Staying Buddhist in the Military

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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Ben » Mon May 31, 2010 12:00 am

Mukunda wrote:REAL support from REAL people.


What are you trying to say Mukunda? We're not real people and incapable of giving real support?
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Goofaholix » Mon May 31, 2010 12:11 am

My, you have a complicated life.

Putting aside whether you will have to kill people or not and bearing in mind my understanding of what army life is like comes more from holloywood and not personal experience so take it with a grain of salt.

You'll be living in close proximity with other men who don't share your values, you'll have little privacy or space for practice and not a lot of spare time. It strikes me a bit like prison, except you'll be paid and it will look better on your resume.

You probably don't want to make a big deal over your differing world view. I think you'll need to make moment to moment midfulness your core practice and let go of most other aspects of your Buddhist practice that seem religious or require near perfect conditions.

I guess if you still have your practice at the end of it you will come out with a strong degree of self discipline and perseverence, this will help you a lot if you decide to undergo intensive practice later in life.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Mukunda » Mon May 31, 2010 1:59 am

Ben wrote:
Mukunda wrote:REAL support from REAL people.


What are you trying to say Mukunda? We're not real people and incapable of giving real support?


I suppose you can (and will) read that however you choose.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Mon May 31, 2010 11:11 am

Mukunda wrote: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.


:goodpost:

My advice to you is get as much support from a flesh and blood sangha and teacher as possible.


This would be very good, indeed, before you enlist, Dhammakid. Perhaps there are alternatives that they can point you to, which you aren't aware of yet.

Don't know.


Best wishes, Dhammakid.

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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Maitri » Mon May 31, 2010 8:00 pm

Hi Dhammakid,

I think the decision is yours alone, but it's good that you are getting feedback too. I'd like to echo that the military is not just about death, killing, and suffering. It is a reality in this world that we need protection, be it military or the police. The military also supports humanitarian efforts in disaster zones as well, which is something that many people ignore altogether. I am not condoning the overuse of the U.S. military, which I believe has been excessive over the past several decades. But, the basic function of the military is one of service.

I don't think that in many Buddhist countries where our Dhamma sisters and brothers in the military, civil service, police and first responders serve everyday think to themselves, "I'm such a bad Buddhist!" In fact, in Korea two year service in the military is mandatory and Japan has the death penalty. It is not an open and shut case of how Buddhist societies work, it's just as complicated as our own. :juggling: How I wish we could all run out to California and be Yoga teachers, but that's just not in the cards for some of us ;)

As others have said, there are many positions in the Marines that have nothing to do with combat. You could also consider joining the Coast Guard, which is more a domestic military than the Marines. Lastly, don't always listen to the recruiters, once you sign up you are theirs and that's that. I am in federal service with the VA, so I am pretty familiar with the possible positive and negative outcomes.

May the Three Jewels aid in your decision! :namaste:
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Wind » Mon May 31, 2010 8:08 pm

Hi Dhammakid

Just continue to be mindful of the five precepts, then good luck with your military experience. My brother had been through service himself and it made him a stonger person. He discover who he really is despite up against all the brainwashing to conform to their way. So you can still learn a lot about yourself in that environment. The only drawback is my brother develop Post Dramatic Stress Syndrome, which causes him to have anxiety attacks and he can never sleep for long hours without waking up constantly. He is slowly coping with the condition, being mindful of it has help give him some relief. And, I hope you are never place in a situation where you have to challenge your Buddhist's beliefs. If so, I hope you choose the noble way.

And Mukunda is right. The military isn't a job, it will be your life. You will have little to no personal freedom, since they own you. There will be lots of challenges, hope you are prepare. Good luck.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Fede » Mon May 31, 2010 10:17 pm

Mukunda wrote:I suppose you can (and will) read that however you choose.
:anjali:


Forgive me, but this is a ludicrous and fatuous response and says nothing at all.
Every single person who posts on this forum is a real person and has real experiences and means real warmth in their responses.

Do you - posting here, alongside us - consider yourself to be more 'REAL', than we are then?
the fact that this thread has evoked such a plethora of responses ranging from the entirely supportive to the animatedly opposed, would suggest a very real diversity of very real opinions, views and principles.

You can't get any more real than this 'up close and personal' thread.

Sorry Ben.

Off Topic.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Mukunda » Mon May 31, 2010 11:25 pm

Fede wrote:
Mukunda wrote:I suppose you can (and will) read that however you choose.
:anjali:


Forgive me, but this is a ludicrous and fatuous response and says nothing at all.
Every single person who posts on this forum is a real person and has real experiences and means real warmth in their responses.

Do you - posting here, alongside us - consider yourself to be more 'REAL', than we are then?
the fact that this thread has evoked such a plethora of responses ranging from the entirely supportive to the animatedly opposed, would suggest a very real diversity of very real opinions, views and principles.

