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Hong-wu: Year 13, Month 9, Day

Sep/Oct 1380

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In this month, the envoys from Champa departed to return home. It was Imperially commanded that patterned fine silks, paper money and other silks, as appropriate, be conferred upon them. An Imperial letter was sent to instruct A-da-a-zhe, the king of the country. It read: " On the 18th day of the ninth month of this year (16 Oct 1380), the Champa envoy arrived to offer birthday congratulations to me. He had travelled 10,000 li from the distance. If you were not sincere in your thoughts, how could you have sent someone at the appropriate time like this? However, on reading your memorial, I find that you have again been engaged in fighting and naval battles with Annam. This is not beneficial. I have warned your two countries that you are no longer to engage in enmity, as only by ending the fighting can your peoples see peace. Now, there are alternate victories and losses and there is still no rest. What use is this? I am now again sending orders to you. You should examine them fully. The ancients said: `In killing, none exceed those who like to kill. In living, none exceed those who cherish life. The reason it is said that none exceed those who like to kill is that these people enjoy making war, and war is what the world most abhors. The reason it is said that none exceed those who cherish life is that these people act in accordance with benevolence and that which the world most admires is benevolence.' Some countries are truly able to act benevolently and thus they accord with the Way of Heaven. How could these countries not endure for a long time and how could the sons and grandsons of the ruler not be prosperous? In the current struggle between your two countries I know not who is right and who is wrong. I know that previously Annam advanced its troops and was defeated by Champa. Champa then took advantage of the victory and entered the country of Annam. Annam was thus greatly humiliated. If you can now protect your borders, serve Heaven and attend to the welfare of the people, your prosperity will be extended unendingly. If you do not act thus and you still intend to wage attacks, for year after year there will be bitter war. There will be no way to determine who is the victor and who is defeated. When the kingfisher and the mussel grabbed hold of each other, it was the fisherman who reaped the benefits. Tomorrow is not too late to repent. I have seen in the Song Shu that Champa was invaded by Cambodia during the Song dynasty. This was also a great humiliation. When my letter arrives, you should pursue the avenue of maintaining good relations with your neighbours on the four sides. Using right to overcome wrong is permissible, but considering the same action right in one case and wrong in another is not. Because of your great sincerity, I am warning you again. Only if you practice benevolence, king, will you see prosperity."

Tai-zu: juan 133.6b-7a

Zhong-yang Yan-jiu yuan Ming Shi-lu, volume 5, page 2118/19

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Preferred form of citation for this entry:

Geoff Wade, translator, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore, http://epress.nus.edu.sg/msl/reign/hong-wu/year-13-month-9-day, accessed September 18, 2019