Author Topic: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising  (Read 3283 times)

GoGet

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2012, 05:53:54 am »

And I still don't see how killing is compatible with Buddhist practice.

How can it not be?

Did the Buddha not kill before his Enlightenment?

Milarepa wiped out a village and still attained Enlightenment.

And you, my friend, kill sentient beings every day.  Drive your car yesterday?  See that little bug go splat on your windshield?  The bug was you mother in a previous life.    Whether or not you intend to kill them is irrelevent.  Your repeated, overly-simplistic postings almost never consider intent, but irregardless, killing is killing and it's a result of volition and that's karma.

Now, if that's not compatible with Buddhist practice, then YOU, sit have a major problem.  You are playing at being a Buddhist and by your own admission, it's an exercise in futility.  You can't be a Buddhist because, by your own declaration, your life is incompatible with it's practice.

What, then, are you doing here?

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2012, 07:02:02 am »
But the whole point of an army is that soldiers kill to order.  As a soldier you get given an order and you follow it, like it or not.

And I still don't see how killing is compatible with Buddhist practice.

I think the whole point of an army is to protect its country and people.  And killing is incompatible with lots of religions and philosophies. Still soldiers follow them. I bet there millions of Buddhist fishermen that also break the first precept.

Yes, killing is incompatible with lots of religions and philosophies.   So why do you think so many people are willing to ignore this most basic of ethical rules? 
As for the purpose of armies - they often seem to be used for roles other than national defense.  But my point was that soldiers have to obey orders, they can't pick and choose who they kill.

Offline Wonky Badger

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2012, 07:31:30 am »
Yes, killing is incompatible with lots of religions and philosophies.   So why do you think so many people are willing to ignore this most basic of ethical rules?
As for the purpose of armies - they often seem to be used for roles other than national defense.  But my point was that soldiers have to obey orders, they can't pick and choose who they kill.

We are all on different stages of the path. I bet most soldiers are ready to kill because they believe that by doing so, they may save more lives than they take. By killing an armed and hostile enemy they can save their comrades and/or innocent civilians. Most people that kill manage to justify it to themselves somehow. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to do it. And some justifications are more (or less) sane than others.

And soldiers can refuse to obey orders. They can refuse to kill civilians or unarmed enemies, or they could just plain out refuse and be killed in battle or be court-martialed.

I read a story some years back about a Bodhisattva that traveled on a boat with a lot of other people. On this boat there was also a murderer that admitted to the Bodhisattva that after the Bodhisattva would disembark and the boat again left shore, the murderer would kill everyone else on board. Upon hearing this, the Bodhisattva killed the murderer. But that's just an old story.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
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What would Buddha do?

Offline former monk john

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2012, 09:24:27 am »
i think that story was one of the buddhas past lives
to me, the signs of a successful practice are happiness and a cessation of suffering, buddhism often gives me this; not all the answers.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2012, 01:33:33 am »
And soldiers can refuse to obey orders. They can refuse to kill civilians or unarmed enemies, or they could just plain out refuse and be killed in battle or be court-martialed.

It's possible, but soldiers are intensively trained to carry out the orders they are given so that it becomes an automatic response.  And a soldier who hesitates or refuses is a liability.

I still don't see how killing is compatible with Buddhist practice and it's ethical basis of non-harm.   I still don't see why a practising Buddhist would sign up to be a soldier.  And I still don't see how a soldier could commit to the precepts.

Offline Wonky Badger

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2012, 02:40:45 am »
And soldiers can refuse to obey orders. They can refuse to kill civilians or unarmed enemies, or they could just plain out refuse and be killed in battle or be court-martialed.

It's possible, but soldiers are intensively trained to carry out the orders they are given so that it becomes an automatic response.  And a soldier who hesitates or refuses is a liability.

Oh, come now! I hardly think it's an automatic response! People do not lose their free will by joining the army!

I still don't see how killing is compatible with Buddhist practice and it's ethical basis of non-harm.   I still don't see why a practising Buddhist would sign up to be a soldier.  And I still don't see how a soldier could commit to the precepts.

I think that there are many people that manage to go through their army career without ever having to kill someone. Should they still, because of the fact that they might have to kill someone, refrain from becoming Buddhists? Here in Finland and in many other countries there is conscription. Most able men over 18 goes through military training and is required by law to return to the army in case of war. By your logic, most Finnish men should refrain from becoming Buddhists.