You can't get any more real than this 'up close and personal' thread.

Sorry Ben.

Off Topic.


I'm sorry my response doesn't meet your expectations or standards.

If you truly think contact with other human beings "can't get any more real than this 'up close and personal' thread", I am very sorry for you.

And you are right, this is :offtopic:
:anjali:
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Wind » Mon May 31, 2010 11:31 pm

Fede wrote:
Mukunda wrote:I suppose you can (and will) read that however you choose.
:anjali:


Forgive me, but this is a ludicrous and fatuous response and says nothing at all.
Every single person who posts on this forum is a real person and has real experiences and means real warmth in their responses.

Do you - posting here, alongside us - consider yourself to be more 'REAL', than we are then?


That's not what Mukunda is saying. He wasn't refering to himself. He was recommeding Dhammakid to have in person sangha and teacher for support. Someone who can be there in person for him. It is just an additional support rather than just having an online support. Having an in person or "real" support would help him overcome some of the difficult obstacles that lies waiting for him in the military. Online support is good to have but it is still limited and somewhat impersonal. Dhammakid can benefit more if he had a real life sangha whom he can go to have lunch with to give him the needed emotional support which can make a world of difference. Just imagine if you have a friend who is in difficult times, would you have been a better help through contact on the computer or in person? That is what Mukunda is saying when he refers to "real" not that we are fake but we can't be there in person to give that human to human contact.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Mukunda » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:32 am

Wind wrote:That's not what Mukunda is saying. He wasn't refering to himself. He was recommeding Dhammakid to have in person sangha and teacher for support. Someone who can be there in person for him. It is just an additional support rather than just having an online support. Having an in person or "real" support would help him overcome some of the difficult obstacles that lies waiting for him in the military. Online support is good to have but it is still limited and somewhat impersonal. Dhammakid can benefit more if he had a real life sangha whom he can go to have lunch with to give him the needed emotional support which can make a world of difference. Just imagine if you have a friend who is in difficult times, would you have been a better help through contact on the computer or in person? That is what Mukunda is saying when he refers to "real" not that we are fake but we can't be there in person to give that human to human contact.

:thumbsup:
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:29 am

Goofaholix wrote:My, you have a complicated life.

Putting aside whether you will have to kill people or not and bearing in mind my understanding of what army life is like comes more from holloywood and not personal experience so take it with a grain of salt.

You'll be living in close proximity with other men who don't share your values, you'll have little privacy or space for practice and not a lot of spare time. It strikes me a bit like prison, except you'll be paid and it will look better on your resume.

You probably don't want to make a big deal over your differing world view. I think you'll need to make moment to moment midfulness your core practice and let go of most other aspects of your Buddhist practice that seem religious or require near perfect conditions.

I guess if you still have your practice at the end of it you will come out with a strong degree of self discipline and perseverence, this will help you a lot if you decide to undergo intensive practice later in life.


So actually not different from the lives most Buddhists lead who live in a secularised country. Unless they are among the few suited to the monastic Sangha. Do the best you can to stay aware and compassionate in whatever situation.
If you can do that then soldiering is an honourable occupation.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:34 am

Wind wrote:That's not what Mukunda is saying. He wasn't refering to himself. He was recommeding Dhammakid to have in person sangha and teacher for support. Someone who can be there in person for him. It is just an additional support rather than just having an online support. Having an in person or "real" support would help him overcome some of the difficult obstacles that lies waiting for him in the military. Online support is good to have but it is still limited and somewhat impersonal. Dhammakid can benefit more if he had a real life sangha whom he can go to have lunch with to give him the needed emotional support which can make a world of difference. Just imagine if you have a friend who is in difficult times, would you have been a better help through contact on the computer or in person? That is what Mukunda is saying when he refers to "real" not that we are fake but we can't be there in person to give that human to human contact.



Ditto.

It's a much deeper exchange with somebody in whose eyes you can look, rather than simply reading what he typed.

Mukunda made this distinction himself:
My advice to you is get as much support from a flesh and blood sangha and teacher as possible. .....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.


"Real people", don't we often use the term irl (=in real life, in contrast to on-line, virtual life ourselves?

I don't feel belittled or 'unreal', when I type here, I know I am far away and don't know the complete picture.

And let's not forget, none of us is a Buddhist teacher.

And none of the monks has spoken here, who'd be more qualified than each of us, we're devoted and dedicated yes, but still: we're no teachers. And very far away.

A good teacher, present in person, can give much better advice than any of us, and this is what Mukunda said, I believe, right, Mukunda?

Metta,

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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby PeterB » Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:46 am

Not all monks are teachers Anna.
Simply being a monk does not qualify anyone in itself to give advice. I have seen excellent advice from monks. I have also seen advice that semed to me to smell of the cloister .
In the end we have to strive diligently for our own liberation using the Buddhas teachings and also our rational minds and intelligence. There are very few simple answers in life although we are sometimes tempted to choose to see otherwise.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:01 pm

If my memory (from another thread) doesn't fail me entirely, then one of the reasons for wanting to join the military is a financial problem.

