Michael Jerryson

  • Emptiness: Violent or Compassionate? Paid Member

    In “Buddhists at war,” a recent piece for the Times Literary Supplement, Katherine Wharton reviews two books: Buddhist Warfare, a collection of essays on Buddhist violence edited by Michael K. Jerryson and Mark Juergensmeyer, and The Six Perfections, a treatise on Buddhist ethics by Dale S. Wright. In her review, Wharton reminds us that Buddhism, as much as any living expression of a world religion, can fall prey to human imperfections. Wharton highlights essays in Buddhist Warfare that examine topics like how the Buddhist teaching of no-self informed Japanese military training during the Asia-Pacific War and how a certain Mahayana text has been used to justify “compassionate torture.” While it is useful to study and remember these misunderstandings and misuses of Buddhist ideas, I hope that it’s not breaking news to anybody that religion is a human pursuit and therefore prone to human tendencies, such as violence. More »