Category Archives: nationalism

Buddhist Zealots in Sri Lanka and Myanmar stir the Cauldron

Hannah Beech, in New York Times, 8 July 2019, where the title runs “Buddhists Go to Battle: When Nationalism Overrides Pacifism” …. A call to arms for Sri Lankan monks. Ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar. A Buddhist faith known for pacifism is taking its place in a new age of nationalism

GINTOTA, Sri Lanka — The Buddhist abbot was sitting cross-legged in his monastery, fulminating against the evils of Islam, when the petrol bomb exploded within earshot. But the abbot, the Venerable Ambalangoda Sumedhananda Thero, barely registered the blast. Waving away the mosquitoes swarming the night air in the southern Sri Lankan town of Gintota, he continued his tirade: Muslims were violent, he said, Muslims were rapacious. The aim of Muslims is to take over all our land and everything we value,” he said. “Think of what used to be Buddhist lands: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, Indonesia. They have all been destroyed by Islam.”

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Anti-Muslim Violence Present and Past

Shamara Wettimuny, in Sunday Observer, 14 July 2019, where the title is “A brief history of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka”

The recent Easter attacks targeting a number of churches and hotels devastated Sri Lanka. Over 250 people were killed, and many more injured. Within days of the attack, it emerged that the perpetrators of the attack were affiliated to radical Islamist groups in Sri Lanka. However, the identification of the perpetrators as ostensibly adherents of the Islamic faith opened the floodgates of discrimination and violence against the broader Muslim community in Sri Lanka.

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The Deep Imprint of Violence within Christianity and Islam

lisetteLisette Thooft, 18 January 2015, in NieuwWij, where the title is “Karen Armstrong: “There is nothing in the Islam that is more violent than Christianity”  .https://www.nieuwwij.nl/english/karen-armstrong-nothing-islam-violent-christianity/

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A Review of the Book BUDDHISM TRANSFORMED

Premkumara De Silva,** in The Midweek Review of The Island, 17 May 2005, where the title runs ” Anthropology of ‘Sinhala Buddhism’ “

The disciplinary identification of “Buddhism” in Sri Lanka as an anthropological object began in the late 1950s as part of a growing field of “peasant” or village studies in South and Southeast Asian societies. In Sri Lanka, the work of Gananath Obeyesekere, Edmond Leach, Michael Ames, and Nur Yalman is central to this inaugural moment. These anthropologists have identified the integration of the diverse beliefs and practices of Sinhala Buddhists within a religious worldview that is in accordance with fundamental Theravada Buddhist teachings. Within this academic exercise Obeyesekere insisted on the term “Sinhalese Buddhism” to convey the idea of full variety of religious practice, popular and esoteric, in Sri Lankan Buddhism. He argues that Sinhala Buddhism should be seen as “a single religious tradition”, and not as composed of separate “layers” to be analysed in isolation from each other.

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Buddhism over Time in Colonial and Independent Sri Lanka

Abstract of Article by Ananda Abeysekara entitledBuddhism and ‘Influence’: The Temporality of a Concept” Qui Parle, 2019, Vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 1-75.

For almost three decades the concept of “Protestant Buddhism” has been the object of critique by numerous scholars such as John Holt, Charles Hallisey, Anne Blackburn, Erik Braun, Alicia Turner, Steven Kemper, and others. They claim to tell a different story about the relation between religion and modernity (“Protestantism”) in South Asia. By extension, these scholars seek to reconstruct the temporal relation between the past and the present, questioning postcolonial conceptions of history, time, and religious practice. But this story of temporality is staked on the question of “influence,” which has a genealogy that includes not just colonial, missionary, liberal politics but also contemporary legal-political questions about foreign influence on democracy and sovereignty. This article contests the ways in which the critiques of Protestant Buddhism conceptualize colonial and postcolonial forms of time, translated into universal forms of self, agency, responsibility, etc. The article argues that the question of influence, which animates parts of the story of secular ways of inhabiting time, obscures not just how the encounter with the temporality of a tradition is an encounter with power. It obscures how even modern sensibilities of inhabiting time, ironically, require coherence even as they are repeatedly said to be constituted by “heterogeneous” forms of everyday life.

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Terrorism in Modern Times: Twelve Insights

 Brian Victoria

Michael, ……  In addressing your previous requests for my insights,[1] [let me present] twelve hypotheses relating to terrorism.[2] I call them “hypotheses” because they are insights garnered from only a handful of Zen-related terrorist incidents in 1930s Japan, and I therefore wished to be careful about drawing overly broad conclusions.

Parents and their children sit on steps near Manchester Arena following an explosion at an Ariana Grande concert. (Supplied: Goodman/LNP/Rex/Shutterstock/australscope)

nine+ 11 oneCarnage after 9/11 -New York

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The Jihadist Networks in Sri Lanka: Thoughts

Michael Roberts

Amarnath Amarasingam has unearthed a considerable body of new detail on the fervent Islamic jihadists who launched the Easter Sunday attacks; while a BBC team has recovered fascinating detail on one of the cells in Mawanella in the course of a story about a Muslim activist of moderate disposition who took them on … and is now paralysed because of a murderous retaliation.[1] Both articles highlight the interventions of moderate Muslims and the information they served up to the Sri Lankan government agencies in the last 3-4 years – information that was not acted upon (a) because there was no centralized chain of command in the intelligence set-up and (b) because of multiple instances of horrendous ineptitude at the top.

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