How to communicate like a buddhist. The Buddhist Soldier.



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How to communicate like a buddhist

Some armies fight with values in their minds; some fight for the sake of punishing villains and thugs, some fight to save the people from misery, while others fight to defend their country. During war, it is also possible to express love and compassion, engender the aspiration for awakening, practice the Bodhisattva path, and bring comfort to the injured. These are far superior to the weapons of war. Can a Buddhist be in the Military? Can you be a good Buddhist while being a soldier? What did the Buddha say about the Military? Although it would be easy to create a short article, this is a highly controversial subject among Buddhists, so it deserves a detailed discussion to help answer many questions that are often raised. This article is perhaps my longest although I would have liked to have made it much shorter , simply because of the amount of passionate debate on this issue. My goal is to be thorough, yet make the content readable. Nor is this article promoting military forces and those who serve in them who act in aggression, violence, and criminal actions. For example, this article is not promoting hostile military aggressors like Germany in World War I and II, Serbian forces in the Yugoslavian war, or countless other ruthless forces throughout history. No military is perfect, nor perfect military actions, just like there are no perfect people. This article is, of course, my opinion on the subject. I urge you to open your mind to what is being said, and to discuss it with your teacher and others so you can make up your own mind. Obviously, upon first interpretation, this categorically illustrates the point that Buddhism and Buddhists have no place with the military or war. However, the Five Precepts are not commandments from a god, but instead what a Buddhist practitioner aspires to. The Buddha never said that you should not be in the military well, unless you were a monk of course , nor did he say that you should never kill, or for leaders not to have a military. If the Buddha were to be against any of those things, he would be going to extremes, and not be rooted in reality. The Buddha knew such extremes could, and would, cause more suffering. For instance, if an invading army were intent on pure violence and could not be stopped by any other means, then the Middle Way supports the actions to stop their violent aggression. Otherwise, the unwholesome karma the violent aggressors inflict would be extreme. This presistence exists because many want Buddhism to be what they want it to be: However, Buddhism is grounded in reality of everyday life and rejects extremes and attachments including your own ideas! To illustrate this, there is a popular story about the Two Monks and a Woman: A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her. The senior monk carried this woman on his shoulder, forded the river and let her down on the other bank. The junior monk was very upset, but said nothing. If the senior monk was too rigid in his belief in the precepts, he would have equally become uncompassionate in helping the woman. The senior monk was able to see the situation and respond with compassion, and then moved on from the situation. The junior monk, however, was so bound by his preset beliefs, he not only was crippled into inaction, but also could not escape the experience. For many, the rigid belief that Buddhism…and the Buddha…does not permit military service is very strong much like the belief of the young monk in this story. Due to this, they are unable to see and acknowledge why a Buddhist would ever want to be in the military. Did the Buddha Kill? For Buddhists, the first precept of not killing is so strong in their minds due to the many repercussions the action takes. There is no doubt that killing has many unwholesme karmic actions, and the result affects everyone even the person who kills. But what if killing was done our of compassion? Then the Lord [Buddha] again addressed the Bodhisattva Jnanottara: Once a upon a time, long before the Thus-come-one, the Worthy, the fully perfected Buddha Dipamkara, there were five hundred merchants who set sail on the high seas in search of wealth. Among the company was a doer of dark deeds, a doer of evil deeds, a robber well-trained in the art of weaponry, who had come on board that very ship to attack them. No sooner had they done so, than that deceitful person thought: The time has come. While Captain Great Compassionate slept on one occasion, the deities who dwelt in that ocean showed him in a dream: These five hundred merchants are all progressing toward supreme, right and full awakening; they are each irreversible from awakening. If he should kill these Bodhisattvas, the fault—the obstacle caused by the deed—would cause him to burn in the great hells for as long as it take each one of these Bodhisattva to achieve supreme, right and full awakening, consecutively. Therefore, Captain, think of some skill in means to prevent this person from killing the five hundred merchants and going to the great hells because of the deed. Then the captain Great Compassionate awoke. He considered what means there might be to prevent that person from killing the five hundred merchants and going to the great hells. Seven days passed with a wind averse to sailing to Jambu Continent. Without wind during those seven days he plunged deep into thought, not speaking to anyone. Yet I can bear to experience the pain of the great hells, that this person not slay these five hundred merchants and develop so much evil karma. I will kill this person myself. Accordingly, the captain Great Compassionate protected those five hundred merchants and protected that person from going to the great hells, by deliberately stabbing and slaying that person who was a robber with a spear, with great compassion and skill in means. And all among the company achieved their aims and each went to his own city. Son of the family. At that time, in that life I was none other than the Captain Great Compassionate. Have no second thought or doubt on this point. The five hundred merchants on board the five hundred Bodhisattvas who are to niranize to supreme, right and full awakening in this auspicious eon. For me, Samsara was curtailed for one hundred-thousand eons because of that skill in means and great compassion. And the robber died to be reborn in a world of paradise. The five hundred merchants on board are the hundred future Buddhas of the auspicious eon. Son of the family, what do you think of this? Do not view it in that way. That should be regarded as his very skill in means. This clearly violated the first precept of not killing, yet the Buddha cited this as an example of compassion and skill in means. Much like a soldier, the Buddha as Captain Great Compassionate killed the man who would murder to not only save the lives of the merchants on the ship, but also to spare them from the unwholesome karma of having to kill this man. How many of us would sacrifice in that way? We have police forces, judicial systems, etc. The Buddha often used many techniques, such as stories, to help explain complicated topics in Buddhism. And it should go without saying that if the act is contaminated by the least bit of greed, hate, or ignorance, there will be unfortunate consequences to the do-er. But even if the Christian Obama believed as Buddhists do — that to take this action would bond him forever to Osama Bin Laden until such time as both had exhausted their negative karma and achieved enlightenment — I still think he would reluctantly make the same decision Like Siddhartha the sea captain, the responsibility was his, the decision was his, and the consequences were his to assume and he did, for the good of his people. Soldiers take on the greatest responsibility and consequences and can face untold unwholesome karma, but can through these actions bring about compassion at the same time. In their absence, a catastrophic fate can unfold just like what would have happened if Captain Great Compassionate had not acted. The Karma of Soldiers While it is clear that in a time of war soldiers face the greatest prospect of receiving unwholesome karma in order to protect and free others from hostile aggression. For a soldier, they are the first to be against war, fighting, and killing because they know the horrors of war and the physical, mental, and emotional impact it has on them and others. So what is a soldier to do? While killing may be inevitable in a long and successful army career opportunities for merit too is unlimited for a disciplined and conscientious soldier. A disciplined soldier fights his enemy in accordance with the best of traditions and norms maintained by an army. A good soldier provides medical treatment to the injured enemy captured. A disciplined soldier destroys his enemy only when his or the lives of his comrades are in danger. Soldier is one who thrives for peace within because he is one who realizes the pain of his own wounds. He is one who sees the bloody destruction of war, the dead, the suffering etc. Hence his desire to bring peace to himself as well as to the others by ending the war as soon as possible. He not only suffers during the war but even after the war. The painful memories of the battles he fought linger in him making his aspire for true and lasting peace within and without. Hence the common phenomenon of transformation of brutal kings having an insatiable desire to conquer to incomparable and exemplary righteous kings such as Drarmasoka king of Mourian dynasty of India. Stephen Jenkins wrote why the Buddha did this in his previous life: With no other way out, he compassionately stabbed the criminal to death. Captain Compassionate saved the passengers not only from murder, but from becoming murderers themselves. Unlike him, they would have killed in rage and suffered hell. He saved the criminal from becoming a mass murderer and even worse suffering. He himself generated vast karmic merit by acting with compassion. They take on this burden for others. As General Douglas McArthur famously said: The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. Tom Hanks, playing the fictional character Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan relates how killing makes him feel when one of his soldiers wanted to leave their mission to find Private Ryan: You want to leave? How to communicate like a buddhist

