We know that in the West pacifism has been inspired by Charles-Irénée Castel de Saint-Pierre who wrote the Perpetual Peace and inspired Kant and Rousseau.

But what about the eastern philosophy? Who are the first pacifists in China and India?

Are there pacifists in pre-Colombian America?

  • 1
    Very interesting, I have never even heard of Castel de Saint-Pierre, though I have been studying Kant's Perpetual Peace. Thanks for that.
    – iphigenie
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 11:29
  • The first people that come to mind are Gandhi & Tagore - in India. Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 5:07
  • @MoziburUllah thank you, but I am looking for accounts that come much before Gandhi and Tagore Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 23:16
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    Well, Jainism in India is well-known for its pacifistic stance, and this goes back to the founder of that religion by Mahavira around 600BC; also Buddhism by the Buddha; further East there is Taoism, Shintoism & Confucianism. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 22:13

1 Answer 1


In China you have 道德经: the Dao De Jing, Tao Te Ching, or Tao Te King.

From Wikipedia:

According to tradition, it was written around 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, "Old Master"), a record-keeper at the Zhou dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text's true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated, although the oldest excavated text dates back to the late 4th century BC.

In it you can read:


Armies are sinister tools
that the beings despise
thus who follows the Dao avoids them.

Victory ain't beautiful.
Who sees beauty in victory
delights with murder.

The second general stands on the left
the first general stands on the right
it can be said they are in a funeral.
When crowds die we can only mourn.
Victory in war is like a funeral.


What others have teached, I'll also teach:
"the violent don't reach their natural death"
this will be our most important teaching.
  • Thank you so much! I don't know how did you find that, but you really helped me a lot! Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 0:02
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    It's an english version of a portuguese translation I'm finishing. Glad you like it. Thanks for your editing too!
    – Rodrigo
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 1:31

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