Tuesday, November 11, 2008

LIKE YOUR BUDDHISM? THANK A VETERAN!

An interesting confluence of things came my way recently. Over the past couple of weeks I received three or four e-mails from people in the military saying how much they’d enjoyed my books. One was reading Hardcore Zen while stationed in Iraq. At just around the same time I received some other e-mails expressing concern over people in the military who practiced Buddhism. These other e-mailers seemed convinced that anyone in the military who got into Buddhist practice and philosophy would immediately be forced to go AWOL and quit the armed services. And here it is, Veteran’s Day, the perfect day to post a piece about the subject.

I feel very honored that people in the armed services are reading my stuff. I sometimes wonder how many other Buddhist authors have fans in the military. I’m sure some do. But a lot of Buddhist writers are so vehemently politicized I’d imagine they turn anyone involved in that line of work away from Buddhism. That’s a shame.

The title of this piece is a play on a bumper sticker you often see in the US that says, “Like your freedom? Thank a veteran!” Buddhism is a practical philosophy and practice for the real world, the one we actually live in, and not an idealistic religion that envisions the fantastic world we wish we lived in. I think we Buddhists ought to thank our veterans too.

You probably wish we lived in a world where our freedom to practice Buddhism was not underwritten by military power. I know I certainly do. But if wishes were tobacco-burst ’57 Gibson Les Paul guitars with coffee and cream PAF pick-ups I’d have a dozen of ‘em. The fact is Buddhism has only ever thrived in nations where the citizens’ right to practice it was guaranteed by a powerful military. The sad examples of Afghanistan and Tibet spring to mind.

I already wrote about this in a Suicide Girls piece called Buddhism Through Violence, so I don’t want to rehash all that here. But I do want to stress again, as I did in that article, that I’m not happy about the fact that our ability to practice Buddhism needs to be protected by violence, or at least the threat of violence. But whether I’m happy with it or not doesn’t change the fact. We can only make a difference in the world after we first come to terms with what kind of world we actually live in.

As for whether a person can continue to serve in the military after she or he starts practicing Buddhism, I don’t see why not. The job these people are doing is a necessary one. As long as the military continues to be necessary I want there to be a military. If military people practice zazen they’ll bring their own individual bodies and minds more into balance and they will do their jobs with greater efficiency and care. The outlook that develops as their practice grows will allow them to use the power we've given them in ways that will be more beneficial to everyone involved. They’ll be more interested in maintaining peace wherever they are and less interested in kicking butt. There will be less random violence, less drug and alcohol abuse and more individual stability in our armed services. This is a great thing.

Is there a chance that military people who practice Buddhism will be moved by its teachings of non-violence to leave the service? Some might. Some might not. But I don’t think it’s the place of those who think they know what Buddhism is all about to say that anyone who truly understands the philosophy of non-violence would certainly leave the military. That is a matter for each individual to decide for themselves. It ain’t up to you, no matter how well you think you understand this Buddhist stuff.

So on Veteran’s Day I’d like to extend my thanks to those who serve in our armed forces.

119 comments:

cometboy said...

With my limited understanding of Buddhism set aside, I can agree with what you are saying here.

It reminds me of a quote that I haven't thought about for a long time and to me seems to sum up the essence of real patriotism.

"I disagree with what you say, but I will defend with my life your right to say it"

In my more optimistic days, I hope this is what the United States military is all about.

Uku said...

Brad,

great post.

We can only make a difference in the world after we first come to terms with what kind of world we actually live in.

Yes!

Take care,
Uku

Uku said...

Oh, I forget to add. Without veterans Finland wouldn't exist. Without their effort back in the 1940's and so, when Russian tried to conquer our country, we wouldn't be free country. Thank you veterans!

Peace and love that no one won't have to face so many wars in the future.

With palms together.

MIke said...

Well said, Brad!

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

I can't give a blanket thank-you to a "group" such as "veterans", "military", and such, but I can say thank you to the particular individuals I've met who are good humans. So to my dad, my buddy Rod, all my uncles, and especially my brother who died during his service, Happy Veteran's Day!

And to those pricks from Ft. Bragg that almost killed me in the pit during the Ramone's Lalapalooza set back in 1996, fuck you.

Matt said...

Thank you Brad.

Reminds me of that Orwell Quote

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."

An unfortunate reality

Anonymous said...

yeah, the military is great.

You said, "The fact is Buddhism has only ever thrived in nations where the citizens’ right to practice it was guaranteed by a powerful military. The sad examples of Afghanistan and Tibet spring to mind."

You Do realize that the Chi-Coms and the Taliban use military to prevent people from practicing Buddhism don't you?

