In this article, Dr. Christina Kilby from James Madison University presents abhayadāna (‘the gift of fearlessness’) as a Buddhist protection concept that complements and strengthens the principle of protection enshrined in international humanitarian law (IHL). Abhayadāna is an ancient Indian ethic that inspired the political activism of Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi. Although rarely invoked by Buddhists today, abhayadāna is also deeply rooted in the Buddhist tradition, and can provide a Buddhist framework for the protection of populations vulnerable to violence, terror or displacement during times of armed conflict or other situations of violence.

Dr. Christina Kilby is Assistant Professor of Religion at James Madison University and specialises in Tibetan Buddhism. She earned her B.A. degree in Religious Studies from Davidson College, her Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School, and her Ph.D. in History of Religions from the University of Virginia. She received a Fulbright-Hays fellowship in 2013-14 and has conducted extensive fieldwork among Tibetan communities in China, India, Nepal, and the United States. Her current research focuses on Buddhism and displacement.

Please read the article here.