Staying Buddhist in the Military

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Dhammakid
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Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Dhammakid » Sun May 30, 2010 4:21 am

Hello all,
Long time no talk! Hope all is well.

If we're friends on facebook, then you may know that I plan to join the United States Marine Corps. I have various reasons why I'm doing this, even though it doesn't align with many of my beliefs. I've struggled with the decision and have sought lots of advice, and, at least right now, I do still believe I'm going through with it.

I'm not here to be persuaded not to join, so I kindly request that responses answer the question I'm about to ask instead of attempting to make me change my mind. Nothing is concrete yet, and I still have lots of time to back out. Boot camp is still a few months away and I still haven't sworn in yet, though that will probably happen over the next few days.

What I want to know is some good ways to keep a Buddhist mindset and bring a Buddhist perspective to military life. I understand that the most "Buddhist" thing to do is simply not join, and that's still a possibility as I have said, but for now, let's assume I'm still joining. How can I bring mindfulness to military life? What are some suttas and/or teachings I can use to keep a Buddhist perspective while enlisted?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

:anjali:
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David N. Snyder
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun May 30, 2010 4:40 am

Image




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Ben
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Ben » Sun May 30, 2010 5:10 am

Hi Dhammakid

My advice is really advice i would give to anyone and everyone.
And that is to maintain your practice to the best of your abilities.
So, follow your precepts as well as you can and to do your daily meditation sittings. Perform acts of generosity and spend some time engaged in sutta study.
I think this foundation will serve you well.
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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e: [email protected]..

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jcsuperstar
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun May 30, 2010 5:15 am

i come from a marine family, in fact my step brother just came back from his 3rd tour (1 Iraq 2 afghanistan). all the best. there are lots of jobs you can get where you dont have to kill anyone in the military.
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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Dhammakid
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Dhammakid » Sun May 30, 2010 5:13 pm

Hey everyone, thanks for the replies.

David:
Thanks for the link! I don't have a degree - I'm hoping to finish while inside as I only have 21 more credit hours to go. Once I do, OCS is definitely an appealing option as it offers a higher salary and more upward mobility. Buddhist chaplaincy is also a great option, but I'm not sure how to go about doing that. What are the requirements? Do you have to have ordination experience or formal meditation training in a monastery? I'll check out the link and see what I can find.

Ben:
Thanks for the simple yet important advice. I will definitely try my hardest to keep up daily practice and stay mindful of the precepts as much I can.

JC:
Yep, I come from a military family as well. My twin brother and first cousin are Marines, and I have lots of other family in the Army, Navy and Air Force. I will definitely be seeking military occupations that don't involve direct combat warfare, if they are available.

:anjali:
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Annapurna
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 30, 2010 6:45 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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bodom
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby bodom » Sun May 30, 2010 7:17 pm

You should consider the medical field within the core. You can help alot of people that way. Maybe even military police? Find a branch that involves helping, protecting and serving others. The military is not all about death and destruction contrary to popular belief. There are options open to you other than being behind a machine gun. I commend you on your bravery and selflessness. Last but not least please dont let anyone make you feel bad about your decision, or make you feel like a "bad" Buddhist. It is your decision and yours alone.Best wishes!

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Annapurna
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 30, 2010 7:38 pm

Last edited by Annapurna on Sun May 30, 2010 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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bodom
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby bodom » Sun May 30, 2010 7:46 pm

Hi Anna,

This is what advice Buddha gave to soldiers.

In the ‘Seeha Senapathi Sutta’ The Buddha did make clear that a disciplined soldier fights his enemy in accordance with the best traditions and norms maintained by an army,
i.e.: a good soldier doesn’t kill a defenseless person;
a good soldier provides medical treatment to the injured enemy captured;
a good soldier doesn’t kill prisoners of war, children, women, or the aged;
a good soldier destroys his enemy only when his/her life or the lives of comrades are in danger.

:anjali:
Last edited by bodom on Sun May 30, 2010 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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bodom
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Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby bodom » Sun May 30, 2010 7:50 pm

Hi Anna,

Please read through this link. It contains many more statements the Buddha gave concerning soldiers.

Buddhism & The Soldier by Major General Ananda Weerasekera
http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Annapurna
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 30, 2010 7:51 pm

I will. :guns:
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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bodom
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby bodom » Sun May 30, 2010 7:56 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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Annapurna
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 30, 2010 8:01 pm

http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Annapurna
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 30, 2010 8:07 pm

What would you tell somebody who asks:

"Please show me a way how I can stay healthy when I eat a cup of sugar everyday.

But don't tell me I shouldn't eat the sugar.

Please respect I want it."



:?:
Last edited by Annapurna on Sun May 30, 2010 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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bodom
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby bodom » Sun May 30, 2010 8:08 pm

Anna you are hijacking this thread and turning it into something it wasn't supposed to be. This thread was to help and support Kourtney. It is not about your beliefs.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

Hoo
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Hoo » Sun May 30, 2010 8:27 pm

I hope you find this link useful. I happen to be close to a major installation where I got interested in the regular Buddhist services that are provided through the Chaplain's Office. They are provided with assistance from the local Buddhist community, so not everyone has an instant response to the issue. I guess I qualify as an example, since I'm ex-military.

On further digging, I found this world-wide site for Buddhists in the military.



Hope this is useful. Good luck in your efforts!

Hoo
Posts: 189
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:24 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Hoo » Sun May 30, 2010 8:54 pm


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Annapurna
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 30, 2010 9:00 pm

Last edited by Annapurna on Sun May 30, 2010 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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bodom
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby bodom » Sun May 30, 2010 9:03 pm

Goodnight Anna. :smile:

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

Mukunda
Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:54 am

Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Mukunda » Sun May 30, 2010 11:39 pm

I was in the US Navy for 10 years. The main reason I got out was because of my deepening understanding and practice of the dhamma. My advice to you is get as much support from a flesh and blood sangha and teacher as possible. You are going to be a minority and probably quite different in your views than most of those around you in an organization that cherishes uniformity and conformity. This is not a 9 to 5 job that you'll be able to clock out from. And once you sign on the dotted line and raise your hand, the USMC owns you. You will be an environment that is pretty much "anti-dhamma", and if you expect to have any chance of not succumbing to the mindset you'll be constantly around, you are going to need REAL refuge from time to time and REAL support from REAL people.

Best of luck.


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