Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka (A Monograph of the World Institute for Development Economics Research)

Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka (A Monograph of the World Institute for Development Economics Research) Popular Book, Buddhism Betrayed Religion, Politics, And Violence In Sri Lanka A Monograph Of The World Institute For Development Economics Research By Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Buddhism Betrayed Religion, Politics, And Violence In Sri Lanka A Monograph Of The World Institute For Development Economics Research , Essay By Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You

Dr Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah, Ph.D., was Esther and Sidney Rabb Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University, specializing in studies of Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Tamils, as well as the anthropology of religion and politics.

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  • Paperback
  • 224 pages
  • Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka (A Monograph of the World Institute for Development Economics Research)
  • Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah
  • English
  • 12 October 2019
  • 9780226789507

10 thoughts on “Buddhism Betrayed?: Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka (A Monograph of the World Institute for Development Economics Research)

  1. says:

    Buddhism is by most accounts the most peaceable of religions at least in the simplified version that the West has received, which leaves out Buddhist warriors in Mongolia, Japan and elsewhere Many have even called it passive This volume by Stanley Jeyaraja Tambish is a reminder of how any religion can be used for political purposes, even violent ones It is largely a history of how the Sinhalese Buddhists of newly independent Sri Lanka, including monks, performed that classic political trick of making the majority focus their frustration on a minority in this case, the Hindu Tamils pushing the island toward a long civil war The recent end of that civil war is not covered in this volume, originally published in the early nineties The little that the West knew about that civil war was the terrorism of the Tamil Tigers, gleaned from very occasional reporting after particularly horrific events In Tambiah s view, the war was a result of a deliberate political movement at times than one, running against each other for control of the government which vilified the Tamils as an enemy of the island s Buddhist Sinhalese heritage I leave alone the question obvious to any student of Buddhism as it is taught in the West, which is how something like the search for enlightenment through non attachment can be betrayed Not that the Tamils were entirely blameless, even before the terrorist attacks Tambiah documents that they responded to violence with violence But this is sad history, a reminder of how the vision of the brilliant religious innovator can be turned inside out, how it becomes the embodiment of all that drove him to the despair from which enlightenment liberate him Buddhism was in fact betrayed in Sri Lanka, not by those who were named as its enemies, but by those adherents who with their eyes not on what they claimed to believe but instead on power, did the naming.

  2. says:

    For anyone genuinely interested in the ROOT causes of the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, this one looks at, how, like anything taken to an extreme, Religion taken to an extreme betrayed played a part For a book that addresses how Linguistic Nationalism plays a part, see for a book that addresses the question of Genocide in Sri Lanka the bottom of the review page for additional sources I found

  3. says:

