Military and Buddhism

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Dave The Seeker » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:21 pm

I truly don't believe my earnings should go to the government. They do no good with the money, they live high on the hog while too many go with out.

I read somewhere, sorry can't tell you where, that it would be considered stealing if I didn't pay taxes that the government said was theirs.

I know I'll be punished for not paying taxes, so therefore I must pay them. But thank you for clearing up my concern, as paying under duress doesn't hold me accountable for the misuse of my earnings they take from me to cause pain and suffering as well as killing.

Kindest wishes, Dave
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Fruitzilla » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:23 pm

Anybody in favour of thinking it through for yourself yet?
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Dave The Seeker » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:27 pm

I have actually thought it through. But being very new to Buddhism I was seeking understanding from those of more knowledge. I hope one day to be able to understand what the teachings truly mean, and only do the best I can to do the right thing.

Kindest wishes, Dave
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Fruitzilla » Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:51 pm

The Seeker wrote:I have actually thought it through. But being very new to Buddhism I was seeking understanding from those of more knowledge. I hope one day to be able to understand what the teachings truly mean, and only do the best I can to do the right thing.

Kindest wishes, Dave


Good!

It seems opinions differ mostly by cultures of origin. So that would mean there are no "ultimate" answers....
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:03 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:Anybody in favour of thinking it through for yourself yet?


Everyone here is.

Fruitzilla wrote:
The Seeker wrote:I have actually thought it through. But being very new to Buddhism I was seeking understanding from those of more knowledge. I hope one day to be able to understand what the teachings truly mean, and only do the best I can to do the right thing.

Kindest wishes, Dave


Good!

It seems opinions differ mostly by cultures of origin. So that would mean there are no "ultimate" answers....


Well duh, the title of the thread is "Military and Buddhism". Not the "Military and 17th century Elizabethan Dog Walking Ethics"
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Straka » Wed Jan 18, 2012 11:59 pm

Fruitzilla wrote:Anybody in favour of thinking it through for yourself yet?
\

My reason for posting this is the same reason The Seeker had for asking his question, haha.
I thank you all for the responses. I'm taking the time to read them now and I'm glad this topic is being so actively discussed!
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:48 am

This might be relevant.

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=4759
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Nemo » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:06 am

It really depends on your trade. I was a medic. Never killed anyone and provided paramedical and mediocre clinical care. Being a medic got me a job in a civvie hospital.
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:29 pm

Mr. G wrote:Well duh, the title of the thread is "Military and Buddhism". Not the "Military and 17th century Elizabethan Dog Walking Ethics"


all this time i've been posting in the wrong bloody forum? :o why did nobody say anything??!! :x :x
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Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.


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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Straka » Tue Jan 24, 2012 1:59 am

http://www.charlestontibetansociety.com/Karma.pdf
(I have not yet begun attending the teachings offered here, but plan to after the classes start up again)

I was reading this today and sort of realized that by being in an organization that is meant to participate in war, dehumanize the enemy, and bring great suffering not only to "enemies" but also those close to those viewed as "enemies" I am gaining negative karma (as you have all stated) which ultimately seems as though it will lead to more negative karma either in this life or any lives after this one. Also, that it will lead to situations that will probably lead to acting in an ignorant way probably just increasing the cycle of rebirth. Ultimately, too, it overall seems to go against generating both compassion and bodhichitta. There are many other ways i could lead my life (in the sense of a job, i suppose to say) which would not induce such effects. Anyway, thanks for your time here.

Someone also mentioned being part of a non-combatant role, but ultimately, am i not just aiding the war effort? As General Patton of the US Army once stated:
“Every single man in the Army plays a vital role. Every department, every unit, is important in the vast scheme of this war.  The ordinance men are needed to supply the guns and machinery of war to keep us rolling.   The Quartermaster is needed to bring up food and clothes ‐ because where we are going there isnʹt a hell of a lot to steal.”

With regards,
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Mr. G » Tue Jan 24, 2012 2:23 am

Straka wrote:
Someone also mentioned being part of a non-combatant role, but ultimately, am i not just aiding the war effort?


