Buddhism and Politics in Twentieth-century Asia (BOK)
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Historically, Buddhism has prospered in societies organized in accordance with the socio-political teachings of the Buddha. The 20th century has been a particularly traumatic time in its history, not least because traditional policies have been eroded as disparate factors, such as war, modernity, westernization, nationalization, capitalism, communism and ethnic conflict, have made their presence felt in the religion's Asian heartlands. In this study a team of international scholars assess the manner in which Buddhist organizations and individuals have resisted, come to terms with, or in some cases allied themselves with these forces. It has become customary for Westerners to view Buddhism as an otherworldly and introspective religion. By examining issues such as left-right divisions in the monastic order, the rise of organized lay movements, Buddhist social activism, as well as explicitly Buddhist-inspired political activity, this book seeks to demonstrate that the emphasis on meditation and mental training is only one strand in this richly complex world-historical tradition.