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date: 23 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that non-Christian Asian traditions contribute perspectives on peacebuilding that are different from those offered by major Western traditions. Peacebuilding, like reconciliation, refers to a specific set of practices, informed by theory, designed to alleviate human suffering and create the conditions for human flourishing. Much of the theoretical apparatus of peacebuilding and reconciliation seems to build on elements of the Christian tradition; however, other traditions also have much to offer. A major idea about peace and reconciliation that one can find in Asian religious traditions is that a person seeking a superior moral life and liberation from suffering should focus on renunciation and self-cultivation. Such a person provides a moral exemplar to be followed by others that would create world peace, tolerance, and reconciliation. This chapter discusses three major figures who exemplify this tradition: Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Keywords: religious peacebuilding, imperialism, syncretism, tolerance, India, Tibet, Vietnam, Gandhi, Dalai Lama

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