[Buddha-l] Dharmapala, redux

Stuart Lachs slachs at att.net
Tue Aug 3 15:20:26 MDT 2010

Andy wrote:

" What I am really after here is an ideal of the political that Buddhism 
> to the secular ruler in exchange for the protection of the Dharma.  We 
> have
> seen in the   Mahavamsa the appropriation of Buddhism, and possibly relics 
> of
> the Buddha himself, in order to ensure military victory.  Much the same 
> can be
> said of Nichiren in Japan, with the repulsion of the Mongol invasion (and
> earlier, with Shotoku).  But are these political claims, or magical?  I am 
> not
> sure that there is much in the original teachings that provides a basis 
> for
> the efficacy of the Dharma in defending a nation.  You can see where this 
> is
> going.
> Of course, maybe I do not see where this is going. Yes, there is a 
> tradition
> of protectors of the Dharma who certainly appear to be violent, and yes, 
> there
> is a tradition of Buddhists sanctioning violence by their patrons, but I 
> do
> not see how this works doctrinally.  More in line with the teachings of 
> the
> Buddha are the suggestions of the socially engaged Buddhists, where a
> government that seeks to eliminate suffering is the goal.  But this is a
> recent development, and some might say by western Buddhists. "

Vladimir Tikhanov at the University of Oslo has an interesting paper titled 
"Violent Buddhism - Korean Buddhists and the Pacific War, 1937-1945" that 
deals with Buddhism, war, profit, the secular gov't.
and the like. The paper can be accessed from 

The box below will appear - click "Download file."

Paper on Buddhist collaboration during the Pacific War
On September 24-25, 2009, I presented a paper on the Korean Buddhist 
collaboration with the Japanese war efforts during 1937-1945. It may be 
downloaded here: Download file .

I hope this helps.


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