Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

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Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Jikan » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:48 pm

Mission Statement
Welcome to the Buddhist Military Sangha! This is a nonpolitical and nonsectarian forum for Buddhists serving in the US Armed Forces.

-Provide a welcoming and positive forum for Buddhists currently serving or who have served in the military to communicate with and support one another.
-Recognize and promote honorable military service as in accord with the Eightfold Path's Right Livelihood.
-Correct misconceptions about Buddhists serving in the military.
-Help Buddhists unfamiliar with the military understand the jobs of their relatives and friends who are serving or who have served, and who love and respect the military profession.
-Help Buddhist Sanghas learn how to support and understand Buddhist military members, veterans, and their families.
- Represent the importance of religious pluralism and diversity in today's military population, and by extension in American society.
-Provide information about Buddhist Military Chaplaincy in US Armed Forces.


Thoughts?

http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot.com
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 18, 2011 8:50 pm

Jikan wrote:
Mission Statement
Welcome to the Buddhist Military Sangha! This is a nonpolitical and nonsectarian forum for Buddhists serving in the US Armed Forces.

-Provide a welcoming and positive forum for Buddhists currently serving or who have served in the military to communicate with and support one another.
-Recognize and promote honorable military service as in accord with the Eightfold Path's Right Livelihood.
-Correct misconceptions about Buddhists serving in the military.
-Help Buddhists unfamiliar with the military understand the jobs of their relatives and friends who are serving or who have served, and who love and respect the military profession.
-Help Buddhist Sanghas learn how to support and understand Buddhist military members, veterans, and their families.
- Represent the importance of religious pluralism and diversity in today's military population, and by extension in American society.
-Provide information about Buddhist Military Chaplaincy in US Armed Forces.


Thoughts?

http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot.com
Either these people are on serious drugs or they need to be prescribed some serious drugs.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:32 pm

My thought is this is a good thing.
Militaries have existed in buddhist nations by majority and even at time by the majority influence of the monastic, and do currently in the majority context.
Sri Lanka, per example, has many many buddhists in their armed forces. It being by vast majority buddhist by population.

Buddhist serve in the US military.
So this is useful.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby kirtu » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:36 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Mission Statement
Welcome to the Buddhist Military Sangha! This is a nonpolitical and nonsectarian forum for Buddhists serving in the US Armed Forces.

-Provide a welcoming and positive forum for Buddhists currently serving or who have served in the military to communicate with and support one another.
-Recognize and promote honorable military service as in accord with the Eightfold Path's Right Livelihood.
-Correct misconceptions about Buddhists serving in the military.
-Help Buddhists unfamiliar with the military understand the jobs of their relatives and friends who are serving or who have served, and who love and respect the military profession.
-Help Buddhist Sanghas learn how to support and understand Buddhist military members, veterans, and their families.
- Represent the importance of religious pluralism and diversity in today's military population, and by extension in American society.
-Provide information about Buddhist Military Chaplaincy in US Armed Forces.


Thoughts?

http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot.com
Either these people are on serious drugs or they need to be prescribed some serious drugs.
:namaste:


Greg -

US servicepeople have serious challenges to their faith. This never changes. The most difficult time is when they are young but actually there is a strong conformist tendency throughout the military through the ranks and officer corps because you have to persuade people to do anything. And in the US, while it has a strong military tradition, it is also a very cynical society. People are constantly judging you in the military and this has consequences, in some cases life and death consequences.

In the best cases, the US military can be used as a force for good. That this hasn't really happened in a while is not the fault of the soldiers. As we have discussed here and on eSangha, a warzone is a real hell environment and incurs serious karma. So, what do we do for Buddhist soldiers (yes they do exist)? My dogtags when I was a soldier said I was Buddhist although I kept that quiet while I was on active duty. A lot of people have a connection with the Dharma that is not in line with the perceived peace politics mainstream. A lot of soldiers get out of the military and engage subsequently in peace politics as well. Then we have soldiers who are seriously mentally or physically injured and their needs have to be addressed.

The blog itself could become a good resource. I question whether all the seminaries/institutes listed offering graduate programs in Buddhist studies would be recognized by the Chaplain's Corp for accreditation but they have changed tremendously over the past 25 years and are trying to adapt to meet the needs of the soldiers.

I was stunned to see Buddhist groups meeting at Kandahar and Bagram Air Bases and most other places for that matter. This is a very positive development.

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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:17 am

The US military is an agressive and imperialist force utilised by ruling economic elites to expand their physical zone of exploitation when they cannot do it by economic means. Buddhists have no business volunteering for military duty in such an organisation. Through their actions they are sanctioning the functioning of an organisation that has shown itself repeatedly to be a tool for the perpetuation of crimes against humanity.

