Buddhist Fundamentalism

Mano Singham wrote recently about a rise in militant Buddhist fundamentalism in parts of Asia:

Whenever I write about Buddhism in Sri Lanka and how militant Buddhists, including monks, have been leading the charge against minorities and even resorting to violence against them, western readers are often surprised. The image they have of Buddhism is that of a peaceful and contemplative religion. And they are right when it comes to the underlying philosophy of the religion.

But the real test of a religion is how they treat minority groups when their religion is the majority and the record for Buddhism is not something to be proud of. This report looks at the way that an intolerant and militant Buddhist nationalism is talking hold in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar.

Any religion can be turned into a source of militarism and nationalism. Americans tend to see Buddhism and other dharmic religions as purely peaceful, but there’s no guarantee of that.


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