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Buddhism and Violence (Does the Buddhist concept of “emptiness” guarantee a peaceful religion?)
Christian Post ^ | 11/28/2010 | Martin E. Marty

Posted on 11/28/2010 4:43:55 PM PST by SeekAndFind

Buddhism and Islam came off as the two “faith communities” to whom other Americans feel least warm, according to a Faith Matters survey of 2007. Robert Putnam and David Campbell ponder this in American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, which Sightings has visited twice before. Mormons come in third as a stimulator of “least warm” feelings among others. The authors comment that negative media attention hurts Mormons and Muslims, but “Buddhists do not get the same negative media attention” as do those two. So something else must account for the negative ratings of Buddhism.

Reach for your search engine, Google or otherwise, and ask “which religion is most peaceful?” Once you get past the answers of apologists-of course, Muslims think Islam is, and Christians think Christianity is-it’s clear that Buddhism is seen as most peaceful.

What gives? Read on in the polls and interviews and you will find that Buddhists are kept at a distance by some because they are at a distance from others. Buddhists profit from their distance. If familiarity breeds contempt against Muslims, unfamiliarity also does not help them or Buddhists. Despite this picture derived from those polls and interviews, one still has to ponder: Jews, Christians, and Muslims suffer in the media because their texts and traditions are often so warlike. Ask your friend who practices Buddhism why it does not suffer? Answer: Because its texts and traditions breed peace.

As an equal opportunity admirer and critic of the “faith communities” on this subject, I also have wondered how Buddhism gets its peaceful reputation. A review by Katherine Wharton of two books, Buddhist Warfare and The Six Perfections illuminates. Buddhist Warfare, says Wharton, “forms an accurate history of violence in the name of religion,” and cites sutras which shock, since they “justify killing with detailed reference to the Buddha’s central philosophical tenants. The book therefore presents a uniquely Buddhist ‘heart of darkness.’” Brian Victoria’s essay in The Six Perfections brings the issue to modern times: D. T. Suzuki (d. 1966), “the most influential proponent of Zen to the West in the twentieth century . . . gave his unqualified support to the ‘unity of Zen and the sword.’”

Between ancient and modern times, as another contributor to these symposia finds and cites, was Chinese monk Yi-hiuan, who urged his hearers to “kill everything you encounter, internally as well as externally! Kill the Buddha! Kill your father and mother! Kill your closest friends!”

In the eyes of many apologists and observers, the Buddhist concept of “emptiness” is, from a distance, a guarantor of peace, over against the fullness of Warrior-God texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. But Wharton is convinced by these books that “emptiness” can and does also promote violence, and is not by itself the solution.

Now, why does Sightings, which keeps track of celebrations of peace and reconciliation, so often point to violence in texts and traditions? To give aid and comfort to “the New Atheists,” who solicit our aid in killing all religion(s) to assure peace? Hardly. To suggest that condemning Muslims (or specific others) because of the violence of some among them is unfair? Partly. Most important it is to provide a basis for hope for those who work on ecumenical or interfaith grounds and to point to the reconciliatory texts and work on the basis of them, but without illusions. Respondent publics agree that the religious texts point finally to shalom, peace, reconciliation. Their final promise deserves attention all along the way. The final word might come first.

References

David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010).

Michael K. Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer, editors, Buddhist Warfare (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Katherine Wharton, “Buddhists at war: The dark side of what is often thought to be the most peaceful of religions,” The Times Literary Supplement, September 29, 2010.

Dale S. Wright, The Six Imperfections: Buddhism and the Cultivation of Character (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

--- Martin E. Marty's biography, current projects, upcoming events, publications, and contact information can be found at www.illuminos.com. Original Source: Sightings – A biweekly, electronic editorial published by the Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.


TOPICS: Eastern Religions; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology
KEYWORDS: buddhism; violence
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1 posted on 11/28/2010 4:44:01 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t get why Americans would feel the same negative feelings against Buddhism that we do against islam. While we do have religious differences of opinions with both, the former doesn’t tend to crash planes into buildings or commit other acts of violence against us.


2 posted on 11/28/2010 4:47:20 PM PST by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: pnh102

Buddhism teaches that you can achieve “enlightenment” through your efforts. In essence, you become your own god.


3 posted on 11/28/2010 4:52:29 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Buddhism teaches that you can achieve “enlightenment” through your efforts. In essence, you become your own god.

Which is why as a Christian I will never agree with their religion. But can I live with them as neighbors without having to worry about them blowing my house up for not agreeing with their faith, absolutely.