Buddhists should not have their conscious salved so that they remain members of such an organisation, they shoud be persuaded through logic and a plea to their sanity to leave before they accrue more negative karma during their precious lifetime.

Any other action on our behalf would be complicity (on our behalf) in the negativity.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:37 am

There are some places such as on the indian reservations in new mexico and arizona where unemployment runs in excess of 50%, where there are no jobs to speak of, little in the way of educational opportunity, and problems with health, alcoholism and drug use which run rampant throughout the society.
NO electricity or running water in the US nowadays.... this is where you will find it.

So in such a circumstance for a 18 or so young person the military may be the only and best option. A distastefull option but the only one available.
It is participitory of heinous things in a corrupt government is this military.
But there are simply no viable alternative for some. Much educatonal assistance is available post military and job opportunity due to experiences and training.

So you make the best of what you have. I know peoples in exactly that circumstance. I know not many but a few buddhists from those areas.
I empathize with thier issues of necessity and am hopeing they can serve wuithout causeing harm but it seems little could stop this choice.

I expect there are different reasons for such a choice some good some bad some by necessity some not.
That they be not buddhists because of that circumstance of necessity...no. I am fortunate others are not as fortunate as me.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:51 am

ronnewmexico wrote:So in such a circumstance for a 18 or so young person the military may be the only and best option. A distastefull option but the only one available.
Keep 'em poor and desperate and then get them to do your dirty work! Here in rural Greece (and I think you will find this is the case all over the planet) the military is the best economic option for undereducated poor young men. A serviceman/woman earns almost double the money of any other employee in the rural sector.

Shiiiiit! I was working as a social worker (five years of university studies) with Afghan refugee children and was getting paid half the money of non-specialised relatively uneducated airforce personnal. So what is the only and best option for me?

I am sorry Ron but it's a piss weak excuse.

Selling and smuggling heroin is also a simple and profitable industry for somebody to work in, reckon we should start a chaplaincy to salve the conscious of Buddhist drug smugglers too?
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:01 am

What if, you had not even this option...."I was working as a social worker (five years of university studies) with Afghan refugee children and was getting paid half the money of non-specialised relatively uneducated airforce personnal. So what is the only and best option for me?"

What then? No university no pay no job. Hand outs at the community center food banks eating things that will kill you by age 40.
No car no money no nothing.

It's not me. I'm glad its not me. I know people who it is, nice compassionate peoples they are in a bad bad way.
Like as not and as often as not.
Bad rebirth....quite possibly if the one handed the gun to do the shooting in some form or manner.
If not that..... 10 or so behind for every one in the mix then possibly not so bad is that thing(10 support personal exist for every one doing active war zone duties). About the same I'd guess as US peoples who don't work against such things yet participate by its movement and receive benefits. I'd say about the same, they may be buddhists as well and join sanghas as well.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:02 am

ronnewmexico wrote:What if, you had not even this option...
Dear Ron, during my 43 years of existence oN this planet I have worked as a cleaner, welder, spray painter, dish washer, waiter, cook, lumber jack, olive orchard worker, secretary, teacher, social worker, lecturer, video camera operator, ad nauseum... (shiiiiit... I was even conscripted into the Greek army for six months where I was working as a barber!) Many of these jobs AFTER gaining my university degrees.

There are always other employment options other than the military. You just have to be prepared to be poor! My parents were frightfully poor and forced to emigrate to New Zealand and Australia as factory fodder for the industrial beast. Material poverty is not so bad. Spiritual poverty is unbearable.

Anyway, as far as options go, when all else fails there is one option which is always open: REBELLION! This is exactly what is happening right now in Greece. Hundreds of thousands of poor people being beaten and gassed on a weekly basis for fighting for their right to have options.

I think you Americans, for all your talk of personal liberty, have completely forgotten this option.

And let's not forget that Buddhism is not about salving ones conscious, it is about liberation.
:namaste:
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:31 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
ronnewmexico wrote:What if, you had not even this option...
Dear Ron, during my 43 years of existence of this planet I have worked as a cleaner, welder, spray painter, dish washer, waiter, cook, lumber jack, olive orchard worker, secretary, teacher, social worker, lecturer, video camera operator, ad nauseum... (shiiiiit... I was even conscripted into the Greek army for six months where I was working as a barber!) Many of these jobs AFTER gaining my university degrees.

There are always other employment options other than the military. You just have to be prepared to be poor! My parents were frightfully poor and forced to emigrate to New Zealand and Australia as factory fodder for the industrial beast. Material poverty is not so bad. Spiritual poverty is unbearable.

Anyway, as far as options go, when all else fails there is one option which is always open: REBELLION! This is exactly what is happening right now in Greece. Hundreds of thousands of poor people being beaten and gassed on a weekly basis for fighting for their right to have options.

I think you Americans, for all your talk of personal liberty, have completely forgotten this option.

