Catholicism/Christianity had the dark ages and the inquisition in which 'heretics' were prosecuted with violence. One could claim that Islam is currently in a period of high violence. Did Buddhism ever go through such a period?

  • Where Buddhists persecuted non-Buddhists or where Buddhists were persecuted? There is also the category of socially sanctioned (war, e.g. Zen at war/the Tibetan Army) and non-sanctioned violence done while incidentally being Buddhist (ethnic rioting). Sep 9, 2014 at 3:04

3 Answers 3


Buddhism experience some very harsh periods. E.g.

Buddhism would have gone through some violent times in the Malay Peninsula also as it was predominantly Buddhist before.

Following may also be interesting:


Well, Buddhists countries have had violent periods just as everyone else has, but I can't really think of any major violence committed by Buddhists with a religious motivation, at least not on a large scale. In China there was a rebellion called the Red Turban Rebellion that was caused by a strange breakaway Buddhist group called the White Lotus sect and they managed to overthrow the Yuan dynasty, and one of their military leaders took the throne as the Hongwu emperor. I don't know whether or not their rebellion was motivated by religion or just opportunism though.


When Buddhist tried to spread their religion into Japan, there were countless number of battles throughout Japan between Shinto and Buddhism. Today, Buddhism is regarded as a peaceful religion but it was introduced into Japan in a violent way and today it is integrated into Japanese people's faith as if that is their belief(when foreigners tries to identify their faith) when their original faith and still is Shintoism.

  • Which centuries (in history) are you talking about, or ... can you cite any reference with any details of what/when/who you're talking about?
    – ChrisW
    Jul 23, 2018 at 16:54
  • I was taught this, I can try looking for it though.
    – Ahri Main
    Jul 23, 2018 at 18:48
  • Can you? Wikipedia's article on Shinto, for example, seems to describe the period in which Buddhism was introduced (i.e. from the "Kofun Period" through to the "Nara Period") as Buddhism and Shinto co-existing at the imperial court ... nothing there about literal battles between Shinto and Buddhism. And this description of the Assimilation process doesn't mention any violent battles, either.
    – ChrisW
    Jul 23, 2018 at 18:59
  • There's another, separate mention (500 years later) of "warrior monks" -- but that talks about disputes between Buddhist monasteries (not disputes with Shintoism), and maybe some involvement in the ongoing feudal/inter-clan warfare
    – ChrisW
    Jul 23, 2018 at 19:01
  • There is this Japanese source maybe you can try: kojiki.co/blog/… I can ask the person later(if she is available to) for a better source
    – Ahri Main
    Jul 23, 2018 at 20:10

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