Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Individual » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:50 pm

Rather than writing this message by PM, I decided to talk about it a bit more publicly, so that anybody else who wants to compliment on this can do so.

Retrofuturist and Appicchato, do you remember how I told you before that both of my parents, and most of my aunts and uncles, and grandfathers have served in the military (in different countries), and that this trend goes back for several generations (my father, my grandfather, great great grandfather, and great great great grandfather all military service)?

Well, I just found some interesting news. Two cousins that I don't really keep close contact with... One of them has apparently already joined the military a while ago, while the other is in bootcamp and will finish in about a month.

Really, it's what I was born to do. It is my dharma. I need to get into shape, so that I can fulfill my role in life.

Nobody can't fault me for this because of what Buddhism technically says about right livelihood. Even Gautama was a Kshatriya, who probably studied war and politics, given knowledge about it, and his family members and forefathers were themselves warriors. As I see it, being reborn as a white American to a military family in context is the same thing as being reborn as a Kshatriya in ancient India.

If I do not get in shape and get a job soon, I could be a wandering homeless person... and not the good kind, like the Buddha was. If I died as a wandering homeless person, I would not be reborn in a good place, but if I serve well in the military (and it is doubtful I would kill anyone), then that would be good preparation for me being a Buddhist monk, or whatever else I might choose to be later in life.

I would like to become something like a wandering sramana of ancient India, living so freely, with no strings to tie you down, as Ikkyo Sojun once said, like "the son of a wandering cloud". But such a tradition does not exist in America, my father would not approve of me being a Buddhist monk, so for that choice I would have to wait for him to die first, and it would be rather confusing to pick a monastic order (do they all provide food and clothing to initiates?), and there is always the possibility of failure.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:56 pm

We don't have caste in America or in Buddhism, so why do you feel you need to be in the military?

Just because your family was in the military for many generations? That is not anything unusual. In the past, most everyone served at least a few years in the military, or even as a career. Why not do what you like to do or what you have an aptitude to do?
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Ben » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:00 pm

Hi Individual
It would appear from your post that you've made an assumption that a military career is the only realistic option available to you. We live in an age where we don't have to follow our forebears footsteps. While I admire your aspiration to become a monk, I recommend that you also get a tertiary qualification in a mundane discipline before you ordain. Personally, a military career is one that I wouldn't pursue.
Metta

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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Individual » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:05 pm

TheDhamma wrote:We don't have caste in America or in Buddhism, so why do you feel you need to be in the military?

Just because your family was in the military for many generations? That is not anything unusual. In the past, most everyone served at least a few years in the military, or even as a career. Why not do what you like to do or what you have an aptitude to do?

Caste isn't something we have in our culture, but a person's station in life is somewhat restricted and delineated by the context in which they are reborn -- the nobility of the family they are born in, their parents' educational background, their society, their gender, their health, their overall psychology (which can have impacts on things like their academic achievements). I am 24 and it's not that I specifically want to be in the military, but rather, it's the other way around: I can't think of anything else that I could do, as an opportunity, to get financial independence and have a decent income, like a normal person. I wasted so much time getting stoned and going to community college off and on, that it's too late for me to go back to college, as my mother probably wouldn't live that long, my family doesn't have enough funds and couldn't provide the emotional support necessary for such a college career, that the military seems to be my only option. Seeing so many of my past family members doing it and seeing that they benefited from it greatly, and enjoyed it, I feel inclined towards the same lifestyle; it's in my genes, in my blood. It feels like my expected duty, my dharma, and my destiny.

Really, nothing that I like to do is marketable. They don't pay people to play videogames and post on internet forums. Now, you can use the example of "game testing," as a silly absurd counterpoint, but such a career requires a lot of education, the right connections, and because it's such a desired job, the opportunities are limited.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby cooran » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:13 pm

Hello Individual,

The Buddha and the Four-Limbed Army: The Military in the Pali Canon - Matthew Kosuta Ph.D.
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma6/militarycanon.html

Buddhism and the Soldier - Major General Ananda Weerasekera
http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm

You may find this site for Buddhists in the Military to be of interest:
Buddhist Military Sangha
An Online Resource for Buddhists Associated with the United States Armed Forces
This is a nonpolitical and nonsectarian forum for Buddhists serving in the US Armed Forces. Our Mission Statement:

-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.
http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot.com/

War and Buddhism - Buddhist Teachings on War - By Barbara O'Brien
There are 3,000 members of the US military who are buddhists.
Currently there are 26 cadets at the Academy who are buddhist.
http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddh ... /a/war.htm

Ultimately, you must make up your own mind.

metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby appicchato » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:24 pm

Hi Individual,

Personally speaking, I'm not really sold on the idea of destiny (and this seems to be what you're basing your choice(s) on)...if I were asked, I'd suggest taking a closer look at the concept...be that as it may, I wish you success in your endeavors...