And let's not forget that Buddhism is not about salving ones conscious, it is about liberation.
:namaste:



I'm glad the Greeks are resisting their awful government. I don't condone any violence, but the people have the right to eject their leaders from the government when they fail to represent the interests of the people rather than the economic elite from foreign countries.

It is an unfortunate reality that many young men and women see no other option than to join the military. When I was a teenager I wanted to join the military, too. I was attracted to the fact that it offered three square meals a day, stability and a regular pay cheque. I come from the lower working class where three square meals a day, stability and regular pay cheques are not always so readily available. I can understand why a lot of poor youth would look to the military.

However, joining a military that is ordered to engage in illegal wars is unwise. If your nation's military just guards the borders and looks after matters of self-defence, there won't be many foreseeable ethical dilemmas. However, in the case of America where countless innocent people have been killed and displaced in the last decade alone, why would a Buddhist feel comfortable working within such an institution? It is unethical and karmically unwise to participate and support such an institution.
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:49 pm

We to my opinion should direct our arrows of morality considered not at the hapless folks who due to economic or life necessity have to become the military but those,in this case americans who do nothing of any sort most even not voting, to stop the heinous actions their militaries engage in, if we are to engage in this throwing of arrows.

GregK...you simply do not know who things are on the reservations. These are not your normal situations for finding jobs and such things. You start with worthless desert that noone else wants is where they put your peoples. They steal then your faith and language forcing your children to attend schools where such may not be practiced nor language spoken. They at times do such heinous actions as killing all your sheep, as happened to the navajo in the 1940's, your sheep, what makes you navajo, killed by order of some buracrate in Wash DC. Kill your leaders who practiced the spiritual such as ghost dance and things of that sort. Then you have no way to earn anything but what they may care to give you.
Third world is what it is. Tell someone in Somalia you can go find gainfull employment as opposed to by the gun, is about the same thing as telling someone in rural areas of new mexico or arizona on reservation you can go find gainful employment as opposed to the military.
Herd sheep, herd sheep or live on the hand out, mostly that's it. 100 miles from nowhere in the middle of nowhere with no means to get anywhere else.

"I think you Americans, for all your talk of personal liberty, have completely forgotten this option.".....people, americans by vast majority want the status quo.
There is not a oppressor they are the oppressor the americans themselves, such is their ignorance.WE start qualifying
ignorance by occupation and who is it that qualifies. The ignorance is purvasive and predominate. Everyone even the most heinous have the right to sangha and dharma and even amongst the executioners and torturers if they had a group they have right and good it would be if they had a sangha......they may improve. Americans they may improve as well.

So I remain firmly with point.....this any way considered..... is a good good thing. Bad spot they are in...they can improve.

Bradley Manning a simple soldier provided by his actions with Wikileaks the inceptive factor in the liberations that have occured in the middle east and elsewhere by secret documents released....one of the military, kept in solitary confinement for months after months forced to stand with no blanket nor clothing anything in cell, without charges for months upon months....he is my hero, a military person. Sangha he certainly could join, proudly he could be my spiritual teacher in things at any sangha I could attend.

Let me tell you a story....years ago. 600 peoples arrested for antiwar demonstration. ONe Allan Ginsberg a Buddhist. 10 or so, of those arrested had higher charges for various reasons..... 600, but not Allen Ginsberg, did refuse to leave the jail until the 10 were released with them the 600.
Allan Ginsberg bonded out...2 hours time.
So who was the buddhist on that day and night years ago who was the spiritual who was the spiritual leader in that thing of years ago...the faceless uneducated unknowns, who with nothing to be stated, nor gained, but much to loose, the 600 who refused to leave that jail so 10......would be released as well or was it.... Allan Ginsberg.....who was the buddhist, who held the mantel of morality, on that day and night many years ago????

DEny not sangha nor dharma to anyone based on appearences.... not a single one ever......
Good always and without exception are sangha and dharma always....
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:58 pm

If we engage in compassionate action in our individual traditions how can we then turn around and deny the dharma to certain beings?

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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby kirtu » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:08 pm

Huseng wrote:However, in the case of America where countless innocent people have been killed and displaced in the last decade alone, why would a Buddhist feel comfortable working within such an institution? It is unethical and karmically unwise to participate and support such an institution.


As you know many young people are still in formation well into their 20's (for that matter well into their 30's). Young teenagers esp. just out of school, coming from a family with a military tradition or from lower socio-economic status or just from a sense of patriotism or from a sense of desiring disciple and job training or a desire for travel and adventure, irrespective of a fully formed religious affiliation, may join the military. Then as their development continues they may discover an admiration for the Dharma and become practitioners or as they encounter the challenges of military life, people with an identified affiliation with the Dharma may deepen their practice. Things are not as nice and neat as we might suppose. The same argument could be made for Orthodox Jews or many Christian groups (or strains within Christian groups). Nonetheless these followers also join the US military daily.

