Sinhalese Buddhist Nationalist Ideology: Implications for by Neil DeVotta

By Neil DeVotta

This research argues that political Buddhism and Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism have contributed to a nationalist ideology that has been used to extend and perpetuate Sinhalese Buddhist supremacy inside of a unitary Sri Lankan country; create legislation, principles, and constructions that institutionalize such supremacy; and assault those that disagree with this time table as enemies of the country. The nationalist ideology is stimulated by way of Sinhalese Buddhist mytho-history that used to be deployed through priests and politics within the past due 19th and 20th centuries to claim that Sri Lanka is the detailed sanctuary for Theravada Buddhism, belongs to Sinhalese Buddhists, and Tamils and others stay there simply as a result of Sinhalese Buddhist sufferance. This ideology has enabled majority superordination, minority subordination, and a separatist warfare waged by way of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The learn indicates either LTTE terrorism and the ethnocentric nature of the Sri Lankan nation, which motels to its personal sorts of terrorism whilst scuffling with the civil warfare, have to be conquer if the island is to develop into a liberal democracy. the current govt of President Mahinda Rajapakse is the 1st to totally include the Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist ideology, suggesting political strategy to Sri Lanka's ethnic clash is not going. significant devolution of strength, wherein Tamils may possibly coalesce with their ethnic opposite numbers amidst equality and self-respect, isn't within the offing. an answer alongside federal strains is principally not going. in its place, persisted conflict or even assaults on Christians and Muslims appear to be in shop for Sri Lanka because the Sinhalese Buddhist nationalist ideology is additional consolidated. The learn recommends that the overseas neighborhood undertake a extra proactive stance in selling a plural nation and society in Sri Lanka. as well as countering the terrorist tools hired through the LTTE, the foreign group should still begin and aid measures to guard basic civil liberties and human rights of Sri Lanka's ethnic and non secular minority groups. this is often the 40th booklet in coverage experiences, a peer-reviewed East-West middle Washington sequence that offers scholarly research of key modern household and overseas political, fiscal, and strategic concerns affecting Asia in a coverage suitable demeanour.

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Indeed, some monks have threatened to go house themselves to serve in the army to house to prevent devolution from being instituted, and some have even defrocked themselves to serve in the army as foot soldiers. With President Rajapakse equating service to the sangha with service in the military (Bandara 2007), it would not be surprising if more monks took to the gun. These political bhikkhus 24 Neil DeVotta hold rallies, go on hunger strikes, block the road to parliament, and threaten all sorts of instability if the government hints that it will ignore their preferences.

As one nationalist 29 30 b Neil DeVotta noted in a letter to a newspaper, “Rome is sacred to the Catholics, so is Jerusalem to the Jews and so is Mecca to the Muslims. The tiny island in the Indian Ocean . . where the Sinhalese lived for over 25 centuries . . Sri fellow nationalists, the claim that Sri Lanka is the land of the Sinhalese Buddhists is indisLanka is the land of putable because the Mahavamsa says just that. An associated argument holds that all nonthe Sinhalese Buddhists Buddhists live in Sri Lanka thanks to the majority community’s benevolence.

Although some Sinhalese Christians may get offended when Sinhalese and Buddhism are used interchangeably, Sinhalese Buddhists find such interchangeability unproblematic. ” This is an undeniable fact. The literature of the Sinhalese is Buddhist literature. The history of the Sinhalese is the history of Buddhism. The language of the Sinhalese is enriched by the doctrine of the Buddha. The era of the Sinhalese is the Buddha era. The culture of the Sinhalese is Buddhist culture. 12 Walpola Rahula made the same point in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper: Get this straight and quote me.

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