In this article, Bhagya Samarakoon explores how the quality of appamāda or “heedfulness” – referred to several times in the Buddha’s sermons and included in his final words – might help them to better apply the IHL rule of proportionality, which is dependent to a significant degree on the perceptions, values and good faith of military commanders. Samarakoon argues that appamāda has a moral dimension which can aid decision-making for lay Buddhist belligerents, just as the monk Nigrodha’s preaching of the Appamāda Vagga helped to bring the Emperor Ashoka’s governance into line with Buddhist ethics. Samarakoon suggests that appamāda might be promoted through sermons and meditation to transform the intention of Buddhist belligerents.

Bhagya Samarakoon is a researcher attached to the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Colombo. She obtained her LLB from the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo, with a Second Class Honors (Upper Division) in 2020. As a student at the Faculty of Law, she was a member of the semi-finalist team at the Jean Pictet Competition on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) (34th Edition) in Denpasar, Bali, in 2020 and was also an Editorial Assistant for the Colombo Law Review (2019), Faculty of Law, University of Colombo. Her publications include articles in the Colombo Law Review and the Colombo Law Journal.

Please read the article here.