The danger of Buddhist chauvinism
Myanmar and Sri Lanka are examples of how ethnic and religious hatred can halt transitions towards democracy
The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, composed no sutta to religious hatred or racial animus. And yet, Buddhist chauvinism now threatens the democratic process in both Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Some of the same Buddhist monks who braved Myanmar’s military junta in the “Saffron Revolution" of 2007 today incite violence against members of the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority. In Sri Lanka, the ethnic chauvinism of the Buddhist Sinhalese, stirred by a former president determined to reclaim power, mocks the supposed goal of reconciliation with vanquished Hindu Tamils.
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