Deegalle, M (2014) Buddhist extremist confrontations with ethnic and religious minorities in contemporary Sri Lanka. In: 39th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, 25 April - 27 April 2014, Luther King House, Manchester.


This paper aims to examine and contextualise the upsurge of extremist Buddhist movements in Buddhist societies, with an emphasis on Bodu Bala Sena (The Army of Buddhist Forces) in Sri Lanka. This extremist movement has brought about the collapse of good relationships that existed between the Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority. Confrontations of this extremist movement with religious and ethnic minorities have also brought the modern nation-state of Sri Lanka into difficult and chaotic political situations. Recent activism of Bodu Bala Sena, however, cannot be argued as a continuation of the political representation process of Buddhists in the Sri Lankan parliament initiated by the Buddhist monks’ political party, Jathika Hela Urumaya in 2004. They share the aim of protecting Buddhist rights. But as an activist group, Bodu Bala Sena maintains a strong commitment to creating a pure form of Buddhism out of centuries of corruptions in the monastic life and ritual practices of Buddhists, including abuses and misuses of Buddhist symbols by commercial establishments and individuals. The paper will examine in detail the nationalist and religious ideologies of the Bodu Bala Sena and its members’ activist contributions in creating a potential religious conflict in Sri Lanka.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BQ Buddhism
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
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Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2014 21:46
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:27
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