Thursday, 22 March 2007

Buddhism and Politics

Perhaps a surprising title to some. But given that any claim about how we should act or how others should treat us is 'political', and given that groups of Buddhists (monasteries, etc.) in Asia are very wealthy, at least in terms of land-ownership, it should not really be a surprise that Buddhism and politics are woven together in Asia.

This 1999 collection of essays on the twentieth century, edited by Ian Harris, has helped me to understand varieties of Buddhism a little better, such that I no longer so easily slip into caricatures of other-worldliness. I was stimulated to read this by a former colleague who is a Buddhist (if that label is not too definite for his particular journey, as he would put it). He lent me a fascinating book in which the Dalai Llama comments on various New Testament passages, and I wanted a little more background. [Once again, the need to return the book to the UL has prompted this post!]