Buddhism: A Religion of Peace?
Non-harming, mutual respect and compassion are often seen as central tenets of Buddhism, which teaches that violent actions and even thoughts stand in the way to spiritual growth. And yet the recent history of Buddhism in South and South-East Asia has often been blighted by violence in the name of faith, led by militant monks in countries from Myanmar to Sri Lanka.
Politicised Buddhism has in many cases contributed to ethnic divisions, and been used to call for nationalist crackdowns on other religious groups and minorities.
How did a religion of peace become involved in bloodshed and conflict? Is there any basis for it in Buddhist teaching, or are these examples of wayward groups who have become detached from the principles of the religion?