4 posted on 11/28/2010 4:56:53 PM PST by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: SeekAndFind

Buddhist violence is exemplified by the samurai, many of whom were extraordinarily honorable.

Islamic violence is exemplified by the mass murdering anti-Semitic misogynistic pedophile Muhammad and all his dark disciples.


5 posted on 11/28/2010 5:00:54 PM PST by Soothesayer (“None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license...")
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To: pnh102

Many Buddhist monks won’t even kill a fly.

The Islamic students will kill a woman or child without blinking.

Night and day


6 posted on 11/28/2010 5:04:18 PM PST by Soothesayer (“None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license...")
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To: pnh102

I don’t get why Americans would feel the same negative feelings against Buddhism that we do against islam. While we do have religious differences of opinions with both, the former doesn’t tend to crash planes into buildings or commit other acts of violence against us.

_____________________________________

Have you ever spent much time with elite leftist “Buddhist” converts? Enough self-rightousness to make one consider jhiad.


7 posted on 11/28/2010 5:10:07 PM PST by Chickensoup (In the Leftist protected species hierarchy, Islamics trump Homosexuals trump Women trump Blacks)
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To: SeekAndFind
Warrior-God texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

Just where in the New Testament is there any injunction to engage in war? Christianity teaches that vengeance belongs to God, not to us.

8 posted on 11/28/2010 5:32:06 PM PST by hellbender
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To: Chickensoup
Have you ever spent much time with elite leftist “Buddhist” converts? Enough self-rightousness to make one consider jhiad.

In many cases, the converts understand little of the religion they are converting to; conversion is a political statement, not a religious one. This is true of American blacks who convert to Islam, as well. They think they are embracing a pacifist religion of their African ancestors. But, while Islam might be big in Africa, that is in Northern Africa, where the people are not black, but are Caucasian. Furthermore, Islam is not pacifistic.

9 posted on 11/28/2010 5:39:30 PM PST by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Between ancient and modern times, as another contributor to these symposia finds and cites, was Chinese monk Yi-hiuan, who urged his hearers to “kill everything you encounter, internally as well as externally! Kill the Buddha! Kill your father and mother! Kill your closest friends!”

That isn't meant literally. If it was where are the murders and wars in the name of Buddhism? lol

10 posted on 11/28/2010 5:39:39 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: TigersEye

“That isn’t meant literally. If it was where are the murders and wars in the name of Buddhism? lol “

They are just picking and choosing to make whatever point they want to. “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him”.


11 posted on 11/28/2010 5:43:36 PM PST by dljordan ("His father's sword he hath girded on, And his wild harp slung behind him")
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Buddhism teaches that you can achieve “enlightenment” through your efforts. In essence, you become your own god.

What kind of Buddhism teaches that? The kind I am familiar with, Tibetan Buddhism, would more likely say that non-effort created the conditions for realizing absolute truth. But even that isn't entirely accurate.

12 posted on 11/28/2010 5:43:51 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: Soothesayer
Many Buddhist monks won’t even kill a fly.

The Islamic students will kill a woman or child without blinking.

Heh.

13 posted on 11/28/2010 5:45:53 PM PST by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: pnh102

The correlation between environmentalist whackos and American Buddhism may be a cause; the nannies who want to condemn us to eating bean curd in the dark pull often from Buddhism and holistic concepts between that and paganism.


14 posted on 11/28/2010 5:47:18 PM PST by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell" - on amazon.com)
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To: dljordan

I guess so.


15 posted on 11/28/2010 5:50:06 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: tbw2

If you meet a liberal Buddhist ask him or her how it is possible to practice the Dharma and view oneself as a victim simultaneously. If they know much at all about Dharma and are the least bit intellectually honest you should get an interesting reaction.


16 posted on 11/28/2010 5:54:20 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: TigersEye

Christianity also talks of “leaving” ( and this can be considered “killing” renouncing ) your mother and father...
It is metaphorical to leave attachments and follow Jesus or in the case of the other, the enlightened way.


17 posted on 11/28/2010 5:54:26 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Nope. there is no God in buddhism...and the ‘own efforts” is more a path of right direction, moral behaviors...like in Christianity to live a moral life, to receive the peace of Jesus and a Christian uplifting, compassionate life by behaving compassionately to others and not harming oneself or others.


