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.

chapter |12 pages


Dialectics of Violence and Non-Violence—Buddhism and Other Religions
ByVladimir Tikhonov

part |59 pages

Nationalism and Militarism in Modern Asian Buddhisms

chapter |17 pages

Military Temples and Saffron-Robed Soldiers

Legitimacy and the Securing of Buddhism in Southern Thailand
ByMarte Nilsen

chapter |18 pages

Reconsidering the Historiography of Modern Korean Buddhism

Nationalism and Identity of the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism
ByCho Sungtaek

part |99 pages

Militarism and the Buddhist Monks

chapter |20 pages

A Path to Militant Buddhism

Thai Buddhist Monks as Representations
ByMichael Jerryson

chapter |25 pages

Canonical Ambiguity and Differential Practices

Buddhism and Militarism in Contemporary Sri Lanka
ByIselin Frydenlund

chapter |32 pages

The Monks and the Hmong

The Special Relationship between the Chao Fa and the Tham Krabok Buddhist Temple in Saraburi Province, Thailand
ByIan G. Baird

chapter |20 pages

A Closer Look at Zen at War

The Battlefield Chaplaincy of Shaku Sōen in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905)
ByMicah Auerback

part |74 pages

Buddhist Justifications for Peace and Militarism

chapter |19 pages

The Question of Violence in Thai Buddhism

BySuwanna Satha-Anand

chapter |20 pages

Violent Buddhism

Korean Buddhists and the Pacific War, 1937–1945
ByVladimir Tikhonov

chapter |9 pages


ByTorkel Brekke