    An explosion of ethnic violence in Sri Lanka occurred in the eighties between its Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority Particularly perplexing was that Sinhalese violence was hued with a Buddhist national exceptionalism This left a world audience baffled as atrocities against the Hindi Tamil minority seemed to conflict with the pacifist tenets of Buddhism In Buddhism Betrayed Religion, Politics, and Violence in Sri Lanka, Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah argues that to look at the conflagration solely in religious terms is a disservice to a much larger and complicated set of issues These issues are exacerbated by a post colonial effort to establish a Sinhalese cultural identity that selectively embraces ideas of Buddhism Through the political activism of certain Buddhist monks and efforts to replace Western ideas with Buddhist ones, it is easier to mistake a nationalist inspired ethnic violence with a struggle that is motivated by Buddhism alone Buddhism Betrayed is one part of a concentrated effort to address global socio economic concerns under the auspices of the World Institute for Developmental Economics Research WIDER of the United Nations University In the case of Sri Lanka, economist Lal Jayawardena provides the present discontents from an economic standpoint in his Forward Since Buddhism Betrayed is written shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, turbulent disintegration of formerly Communist nations into smaller free economy republics was a prominent concern Jayawardena likens the agitation along Sri Lanka s ethnic fissures to what was happening in former Soviet and Yugoslavic republics xv In a role complementary to his synopsis, that is Sri Lanka has too many educated and inspired individuals on a small island with a small rural based economy, Jayawardena introduces the author of Buddhism Betrayed , Tambiah, as an expert with anthropologic view It is at this point that Tambiah reconstructs a brief history of Sri Lanka and infuses it with the Buddhist elements which nuance the conflicts Tambiah s book is aimed at general readers, using the first ten chapters to familiarize his audience with the background to the violence He begins with an era of Buddhist revivalism in Ceylon and introduces a few key figures into this, including the Buddhist Theosophical Society s Colonel Henry Steel Olcott, whose ideas are spread throughout the book 5 From revivalism, Tambiah transitions into decolonization and the introduction of party politics Politics fuse with religion and amalgamate the political monk, which fosters a new religious national identity, at the expense of the island s minorities, as Sri Lanka shakes off its colonial shackles Periods of unrest ensue, culminating in the Tamil adoption of insurgency and a brand of mimetic violence in the 70s and 80s 95 and the rise and fall of a disaffected youth in the politicized form of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramunda or JVP and use of assassination of Buddhist nabobs as a method of destabilizing efforts of accommodation with the a peace seeking government 98 After Tambiah provides a history of violence, he touches on some of the socialistic beliefs of Buddhism This ties into a Sinhalese concept that comes up several times in the book the concept of vava tank , dagaba temple , and yaya paddy field This is a romanticized notion of a simpler village life where the Buddhist temple is central to a regional rule and all are governed by dhamma or doctrine 115 The tank and paddy field deny attempts at modernization, stressing Sri Lanka s agricultural origins, hence turning on a mechanized globalized and identifiably western world The idea of a dhamma based governance poses identified conflictions with the high era of monk intervention in politics as seen in the ideological charters such as 1956s Betrayal of Buddhism or 1953s The Revolt in the Temple 22 The author does make the judgment that such treatises came out of an era of positive religious involvement in politics 91 , which is to be differentiated in the religious political disunity that ensues in the later age of parties The final chapter centers on the Sinhalese culture asserting that Sinhalese nationalist identity is a recent innovation, which was inspired by looking back to 6th century heroes such as Dutthagamani, who displaced Tamil invaders and was to become a proponent of Buddhism 132 The origins of the Sinhalese on the island, its adoption of Buddhism, and an inimical relationship with the Tamils are further questioned in the chapter The resulting methodology essentially divides the book in half, providing two ways to perceive the issue of the violence As the author states, I have adopted diachronic and synchronic frames, cast retrospective looks and signaled prospective views, and marked continuities, ruptures, and changes 4 Education is an undercurrent throughout the book Buddhists address their lack of schools with the creation of two Buddhist universities in 1959 and education becomes attainable for those rural and lower class individuals However, Tambiah states that this has been a mixed blessing for a country whose economy is agriculturally based 64 Dissented and educated youths have proven to be an exacerbation in the peace process This idea comes up consistently throughout Tambiah s book Another reoccurring theme, particular to the dilemma of Sinhalese nationalism, is that of language Sinhalese nationalists refuse to accept nothing than full adoption of their language in education or state affairs and language becomes a matter which causes discontent with whatever party is in office One criticism I had of the book was that it often mentioned an adverse reaction to Catholicism in the country While the colonial structure sponsored Christian schools and the post colonial government had to enact measures to reverse this through its Free Education Act of 1947, the author stated that Catholic influence on the country was considerably less than of the Protestants 36 I was left curious as why Buddhists found Catholic activities in the country particularly threatening While the author mentions that part of this threat was posed by Catholic support of the United National Party, the anger towards Catholicism was never fully explained As I am not familiar with the historiography of Sri Lanka, I found the book to be highly informative, even though it is not necessarily within my realm of interest I feel that the author does assume that the author is somewhat familiar with the concepts of Buddhism and uses its religious terms liberally Because of this, it is questionable as to whether the author can assume that it would be fitting for general readership, but the author does relay that Buddhism Betrayed provides for the specialist as well 3 The author utilizes a wide list of sources from including biographies, journals, newspapers, and treatises and provides copious amounts of footnotes Because the book culminates in a period of vast global change and identifies a Sri Lanka as a country in flux, I was a little curious as to whether the book, which was published 1992, could be considered a significant source on the subject any.

  4. says:

    heading to sri lanka in november

  5. says:

    Overall, this was not a very compelling read The final chapter is awkward in that it is significantly longer than all of the other chapters and contains material that ought to have been woven in throughout the book There just was not enough Buddhism in this book for me What were the university educations like that the monks were receiving Views of reincarnation were mostly absent This book is primarily about politics An important motif is the bucolic ideal of the tank, temple, and rice field The visions of a utopian past could inspire a utopian future The people had become too concerned with material things as opposed to a simple, humble life that these three motifs envision It is important to note that the elites in Sri Lanka live very different lives from the common man which creates issues when trying to construct an ideal society Further, an ideal Buddhist society would be classless in terms of outward signifiers and the only distinctions that would exist would be based on level of righteousness A major issue I had with the book is that Tambiah never once mentioned that the majority of Sri Lankans practice Theravada Buddhism which is quite different than Zen which is what many Westerners associate with Buddhism He does briefly discuss how some Buddhists viewed Sri Lankans as acting like animals which is very important for Buddhist reincarnation Only a human being can hope to end samsara so in effect these moralists were denying nirvana to the secularists Also, the book lacked transitions between chapters sometimes and the break was very rushed between chapters.

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