18 posted on 11/28/2010 5:57:24 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: SeekAndFind

maybe that’s because the only “Buddhists” most Americans see are aging loony leftists with stupid bumper sticks on their volvo station wagons or goofy 20-somethings experimenting with a “vegan” lifestyle.


19 posted on 11/28/2010 5:58:10 PM PST by Oratam
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To: TigersEye; Chieftain

It is very difficult for Westerners to ‘understand” Buddhism because they understand through their own Christianity...it is always a comparison through a Judeo-Christian Lens.

I believe Americans are more familiar with Judaism and All forms of Christianity...that is why they do not feel as “warm” to Buddhism.

Help me out here Chieftain!!!! I have no business responding to the critics of Buddhism..ha.


20 posted on 11/28/2010 6:01:57 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie
I was thinking of that very passage but don't know it well enough to quote it or identify its book and paragraph. That is very similar to what those quotes from a Buddhist teacher are about. All identification with self has to be let go of.
21 posted on 11/28/2010 6:01:57 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

Like I said, you become your own god.


22 posted on 11/28/2010 6:02:04 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: TigersEye
. . .where are the murders and wars in the name of Buddhism?

Burma. The military junta regards Buddhism as the state religion and persecutes both Christians and Muslims.

How about the Boxer Rebellion? Okay, the Boxers were mixed Buddhist/Taoist, but still. We Orthodox Christian commemorate the New Martyrs of China, and it was Buddhists (and Taoists), not Muslims or Communists who sent them to their glory.

Of course this has nothing to do with Yi-hiuan's dictum, which is about the need to detach one-self from the passions.

23 posted on 11/28/2010 6:04:21 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Uh, you are seeing it through the Christian lens...

No God does not = “You become your own God”

while some may have other Gods than Jesus Christ or the Jewish Yaweh, ...they may have Islamic Gods or Hindu Gods or Materialism or Drugs as their God...It is also possible to have No God, yet not be “your own God.”


24 posted on 11/28/2010 6:05:38 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

I would agree with that. The percentage of Buddhists in western societies is still very small. There is also the factor that most media attention on Buddhism is what New Age “gurus” who have books and programs to sell say about it. Who else would the MSM interview but other leftists?


25 posted on 11/28/2010 6:06:47 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: The_Reader_David

Give me a break! The military junta in Burma is no more Buddhist than Hitler was a Catholic. And the Boxer Rebellion was the Chinese finally blowing their cork over Britain’s tyrannical and selfish rule.


26 posted on 11/28/2010 6:09:42 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

When you place yourself and your struggles at the center of your life, you become your own god. Little g.


27 posted on 11/28/2010 6:10:08 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Islam is the religion of Satan and Mohammed was his minion.)
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To: TigersEye; Chieftain

And the westernized-American- California Buddhism fit in so well with the Beatles, “Peace and love”, moral relativism and vegetarianisim and environmentalism....

I can hear Al Gore and Hillary now....”OHHHHHH..mmmm”...”OOOOOOmmmmmm” ( as they meditate on their bank account ledgers.ha)


28 posted on 11/28/2010 6:11:32 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: exDemMom

In many cases, the converts understand little of the religion they are converting to; conversion is a political statement, not a religious one. This is true of American blacks who convert to Islam, as well. They think they are embracing a pacifist religion of their African ancestors. But, while Islam might be big in Africa, that is in Northern Africa, where the people are not black, but are Caucasian. Furthermore, Islam is not pacifistic.

_________________________________________

Agreed. But if I listen to the fruity nasal tones of my Buddhist neighbors one more time.....


29 posted on 11/28/2010 6:12:58 PM PST by Chickensoup (In the Leftist protected species hierarchy, Islamics trump Homosexuals trump Women trump Blacks)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

Yes, your statement is true....but there are some people who put a “greater consciousness” or their version of “nothingness” at the center of their life, that is what guides them...It is not them, not their ego, and not any God we would , or they would attribute.


30 posted on 11/28/2010 6:13:41 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

When you blame anybody but yourself for your problems (ie suffering) you become a liberal. Big L.


31 posted on 11/28/2010 6:14:46 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: Chickensoup
Have you ever spent much time with elite leftist “Buddhist” converts? Enough self-rightousness to make one consider jhiad.

True... but that's true of most leftist elitists no matter their purported religion happens to be.

32 posted on 11/28/2010 6:31:42 PM PST by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: SeekAndFind

Buddhist monk leaves mess
33 posted on 11/28/2010 6:36:16 PM PST by onedoug
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To: pnh102

True... but that’s true of most leftist elitists no matter their purported religion happens to be.

again: Fruity nasal tones...


