U Nu’s Liberal Democracy and Buddhist Communalism in Modern Burma



Buddhism in Asian countries has seen diverse expressions in the public arena at various stages of their political process, development, and nation-building. In recent years, however, we have seen media reports suggesting that Buddhist monks are at the forefront of inciting violence as well as terror, as in the case of a Burmese monk U Wirathu,1 making us wonder whether Buddhism has been as peaceful or harmonious as many of us have been indoctrinated to believe. As Buddhism reveals its diverse aspects in engaging with the modern world, it is important to identify what kind of ‘Buddhism’ we are referring to in the first place and pay attention to the unique ‘cultural fundamentals,’2 which has nurtured a specific form of ‘Buddhism’ that each country has inherited from its historical and political past. Such context-specific Buddhism has allowed its adherents to construct a particular world view that aspires toward a certain political vision in their local context.


Political Culture Democratic Principle Fourth Amendment Parliamentary Democracy Political Vision 
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© Hiroko Kawanami 2016

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