Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance

Belt, Road and Temple: China’s Buddhist Diplomacy

The following article in Himalmag (Jan. 26, 2023) by Tisaranee Gunasekara provides an in-depth analysis of the role that that hierarchy of Buddhist monks play in political affairs between Sri Lanka and China. But this raises the question as to whether similar regimes are operating in other Buddhist majority countries, such as Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. Indeed, it raises the question about the political role that the Buddhist monastic hierarchy has played historically for thousands of years in many Buddhist countries, from India to China to Japan. The political history of Buddhism has been all but ignored by most Western scholars.

A Buddhist monk looks out at Colombo from the Lotus Tower, one of many infrastructure projects built by the Rajapaksas with Chinese loans. China’s Buddhist-to-Buddhist diplomacy seems to have been born after the Rajapaksas were ousted in 2015. Photo courtesy: NurPhoto / IMAGO

China courts influence in Sri Lanka via the Buddhist clergy

Beijing needs new allies now that the Rajapaksas are reeling, but the enmeshing of politics and religion in Sri Lanka is always cause for concern


This is fresh ground for the Sri Lankan clergy, steeped in the machinations of domestic politics but never before so cosy with a major international power.


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This entry was posted on 2023/01/30 by .


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