Author Topic: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising  (Read 3239 times)

Offline Spiny Norman

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Offline Wonky Badger

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2012, 06:49:47 am »
This is worth reading:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/gettingmessage.html


It certainly is worth reading. It is also worth noting that many of the texts that Thanissaro Bhikkhu quotes in there are directed to monastics, not lay people. And while it is noted that killing is unskillful, so is lying, stealing, cheating and so on. Although killing is a very drastic thing, I'm not sure that there is a scale of more or less unskillful. There is either skillful or unskillful. Stealing an apple can block your path just as effectively as killing someone can. An actor will end up in hell just as much as a soldier will (unfortunately not even that will convince Steven Seagal to quit acting). It might sound logical to say that a Buddhist should not be a soldier, but the other way around? A soldier should not be a Buddhist? Is it ever wrong to be a Buddhist? If skillfulness was a prerequisite, would any of us be Buddhists? Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?

It can also be noted that the Buddha was a soldier in many of his previous lives, and he still became the Buddha. I do not fully understand karma, but I believe that we each have our own path to follow and maybe it is someone's karma to be a soldier. Regardless of one's profession I can't really see how it ever can be wrong to be a Buddhist.
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 Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2012, 07:04:58 am »
Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?

If one is unwilling to acknowledge that there are ideals, then yes. 

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #33 on: October 30, 2012, 07:18:45 am »
This is worth reading:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/gettingmessage.html


It certainly is worth reading. It is also worth noting that many of the texts that Thanissaro Bhikkhu quotes in there are directed to monastics, not lay people.


I had a similar thought.  We must always take the audience of the Buddha's teaching into consideration.


 
Quote
And while it is noted that killing is unskillful, so is lying, stealing, cheating and so on. Although killing is a very drastic thing, I'm not sure that there is a scale of more or less unskillful.



In the context of path and practice such distinctions serve no purpose.



Quote
There is either skillful or unskillful. Stealing an apple can block your path just as effectively as killing someone can. An actor will end up in hell just as much as a soldier will (unfortunately not even that will convince Steven Seagal to quit acting). It might sound logical to say that a Buddhist should not be a soldier, but the other way around? A soldier should not be a Buddhist? Is it ever wrong to be a Buddhist? If skillfulness was a prerequisite, would any of us be Buddhists? Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?



Good point!  We must start where we are, no matter where that may be.  Being a soldier may not be the best profession for a Buddhist to have, but what profession is?  Circumstances change, but I don't think someone should wait for such change if a connection to the Dharma is found now.

Quote
It can also be noted that the Buddha was a soldier in many of his previous lives, and he still became the Buddha. I do not fully understand karma, but I believe that we each have our own path to follow and maybe it is someone's karma to be a soldier. Regardless of one's profession I can't really see how it ever can be wrong to be a Buddhist.


It isn't.  There's nothing chiseled in stone that states a soldier can't be a Buddhist.  In fact, there's nothing to say that a soldier cannot attain enlightenment.  Milarepa killed a number of people with magic for revenge - a far less noble reason for taking a life than defending one's homeland.  In spite of that, Milarepa was able to purify his karma though practice to attain the highest realization.  A soldier can be as good a Buddhist as anyone on this board and probably better.

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #34 on: October 30, 2012, 07:21:10 am »
Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?

If one is unwilling to acknowledge that there are ideals, then yes.

You've got the chops to tell someone to quit being a Buddhist? 

I know someone who graduated Shedra 1st in his class and is considered to be one of the leading scholars of his generation.  He's forgotten more about the Dharma than you and I will know in this lifetime.  His compassion for beings is unsurpassed.  He would NEVER tell someone to quit being a Buddhist.

The thought of such an attitude is simply outrageous.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 08:04:34 am by GoGet »

Offline Caz

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #35 on: October 30, 2012, 02:36:18 pm »
Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?

If one is unwilling to acknowledge that there are ideals, then yes.

You've got the chops to tell someone to quit being a Buddhist? 

I know someone who graduated Shedra 1st in his class and is considered to be one of the leading scholars of his generation.  He's forgotten more about the Dharma than you and I will know in this lifetime.  His compassion for beings is unsurpassed.  He would NEVER tell someone to quit being a Buddhist.

The thought of such an attitude is simply outrageous.
[/quote

Its also a downfall as well.  :eek:
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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #36 on: October 30, 2012, 04:51:14 pm »
Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?

If one is unwilling to acknowledge that there are ideals, then yes.

You've got the chops to tell someone to quit being a Buddhist? 

I know someone who graduated Shedra 1st in his class and is considered to be one of the leading scholars of his generation.  He's forgotten more about the Dharma than you and I will know in this lifetime.  His compassion for beings is unsurpassed.  He would NEVER tell someone to quit being a Buddhist.

The thought of such an attitude is simply outrageous.

Its also a downfall as well.  :eek:

If you mean one of the 14 Root Downfalls (like #4?) , the Pedantic One isn't a Vajrayana practitioner so I wouldn't say it applies to him.

Then there are the 18 root and 46 secondary downfalls associated with the Bodhisattva vows.  Again, I don't think this applies to PP as I don't believe he's taken those vows, either.

Still, saying that some people can be be Buddhists and others can't is pretty heinous in my book.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 05:00:31 pm by GoGet »

Offline Caz

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2012, 02:58:05 am »
Should one quit Buddhism if one is not able to live up to one's ideals?

If one is unwilling to acknowledge that there are ideals, then yes.

You've got the chops to tell someone to quit being a Buddhist? 