Luckily for me I never went to the army, so I can still be a Buddhist if I want to. However, I realized that if a person (or a bear or a snake or whatever really) threatened to kill my family and the only way for me to stop them was to kill them, I would most certainly do so rather than seeing my family die. So I guess that I should "resign" as a Buddhist as well? By becoming a husband and father I vowed to protect my family in the same way a soldier vows to protect his country, so I guess that I'm then incompatible with Buddhism.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
---
What would Buddha do?

Offline Monkey Mind

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Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2012, 03:21:12 am »
I still don't see how killing is compatible with Buddhist practice and it's ethical basis of non-harm.   I still don't see why a practising Buddhist would sign up to be a soldier.  And I still don't see how a soldier could commit to the precepts.

I think it happens the other way around. Buddhists don't go running off to become soldiers, but soldiers become interested in Buddhism. I've worked with some veterans. They were teenagers when they enlisted, guided by a moral compass that isn't fully developed. As they gained more life experience, there was a need to understand why things happen the way they do, a need for spirituality.

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2012, 05:19:26 am »
Isn't there something in the teachings about intent being the cause of kamma.
Killing bugs etc and even animals or other humans by accident is not intent.
By the same token a soldier protecting his country isn't killing by intent but out of necessity to protect the citizenry.
I think it would be ok in these circumstances as long as he chanted "may all beings be well and happy" while he did it.

with Metta

GoGet

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2012, 07:58:33 am »
And soldiers can refuse to obey orders. They can refuse to kill civilians or unarmed enemies, or they could just plain out refuse and be killed in battle or be court-martialed.

It's possible, but soldiers are intensively trained to carry out the orders they are given so that it becomes an automatic response.  And a soldier who hesitates or refuses is a liability.

Oh, come now! I hardly think it's an automatic response! People do not lose their free will by joining the army!

I still don't see how killing is compatible with Buddhist practice and it's ethical basis of non-harm.   I still don't see why a practising Buddhist would sign up to be a soldier.  And I still don't see how a soldier could commit to the precepts.

I think that there are many people that manage to go through their army career without ever having to kill someone. Should they still, because of the fact that they might have to kill someone, refrain from becoming Buddhists? Here in Finland and in many other countries there is conscription. Most able men over 18 goes through military training and is required by law to return to the army in case of war. By your logic, most Finnish men should refrain from becoming Buddhists.

Luckily for me I never went to the army, so I can still be a Buddhist if I want to. However, I realized that if a person (or a bear or a snake or whatever really) threatened to kill my family and the only way for me to stop them was to kill them, I would most certainly do so rather than seeing my family die. So I guess that I should "resign" as a Buddhist as well? By becoming a husband and father I vowed to protect my family in the same way a soldier vows to protect his country, so I guess that I'm then incompatible with Buddhism.

That's why the blinkered, strict, fundamentalist approach to the "Precepts" we so often see on the boards is such BS.   Such an approach makes it literally impossible for ANYONE, not just Finns, to practice the Dharma.  At all.

Pema Chodron wrote a book entitled, "Start Where You Are".  Among other things, Ani Pema, taught that you begin your practice of the Dharma right where you are, irregardless of where that may be.  You don't wait till you're in some "perfect" place in your life to begin your practice, like getting out of the Army.  No you begin where you're at.  Here.  Now.  So if you're in the Army and you want to practice the Dharma, do so.  If you kill a few sentient beings along the way, that sucks to be sure and it's lousy karma, but that's no reason to not practice.  Practice anywyay.  There is no karma that cannot be purified.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2012, 12:58:00 pm »
The N8FP includes right livelihood. What is traditionally excluded from being considered right livelihood? Soldiers and butchers--professional killers.

It is possible for someone to begin their spiritual career as a soldier or a butcher. As a general rule they should move away from such activities as much and as soon as possible. It is possible for individual karmic scenarios to override that general rule, but such cases are rare.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 01:45:16 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Wonky Badger

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2012, 06:14:59 pm »
The N8FP includes right livelihood. What is traditionally excluded from being considered right livelihood? Soldiers and butchers--professional killers.

It is possible for someone to begin their spiritual career as a soldier or a butcher. As a general rule they should move away from such activities as much and as soon as possible. It is possible for individual karmic scenarios to override that general rule, but such cases are rare.


Nope. Not according to this: Buddhism & The Soldier
It's a bit of a long read but I've quoted some of the essentials below.

Quote
Soldiering was accepted by the Buddha as a noble profession. The soldier was known as "Rajabhata." Buddha did not permit rajabhata to become monks whilst in service as a soldier.

