[Buddha-l] What would a Buddhist fundamentalist be like?

Stefan Detrez stefan.detrez at gmail.com
Wed Dec 19 07:28:00 MST 2007

Watching Harris, Dennett, Hitchens and Dawkins ('The Four Horsemen' on
Video.google) discussing religious extremism in the Semitic tradition, I
wondered what Buddhist extremism would be like. Now, if we look around in
the world we see some strains of Singhala Buddhism looking extremist. It got
it's extremism (as far as I know) from the Mahavamsa, together with European
Romantic ideas about people and 'their' territories. Maybe Shinto-larded
Buddhism in WWII with the kamikaze could serve as another example.

In the movie 'The Ladykillers' (Coen-brothers) the criminals at some point
wonder what they'll do with the old lady who found out they have large
stacks of money in their/her basement. One of them is a Chinese Buddhist, to
which one of the others turns for advice. I took this from the script:

'He turns to the General.

                         ...You sir, are a Buddhist. Is there 
                         not a middle way?

               The General grunts as he closes the clasps on the sackbutt 
               case full of money:

                         Must float like a leaf on the river 
                         of life. And kill old lady.'

SOURCE: http://www.weeklyscript.com/Ladykillers,%20The%20(2004).txt

It seems it takes only a little bit of Buddhist wisdom to make a good
decision :)

Can we think up some sort of blueprint of a Buddhist extremist? Would this
person claim that there'll be a Sukhavati in this life, just like is done in
Zionism? Or identify people with kilesas, and trying to eradicate them?
Would this person be utterly ethically and culturally relativistic? Would
this person claim there's a plurality of truths and that this is THE truth
as taught by the Buddha?



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