Buddhist Socialisms in Asia

An Historical Perspective

Edited by Patrice Ladwig

© 2017 – Routledge

224 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415641722
pub: 2016-07-30

About the Book

The interaction between socialism and Buddhism has usually been perceived as being marked by antagonism, violence and oppression, however, it has often been overlooked that in certain historical periods’ models of ‘Buddhist Socialism’, ‘Dhammic Socialism’ or ‘Buddhist Marxism’ were widespread in Asia. As a political ideology that advocates a form of socialism based on the principles of Buddhism, it attracted the attention not only of religious professionals, but also of politicians and leaders of social reform movements.

This book explores the concrete religious, political and historical constellations these movements were grounded in and gives a comprehensive overview of the diverse interactions of different types of Buddhism(s) and various form of socialism. By taking a look at the religious movements and specific propagators of Buddhist Socialism, a comparative framework is advanced to determine what similarities and differences there existed in regard to the connection of Buddhist teachings, socialist ideals and practices. A substantial introduction and several chapters will examine the ‘common core’ of these movements by focusing on topics such as social welfare and justice, the distribution of property, utopianism, anti-colonial resistance and secularism, and the book will progress to examine how Buddhism and Socialism were conceptualized to be an integral part of Asian modernities, contributing to the creation of social justice, welfare and new ways of interpreting and spreading the dhamma.

Drawing on examples from a wide range of countries within Asia, this work will be of great interest to students and scholars alike.

Table of Contents

Foreword The Buddhist backgrounds of socialist revolutions Manuel Sarkisyanz Part I: Introduction 1. Introduction: The comparative study of Buddhist Socialism Patrice Ladwig 2. Dhammic Socialism in Cambodia and beyond: The quest for righteous governance in Theravāda Buddhism Ian Harris Part II. Buddhism and Socialism in the Theravāda world 3. Buddhism, Marxism and the Political History of Modern Sri Lankan Buddhism Dhammic Socialism: A Buddhist Vision of Just Social Order in 1970s’ Thailand H.L. Seneviratne 5. Revolutionaries in Robes: The Lao Communist Movement and the Buddhist sangha Patrice Ladwig 6. U Nu’s Vision of Modernity: Buddhist Socialism in Burma Jordan Winfield 7. Ambedkar’s Buddhist Marxism and the Dalit Movement in India Johannes Betz 8. The Political Theology of Navayana Buddhism Aakash Singh Part III. Buddhism and Socialism in the Mahāyāna world 9. “The Dharma Preaches Equality and Has no Hierarchy”. Buddhism and the Anarchic-Communist Movement in Japan Fabio Rambelli 10. The Unlikely King of Shambhala. Mongolian Buddhist Millenarian Constructions of Russia, Lenin and Communist Ideology Matthew King 11. Buddhism, Socialism and Anti-Colonialism in Vietnam, 1920-1945 Elise De Vido 12. The Marxist Dimension of Chinese and Taiwanese Buddhism. Mapping patterns of interaction between religion and politics in the making of a Buddhist utopia Stefania Travagnin 13. Religious Socialism in 1920s-1930s Korea and Han Yongun’s Buddhist Socialism Vladimir Tikhonov

About the Editor

Patrice Ladwig is a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany. His research interests include the anthropology of Buddhism (particularly Laos and Thailand), death and afterlife, the anthropology of the state, Buddhism and non-Buddhist ethnic minorities, and the interaction of Marxism and Theravada Buddhism. He is the author of Death Rituals Among the Lao (SEACOM Studies in Southeast Asian Anthropology, 2003), editor (with Paul Williams) of Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2012) and of Revolutionaries and Reformers in Lao Buddhism (under contract with Routledge, forthcoming 2012).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Religion and Politics

This series aims to publish high quality works on the topic of the resurgence of political forms of religion in both national and international contexts. This trend has been especially noticeable in the post-cold war era (that is, since the late 1980s). It has affected all the ‘world religions’ (including, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism) in various parts of the world (such as, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa).

The series welcomes books that use a variety of approaches to the subject, drawing on scholarship from political science, international relations, security studies, and contemporary history.

Books in the series explore these religions, regions and topics both within and beyond the conventional domain of ‘church-state’ relations to include the impact of religion on politics, conflict and development, including the late Samuel Huntington’s controversial – yet influential – thesis about ‘clashing civilisations’.

In sum, the overall purpose of the book series is to provide a comprehensive survey of what is currently happening in relation to the interaction of religion and politics, both domestically and internationally, in relation to a variety of issues.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General