Hun was a powerful militant nation in history, its name closely related to warfare. The Huns worshiped the sun and the moon and had the awe in heavens and earth, but their harsh living conditions in grass and desserts turned them into barbaric wolves, their nomadic way of life and excellent horses also made them the greatest riders and warriors.
In 318 BC, the Huns attacked these five kingdoms of Han, Zhao, Wei, Yan, Qi and had a great victory, the first time when their names were written in the official language of the Chinese. The First Emperor of Qin Dynasty sent Mong Tian for an expedition to the north and made the area close to the Yellow River all under the reign of its government. The Huns under its ruler Touman retreated to the northern desert and grasslands, where their younger generations established the most powerful empire. They defeated the first Han Dynasty emperor and forced him to come into a peace deal by marriages and articles of tribute. About 100 years later, the Huns suffered a devastating defeat in the war with Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty and the whole government had to move north and west for settlement. Three hundred years later, the powerful Hun soldiers and horses appeared again in ancient Rome, the Eurasian land and the east of the Russian Volga River. Although history has not been able to trace their footprints, Europeans, while talking about the devastation caused by the Huns to their ancestors, still feel a trembling.
A thousand years later, in the place where the ancestors of the Huns were buried, a new Mongolian nation re-emerged and a more powerful empire under Genghis Khan’s leadership was established. In its heyday, the Mongolians ruled from East Asia to Central Asia, West Asia, Eastern Europe, an unprecedented large area. According to European records, in 1346, Mongolian army attacked the Black Sea port city of Cafa (now in Ukraine) and used stone throwing machines to throw dead bodies of plague into the city, the first record in history of Black Plague pandemics that cost the lives of a third of Europe’s population.
Ambitions and counterattacks for territory, women and wealth have long been seen in tribal societies. Trojan War was the decade siege warfare to compete for the world’s most beautiful woman Helen, daughter of the King of Sparta. For a woman, suitors came one after another to play with their swords and hatred. This human hatred was so lethal that it killed 400,000 people in one battle of Changping during the Warring States Period in China and over 70 million people during the Second World War.
Sun Tzu said, “The art of war is of vital importance to the state. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which on no account can be neglected”. This reminds rulers to be careful to go to war. The Hebrew Bible says, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” which needs not be given careful consideration. To advocate revenge is undesirable, perhaps this text is only intended to reveal the truth of human struggle. The Book of Rites says that the son must avenge his father’s death. The impact of revenge in Chinese history is far-reaching.
The first holy war (595 BC – 585 BC) was a war between Delphi and the city of Kira. The escalation of the conflict was the result of Kira’s frequent robbery and abuse of pilgrims to Delphi and the invasion of Delphi. The war ended with the defeat and destruction of Kira. This war is worth noting that, in the siege of the war against Kira, the coalition army for the first time used chemical weapons, poisoning the water.
Since the 1860s, Europe, especially the United Kingdom, had a large appetite for cod fishing. As the European cod was mostly produced in Iceland, many European countries had the crazy fishing for cod. Iceland was very worried that environment for the survival of cod was under threat. To this end, Iceland and the United Kingdom conducted three cod wars. Too many wars like this have showed us that there is no eternal friend, nor an eternal enemy, only eternal interest.
Revenge again caused the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. France, defeated by Prussia, was forced to cede Alsace Lorraine to Germany. In the new French Republic, some right-wing politicians threatened to take revenge and took back the land. This extreme nationalism influenced French politics until the outbreak of the First World War and the death of twenty million lives. Human history is a history of suffering in the search for peace in the bloodshed of war by revenge.
In the Ming Dynasty, according to historical records, the population of the Miao minority area was greatly reduced as the tribes in the west of the Xiang River were subjected to ethnic cleansing by the central government. After a war of devastation, a whole county or tribal village would be wiped out of the map as nine out of ten people were persecuted. This is an example of tens of thousands of smaller wars in human history.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the second most popular book after the Bible in the United States in the nineteenth century. It was considered a major reason that stimulated the rise of Abolitionism. The novel profoundly depicts the cruelty of the slavery system, pointing out that Christian love can heal the wounds by the enslavement of black people. The influence of this book on American society was so great that in the early days of the Civil War, when Lincoln met the author Mrs. Stowe, he said, “You are the little woman who has brought forth a great war.”
