It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide, This PDF is available to Subscribers Only. Buddhism, International Law and K.N. Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism has long been used as a source of political mobilization in Sri Lanka. Representing Religion, Law, and Conflict, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Volume 87, Issue 3, September 2019, Pages 662–692, https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfz032, Public disputes over the legal regulation of religion are often portrayed as naturally occurring conflicts between competing normative systems: religious law and state law. Search for other works by this author on: You do not currently have access to this article. The war had numerous causes, but prominent among them were government moves to embrace religious nationalism. Please check your email address / username and password and try again. Subsequent negotiations with political allies and smaller parties suggest the new government is also close to securing the two-thirds majority necessary to make the constitutional changes needed for anti-conversion legislation. 1, Issue. The problem with Buddhist law in Sri Lanka. The announcement of the monk’s pardon instantly made headlines in Sri Lanka and around the world, with many analysts warning that the president’s actions would result in a new phase of pro-Buddhist and anti-Muslim policies on the island. Most users should sign in with their email address. Galagoda Atte Gnanasara, was the country’s most controversial cleric, having risen to prominence in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s civil war as the head the Army of Buddhist Power (Bodu Bala Sēnā), an influential Buddhist nationalist group with strongly anti-Muslim views. Understanding religion in this region increasingly requires scholars to understand law and history and, perhaps then, begin to understand a healthy way to move forward. Ashoka the Great was a patron of Buddhism, and when King Tissa of Ceylon sent an emissary to India, Ashoka seized the opportunity to put in a good word about Buddhism to the King. Register, Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. Benjamin Schonthal, Buddhist Law Against the State? Buddhist law is the most recent entrant into the category of religious legal systems, a category that includes Islamic law, biblical law, Hindu law, and Talmudic law. Even though Sri Lanka is a Buddhist majority and there is a strong religious freedom clause in the constitution, the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act supersedes all the laws when it comes to the Muslim community on the island. 1, p. 120. From 4 to 6 September 2019, over 120 participants from around the world gathered in the historic town of Dambulla, Sri Lanka, for a global conference on "Reducing Suffering During Armed Conflict: The Interface Between Buddhism and International Humanitarian Law (IHL)".The conference, the first of its kind, was attended by respected Buddhist scholars, monks, academics and legal Drawing on monastic disciplinary texts, legal archives, and representations of law taken from online and popular media, this article analyzes how and why a minor, routine friction between Buddhist ecclesiastical rules and Sri Lankan statutory regulations—a dispute over whether a monk may wear his robes in prison—came to be portrayed as a grand contest between two incompatible regimes: “Buddhist law” and “state law.”. The monk, Ven. Support for Gnanasara merged with demands for law reform. After they won independence from Britain in 1948, Sri Lanka’s politicians started to enforce the use of the Sinhala language across the country’s public institutions, making it the official language. Kelaniya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Request full-text PDF. In this case, what came strongly into view was the centrality of law in the island’s ongoing debates over the status of Buddhism in a religiously and ethnically diverse country. Between 1983 and 2009, Sri Lanka was plagued by a civil war between the Sinhala government and Tamil (mainly Hindu) rebels. S arrest filled newspaper headlines and TV programmes, social media memes viral! The court ’ s social and political life support for Gnanasara ’ s social political... Declared a state of Emergency following a series of clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in the country the! Clash of Islam with Buddhism is the non-complacence with the Constitution and the absence of rule law. 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