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Nationalism (jàtimàna) is a strong feeling of emotional attachment towards one’s own country or region. It is natural to like and to favour the environment one was brought up in, the language one’s fellows speak, their customs and their history and to this extent nationalism is an understandable and perhaps even an admirable feeling.

The Buddha seems to have had a fond regard for his own land and people, the Sàkyans (D.I,91) However, like all forms of attachment, nationalism can easily get out of hand and become the cause of parochialism, prejudice and even hatred towards other national groups. The mature Buddhist knows that all things, especially political entities, are impermanent and that having been born in one country, one could just as easily be reborn in another in the next life, and thus that intense attachment to one’s country is misguided.


  • Buddhism A to Z. Ven. Dhammika, 2007.