Buddhism and Violence

A lot of people were surprised recently by the bombing near Bodhgaya in India, which is a holy site in Buddhism, but this seems to be part of larger trend of violence between Buddhists and Muslims in South Asia.

I have theory that the problem isn’t really a religious one, it’s a political one.

The problem is is that if you take two different groups of people, put them in the same area, they will get along until there’s a crisis: bad economy, lack of food or water, too much crime. It doesn’t matter which two groups you choose, any two groups will start to blame each other when there’s a crisis. Once they start blaming each other, they’ll assume the worst in the other. Once they do that, they will start to justify violence as a means of protecting “their” group against the “other” group. It seems like a religious conflict because the two groups involved identify themselves in religious terms, but you can see fights between rival football clubs too for similar reasons.

It’s just another example of tribal thinking. Here’s another unrelated example.

But what about the damage to Bodhgaya, Bamiyan and other sites? Sooner or later those sites would be destroyed. If the Taliban didn’t bomb Bamiyan, nature would eventually.

Anyway, life goes on. The great Library of Alexandria was destroyed a long time ago, and most of its books and scrolls were lost, but civilization continued and people regained lost knowledge. If they did lose something forever, no one remembers it anyway.

In other words, before we start some kind of war between Buddhists and Muslims, or Buddhists and any group, just remember: CTFD.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

One thought on “Buddhism and Violence”

  1. Thanks for saying this. We all need to cool down and relax when we get hot under the collar, especially as it looks like a long, hot summer (at least in Japan). Besides mediation I believe that Buddha also told us she should learn about ourselves and the world around us. In his way we can make meaningful change, based on contemplation, to the world rather than have a knee jerk reaction. I sometimes forget and having reminders are helpful- we need to remind each other so we don’t fall into bad habits.


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