Buddhism and Human Rights

By Damien V. Keown; Charles S. Prebish et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

5
BUDDHISM AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE
THOUGHTS OF SULAK SIVARAKSA AND
PHRA DHAMMAPIDOK (PRAYUDH PRAYUTTO)

Soraj Hongladarom


Introduction: The Problem of Buddhism and Human Rights

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 raises the problem of how the concept of human rights are compatible with the cultures and practices of those civilizations where the concept has not taken a firm root. The concept of human rights, as expressed in the UN Declaration, is regarded as alien, or as an imposition of foreign, namely Western, powers on the lives and minds of non-Western people whose cultural development does not go along the same path trodden by the West. In the case of Thailand (formerly Siam), 1 which was not directly colonized by any Western powers, the concept is also generally regarded as foreign, and the Thai word for human rights Sitthi Manussayachon still rings an unfamiliar sound. For most Thais, the word simply conjures up the image of someone who disregard the traditional pattern of compromise and harmonization of social relations; someone, that is, who is quite out of touch with the traditional Thai mores.

However, the mores themselves are changing. As the country is surging toward industrialization, and as the people are ever estranged from the traditional way of living, more Thais are beginning to realize the need for human rights. This is well attested by the Black May incident of 1993, when scores of Thais lost their lives fighting for democracy against the army. The discourse of Thai people is beginning to presuppose the basic premises of human rights, even though these are not spelled out explicitly. The situation is that of a dynamic where traditional mores are being left behind and the people are groping for a new one. This situation, then, raises, the problem of how to accommodate human rights within the constitutive beliefs of Thai culture. Since the core of Thai beliefs is represented by Buddhism, a problem then ensues concerning how to reconcile the religion and its way of life with the new mores, part of which is the conception and actualization of human rights.

In this paper I shall investigate the situation, comparing and contrasting two famous thinkers in contemporary Thailand Sulak Sivaraksa2 and Phra Dhammapidok ( Prayudh Prayutto). 3 The former is a

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Buddhism and Human Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 239

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?