Nations at peace and societies at peace are both symbols of peace at heart and are both its consequence. The Heavenly Peace of the Chinese (Taiping) was indeed displayed in the social harmony and undisturbed government of the empire. Yu the Great regulated the world by pacifying Earth and Waters. The Han dynasty Taiping-Chao was a Taoist organization, while Hung Hsiu-chuan, who led the Taiping Rebellion in the nineteenth century, proclaimed himself the Son of God. The Chinese secret societies’ ‘City of Willows’ is also known as the House of Heavenly Peace (Taiping chuang). This is the image of the spiritual centre and even of the Still Centre lying above the Great Bear. Hence peace is the peace to be found in a ‘centred’ paradisal state, free from all earthly cares. It is perhaps that Salem (‘peace’) of which Melchizedech was king, Jerusalem meaning ‘Vision of Peace’. The voyage described in the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead is to a ‘City of Peace’, just like that described in the legends of Chinese secret societies. ‘Heavenly Peace’ is literally the Arabic saktnah, corresponding to the Hebrew shekinah, the Real Presence of God. It is also the Pax Profunda of the Rosicrucians and the Heavenly Sanctuary of the medieval guilds, the ‘peace in emptiness’ of which Li Tzu speaks and the Hindu philosopher Shankara’s ‘Tranquillity’, and the Beatific Vision of Christian mystics.
The Peace of Christ, so cherished by the Greek Fathers, was a state of spiritual contemplation. The Hindu shanti is the quest for inner peace. ‘Pacification’ is the extinction of worldly cares and the fires of passion, as well as sacrificial death. The Buddhist shantipada or state of peace is identical with the bliss of the samadhi. Buddhist scriptures state that the Buddha attained ‘repose’, since for them Heavenly Peace is nirvana.