Quote
... Further whilst the expressly referred to five occupations as unrighteous Soldiering is not included amongst those.

Quote
From the above it is clear that contrary to the popular belief the Buddha has not rejected or prohibited soldiering as a profession or occupation and the right of a king or a government to have an army and to defend one's country and its people. In the contrary the Buddha has expressly recognized the necessity for a king to have an army and providing protection to the subjects of a country has been recognized as a prime duty of the king .

Quote
However it should be stressed that a soldier like all others is subject to the law of Kamma and will not escape the Kammic fruits of "taking the Life"of a sentient being (panatipatha) even though he may have had the overall noble intention of protecting his country and his people.

While killing may be inevitable in a long and successful army career opportunities for merit too is unlimited for a disciplined and conscientious soldier.


One might also speculate, that if all Buddhist kingdoms had laid down their arms in the early days of Buddhism, there might not have been any Buddhism left in the world today.
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
---
What would Buddha do?

Offline Wonky Badger

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2012, 06:22:57 pm »
That's why the blinkered, strict, fundamentalist approach to the "Precepts" we so often see on the boards is such BS.   Such an approach makes it literally impossible for ANYONE, not just Finns, to practice the Dharma.  At all.

We're all here to learn and improve our understanding of the Dharma. Without this discussion, I would not have learned what the Buddha thought about soldiers. Other people expressing their views help me define and refine my views and for that I'm grateful.  :namaste:
My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.
My actions are the ground on which I stand.
---
What would Buddha do?

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2012, 08:21:53 pm »
Quote
Nope. Not according to this: Buddhism & The Soldier
It's a bit of a long read but I've quoted some of the essentials below.

Flash forward a couple of millennium to the present day: My Gelug mentor made a point of saying soldiers and butchers were "black professions" and contrary to Dharma practice.

From your own post:
Quote
However it should be stressed that a soldier like all others is subject to the law of Kamma and will not escape the Kammic fruits of "taking the Life"of a sentient being (panatipatha) even though he may have had the overall noble intention of protecting his country and his people.(formatting mine)

In the Tibetan traditions they have very elaborate descriptions of the various hells. One of them is "The Hell of Reviving" where soldiers slaughter each other and the revive to do it all over again. Of course this is a shortened scenario that is actually thought to be played out over multiple lifetimes.

The teaching on "The Precious Human Rebirth" includes a provision where in order to practice Dharma one should "not be bound by karma". What constitutes being bound by karma? It means being placed in a position where one has to commit non-virtue in order to survive.* Whether as a soldier at war, or a prisoner in an American jail, or any other desperate situation where it is survival of the fittest and dog-eat-dog, you are not considered to really have the karmic opportunity to practice Dharma. Voluntarily placing yourself in that kind of karmic vicious circle is a big mistake.


*I'll bet Caz knew that! :namaste:
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 08:39:39 pm by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2012, 03:27:14 am »
And soldiers can refuse to obey orders. They can refuse to kill civilians or unarmed enemies, or they could just plain out refuse and be killed in battle or be court-martialed.

It's possible, but soldiers are intensively trained to carry out the orders they are given so that it becomes an automatic response.  And a soldier who hesitates or refuses is a liability.

Oh, come now! I hardly think it's an automatic response! People do not lose their free will by joining the army!

The whole point of military training and discipline is to overide personal decision-making so that soldiers follow orders without question.  And generally people understand that when they sign up to the military.
In my pre-Buddhist days I was a machine gunner in an army reserve unit.  Fortunately I didn't get called up for active service, but some of the exercises we did were pretty realistic, and basically as an ordinary soldier you have no choice, you follow orders often without understanding the bigger picture.  That's how armies work.

It isn't my intention to judge anyone, but I don't accept the idea that it's OK for a practising Buddhist to kill in certain circumstances.  As far as I'm concerned killing is never OK for a Buddhist.

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2012, 07:34:24 am »
Quote
It isn't my intention to judge anyone, but I don't accept the idea that it's OK for a practising Buddhist to kill in certain circumstances.  As far as I'm concerned killing is never OK for a Buddhist.
In Tibetan style  Mahayana there are two different traditions of "Bodhisattva Vows". In one of them it is specified that one should/must commit one of the acts normally considered negative of the body or speech if love and compassion make it necessary. So one can lie to save another's life, or kill in order to protect others, etc. But it does not mention patriotism or military discipline as permissible motivations for killing.
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

 


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