The nationalist monks in Sri Lanka argue that
Buddhism is about ‘confronting reality’
To many of us, Buddhism, with the sacred principle of non-violence, is the most peaceful religion of all. But in Sri Lanka a group of radical monks who say they represent the Singhalese majority are urging the government to take a hard-line, pro-war stance against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

To make their voices heard in the political arena the monks have even set up their own political party - the JHU - which participated in the 2004 elections and secured nine seats in parliament.

They are monks, they are political and they are not shy of controversy. Their belief that only a full-out military offensive will end the conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels has put them at loggerheads with peace activists, foreign mediators, and Buddhists who favour non-violence. Pro-war monks have attacked peace marches and accused international NGOs of secretly funding the Tamil Tigers to stop the global advance of political Buddhism.

But how representative are they of popular Singhalese feelings? Is it true that Buddhism in Sri Lanka is under threat? And can war really be the way to peace?

People & Power's Juliana Ruhfus went to investigate.

This episode of People & Power aired from Wednesday 29 August 2007 at the following times GMT:

Wednesday 29 August (14:30)
Thursday 30 August (01:30, 13:30)
Friday 31 August (06:30, 20:30)
Saturday 01 September (03:00)

Watch Part One here:

Watch Part Two here:

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