A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Are Buddhists pacifists?

One of the criticisms of Buddhism is that it is too pacifist. That its followers in Asia are too accepting, of current conditions. This allows them to be easily exploited and end up with oppressive governments. In the realm of governance, no system of faith has been perfect, as not all leaders are concerned about the weakest member of their society. The same refrain was said by Malcom X against the Christian Church. That by worrying about the afterlife, blacks failed to concentrate on the life they were suffering in. Adolf Hitler used racial and religious differences to fan intolerance into a raging inferno that scorched the world. In China Mao during the Great Leap Forward and later the Cultural Revolution targeted Buddhist Monks and Temples. A few where monks lived like aristocrats, while the lay members lived in abject poverty were used as justification to eradicate Buddhism from society. This was the same path used in Russia earlier against the Christian faith. In China, Tibet, Vietnam, and Myanmar to name but a few countries where we have seen Buddhist Monks suffer torture and death for being protectors of the poor and oppressed. This pursuit of social justice is part of a very long tradition of true followers of Buddhism being engaged in their communities, in the pursuit of justice and equality. Rather I think it is the Buddhists ability to not sweat the small stuff, which allows them to not be caught up in constant complaining.


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