Be well... :smile:
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:46 pm

i come from a marine family... but i desided that if i was to shave my heaad and and wear a uniform, it would be safforn robes not dress blues... you inherit your kamma like you inherit a house... burn that baby down!
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Individual » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:05 pm

appicchato wrote:Hi Individual,

Personally speaking, I'm not really sold on the idea of destiny (and this seems to be what you're basing your choice(s) on)...if I were asked, I'd suggest taking a closer look at the concept...be that as it may, I wish you success in your endeavors...

Be well... :smile:

I use destiny mostly as a figure of speech. I think that in the broad scope of things, there is really no clear distinction between destiny and free-will. That is, emphasizing one abstraction over another doesn't change the way reality actually is. If I believe, "I have such and such destiny," it doesn't change the fact that, in the present, I still have the capacity for volition, to take some actions over another, and that such a destiny would only occur through my own conscious decision-making, which can be influenced by fatalistic delusions. If I believe, "I have free-will," it doesn't change the fact that everything I have done, am doing, and will do, is bound by the law of cause & effect, chained and enslaved to the wheel of becoming and all its various natural laws.

jcsuperstar wrote:i come from a marine family... but i desided that if i was to shave my heaad and and wear a uniform, it would be safforn robes not dress blues... you inherit your kamma like you inherit a house... burn that baby down!

:D
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:28 am

Even if you do decide on the military, you will still need to choose a field, unless it is combat that you want. Virtually any field available in the civilian sector is also in the military as they are a world unto themselves. There are those in business and finance fields, management, training, law enforcement, etc. My father would say that "for every man carrying an M-16 there are seven more working behind a desk in some other fields that have nothing much to do with combat.
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:42 am

Hi Individual,

Individual wrote:but if I serve well in the military (and it is doubtful I would kill anyone), then that would be good preparation for me being a Buddhist monk, or whatever else I might choose to be later in life.


Yes, that's true. Ex-soldiers usually make very fine monks, as military training tends to imbue a man with the self-knowledge that enables him to avoid many of the more elementary errors that new monks are wont to make. If I were you I'd go for it (though don't kid yourself that's it's anything to do with destiny, caste etc. It's nothing of the kind; it's a choice you're making).

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
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    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby zavk » Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:33 am

Hi Individual and other friends,

I grew up in Singapore which has conscription and I have actually served 2.5 years in the military. I was in a combat unit -- did the lot, fired guns, lobbed grenades, dug trenches, etc, etc.

So what are my views about a military career?

The military will do it what it can to mold its personnel into a particular worldview. Whilst it is true that one gets a lot of physical training and exercise in the military, I'd say its primary aim with regards to personnel is to put the individual through a thorough process of subjectification. In other words, all military activities are in the end, concerned with shaping the mind. This is of course necessary, especially if one is in a combat unit.

Now, people often ask me if I benefited from my stint in the army. I usually say that I absolutely detest the constant indoctrination that goes on as well as the fixation with power in some people of position. I do not agree that one has to enter the military to build 'character' for I do not think that subjectifying someone to a certain view is 'character-building'.

Having said that, when I think back to my time in the army, I'm still surprise at how much I was able to endure. I am still surprise at how much sh*t I could take, how much I could achieve when I set my mind to it. I really learned about the power of effort and determination.

So, in terms of your question about whether military experience would prepare you to be a monk or not: I think it might help you insofar as you would be learning much about effort, determination and discipline. BUT the military isn't the only place where you can cultivate those qualities. The kind of discipline promoted in the military is of a specific kind, for a specific purpose.

Having said all that, please keep in mind that my stint in the military was NOT voluntary. So I think it won't surprise you that I don't feel too positive about it. The only thing I really appreciated about it was that it made me VERY VERY FIT and well, erm, I did look pretty darn fit too. :)

Best wishes,
zavk
With metta,
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Individual » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:06 am

zavk wrote:Hi Individual and other friends,

I grew up in Singapore which has conscription and I have actually served 2.5 years in the military. I was in a combat unit -- did the lot, fired guns, lobbed grenades, dug trenches, etc, etc.

So what are my views about a military career?

The military will do it what it can to mold its personnel into a particular worldview. Whilst it is true that one gets a lot of physical training and exercise in the military, I'd say its primary aim with regards to personnel is to put the individual through a thorough process of subjectification. In other words, all military activities are in the end, concerned with shaping the mind. This is of course necessary, especially if one is in a combat unit.

Now, people often ask me if I benefited from my stint in the army. I usually say that I absolutely detest the constant indoctrination that goes on as well as the fixation with power in some people of position. I do not agree that one has to enter the military to build 'character' for I do not think that subjectifying someone to a certain view is 'character-building'.

