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Buddhism in a Dark AgeCambodian Monks under Pol Pot$
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Ian Harris

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835613

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835613.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Buddhism in a Dark Age

Ian Harris

University of Hawai'i Press

This introductory chapter offers a multifaceted historical perspective on Buddhism in Cambodia under Pol Pot's regime. At the same time it cautions against any one-sided views of the events that had taken place during this period. It is important to recognize that Buddhism in Southeast Asia has never been a disembodied conceptual system devoid of purchase on historical and political reality. When we look at Buddhism, we tend to focus on its philosophical and scholastic superstructure while ignoring the ways in which it has operated on a far wider level to sustain and inform the cultures with which it formed a whole. It has achieved its sociocultural character by the provision of educational and welfare facilities, certainly. But it has also acted through more direct involvement in the apparatus of state. Additionally, the chapter reviews the sources that inform the study in this volume.

Keywords:   Buddhism in Cambodia, Cambodia, Pol Pot, historical and political reality, Buddhism's sociocultural character, anti-Buddhism, totalitarianism, persecution of Buddhism

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