What guidance can Buddhism provide to those involved in armed conflict and to belligerents who must perhaps kill or be killed or defend their families, communities or countries from attack? How, moreover, does Buddhism compare with international humanitarian law (IHL) – otherwise known as the law of armed conflict – which protects non-combatants and restricts the means and methods of warfare to limit the suffering it causes?
Despite the prevalence of armed conflict in parts of the Buddhist world, few contemporary studies have addressed these questions. While there is a wealth of material on Buddhist conflict prevention and resolution, remarkably little attention has been paid to what Buddhism says about the actual conduct of war. IHL is also still relatively little known in the Buddhist world and might not therefore influence the behaviour of belligerents who self-identify as Buddhists and are perhaps more likely to be guided by Buddhist principles. This ground-breaking volume is part of an International Committee of the Red Cross project which seeks to fill this gap by exploring correspondences between Buddhist and IHL principles, and by identifying Buddhist resources to improve compliance with IHL and equivalent Buddhist or humanitarian norms.
This book will be of much interest to students and researchers of International Law, Buddhism, Ethics as well as War and Conflict studies. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Contemporary Buddhism.
The Open Access version of this book, available at https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/oa-edit/10.4324/9781003439820/buddhism-international-humanitarian-law-andrew-bartles-smith-kate-crosby-peter-harvey-asanga-tilakaratne-daniel-ratheiser-noel-maurer-trew-stefania-travagnin-elizabeth-harris-mahinda-deegalle-christina-kilby, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) 4.0 license. A version of the open access title is also available on the OAPEN platform, https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/75921
Introduction: How Does Buddhism Compare with International Humanitarian Law, and Can It Contribute to Humanising War?
Part I: Situating Buddhism in Relation to IHL
1. Buddhist Motivation to Support IHL, From Concern to Minimise Harms Inflicted by Military Action to Both Those Who Suffer Them and Those Who Inflict Them
2. Implications of Buddhist Political Ethics for the Minimisation of Suffering in Situations of Armed Conflict
P. D. Premasiri
3. Two Dimensions of Buddhist Practice and Their Implications on Statecraft
4. The Paradox of the Buddhist Soldier
Daniel Ratheiser and Sunil Kariyakarawana
5. Buddhist Empirical Realism and the Conduct of Armed Conflict
Elizabeth J. Harris
6. Fundamental Intelligence, A Buddhist Justification for the Universal Principles Underlying IHL
Part II: The Military and the Conduct of War
7. The Buddhist Soldier: A Madhyamaka Inquiry
8. Limiting the Risk to Combatant Lives: Confluences Between International Humanitarian Law and Buddhism
9. ‘Not Knowing Is Most Intimate’: Koan Practice and the Fog of War
Noel Maurer Trew
10. Siege Warfare and the Prohibition of Intentional Starvation of Civilians: The Convergence of IHL and Buddhist Ethics
Part III: Minimising Harm and Practical Values
11. ‘Freedom From Hatred’: The Role of Khanti in Complementing the Work of International Humanitarian Law (IHL)
12. Restraint In Warfare and Appamāda: The Concept of Collateral Damage in International Humanitarian Law in Light of the Buddha’s Last Words
13. The Gift of Fearlessness: A Buddhist Framework for the Protection of Vulnerable Populations Under International Humanitarian Law
Christina A. Kilby
14. Addressing the Causes of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence with the Buddhist Doctrine of Lack of a Permanent Self and Meditation Training
15. How Buddhist Principles Can Help the Practical Implementation of IHL Values During War with Respect to Non-Combatants
Ven Kosgama Muditha, Ven Koralegama Gnanawasa and Ven Kirindiwela Pagngnawansa
Part IV: Buddhist Historical and Humanitarian Dimensions
16. Buddhism, The Royal Imaginary and Limits in Warfare: The Moderating Influence of Precolonial Myanmar Royal Campaigns on Everyday Warriors
Michael W. Charney
17. Between Common Humanity and Partiality: The Chogye Buddhist Chaplaincy Manual of the South Korean Military and Its Relevance to International Humanitarian Law
18. International Humanitarian Law and Nichiren Buddhism
19. Socially Engaged Buddhism and Principled Humanitarian Action During Armed Conflict
Ha Vinh Tho, Edith Favoreu and Noel Maurer Trew
"This book is an extraordinary collaboration between monastics, military chaplains, experts in international humanitarian law, and elite scholars of Buddhist ethics from diverse cultural contexts. As such, it is a valuable primary text that documents the current range of thinking about Buddhist conduct during warfare. The project produced broad intercultural and multi-perspectival cross pollination on this vital current topic, and it is essential reading for anyone working in this area. As in classical Buddhist texts, these rich studies recognise that the ethical conduct of war is as important to address as its prevention."
Stephen Jenkins, Humboldt State University, USA
"Though both Buddhism and international humanitarian law have exactly the same intention to reduce human suffering, this ICRC-supported book represents the first concerted effort to bring them together. Internationally well-known scholars of both Buddhism and IHL have now started to engage in open and enlightening dialogue between the two domains, and this breakthrough work shows what they have revealed so far."
Khammai Dhammasami, Shan State Buddhist University, Myanmar
"International humanitarian law (IHL) speaks profoundly to ideas of common humanity and the need for restraint during war. These concepts are found in religious and cultural teachings across the globe. ‘Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law’ is a unique, necessary and timely contribution to scholarship aiming to find stronger traction between religious principles, humanitarian norms and rules of IHL. In examining the interface between Buddhism and IHL, reflecting on warfare in Buddhist history, and looking at ways to explain and teach IHL differently, this important book adds weight to the aspiration of reducing suffering during times of armed conflict."
Helen Durham AO, Geneva Call, Switzerland
"As a religion of peace, there is a conundrum concerning whether Buddhism also has a message for the conduct of war. The rich panoply of articles in this volume shows that it does. Notions of compassion, kindness and tolerance emanating from Buddhist roots all help to undergird core IHL principles such as distinction, military necessity, proportionality and precaution, thereby helping to protect those not directly involved in hostilities. This pioneering book illustrates how the Buddhist middle-way and its mindfulness techniques can nurture the self-control and sense of moderation necessary to humanise war and prevent its worst excesses."
Vitit Muntarbhorn, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand