© 2016

Buddhism and the Political Process

  • Hiroko Kawanami

About this book


In its interpretation of Buddhism both as a cultural heritage and social ideology, this edited volume seeks to understand how Buddhist values and world views have impacted on the political process of many countries in Asia. In their respective work in Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Japan and Tibet, the contributors engage with an interactive typology originally proposed by the late Ian Harris, to whom the book is dedicated. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, they explore the interaction between Buddhism and politics, religious authority and political power, considering issues that concern the politicization of monks, proliferation of violence, leadership, citizenship, democracy and communalism in order to further understand the interface between Buddhism and politics in modern and contemporary times.


Buddhism International Relations Myanmar Thailand Sri Lanka China Japan Tibet Buddhist Political Culture Political Monks Buddhist Monks Communalism Democracy Citizenship Political Process Universal Suffrage Buddhist Leadership Revolutionary Politics Liberal Democracy Buddha culture democracy Engagement international relations revolution

Editors and affiliations

  • Hiroko Kawanami
    • 1
  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityUK

About the editors

Hiroko Kawanami is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, UK. She has co-edited Religions in the Modern World (2009, 2016) and Buddhism, International Relief Work, and Civil Society (2013), and is the author of Renunciation and Empowerment of Buddhist Nuns in Myanmar-Burma (2013). She is currently co-writing a book about the communal jurisdiction of non-ordained Buddhist nuns in the southern tradition.

Bibliographic information

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“This is an important and scholarly collection of case studies – a fitting memorial to Ian Harris – which should finally put to bed the notion that there can only be one kind of relationship between Buddhism and politics, namely, avoidance and pacifist moral guidance.” (David N. Gellner, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, UK)

“These essays cover a wide range of cases from throughout the Buddhist world and show that from statecraft to rebellion, Buddhist activists have been engaged in all levels of public life. This is an essential book for anyone concerned about the role of religion in politics around the globe.” (Mark Juergensmeyer, Professor of Sociology and Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA)

“The contributions … demonstrate well that Buddhism has had a long history of adapting to, shaping, and reacting to political authority as well as occasionally fostering true detachment from such authority.” (Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Washington, USA)