Buddhism, Politics, and Violence

If You Meet the Buddha on the Road : Buddhism, Politics, and Violence - Michael JerrysonIf You Meet the Buddha on the Road

by Michael Jerryson, Oxford University Press, May 2, 2018

It is said that the famous ninth century Chinese Buddhist monk Linji Yixuan told his disciples, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” The deliberately confounding statement is meant to shock people out of complacent ways of thinking. But beyond the purposeful jolt from complacency there is another intention. This axiom suggests that, for liberation, one should seek the Buddha nature that resides within, rather than a mere Buddha exterior. The metaphor of killing the Buddha dislodges a person from the illusion that enlightenment lies outside the body. The proclamation also highlights the power of violence, even on a symbolic level. Violence abounds in Buddhist thoughts, doctrine, and actions, however unacknowledged or misunderstood.

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0190683562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0190683566

“This is the book that scholars of religion and violence have waited for, a comprehensive exploration of violence in the Buddhist tradition. Written with grace and clarity, it shows that violence is endemic to Buddhist practice in all of its forms-in warfare, punishment, blasphemy and gender discrimination-as it is in every religious tradition. Thus this study touches on the dark religious history of all humankind and our common global culture.”–Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence

“With a multidimensional approach and expansive conception of ‘violence,’ Jerryson challenges us to consider more fully the role of cultural authority in explaining the power of religious actors in instigating violence. He also offers rich and original reporting from the field on the dynamics of current conflicts.”–Stephen L. Jenkins, Professor of Religious Studies, Humboldt State University

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