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8 Comments

  1. Where are you located? Once again, the Buddha's constant advice that we should not blindly believe but rather question, examine, inquire and rely on our own experience, has a definite scientific ring to it. For instance, if an invading army were intent on pure violence and could not be stopped by any other means, then the Middle Way supports the actions to stop their violent aggression.

  2. As long as various kinds of thoughts agitate the brain, we don't experience percent peace.

  3. The Buddha further advises old men not to have young wives as the old and young are unlikely to be compatible, which can create undue problems, disharmony and downfall Parabhava Sutta. Army helicopter pilot during the Vietnam war. However, the Buddha's supreme enlightenment is more than enough for us to understand the greatness of the Buddha.

  4. You don't have to say, "This is the beginning of breathing in," or "This is the middle" or "This is the end. Walpola Rahula was approved unanimously.

  5. This speech where the Jewish Barber is pretending to be the Dictator, and uses this position to promote peace and democracy instead is a fantastic commentary not only on war, power, and greed…but what we should be striving for in the world soldiers included:

  6. Clear-cut rules don't allow for unspoken agendas to come sneaking in the back door of the mind. When everyone else was enflamed by rage he'd still be full of love. Buddhist Theology is the self-conscious attempt to present reasoned arguments from within the tradition on issues of importance to Buddhists in order to correct, critique, clarify or expand the tradition.

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