Maybe I'm cynical but don't it sometimes seem that the military exists in America primarily to guard the wealth of a few rich white people and to try and steal the wealth of less powerful darker peoples. I'm not talkin about the america we learned about in school, but the America we actually live in..

jamal said...

phil, you crazy to get into one of them pits anyway.. stay in your seat.

Chris said...

Ugh. You're making the same statement that is espoused by the "Freedom Ain't Free" or "My Son Fights for Your Freedom" bumper stickers that I always seem to see. Our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan have NOTHING to do with protecting our freedoms. al-Qaeda is, and has never been a threat to our freedoms. al-Qaeda is not looking to overthrow our government and rewrite our freedoms. In fact, I could easily make the argument that the United States' response to al-Qaeda's attack on 9/11 has been to remove its own freedoms (think PATRIOT Act, no-fly lists, etc.).

If the "Freedom Ain't Free" folks want to argue that fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan protects our SAFETY, that would be a valid argument (although I would vehemently disagree). Along the same lines, Vietnam, Korea, etc. were not protecting our freedoms. They were us fighting someone else's fight. Again, I have no problem debating if that was appropriate or not, but you're oh so very incorrect if you try to say OUR freedoms were ever being fought for. I think the last time we truly were fighting to protect our freedoms was the American Revolution.

Despite my tone, I have nothing against the military. They are necessary to protect our borders from invasion. But I don't agree with invading other countries to fight al-Qaeda, since al-Qaeda is not a country, it's a geographically disperse terrorist organization. And I'm not a big fan of fighting others' conflicts as well.

I love the war-hawks who think occupying Iraq is valid, and also think that Obama is a socialist for wanting to fund domestic programs. I want them to explain why it's OK to spend taxpayer dollars on Iraqi citizens but not American citizens. How is that patriotism?

Rick said...

I think violence is simply fact of human nature.

anonymous(E) said...

violence runs deeper than human nature. lets look at our friends in the animal kingdom fighting over territory and resources, lets go further back than that, hell the universe itself could be seen as being a cold violent place.

Anonymous said...

Brad, you ignorant slut...

The sworn duty of an American soldier is to
"support and defend the Constitution of the
United States against all enemies, foreign
and domestic"...

not to participate in illegal foreign wars
just because one is "following orders".

On Veteran's Day, I would like to thank our
country's conscientious objectors for standing
up to the profoundly corrupt gangsters who
run the USA (United States of AIPAC) and
for refusing to spill blood for someone's else's
oil.

As for freedom, I'll thank my own sovereignty,
as recognized by the Second Amendment, and
my Mossberg 590.

Don't be some treasonous gangster's thug.


PS Americans are taxed more heavily now than
when they first started a Revolution over
taxation (aka indirect slavery).

PPS Al-Qaeda is a creation of Western intelligence
agencies.

PPPS Bertrand Russell weren't no dummy.


Live free or die.

babbles said...

I think this was a very reasonable and good article with valid points.

Ever since I read your previous article on violence and Buddhism I appreciate more and more the fact that we are allowed to practice our endeavours only because there are people willing to use violence to protect our ability for us to do our practices.

Anya B said...

Wow, Brad, great thinking. Good thing we went and killed and tortured a bunch of people to keep Saddam Hussein from glaring disapprovingly in your general direction.

Are you quite done pretending that you (or Gudo Nishijima, for that matter) aren't authoritarian conservatives? Acting like you're still some kind of anarchist punk is just starting to look ridiculous.

<3
anya_baranova@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Vomit. Our brave fighting men are killing the innocent men, women and children of Iraq so that Brad can dump his wife, bed a bevy of Suicide Girls and play Zen master. Groupies: this aint Zen.

Ezekiel said...

the link to the suicide girls article is broken.

here's the proper url: http://suicidegirls.com/news/culture/22223/

Jinzang said...

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

JOIN NOW... the ranks of all nations who refuse to go to war
REFUSE... to pull the trigger of a gun for leaders 'round the world
I'd rather fight to spread some tolerance & unity
Than buy into their nationalistic brainwashing
Killing mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, common human beings
Not savages but people, like you, like me!
Anti-Flag

Jinzang said...

War is an orgy of cruelty. And if Brad witnessed even a small part of it, he wouldn't be so quick to prattle about protecting our freedoms. I'm grateful for the right to practice, but I'm not going to meditate atop a pile of corpses.

Jordan said...

Jinz, I hope you always have that option.

Jordan said...

oh, and General Butler is one of my personal heros. Incredible guy.

csn and y said...

