Re: “Violence of ultranationalist Buddhism spreads to Sri Lanka”, Opinion & Analysis, yesterday.
The authors of this article are to be commended for their in-depth study of “ultranationalist Buddhism”. The term itself is an oxymoron. Ultranationalism teaches extreme attachment to one’s own nation. Buddhism teaches detachment from everything. Logic requires “ultranationalist Buddhists” to make a choice. You can be either a Buddhist or an ultranationalist – you can’t be both.
It is interesting to note that “ultranationalist Buddhists” cite the Mahavamsa in defence of killing Muslims. The Mahavamsa is a post-canonical epic poem that propagates the fiction that the Buddha visited Sri Lanka. The evidence suggests that he never strayed far from the Ganges valley.
Of far greater authority is the Dhammapada, which purports to contain the words of the Buddha himself. In it he is quoted as saying (verse 130): “All tremble at punishment. Life is dear to all. Comparing others with oneself, one should neither kill nor cause to kill.”
Ultranationalists of any stripe should take note.