It's not so much the non-combatant role as forming the resolution, "Even in order to save my life, I shall not kill a living being." A long time ago I saw the documentary "The Conscientious Objector" about a WW2 medic who was a Conscientious Objector and went to war without a gun and would not kill people. The stories he told were harrowing and the fact that he survived against the odds were mind-boggling. Life is short and precious. It may be best to not gamble one's life in a potential life and death situation like that. It may be better to spend one's time in Dharma study and practice.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Nemo » Tue Jan 24, 2012 4:49 am

Medics in the European theatre on both sides did not carry weapons. They were not allowed. The Geneva Convention was generally respected. Korea was a different story. I knew an old Medic who still remembers it. He carried two 45's and had to use them on many occasions. Today we are a preferred target. The guy with the radio and anyone who gets saluted will usually be before you in line. We no longer wear insignia in the field in many theatres.
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:37 am

Mr. G wrote:
Straka wrote:
Someone also mentioned being part of a non-combatant role, but ultimately, am i not just aiding the war effort?


It's not so much the non-combatant role as forming the resolution, "Even in order to save my life, I shall not kill a living being." A long time ago I saw the documentary "The Conscientious Objector" about a WW2 medic who was a Conscientious Objector and went to war without a gun and would not kill people. The stories he told were harrowing and the fact that he survived against the odds were mind-boggling. Life is short and precious. It may be best to not gamble one's life in a potential life and death situation like that. It may be better to spend one's time in Dharma study and practice.


Being a jail cell with three square meals a day and relative safety is preferable to risking one's life fighting some foolish war for the aristocracy. Even under duress, such as being a conscript, the former is still preferable. You could sit there in your cell doing meditation and prostrations. That'll get you a lot further along the path than being in some foreign country participating in aggressive wars of plunder.

Buddhadharma historically has been a strong counterweight to militarism in societies. It actually diverts a lot of young men away from potentially serving in some military endeavour into monasteries where they're generally kept away from military matters and sworn to uphold vows of non-violence. Wars are fought by young men, and when you have a sizeable number of the population of young men in monasteries, raising an army becomes that much more difficult.
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Straka » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:35 pm

Mr. G wrote:Hi Straka,

From the Abhidharmakosabhasyam:

When many persons are united with the intention to kill, either in
war, or in the hunt, or in banditry, who is guilty of murder, if only one of
them kills?

    72c-d. As soldiers, etc., concur in the realization of the same
    effect, all are as guilty as the one who kills.

Having a common goal, all are guilty exactly as he who among them
kills, for all mutually incite one another, not through speech, but by the
very fact that they are united together in order to kill.
But is the person who has been constrained through force to join the
army also guilty?
Evidently so, unless he has formed the resolution, "Even in order to
save my life, I shall not kill a living being."




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some other threads you may find of interest:

Military jobs: Which are less unethical?
Buddhist Military Sangha (U.S.)



Sorry to post again, but i just saw a line here that caught my interest:

"But is the person who has been constrained through force to join the
army also guilty?"


Naturally, i was not forced to join the Navy. That is to say before i joined, i knew perfectly well that i was going to join an organization meant to participate in war, which would ultimately involve the taking of lives.

Anyway, i feel if this thread isn't closed, i will probably keep coming back and posting more if i continue to delve further and further into this topic, haha.


Now comes the time to find a teacher!
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:04 am

Straka wrote:
Now comes the time to find a teacher!


If you can give us the name of a town by you, members here can assist in finding a center by you. If you are constantly on the move as you are in the military, we can find very good and legitimate teachers to learn online from. First, decide on the tradition you are interested in. :smile:
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Straka » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:26 am

I plan on beginning here http://www.charlestontibetansociety.com/index.htm once the classes start back up again.
I live in Charleston, SC (USA), though, if you are interested in looking still.
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Mr. G » Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:31 am

Straka wrote:I plan on beginning here http://www.charlestontibetansociety.com/index.htm once the classes start back up again.
I live in Charleston, SC (USA), though, if you are interested in looking still.


Looks good!
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Military and Buddhism

Postby Straka » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:59 pm

http://www.dharma.org/ij/archives/2002a/nonviolence.htm

A helpful piece, for anyone who may browse this thread in the future.
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