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BANGKOK (RNS) In some parts of Asia, a more assertive, strident and militant Buddhism is emerging.


  1. The Great God Pan

    Don’t worry, Buddhism. No matter what horrors may be committed in your name, a certain brand of Western liberal will keep using you as an example of a “nice” religion that, by your very nature, never harms anyone.

    After all, people’s eyes, ears, noses, hands, feet or even limbs were still being removed as legal punishments in Tibet (then a Buddhist theocracy) in the 20th century. It was technically banned in 1913 but by many reports was still being practiced into at least the 20s or even right up until the Chinese invasion. But you will never hear about that from those who insist Buddhism is all pacifism and kindness.

    • Much of the public image of Buddhism as a religion of sedate people is a lot of hooey. Much of it formed because they tended to blend with indigenous religions rather than displace them like Western religions do.

      Nobody can accuse the Japanese as having a pacifistic history and culture despite being 99% Buddhist. Myanmar was notorious for ethnic cleansing of all sorts of people who get in the way of various government interests.

      Sri Lanka’s Buddhists have a reputation for being extremists crazies going back for a while. Their treatment of the Hindu minority of the country was bad enough that the insurgents were the inventors of the suicide bomb belt.

      Pretty much anytime ethnicity is linked to politics, religion gets thrown in the mix as well as just one more dividing point.

  2. Religion is always about keeping the tribe together
    and excluding the other tribes.
    Arbitrary taboos, rituals, supernatural powers…

    If only the world would wake up and abandon religion
    and its supernatural widgets we might begin to build a decent world.

    • Dennis Arashiro

      Listen to this. When my Unitarian Universalist fellowship chose a former Methodist minister to lead it, there were objections within the fellowship and in the larger church because he was not an ordained UU minister. I still laugh at this hint of fundamentalism within a denomination with no set creed. We have met the enemy and he is us.

  3. “Though fundamentalism is a term that has thus far been used mostly in relation to Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, some are beginning to use it to describe Buddhists as well.”

    Arent there fundie Jews in Israel who call violence against Arabs?

    And aren’t politically correct homos fundamentalist in calling for silence of those who won’t bend over to the homo agenda?

  4. Tibetans have long fused nationalism with Buddhism, but the West never seemed to mind.

    And when Afghan Muslims were fighting the USSR, the US didn’t call them fundamentalist but freedom fighters.

  5. If Islam is aggressive and Buddhism is passive, Buddhism will lose. In the end, it is force that decides things.

    It’s like Christians preached love and peace but survived and thrived because they opted for force and violence.

    But most Christians who own guns and support the military are not fundamentalist.

    So, why should Buddhists be called ‘fundamentalist’ for being practical? They should be called realist or pragmatist.

    It is Buddhists who follow Buddha’s teaching to the letter who are the true fundamentalists. They would argue that Buddhists must never use violence since Buddha said so.

    But other Buddhists are realistic and know that meditating about Nirvana alone will not save Buddhist nations from aggressive Islam or Christianity.