I know someone who graduated Shedra 1st in his class and is considered to be one of the leading scholars of his generation.  He's forgotten more about the Dharma than you and I will know in this lifetime.  His compassion for beings is unsurpassed.  He would NEVER tell someone to quit being a Buddhist.

The thought of such an attitude is simply outrageous.

Its also a downfall as well.  :eek:

If you mean one of the 14 Root Downfalls (like #4?) , the Pedantic One isn't a Vajrayana practitioner so I wouldn't say it applies to him.

Then there are the 18 root and 46 secondary downfalls associated with the Bodhisattva vows.  Again, I don't think this applies to PP as I don't believe he's taken those vows, either.

Still, saying that some people can be be Buddhists and others can't is pretty heinous in my book.

The 9th vows of the Refuge vow says we should encourage others to go for refuge, Regardless of one's morale capability taking refuge plants the seeds of Liberation on the mind so we should never say to anyone to abandon Buddhism.
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

This eBook Modern Buddhism – The Path of Compassion and Wisdom, in three volumes, is being distributed freely at the request of the author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. The author says: "Through reading and practicing the instructions given in this book, people can solve their daily problems and maintain a happy mind all the time." So that these benefits can pervade the whole world, Geshe Kelsang wishes to give this eBook freely to everyone.

We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

Please enjoy this special gift from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who dedicates: "May everyone who reads this book experience deep peace of mind, and accomplish the real meaning of human life."

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2012, 06:32:41 am »
Quote
The 9th vows of the Refuge vow says we should encourage others to go for refuge, Regardless of one's morale capability taking refuge plants the seeds of Liberation on the mind so we should never say to anyone to abandon Buddhism.
Ok, ya got me. I've never heard of the Refuge Vows ennumerated in such a way. If its not too much trouble could you post what the specific vows of Refuge are?

I agree with your second sentence. I just couldn't handle the formatting on my phone to separate it out for specific reply.
:-)
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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2012, 08:17:25 am »
Quote
The 9th vows of the Refuge vow says we should encourage others to go for refuge, Regardless of one's morale capability taking refuge plants the seeds of Liberation on the mind so we should never say to anyone to abandon Buddhism.
Ok, ya got me. I've never heard of the Refuge Vows ennumerated in such a way. If its not too much trouble could you post what the specific vows of Refuge are?

I agree with your second sentence. I just couldn't handle the formatting on my phone to separate it out for specific reply.
:-)

I think that's one of the so-called Rabjung Vows that (I believe) are included in the NKT Refuge tradition.

They weren't given, or even implied in the Refuge Vows I took in the Kagyu lineage.

You see a lot of that sort of thing - differences in the vows offered and precepted - throughout Buddhism.  For example, Precept Vows are neither offered or encouraged in my practice lineage  and whie nothing stops anyone from making that commitment, the belief is that they are not karmically binding unless vows are taken.

That why I posted that PP isn't necessarily bound by the same standard of precept or vows that you, Caz or I am because he probably hasn't taken the same vows.  You can't fall from a height you haven't attained.

I can appreciate that PP may not understand how a soldier can be a Buddhist.  What I can't appreciate, or accept for that matter, that any of us can say or suggest that some people can be Buddhists while others cannot.  This is not Freemasonry.  We do not get to decide who gets the white ball and who gets the black.  Noone should be denied refuge for any reason.

My practice goes back to what we, today, would call a criminal.  A murderer.  Had that person not been allowed to begin practice and training, had Marpa seen fit to send him away, I, for one, would not be benefiting from the blessing of that practice lineage today.

Let soldiers become Buddhists and may all beings benefit.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2012, 08:19:41 am by GoGet »

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2012, 02:11:28 am »
I still don't accept that it's OK for a Buddhist to kill.

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Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2012, 02:15:49 am »
But can you accept that a killer can give up killing and become a Buddhist? See the stories of Angulimala.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2012, 02:19:37 am »
But can you accept that a killer can give up killing and become a Buddhist?

Of course.  My point is that if somebody is unwilling to stop killing and claims to be a Buddhist then it's pretty meaningless.

Offline Wonky Badger

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2012, 03:51:35 am »
But can you accept that a killer can give up killing and become a Buddhist?

Of course.  My point is that if somebody is unwilling to stop killing and claims to be a Buddhist then it's pretty meaningless.

Do you feel that this applies only to the first precept or to all of them? For example, I know that there are a lot of Buddhists out there that drink.

And "unwilling to stop" applies more to people that break the other precepts than to soldiers. Soldiers don't want to kill. I think most of them hope that they won't have to. And some of them won't ever have to. Also, for those that break the other precepts, there will seldom be any negative consequences if they stop breaking them but a soldier could be looking at unemployment and poverty.

Also, very few people can adapt to Buddhism over night. Many may have to "grow into it" and that can take time. So just give them time. That's all we really have. Eons and eons of it.
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?

GoGet

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Re: Buddhism sees huge upswing in number of UK soldiers practising
« Reply #44 on: November 01, 2012, 04:52:40 am »
I still don't accept that it's OK for a Buddhist to kill.

Fine.  It's not OK for a Buddhist to kill.  Killing doesn't mean you can't be Buddhist.  We all have killed sentient beings and continue to kill them.  There are lots of things we do that violate precepts.

But this isn't the topic at hand, is it.  The OP was about news that Buddhist practice was on the rise within the ranks of the British army.  Whether or not these people are killing or have killed isn't an issue with the OP.  You've tried repeatedly to drag this discussion off-topic and what you've posted only seems to condemn others - something outside your purview and place.

 


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