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Book: Buddhism in Five Minutes

Chapter: 56. Are Buddhists Pacifists?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40797


In line with the key Buddhist ideal of loving-kindness and compassion for all beings, including those who might be seen as “enemies,” one of the four most serious rules that Buddhist monks and nuns are required to follow is to avoid intentional killing of a human being. To break this rule entails permanent exclusion from the monastic order, apart from any legal repercussions. There have, though, been some examples of going against the rule, as I will explain.

Chapter Contributors

  • Peter Harvey ( - peterharvey) 'University of Sunderland'