"Daylight again, following me to bed
I think about a hundred years ago, how my fathers bled
I think I see a valley, covered with bones in blue
All the brave soldiers that cannot get older been askin' after you
Hear the past a callin', from Ar- -megeddon's side
When everyone's talkin' and noone is listenin', how can we decide?"

"(Do we) find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground"

"Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground
Mother earth will swallow you, lay your body down
(Find the cost of freedom buried in the ground)"

- Stephen Stills

mike the dog said...

After the Tet offensive American forces went on a wild counterattack. After the village of Ben Tre was virtually destroyed, an American Major said to journalist Peter Arnett, "We had to destroy the village in order to save it". This is the logic of war.

oxeye said...

Life is an orgy of cruelty. The reality is we meditate atop a pile of corpses every day.

Anonymous said...

"So on Veteran’s Day I’d like to extend my thanks to those who serve in our armed forces."

Served anyways - BTW, you're welcome

Anonymous said...

Not only do we meditate upon a pile of corpses, we drive corpses, drive over corpses, drive on corpses; we walk on, sleep on corpses. We are corpses making love to corpses.

It's corpses all the way down.


As far as the military goes, right and wrong reasons, truths and untruths, just causes and greatest injustices are all mixed up together.
Just like the high level military operation of the assassination of JFK, no getting to the bottom of it.
Truth before our very eyes.

I recommend you walk on a military base--especially one in a 'foreign' country.
I mean the Italians don't have airforce bases here, the Greeks and the French don't have any uniformed men from their armies going to local restaurants and bars to mingle with the 'nationals' in our country.

There is no mention of the private army, of Blackwater genre which has served in it's own capacities, whose mercenaries aren't given mention.

So let's thank all those who find themselves in circumstances in which they are required to be ready to make the ultimate sacrifice: their very life.

Because things are the way they are, everything is the way it is: all of this is held together by the thinnest of threads, the narrowest of margins.

life clings to this planet like the glowing tip clings to the stick of incense

Only when there are no more corpses will there be no more life.

dochong, jdpsn said...

Thanks Brad,

I am an old timer, served at the end of the Vietnam War and luckily never had to go. I spent five years, nine months and twenty nine days in the Air Force. It changed my life, for good or bad isn't the case here. My grand teacher used to say, "a good situation is a bad situation, and a bad situation is a good situation." May all of our vets enjoy a long life, lets all chant for peace!

Anonymous said...

In theory it is impossible to be a christian and a soldier, that whole "thou shalt not kill" thing. And yet there are a lot of christians in the military, and a bunch of military chaplins to support them.

Why should buddhism be any different. I don't know anyone who follows all of the precepts all of the time. I still kill bugs ocasionally, but now I say sorry :)

dochong, jdpsn said...

wow I just read some of the angry rants from "anonymous" have the guts to sign your posts, please don't go sniping your opinions like this as it doesn't help. If you have something constructive to say, then say is peacefully without all of the adjectives. This kind of behaviour is what starts wars my friends.

anonymous(e) said...

i love soap opera

the guy who posted b4 this post said...

like cows, our ego demands cud to be chewed....

yada yada said...

humor....imagination.....wait a minute.........

A-P said...

As the comments section mentioned Finland, I want to write something too.

Once there was a guy called Yrjö Kallinen, who among other things, was well educated with buddhist philosophy - and not just by books but personal experiences too.

He was chosen as Finland's Minister of Defense after second WW back in 1944, with the condition that he won't have to touch any papers or decisions that are related to warfare. He wrote that he had never any problems with people (generals etc) that had actually been in the war - those men knew by first hand experience what it really meant and would do anything to prevent them. The problem was always with people that had never actually experienced war and had some idealistic views of the "fields of glory".

I agree many points that Brad wrote there especially about the fact that mindfull military would be a treasure to have, and like Uku said, Finland would be part of Russian if there weren't well functioning military here.

Still I must say that for me, Uku or Brad, we don't have any experiences of our own concerning the real war and thus it could be better not to talk about it idealistically - as we are bound to do if we want to talk about it..

Take care!

proulx michel said...

One of the pitfalls we tend to drive straight in is the fact that we have been conditioned by totalitarian religions (all monotheistic religions are totalitarian) which have set rules for everyone without exception.
Buddhism, having no One God Creator etc., and no established set of rules is quite different. The vinaya rules are for bhikkus only. The precepts are for lay people who have decided to engage further into the practice/study of the teachings, as well as for teachers who are not bhikkhus.
And in all cases, we only deal with warnings as to what we ought to expect should we go against some of the precepts (who are more like advices about the problems we face).

