止戈为武 – Chinese philosophy and culture

zhǐɡēwéiwǔ 止戈为武

Stopping War Is a True Craft of War.

能制止战争、平息战乱才是真正的武功。这是春秋时代楚庄王根据“武”字的字形提出的著名的军事思想。“止”即止息;“戈”即武器,借指战争。将“武”释为止战,既符合以形表意的汉字文化特质,也表现了中国人以武禁暴的军事政治观及崇尚和平、反对战争的文明精神。

To be able to stop war is a true craft of war. This famous military view was first raised by King Zhuang of Chu in the Spring and Autumn Period, on the basis of the structure of the Chinese character wu (武). Wu is composed of zhi (止), which means to stop; and ge (戈), which means dagger-axe or weapons and is used here in the metaphorical sense of warfare. To interpret wu as stopping war was consistent with the cultural characteristics of Chinese characters. It also expresses the Chinese people’s thinking of using military means to stop violence and their love of peace and opposition to war.

引例 Citation:

◎仓颉作书,“止”“戈”为“武”。圣人以武禁暴整乱,止息干戈,非以为残而兴纵之也。(《汉书·武五子传赞》)

(仓颉造字,由“止”“戈”合成一个“武”字。圣人使用武力禁止残暴,平定动乱,止息战争,而不是为了残杀、毁灭[对方]而滥用武力。)

When Cang Jie created Chinese script, he put zhi (止 stop) and ge (戈 dagger-axe) together to make wu (武 war). To stop war, sages used military force to quell violence and turmoil. They did not abuse their military power to commit atrocities of killing and destroying their opponents. (The History of the Han Dynasty)

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