Buddhist soldiers in sixth century China were given the illustrious status of Bodhisattva after killing their adversaries. In seventeenth century Tibet, the Fifth Dalai Lama endorsed a Mongol ruler’s killing of his rivals. And in modern-day Thailand, Buddhist soldiers carry out their duties undercover, as fully ordained monks armed with guns.
Buddhist Warfare demonstrates that the discourse on religion and violence, usually applied to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, can no longer exclude Buddhist traditions. The book examines Buddhist military action in Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and shows that even the most unlikely and allegedly pacifist religious traditions are susceptible to the violent tendencies of man.
Opening: General Renondeau’s superb text on Japan’s warrior-monks (sōhei) precedes this. In it, the thrice-endowed expert of Japanology, Buddhism, and military history presents a few observations and musings that go further than usual[..]
Another book to skim through. On to the juicy bits: take a look at page 41:
‘[..]what happened to the Buddha in one of his previous
existences. It says that he had heretic Brahmans put to death, and then gives two reasons for doing so. We are told that the first reason was out of pity, to help the Brahmans avoid the punishment they had accrued by committing evil deeds while continuously slandering Buddhism. The Buddha’s second reason for putting them to death was to defend Buddhism itself.’
‘The Yogācārabhūmi by Asaṅga, the masterpiece of Buddhist epistemology and psychology, makes it the bodhisattva’s duty to commit the sin of killing so as to prevent another from doing so. In other words, it is better to sin than to let the other sin.
NONFIC NOVEMBER 2015:
CR White Mughals
5* A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
3* Rome and the Barbarians
4* Field Notes From A Hidden City
3* The King’s Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England
CR A History of Palestine 634-1099
CR Charlotte Brontë: A Life
3* The Alhambra
CR A Long Walk in the Himalaya: A Trek from the Ganges to Kashmir
3* Buddhist Warfare
4* A Gathering of Spoons