To pay off a debt, a students loan, I seem to recall...because you can't ordain with debts.

Like I said, if I'm not mistaken, and if this is the (still ) the situation.

However, what makes the military more interesting than any other job then? I think there is also good money elsewhere...

Yesterday I mentioned the situation to a friend who usually happens to come straight to the core point with very dry remarks:

"If he were a woman then, and wanted to become a nun, what then?
Would you recommend becoming a prostitute then, and give advice how to stay mindful of her Buddhist practice???
Would military or prostitution even occur to a mind destined for ordination?"

I will have to say, it made sense.

Like I said, I don't know the background too well, so forgive me if it is not, but if this is it, I agree with her.

Those 2 would be odd choices for a future monk/nun.

Also, I would like to remind of the dangers involved in both jobs.

I know I would get my images deleted again, so I won't.

I still think being a soldier doesn't entail cherry picking of duties, so that you can say,:

"Oh, but I'll only sit at the PC and do logistics."

As far as I know, it don't work that way, but if I'm mistaken, I'd like to know which jobs in the Army don't include the possibility of violent exchanges.

As far as I know, there is no "friendly fire".

And we don't always have peace.

Look at Israel striking, yesterday.

And it's not only about Dhammakid possibly having to defend himself or others, it's about him becoming victimized as well.

Murphy's law....

Anna :anjali:
Last edited by Annapurna on Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:05 pm

PeterB wrote:Not all monks are teachers Anna.
Simply being a monk does not qualify anyone in itself to give advice.
I have seen excellent advice from monks. I have also seen advice that seemed to me to smell of the cloister .
In the end we have to strive diligently for our own liberation using the Buddhas teachings and also our rational minds and intelligence.


I know, friend. :anjali:

There are very few simple answers in life although we are sometimes tempted to choose to see otherwise.


Very true, thank you. Which leaves the question open if, on the other hand, we can also tend to make simple things too complicated, probably both is true, what would you say?

I'm thinking about a new topic since yesterday. ...


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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Jun 01, 2010 3:58 pm

Thre is an organisation called buddhistmilitarysangha. With its own website. According to that website there are about 3000 Buddhists currently serving in the US military.
They have their own chaplains.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Mukunda » Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:52 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Thre is an organisation called buddhistmilitarysangha. With its own website. According to that website there are about 3000 Buddhists currently serving in the US military.
They have their own chaplains.


There are currently TWO (2) Buddhist chaplains in the entire US Department of Defense (that's the entire Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines). And the first Buddhist chaplain was commissioned in part, in response to complaints of religious discrimination, just a couple of years ago.
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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Fede » Tue Jun 01, 2010 7:53 pm

Wind wrote:That's not what Mukunda is saying. He wasn't refering to himself. He was recommeding Dhammakid to have in person sangha and teacher for support. Someone who can be there in person for him. It is just an additional support rather than just having an online support. Having an in person or "real" support would help him overcome some of the difficult obstacles that lies waiting for him in the military. Online support is good to have but it is still limited and somewhat impersonal. Dhammakid can benefit more if he had a real life sangha whom he can go to have lunch with to give him the needed emotional support which can make a world of difference. Just imagine if you have a friend who is in difficult times, would you have been a better help through contact on the computer or in person? That is what Mukunda is saying when he refers to "real" not that we are fake but we can't be there in person to give that human to human contact.


I dispute that a face-to-face connection is better.

As a Moderator on a Relationships forum, and as a member of three on-line sanghas (and Moderator on one of them) I know from long experience that when a 'real' sangha is simply not accessible, sometimes the best contact we can have is actually from others interacting with us on a forum.
occasionally, without the "hindrance" of a physical and visual connection, the advice, counsel, opinion and view garnered can actually be more beneficial, untinged as it is by the distraction of a F2F connection.

I know from my own experience, that often, it's not an advantage, at all.
And faced with the single option of an on-line sangha, and no possibility of visiting a real one, I know that an on-line sangha will provide ample and sound input, as well as any other.
Having had no choice but to liaise with a friend on-line only, I know - for she told me - that the support and advice I gave her in one evening, was far superior to that her counsellor gave her, over a period of two months.

And that's all I'm going to say on the matter.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby Annapurna » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:17 pm

Fede wrote: I know from long experience that when a 'real' sangha is simply not accessible, sometimes the best contact we can have is actually from others interacting with us on a forum.


I hope Dhammakid can find a teacher nearby, besides well -meant advice from us, the online sangha.

I'm sure it would mean additional support.

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Re: Staying Buddhist in the Military

Postby gavesako » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:50 am

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