illustrate the relationship between using military force and benevolent rule to unify and govern the state. To ensure long term peaceful governance over an obeying population depends on benevolent and enlightened rule, with military means only as a supplement. This is one of the earliest descriptions of the relationship between politics and military: the army is always subordinate to the politics, and serves the politics.
As regards warfare, military action is like planting, and benevolent rule is like the seeds. The former is supplementary, while the latter is essential. Those who understand this relationship will understand the cause for victory or defeat. (Yuliaozi)