Volume 3, Issue 3, 2015
Symposium on Religion, War, and Ethics: A Sourcebook of Textual Traditions
Buddhist Cultural Regulations of Violence
Buddhist communities worldwide have been energized by the recent politicized violence in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. These acts of Buddhist-influenced violence have mobilized transnational Buddhist groups in condemnation and in support of the violence. As evinced through recent examples, the ambivalence of the sacred exists in religious traditions, including Buddhism. This article reviews these examples and looks at the larger challenge of including Buddhism within comparative works on religion and violence. Instead of focusing solely on textual sources and doctrine, this essay argues that it is important for scholars to include cultural forms of religious authority in order to better understand and to address Buddhist-inspired acts of violence.