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Enacting the violent imaginary : reflections on the dynamics of nonviolence and violence in Buddhism

Davis, Leesa S 2016, Enacting the violent imaginary : reflections on the dynamics of nonviolence and violence in Buddhism, Sophia, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 15-30, doi: 10.1007/s11841-016-0524-2.

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Title Enacting the violent imaginary : reflections on the dynamics of nonviolence and violence in Buddhism
Author(s) Davis, Leesa SORCID iD for Davis, Leesa S orcid.org/0000-0002-7045-8872
Journal name Sophia
Volume number 55
Issue number 1
Start page 15
End page 30
Total pages 16
Publisher Springer
Place of publication Berlin, Germany
Publication date 2016-04
ISSN 0038-1527
1873-930X
Keyword(s) Mahāyāna Buddhism
Violence and nonviolence
Self-immolation
Non-duality
Arts & Humanities
Philosophy
Mahayana Buddhism
Summary In this paper, I explore the complex ethical dynamics of violence and nonviolence in Mahāyāna Buddhism by considering some of the historical precedents and scriptural prescriptions that inform modern and contemporary Buddhist acts of self-immolation. Through considering these scripturally sanctioned Mahāyāna ‘case studies,’ the paper traces the tension that exists in Buddhist thought between violence and nonviolence, outlines the interplay of key Mahāyāna ideas of transcendence and altruism, and comments on the mimetic status and influence of spiritually charged texts. It is the contention of this paper that violent scriptural metaphors can create paradigms of enactment that are paradoxically illustrative of the core ‘non-violent’ Mahāyāna virtues of compassion (karuṇā), giving (dāna), patience (kṣānti), and vigor (vīrya). The discussion will show that these virtues are underpinned by the Mahāyāna philosophical mainstays of non-duality (advayavāda), bodhisattvic transcendent altruism, skillful means (upāya), and dependent co-origination (pratītyasamutpāda).
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s11841-016-0524-2
Field of Research 220406 Studies In Eastern Religious Traditions
2203 Philosophy
2204 Religion And Religious Studies
Socio Economic Objective 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084757

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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