In principle, I'd tend to agree with Jinzang who writes "JOIN NOW... the ranks of all nations who refuse to go to war. REFUSE... to pull the trigger of a gun for leaders 'round the world".
But that's wishful thinking. There were those who held to this in the '30ies. But then, facing them was Hitler and the Nazis.
You can hold that attitude towards the Muslim. Then you'll lose your freedom.
The Roman motto "Si vis pacem para bellum" remains true, although even the Romans tended to abuse it largely.
We can discuss what the USA are doing actually in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wish the various Nations soldiers were brought back. But we ought not to disparage the soldiers themselves.

We just (yesterday) celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of one of the worst butcheries of History: WW1. Millions of deaths in hideous conditions. When I drive past some of those battlefields, I just feel like crying, such is the horror of the mere reading about it. How much more what those men got into!
We can spit on the graves of their generals, who never had the slightest inkling of what they sent their men into. But we ought not to think less of those troopers who were sent straight to Hell. (The Black Adder episode in the trenches is a fair rendering of the truth). I can't find it, but there is a sutta where the Buddha says that a soldier's duty is his duty. Of course, if the soldier wants to leave the army and become a bhikku, that's something else. But let's not mix up things.
If our freedom were threatened, it would be criminal to pretend that pacifism would do the trick. That's not to say that we go to war with a carnation on our rifle. But if a dog attacks me, I'll strike back even though I'd rather not harm it in the first place.

A-P said...

ps. And I think that it's at least nowadays possible to practise buddhism in the Russia too, so.. :)

Anonymous said...

The sad examples of Afghanistan and Tibet spring to mind.
Vietnam and Cambodia spring to mind too!

The points you make about Zen being perfectly compatible with service in the armed forces, and the need for armed forces, are good, in my opinion. But I find your vague, indiscriminate support for US military action less convincing. Exactly which wars furthered the cause of Buddhist practice? In making your plea for realism it's a bit odd to be offering an abstract argument without any examples.

cheers,
hendrik

but said...

Costa Rica has no standing army.

You can still practice Buddhism there.

Anonymous said...

gah

Not only is Brad still lobbing shit at others (turn the light *inward* you fool), now he's politicized his blog.

My dad's a disabled veteran of WWII. He has lived 60+ years of daily pain.

I thank him every day.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang, Brad advises us to live in the world as it is. What man would not try to protect his loved ones? Many people in the military extend that concept to all of us. I thank them for their service.

Anonymous said...

It seems there is the world we should live in and the world we do live in!

How do you know which is right?

All you are is a collection of opinions and beliefs that has been shaped by years of indoctrintation of one form or another and now your views and opinions are correct!

Those of you who continually talk about the atrocities in Iraq. How is the violence in your own lives, your own thoughts?

You know how we know something was supposed to happen? Because it happened.

Its easy to run around saying what should or shouldn't happen. All I can do is deal with my reality, right now.

Anonymous said...

Why are humans so afraid of death?

When the assholes and the idiots
realize their grim totalitarian dreams,
suicide can be the ultimate act
of wisdom and compassion.

No need to endure unnecessary pain;
non-existence trumps torture any day.

'Heaven' and 'Hell' were invented so
that slaves would not choose to escape
via suicide.

No need to participate
in ugly, stupid dreams
created by ugly, stupid people.

(your fantasy is not my reality ;)

The Art of Literature and Commonsense,
Vladimir Nabokov, 1942:

"One of the main reasons why
the very gallant Russian poet Gumilev
was put to death by Lenin's ruffians
thirty odd years ago was that
during the whole ordeal...
the poet kept smiling."

LT Jeanette Shin, CHC, USN said...

Thank you Brad for your supportive words for members of Buddhist faith in uniform. There are more Buddhists serving than most people realize, I think. Most just want to serve their country and practice their faith in private. Sometimes it is difficult with Buddhism being misunderstood by others and dealing with the others' misconceptions. The reality is that our military is composed of human beings of very diverse beliefs and opinions. I respect other Buddhists' opposing views on military service, but remember you are talking about mostly young men and women struggling in samsara as we all are. Have faith in Buddha's Vow to bring all beings to Buddhahood regardless of our differences!

I do like to say this though: Fundamentalist right-wing Christians and "ultra-left"Buddhists have at least one thing in common - they don't like to see Buddhists in the military!

Perhaps the most spirit of punk you can have is to support Buddhists in uniform ;)

Flor de Nopal Sangha said...

When will we thank the Civil Rights activists with a day of celebration? They are truly our heroes. And it is because of them that we can talk about being able to practice Buddhism in a more, hopefully, open democratic society.