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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby kirtu » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:22 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:There are always other employment options other than the military. You just have to be prepared to be poor!


Greg -

The US is a 1st, 2nd and 3rd world nation simultaneously. Honestly, many people really may not have employment options other than the military. Still others reject the idea of staying at home in a materially impoverished situation. Right now esp. we have an economic depression that is excluding some classes of young people (frequently African-Americans and Hispanics) and people > 45 who have lost their jobs. And we lack leadership on job formation.

Anyway, as far as options go, when all else fails there is one option which is always open: REBELLION! ...
I think you Americans, for all your talk of personal liberty, have completely forgotten this option.


Americans are hyperconservative. Namdrol and I had a discussion about this a week ago. He claimed that American hyperconservatism is regional. I do see regional differences but I see a near blanket hyperconservatism that is not just entrenched in the South and MidWest (where it is true I have had most of my life experiences in the US). I also see this hyperconservatism in NY and Massachusetts and much of the West, including California and also in Hawai'i.

And let's not forget that Buddhism is not about salving ones conscious, it is about liberation.
:namaste:


At it's highest ideal, yes. Buddhism also admits the possibility of practice just to improve one's current life as a very inferior approach. The minimum approach should be to improve the next life. Nonetheless, young people often have a more limited view and are initially looking to improve their situation immediately in this life as well as the noble notion of service to the country. Service to the country is basically altruistic and is one of the few altruistic activities culturally sanctioned in the US. It was easy for recruiters to invoke this beginning just after 10:30 am on Sept 11, 2001. It is still easy for them as even now the US population is somewhat unsettled wrt the continuing wars.

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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:35 pm

I see little problem with having a Buddhist chaplain and community in any military until it is meant to represent the Three Treasures. It seems contrary to Western ideas about Buddhism that it is all about peace and serenity but as a major religion it is no different in its cultural and political presence from Christianity and Islam. When emperors, dictators and warlords took/take Buddhism as their preferred state religion the military is obviously included. Even gangsters can be Buddhists! And if those who commit evil acts understand that there are serious consequences in this life and the subsequent ones they may eventually reform themselves. If they realise that samsara is the place of suffering they might even turn their minds toward higher goals.
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Mind is this mind carefree;
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Jikan » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:52 pm

For those who are not in the US, Kirt's premise is correct: there are well-populated portions of the United States where the only legitimate employer is the US military for much or most of the population (especially young men). If you are presented the choice between gambling on a brief military career that may make college possible for you (basic recruiting claim), OR a quick-money life of petty or not-so-petty crime that will inevitably shorten your life or send you to prison, then what do you choose?
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:17 pm

I'm not in the US but I seriously doubt that young men can chose only between the military or crime. What about young women first of all? They could join the military too but for some reason most of them don't make such a choice. Also, if for poor people the military is a good option then poorer countries would have lot bigger armies than the US, especially when they have a higher population. It is also an interesting phenomenon compared to the option of a military career that in many Buddhist countries poor families send a few children to the monasteries to ease their financial burden; this practice was also common in Europe before the materialist era. It would be a lot nicer if all those desperate young people joined the community of Buddha instead of a group meant for killing and conquer.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:29 pm

kirtu wrote:Nonetheless, young people often have a more limited view and are initially looking to improve their situation immediately in this life as well as the noble notion of service to the country. Service to the country is basically altruistic and is one of the few altruistic activities culturally sanctioned in the US.
And this is where you swallow the whole deal: hook, line and sinker! Unfortunately serving in the US military is not about service to your country but service to the private sector (mainly oil and weapons industry). It is culturally sanctioned because the US has a corporatist consumer culture.

Here in Greece we have military conscription. If you refuse to do military service you can opt for social service (this is the option taken by Jehovahs Witnesses) where you do a term of service double that of the military service, or you can choose to go to jail (this is the option taken by most Anarchists), again for double the time of the normal military service, or you can pretend you are insane and get exempted from military service and a piece of paper from the military bureaucracy that says that you are insane (many non-political consc. objectors take this option) or the final option is just to not show up and then live illegally (before the EU you needed a passport to leave Greece and you could only get one if you had completed military service, it is easier nowdays to leave the country unnoticed).

There is always a way out, there is always another option. ALWAYS!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Astus » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:38 pm

Greg,

Indeed. A story of a man I personally know who was conscripted (conscription was abolished in Hungary about 9 years ago) but didn't want to leave his wife and baby daughter for years because they needed the money he earned went to the dentist and had most of his teeth pulled out because then he was not eligible for service. So yes, there is always a way out.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)

Postby Caz » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:27 am

Im a bit sketchy since my friend joined up who wanted to be a Buddhist and I still am... :rules:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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