Quietly flows the Don is the Russian people’s epic works, the background being the two wars (the First World War and the Soviet Union domestic war) and two revolutions (February revolution and the October Revolution). The plot of the novel is the tragic fate of the Cossack youths Gregory and Aksinia, and the changes of the Gregory family in the turbulent years of the brutal war of killing. In less than five years, Gregory was in the Red Army for a moment, then down the White Army, his hands covered with blood, and his contradictions and pains clearly incapable of separation with the particular group to which he belonged.
In the birthplace of Adolf Hitler, a little village called Praunau in Austria, stood a memorial stone, a memorial to the victims of the Nazis, reminding us of the hard-earned peace and freedom. In his biographical book My Struggle, Hitler said these words, “If the Jews were alone in this world, they would stifle in filth and offal; they would try to get ahead of one another in hate-filled struggle and exterminate one another, in so far as the absolute absence of all sense of self-sacrifice, expressing itself in their cowardice, did not turn battle into comedy here too.” Mussolini said that only war could bring peace. A man’s arrogance and prejudice can have devastating consequences for the world, and the lessons of the two world wars are enough to draw the whole of humanity into awakening.
“Weapons are instruments of evil. Do use them when you are not carrying out a lofty mission for the benefits of the Great Way. We praise calmness and repose, victory is not desirable. To consider victory desirable would be to delight in the slaughter of men, and those who delights in the slaughter of men shall not get his place in the world of honor.” Lao Tzu’s words here, though strong enough, can only leave a pale annotation for future generations of war.
Chiyou was the ancient god of war in China. According to legend, he made metal weapons and was good in combat. The Yellow Emperor defeated him, the war affair being an extremely important event in ancient times. After the victory of the Yellow Emperor, there was the unification of different minorities in Central China which was later regarded as orthodox in Chinese history. Therefore, future generations stand to worship them.
Alexander was the god of war in Europe. Allegedly, he was fond of war from childhood; whenever his father conquered a piece of land, he would cry and say, “Please father! Haven’t you left a little piece of land for me to conquer?” In ancient Rome, the great strategist Caesar was well-known for his romance, even his soldiers were so sarcastic of him: “Beware of the bold wolf! He is breaking into the city to steal your wife!” Napoleon was called the French emperor, the second in the history of France since Charles III who had won this title of honor. He promulgated the Napoleon Code which became the basis of the Western legal system.
Sun Tsu said: “Raising a host of a hundred thousand men and marching them great distances entails a heavy loss on the people and a drain on the resources of the State. The daily expenditure will amount to a thousand ounces of silver. There will be commotion at home and abroad, and men will drop down exhausted on the highways. As many as seven hundred thousand families will be impeded in their labor.” To start a war would bring about a domestic poverty. No one can be 100 percent sure of a victory; even there is a victory, hundreds of thousands would die, thus bringing a country down. The US war on terror was not only costly, resulting in the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, but how to care for the disabled from the war zone has become a great burden to the economy, as well as their families.
War is the human’s karma, self-inflicted. Why is the wisdom of mankind not able to stop the dictator’s killing? The suffering sentient beings live within the six reincarnations, killing each other. “The sheep might die to become human and human might die to become a sheep.” Greed is the root cause. For thousands of years in our daily bowl of soup, there is deep hatred as what’s inside the bowl is the victory of killing. “
The conflict between Christianity and Islam has never stopped for more than a thousand years, the most devastating being in the Crusades. Islam after Muhammad had its two succeeding khalifahs died of internal murder. Islam’s split and internal struggle have never stopped, Shiite and Sunni as enemies against each other. Each sees the other as pagan that deserves the bloodiest killing. Christians’ internal fighting is also unambiguous. In 30 years of war from 1618 to 1648, a dozen countries in Europe were disastrous, devastated, the population in some countries even reduced by more than half. Although the strife for power and dominance was one factor, the traditional Catholic and Protestant struggle in faith was the key reason.
There have been tens of thousands of wars in the history of mankind, the death toll of the top ten wars all numbered more than 10 million. “The Buddha’s Shurangama Sutra reveals the root causes of human war as this: “You own me a life and you have to pay it back. I own you a debt and I have to pay it back. This is the reason for thousands of births and deaths. The affection between man and women is the same, it’s a debt to be paid back. And that is fate.”
