'Buddhists at War: Thinking Karmically about Killing and Dying in 21st Century Sri Lanka' - April 8
A 7 p.m. lecture in the LaRose Digital Theatre by Daniel Kent of Whitman College is sponsored by Assistant Professor Amy Allocco, the university's distinguished emerging scholar in religious studies, in her role as Teacher-Scholar in Residence for the Global Neighborhood.
A religious studies scholar from Whitman College in Washington visits Elon University in April to deliver the 2014 Global Neighborhood "Religion & Conflict" Invited Lecture.
Assistant Professor Daniel Kent’s talk, “Buddhists at War: Thinking Karmically about Killing and Dying in 21 Century Sri Lanka,” will focus on the way Buddhist soldiers in Sri Lanka who fought a bloody civil conflict would “take the first precept against taking life in the morning and go off to battle in the afternoon.”
Kent addresses how that contradiction can be reconciled, and he introduces an alternative way of thinking about war based not on metaphysical ideals of justice but on action and its interpretation. By thinking karmically about war, he will show how Sri Lankan Buddhists decide to engage in war, prepare for battle, and interpret its consequences.
The talk takes place Tuesday, April 8, at 7 p.m. in the LaRose Digital Theatre of the Koury Business Center and will be preceded by a reception sponsored by the Asian Studies program.
Kent spent nearly three years carrying out fieldwork with the Sri Lankan army, which fought a 26-year civil war, and he brings data into conversation with an analysis of Buddhist doctrine and narratives to challenge prevailing scholarly views on the problem of Buddhism and war.
The talk is sponsored by Distinguished Emerging Scholar in Religious Studies Amy Allocco in her role as Teacher-Scholar in Residence for the Global Neighborhood and connected with the neighborhood’s yearlong slate of Tuesday programs.
Kent will also visit a Buddhist Traditions class, lunch with student members of Theta Alpha Kappa (the Religious Studies Honor Society), and meet with select Students for Peace & Justice members in an informal setting. Allocco also plans to host a drop-in breakfast the morning after his talk in her Teacher-Scholar in Residence apartment for students to interact with him more informally and ask questions.