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As an incredibly diverse religious system, Buddhism is constantly changing. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism offers a comprehensive collection of work by leading scholars in the field that tracks these changes up to the present day. Taken together, the book provides a blueprint to understanding Buddhism's past and uses it to explore the ways in which Buddhism has transformed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The volume contains 41 essays, divided into two sections. The essays in the first section examine the historical development of Buddhist traditions throughout the world. These chapters cover familiar settings like India, Japan, and Tibet as well as the less well-known countries of Vietnam, Bhutan, and the regions of Latin America, Africa, and Oceania. Focusing on changes within countries and transnationally, this section also contains chapters that focus explicitly on globalization, such as Buddhist international organizations and diasporic communities. The second section tracks the relationship between Buddhist traditions and particular themes. These chapters review Buddhist interactions with contemporary topics such as violence and peacebuilding, and ecology, as well as Buddhist influences in areas such as medicine and science. Offering coverage that is both expansive and detailed, The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism delves into some of the most debated and contested areas within Buddhist Studies today.

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

Oxford University Press, 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. For liberation, this axiom suggests that one should seek the Buddha nature that resides within, rather than a mere Buddha exterior. In this way, the metaphor of killing the Buddha dislodges a person from the illusionary perspective 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.


If You Meet the Buddha on the Road addresses one important absence in the study of religion and violence: the religious treatment of violence. In order to pursue an understanding of the relationship between Buddhism and violence, it is important to first explore how Buddhist scriptures and followers understand violence. Drawing on Buddhist treatments of violence, Michael Jerryson explores the ways in which Buddhists invoke, support, or justify war, conflict, state violence, and gender discrimination. In addition, the book examines the ways in which Buddhists address violence as military chaplains, cope with violence in a conflict zone, and serve as witnesses of blasphemy to Buddhist doctrine and Buddha images.e your paragraph here.

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Michael Jerryson

The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism

Oxford University Press, 2016.

Violence and the World's Religious Traditions

Oxford University Press, 2016. Co-edited with Mark Juergensmeyer and Margo Kitts

Is religion inherently predisposed to violence? Or has religion been taken hostage by a politics of aggression? The years since the end of the Cold War have shown a noticeable shift in patterns of religious extremism, accentuating the uncomfortable, complex, and oft-misunderstood relationship between religion and violence. The essays in this succinct new volume examine that relationship by offering a well-rounded look at violence as it appears in the world's most prominent religious traditions, exploring Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Sikh, Jewish, Christian, Islamic, African, and Pacific Island texts and practices.

The essays in Violence and the World's Religious Traditions explore the ways in which specific religions have justified acts of destruction, in history, in scripture, and in the contemporary world. But the collection also offers an investigation of religious symbols and practices, shedding new light on the very nature of religion and confronting the question of how deeply intertwined are violence and faith.