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Response to renate (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 23, 2013, 04:42 AM

13. of course they're buddhists. buddhism has a long history of association with militarism.

 

It is generally accepted in the West that Buddhism is a ‘peaceful’ religion. The Western public tends to assume that the doctrinal rejection of violence in Buddhism would make Buddhist pacifists, and often expects Buddhist societies or individual Asian Buddhists to conform to the modern Western standards of ‘peaceful’ behavior. This stereotype – which may well be termed ‘positive Orientalism,’ since it is based on assumption that an ‘Oriental’ religion would be more faithful to its original non-violent teachings than Western Christianity – has been periodically challenged by enthusiastic acquiescence by monastic Buddhism to the most brutal sorts of warfare.

This volume demolishes this stereotype, and produces instead a coherent, nuanced account on the modern Buddhist attitudes towards violence and warfare, which take into consideration both doctrinal logic of Buddhism and the socio-political situation in Asian Buddhist societies. The chapters in this book offer a deeper analysis of ‘Buddhist militarism’ and Buddhist attitudes towards violence than previous volumes, grounded in an awareness of Buddhist doctrines and the recent history of nationalism, as well as the role Buddhism plays in constructions of national identity. The international team of contributors includes scholars from Thailand, Japan, and Korea.

http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Violence-Militarism-Routledge-Religion/dp/0415536960




In "Canonical Ambiguity and Differential Practices" Frydenlund points out the complicated political and social reasons that have led monks to join in wars. "Pacifism among monks is rare. In many ways war was accepted as a regrettable part of life in the world" (p 107)".

Perhaps the most intriguing entry is Auerback's exploration of the well known book, 'Zen at War" and the general nationalistic fervor shown by Zen Buddhists in Japan for war. Auerback investigates Zen and military chaplaincy in the diary of Soen.

The variety within Buddhism is well expressed in 1977 by Kittivuddho, a leading Thai Buddhist monk, who announced that "killing Communists is not a sin" (p 177).

Nor is he merely a modern aberration. Before Christ was born, monks fought a war with Buddha's relic as a banner. And "throughout Chinese Buddhist history, monks were...seen involved in military conflict and war. In 515, a monk called Faqing rallied behind him more than 50,000 Buddhists" (p 203) to fight with him against the Northern Wei dynasty.

http://www.amazon.com/Buddhism-Violence-Militarism-Routledge-Religion/dp/0415536960

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