Is VIolence JustIfIed In theraVada BuddhIsm?

Journal Title: Social Affairs - Year 2014, Vol 1, Issue 1

Abstract

Focusing on three kinds of textual sources of Theravada Buddhism (the Pali canon, postcanonical Pali chronicles and medieval Sinhala literature), this paper examines whether there is any justifcation of violence in Theravada Buddhism. Though Buddhism has recognized the relative merits of the use of mild forms of force in certain rare circumstances, by advocating a path of non-violence as one of its central doctrines Buddhism has rejected the use of violence even as a skill-in-means (Skt. upayakausalya). The paper thus examines justifcations both for violence and non-violence within the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It evaluates controversial discussions of violence in the post-canonical Pali chronicle, the Mahavamsa, in which one fnds a rare case of justifying violence in the attempt to explain potential war crimes of King Duttagamani. By comparing Mahavamsa’s views with Pali canonical literature, the paper argues that both in theory and practice Theravada Buddhism does not profess violence.Asserting that violence cannot be justifed under any circumstance, violence and its manifestations in Buddhist societies can be viewed as a deviation from the teachings of the Buddha.

Authors and Affiliations

Mahinda Deegalle

Keywords

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  • EP ID EP31407
  • DOI -
  • Views 301
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How To Cite

Mahinda Deegalle (2014). Is VIolence JustIfIed In theraVada BuddhIsm?. Social Affairs, 1(1), -. https://europub.co.uk/articles/-A-31407