At the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, the king of the Capricorn vowed to destroy the entire Shakya tribe because his people were humiliated by the Kapilavastan Shakya. The Buddha discouraged this for three times but eventually failed to stop the avenge. When the king’s army entered Kapilava, the Buddha’s disciple Maharaja prayed for the Buddha to come to the rescue. But the Buddha said, “This is the cause and effect of the Shakya people, and it is difficult to change.” The Venerable Maharaja, with his great compassion, used magical powers to put five hundred Shakya people into his bowl to protect them. When the massacre was over, Maharaja, thinking that people could safely take refuge there,opened his bowl to see that those people had been turned into a beach of blood”.
The Venerable Maharaja prayed to the Buddha for his reasoning that this cause and effect were true. It turned out that a long time ago, a village near Kapilava had a lake of a variety of fish. One day, the villagers used their nets to catch all the fish and killed them for food. No life had been spared including a big-head fish. All people in the village, except one little child, ate the fish. This little child, although not engaged in the bloody killing, grinned, when he saw a fish rolling about painfully on the ground.
That was the karma. The big-head fish was then the king, his soldiers were the many small fish killed by the villagers. That village was later to become the Shakya tribe, while the little child was Sakyamuni Buddha himself. Because of his shallow smile in this massacre, Shakyamuni Buddha suffered a headache for three days in his karma.
At old age, the grail emperor Genghis Khan heard of the seven masters of Taoism headed by Qiu Chuji who had the herbal prescription for longevity. The emperor sent his officials to ask for advice. Qiu Chuji, then already seventy-three-year-old, led his 18 disciples westbound to meet Genghis Khan whose children were leading a war against the Europeans. We did not know exactly what Mr. Qiu had told the emperor, but very soon history witnessed a withdrawal of Mongolian troops from the west. The Taoist master Qiu must have been on a peaceful mission for the whole world.
Miss Wang Zhaojun was voluntary to marry the King of the Huns. According to historical records of the Han Dynasty, “for several years after she was brought into the imperial palace, her heart was filled with resentment because she was not able to meet the emperor. Thus she asked the inner court officials to let her marry beyond the Great Wall.” There was a story about her playing the lute sadly during her long and boring journey out of the Great Wall into the grand desert, tragically in her own destiny of marrying so far away from home. The story told that when the geese heard her music of melody, they all fell from over the sky to the ground. Miss Wang was married twice and served two kings one after for the rest of her life. Their marriage brought about a short period of peace to the Huns and the Han Dynasty. But this did not stop her sons later to fight in bloody wars against her brothers and uncles on the other side of the battlefield.
Despite the establishment of the Security Council in the United Nations, the war on earth has never stopped, tragically the destiny of the human race. The military powers of today still take military actions as the most important measure in foreign policy, their aim to achieve hegemony and expanding political, economic and cultural influence. In 2015, George Soros said that China had the strength to launch a war and win. This war will evolve into the Third World War in which the United States and its western allies would suffer heavy losses. Some people ask: “Will there be a third world war?” The answer is yes, and will happen this century when there will be more than 100 million deaths.
Humanity advocates conquest. The ancient Indian political philosopher Khodhiliya said: The treasure is built on the basis of mining, the army on the basis of the treasure; those with the army and the treasure shall conquer the whole world.” He pointed out very clearly that the world would follow the law with the bigger fish swallowing the smaller ones. When war can not be avoided, we can do nothing but pray for peace.
There is no love in the world for no reason, and there is no hate for no reason. According to Jews and some Christians, Jesus gave the land of promise “Jerusalem” to the sons of Abraham. However, in the long history of governance, the rulers were the Arabs. Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Israelis have returned to their land. And to this day, most of the region is controlled by the Arabs, while Israel only controls a small part of it. The Middle East conflict is far from over. The Biblical Judges records the story of human grievances. And I have mercy for all who suffer there.
Life is bittersweet, with periods of both good and bad fortunes. Suffering is damn real, and happiness an illusion. History takes its steps cautiously as an old man. Many brothers were asked out for war, but very few have returned. The wars, like as the waves rolling continuously from the sea, sometimes surging, and sometimes undercurrent surging, have never ceased. Mankind, committed to peace, is always on a challenging journey as the surfers taking on the waves against them.