Skip to comments.Buddhism and Violence (Does the Buddhist concept of “emptiness” guarantee a peaceful religion?)
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-its 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 Buddhas central philosophical tenants. The book therefore presents a uniquely Buddhist heart of darkness. Brian Victorias 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many Buddhist monks won’t even kill a fly.
The Islamic students will kill a woman or child without blinking.
Night and day
I dont 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 doesnt 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.
Just where in the New Testament is there any injunction to engage in war? Christianity teaches that vengeance belongs to God, not to us.
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.
That isn't meant literally. If it was where are the murders and wars in the name of Buddhism? lol
“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”.
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.
The Islamic students will kill a woman or child without blinking.
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.
I guess so.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.