Earth is high and low
Shiyijia zhu Text
Earth is high and low, far and near, dangerous and safe, broad and narrow, death and life.
The phrase "high and low" (gaoxia 高下) appears only in the Yinqueshan text. "Dangerous and safe" (xianyi 險易) have been consistently glossed as "difficult" and "flat''--as suitable to footsoldiers or to vehicles--though in chapter 5 we see xian as "the defile." "Death and life" suggest the "death ground" (sidi 死地) of chapters 6, 8, and 11, a terrain where soldiers will be killed unless extreme measures are taken. In chapter 11, "The Nine Grounds," the text says: "Death ground is that from which one cannot leave" and "If quick, I survive. If not quick, I am lost."
As with the discussion of dao and heaven, this treatment of earth is on the surface narrowly military in focus. Yet by placing it within the triad "heaven, earth, humanity," the passage suggests these as the grounds of any situation and also works to situate "terrain" within the larger Masters discourse of the times.