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Faith-Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik$
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Douglas Johnston

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367935

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195367935.001.0001

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Religion and Conflict

Religion and Conflict

The Case of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

(p.76) 4 Religion and Conflict
Faith-Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik

H. L. Seneviratne

Oxford University Press

Because Buddhism, like all other religions, has many facets, it is essential to identify what kind of Buddhism is in question before analyzing its contributions. In this chapter, Buddhism is divided into the following categories to avoid oversimplification: 1) textual Buddhism, wherein the core of the Buddhist doctrine is illustrated through Buddhist scriptures, comprising a wide-ranging commentarial literature that may contain contradictory construals; 2) syncretistic Buddhism, which refers to the system of beliefs that are actually practiced by Buddhist societies; and 3) modern Buddhism, where religion is integrated with ethnic nationalism. This chapter looks into what happened in Sri Lanka and how religion, which in this case refers to Buddhism, may have affected how it achieved peace within the region since monks see themselves not just as facilitators of ritual services but also of “social service”. The chapter also looks at other possible sources of peacemaking such as the business community and other such factors.

Keywords:   Sri Lanka, textual Buddhism, syncretistic Buddhism, modern Buddhism, peacemaking, business community

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