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Patrick S. O'Donnell

While there are some problems with Wharton's understanding of basic Buddhist concepts that I don't have the time to address here, the discussion of Buddhism and violence has been an important one among scholars of Buddhism ever since Brian Victoria's book, Zen at War (1997).

In addition to the above, see:

Bartholomeusz, Tessa J. In Defense of Dharma: Just-War Ideology in Buddhist Sri Lanka. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002.

Victoria, Brian Daizen. Zen at War. New York: Weatherhill, 1997. [a second edition is available]

Victoria, Brian Daizen. Zen War Stories. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003.

Yu, Xue. Buddhism, War, and Nationalism: Chinese Monks in the Struggle against Japanese Aggressions, 1931-9145. New York: Routledge, 2005.

There are also monographs on Tibetan Buddhism and violence that I'll have to look up at a later date.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

See too this treatment of "ethics in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism:"


Patrick S. O'Donnell

Finally (for now at least!), there's a fair and frank discussion of this topic by Peter Harvey in chapter six, "War and Peace," of his book, An Introduction to Buddhist Ethics (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000): 239-285.


"Tenants" should probably read "tenets."

One should observe that, while the Roman Catholic church surely waged and supported numerous wars, the same cannot be said for many Protestants, especially Unitarians, Quakers, Brethren, Mennonites and Amish--all pacifists.

And how have the Orthodox and Coptic churches figured in warfare?

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