Having said that, when I think back to my time in the army, I'm still surprise at how much I was able to endure. I am still surprise at how much sh*t I could take, how much I could achieve when I set my mind to it. I really learned about the power of effort and determination.

So, in terms of your question about whether military experience would prepare you to be a monk or not: I think it might help you insofar as you would be learning much about effort, determination and discipline. BUT the military isn't the only place where you can cultivate those qualities. The kind of discipline promoted in the military is of a specific kind, for a specific purpose.

Having said all that, please keep in mind that my stint in the military was NOT voluntary. So I think it won't surprise you that I don't feel too positive about it. The only thing I really appreciated about it was that it made me VERY VERY FIT and well, erm, I did look pretty darn fit too. :)

Best wishes,
zavk

I have noticed this, yes. The military tends to indoctrinate young people with values of nationalism and militarism. Because I am older and far detached from ideological considerations, I don't think this would be as much of a problem, although endurance might be more of a problem if I am not bound by such delusions.
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby termite » Sun Feb 22, 2009 5:12 am

So, we've heard what you hope to get out of it, and that your family would approve. Where does service :quote: enter this picture?
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby nathan » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:31 am

I say this in compassion because I know far fewer people in the free world, since the last war, who have not had a hit from the bong, FIRST. Stop that. Entirely, before you sit down to make any choices. Take my word for it. You do not want to wake up out of that fog, six months into your new path in life. Only to discover that you are not the least bit interested in whatever you thought was so important while you were eating junk food, playing video games and chillin'. Dude, no. Then you are screwed for how long?

Get clean and clear for a few months. Think long and hard. A noble warrior would. Or are you kidding yourself? I think you are up to it. You could do very well if you take it seriously from right now or real soon. Before you have no choices. Make decisions in life friend, or they will be made for you. You are not likely to prefer it that way, ongoing. Do it right and it is all good. Find a program you think has a future. Get trained. Do your work. Move forward in your path in service to your nation and you will be more disciplined and equipped for the recluses life. For sure. Be well, be safe, protect the peace. Be a noble warrior. It is a very high calling and if you are sincere about it your service and or sacrifice will be acknowledged. In this world and the next. But remember we must always overcome ourselves first to be noble warriors in any context.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby thecap » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:59 pm

Hi Individual

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but your post reads like you don't really want to go to the military, although you try to make it sound as if you want. In that case, I wonder, what is your real intention? As nathan said, if you don't make decisions for your own life, other people are going to. Perhaps, this is exactly what you want, and you're only looking for better alternatives to the military? In any case, a good meditation routine might help you to strip off that which is not important in life and to find your true calling. Keep it up dude.

Individual wrote:if I serve well in the military (and it is doubtful I would kill anyone)


This I wouldn't be so sure of, unless you go for paramedic or cook. Weapons are made to kill, this is a fact. Be well, friend.
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby genkaku » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:21 pm

Young men (and sometimes women) have always fought the wars. This is partly because they are young and healthy. It is also partly because they are young and stupid. The stupidity has to do with a working knowledge of the possibilities and ramifications of the choices they envision.

OK -- is there another profession or field of exercise that is different? Don't we all start out ignorant of the ramifications of our choices? I think so. True, the military is dedicated to applying deadly force and other professions are not-so-obviously dedicated in that way. There is health and discipline and, yes, propaganda, that infuses military training. I guess it won't kill you ... unless it kills you.

Whatever you choose to do, please just pay attention and take responsibility.
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Individual » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:25 pm

nathan wrote:I say this in compassion because I know far fewer people in the free world, since the last war, who have not had a hit from the bong, FIRST. Stop that.

That was dealt with several months ago.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:28 pm

Individual wrote:
nathan wrote:I say this in compassion because I know far fewer people in the free world, since the last war, who have not had a hit from the bong, FIRST. Stop that.

That was dealt with several months ago.


SADU!!!

:clap:
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby nathan » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:59 pm

Excellent, all the best and be safe Individual. Genkaku, I wouldn't compare the generation that is maturing now to any that went to war before. Some people become warriors before they can grow a beard, not that they necessarily wanted to, life happens. A young man I first met 12 years ago as a child is shipping out to Afganistan very soon. I don't know many seniors who have their act together to the same extent and can see things as clearly as he does. He knows exactly what he's doing and why. He just doesn't understand the lack of respect he gets from some people in his home country.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: Military destiny (to Retrofuturist, Appicchato, and others)

Postby robertk » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:31 am

I meet generals in the Thai army almost very week at the Buddhist center I go to in Bangkok (teacher Sujin Boriharnwanaket).

One of them wrote a book on Dhamma not so long ago if I remember correctly.
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