34 posted on 11/28/2010 6:45:07 PM PST by Chickensoup (In the Leftist protected species hierarchy, Islamics trump Homosexuals trump Women trump Blacks)
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To: SeekAndFind
Some people think that Nirvāna is easy to obtain. It isn't.

It takes real work to attain nothingness and then what are you left with? Bupkis, that's what.

Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

35 posted on 11/28/2010 6:52:33 PM PST by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: TigersEye
British tyrannical rule? It makes so much sense then that Chinese Orthodox Christians were killed en masse (cf. the icon below--not a Pommy among them).

And I remind you, I was pointing to murders and wars "in the name of Buddhism" not murders or wars perpetrated by Buddhists whose piety you would approve. Unlike Hitler, who murdered in the name of the Aryan Race, not of his nominal religion, the Burmese junta murders in the name of their nominal religion.

36 posted on 11/28/2010 7:23:59 PM PST by The_Reader_David (And when they behead your own people in the wars which are to come, then you will know. . .)
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To: The_Reader_David

Well, you failed miserably on both counts. Neither the Boxer Rebellion nor the military junta in Burma are examples of war or murder in the name of Buddhism.


37 posted on 11/28/2010 7:27:58 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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To: Soothesayer

Were not the Samurai Shintoists?


38 posted on 11/28/2010 7:44:55 PM PST by pankot
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To: hellbender

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.


39 posted on 11/28/2010 8:19:47 PM PST by freefdny
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To: freefdny

Yes, peace being imposed only by God, not Christ.


40 posted on 11/28/2010 10:59:08 PM PST by Amberdawn
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To: freefdny
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

This verse refers to what the world's reaction to Christ, and by extension Christians, will be. Not how Christians should deal with the world. And, as with everything else, he was absolutely correct.

41 posted on 11/29/2010 5:27:34 AM PST by circlecity
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To: SeekAndFind
Ask your friend who practices Buddhism why it does not suffer? Answer: Because its texts and traditions breed peace.

Uh? No.....nothing to do with peace. Rather believing they have no end to thier life or eternal consequences before God...Karma rules.

42 posted on 11/29/2010 5:36:46 AM PST by caww
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie
...It is also possible to have No God, yet not be “your own God.”

We are designed by our creater to worship...practicing Buddism before various idols is worship...of many Gods. Take your pick but if one does not worship God they are definately going to worship something or someone else. What I see in Buddists is they do become their own God..'it's all about self' enlightenment...me,myself and I. me ,and me.

43 posted on 11/29/2010 5:45:52 AM PST by caww
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie
"nothingness” at the center of their life, that is what guides them...

Ridiculous statement. When you look at countries who practice Buddism it's clear their religion does little to advance them or their nation without outside intervention.

44 posted on 11/29/2010 5:49:08 AM PST by caww
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To: onedoug

Dissociation...to the extreme.


45 posted on 11/29/2010 5:51:22 AM PST by caww
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To: caww

There are no idols in Buddhist worship.

suggestion to you: Take a “basic religions “ course so at least you can understand what you are critizing...


46 posted on 11/29/2010 6:34:29 AM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: TigersEye

the lack of basic knowledge of religions among many Freepers...is astounding!!!

One would think that if you really believed in Christianity, you would at least want to KNOW about other religions. I was thinking I was on a Lib website...the opinions with no knowledge was astounding!


47 posted on 11/29/2010 6:38:58 AM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie ( Ok, Joke's over....Bring back Bush !)
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To: pankot

They were Shintoists and Buddhists.


48 posted on 11/29/2010 6:50:04 AM PST by Soothesayer (“None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license...")
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To: SeekAndFind
the vow most pertaining the the article is the 1st of the 10 Grave Precepts- not to kill but to nuture life- full list below. IMHO Buddhism is 180 degrees oposite Islam-

Most Buddhist I know have taken these vows:


49 posted on 11/29/2010 9:16:43 AM PST by zadox (Government does not solve problems; it subsidizes them. Reagan)
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie

It used to surprise me. In fairness there is a lot to know about any one religion. More than anyone could learn in one lifetime. It does still amaze me how sure some are about the total misinformation they hold to be true. You seem to be more interested in what is true rather than what makes you feel better about yourself. That has to be a good thing IMO.


50 posted on 11/29/2010 3:01:39 PM PST by TigersEye (Who crashed the markets on 9/28/08 and why?)
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