Peace - Etymology


From the Latin pax, meaning "freedom from civil disorder," the English word came into use in various personal greetings from c.1300 as a translation of the Hebrew shalom. Such a translation is, however, imprecise, as Shalom, which is also cognate with the Arabic "salaam", has multiple other meanings in addition to peace, including justice, good health, safety, well-being, prosperity, equity, security, good fortune, and friendliness. At a personal level, peaceful behaviors are kind, considerate, respectful, just, and tolerant of others' beliefs and behaviors—tending to manifest goodwill.

This latter understanding of peace can also pertain to an individual's introspective sense or concept of her/himself, as in being "at peace" in one's own mind, as found in European references from c.1200. The early English term is also used in the sense of "quiet", reflecting calm, serene, and meditative approaches to family or group relationships that avoid quarreling and seek tranquility — an absence of disturbance or agitation.

In many languages the word for peace is also used a greeting or a farewell, for example the Hawaiian word Aloha, as well as the Arabic word salaam. In English the word peace is occasionally used as a farewell, especially for the dead, as in the phrase 'Rest In Peace' RIP.

Buddhists believe that peace can be attained once all suffering ends. They regard all suffering as stemming from cravings (in the extreme, greed), aversions (fears), or delusions. To eliminate such suffering and achieve personal peace, followers in the path of the Buddha adhere to a set of teachings called the Four Noble Truths — a central tenet in Buddhist philosophy.

Islam means submission. The title "Muslim"—etymologically directly related to salaam and the name Islam—means a person who submits to Allah in salaam. The submission to Allah (the Arabic proper noun for "The God", One and Only) is based on humility. An attitude of humility within one's own self cannot be accomplished without total rejection of violence, and a personal attitude and alignment toward peace.

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