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Where did Buddhism get its reputation for peace?

By Nick Swann, Lecturer in Buddhist Studies, University of South Wales
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When teaching an undergraduate class on “Buddhism and Violence”, I usually start by asking students to rank religious groups in the order of how many followers they have in the British army. Typically Christians are at the top of students’ lists and Buddhists at the bottom.

This reflects an unconscious bias many of these students have regarding Buddhism – they assume that all Buddhists are peaceful and that a Buddhist isn’t likely to embrace a career that may well involve violence at some point.

So they’re always surprised to find out that there are


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