Anonymous said...

Meditation itself is violence. Just drop all your silly "practices" and "isms". Who are you when you stop thinking about yourself? What is your original face?

Harry said...

Wouldn't it be a 'Buddhist' thing to do to also thank both the opposing side and the victims of war at the same time?

You can't have a war without 'the other side' and so the percieved resulting 'stability' in your area (lucky you!) relies not only on the soldiers of one side but also on the opposing side and on the suffering of victims of the war.

Its not a good set-up. Yes, it is certainly a reality, but personally I'm not inclined to celebrate it.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

can't help but think title should have been

Like a veteran? Thank a buddhist!

gniz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

From far above, the earth is a live jewel, alive with life
each turn of the planet, each cycle of it's orbit, a kaleidoscope in motion

Life wants to live

Everything alive finding its 'niche' where conditions are favorable.

The ever growing puddle of humans on the planet...the 'evaporation rate' slower than the 'condensation rate...' Now put different markers on different humans--
put national flags on them, for example...
now put symbols of their religion on them...
you can change the markers anyway you want...
all those under 18, all those over 65,
all those with secondary school education and above/below

all manner of interested parties are interested in the competing interests

It still is one seamless world, no boundaries, no divisions even if we make this kaleidoscope into a collide-a-scope

Anonymous said...

UN employee, Etsuko Chida, worked in
Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Another comments,
"It's like watching a puppet show
with people gasping in awe at the
little wooden guys and you just sit
there wondering why people can't see the strings."

Anonymous said...

Although Brad loves Army boys,
when I grow up,
I wanna be a fireman!
In Santa Monica, nice girls bring them
home-made cookies!

Uku said...

A-p, good points! And Yrjö Kallinen rocks.

You wrote:
Still I must say that for me, Uku or Brad, we don't have any experiences of our own concerning the real war and thus it could be better not to talk about it idealistically - as we are bound to do if we want to talk about it..

I agree, but still I must say, like I wrote, we need more peace and love so maybe in the future stupid things like wars ain't so popular and common. :) It's reality that wars exists and it's something that should accept. But we have also power to do some good things, to help each others. Idealistic or not, but rather I try to do my best for better world than not doing anything. :)

Wars sucks but because wars exists we need soldiers to protect our asses. And if we would try to do more for peace, maybe something would change someday and we wouldn't need so much army-kind-of-things.

Anonymous said...

"All the News That's Fit to Print."

Anonymous said...

Breaking News:
Dumb fucks risk lives in defense of censorship.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brad,

it made very sad that, in fact but unfortunately, I don’t agree with your opinion (as a whole).
You made some valid points, but I don’t understand if Zen makes a difference at all, if it changes a person actually.

You wrote about Genpo,saying how appalling it is to take 50000 $ for some deluxe-enlightment.
I supported your thoughts.
It made me ask myself, if buddhism really enlightens people.

Cruelly spoken: Your made me think if e.g. Hitler – if he would have been doing Zen – would have changed and become a peaceful, ethic person. Or, take Osama.
I think, for a lot of reason, the answer is: no. It would change Hitler or Osama, yes, but“change“ doesn’t mean they would act in another way they did/do.

Now, or better: sometimes, it seems to me that Zen has no effect on practicers. What I want to say: no real world effect, no meaning for live. Zen may give you clearness and therefor power and new perspectives. But, nevertheless you’re not bound to act accordingly. What brings you forward is welcome, what may question your live is not.

I don’t understand why you attacked Genpo for accepting loads for money when at the same time you don’t even question people who are ready to kill for cash. I supported your view on Genpo. I don’t concerning your view on – actually very often invading - soldiers.

Is Zen an empty vessel? A simple technique, open to be occupied / raped by anyone without any consequence? Yes, Zen is all about emptiness, about (no) form and (no) emptiness – but it’s not a bitch. Ore are people who abuse Zen are bitches? War is hurting and suffering, isn’t buddhism a way to reduce suffering? Shut up and sit down, it is called, not Stand up and take your guns? I don’t get this contradiction.

What makes me sad – honestly, I don’t wan’t to be this read sarcastic – is, that I have a deep conviction that you, Brad, are a person who is definitly a thinker, that you’re honest in your buddhism – and, at the same time, I don’t get your argumentation.

Maybe you can make your position more clear. Maybe going into detail: Is killing respectively violence an accepted part of buddhism for you?

You blog still is very important to me.

Sorry for mny bad english. Hope I could get the right things in the right wa across. With lots of respect, do no harm,
Martin S.

Matt said...

Is there anyway of turning off anonymous comments?

I thank god that I don't always agree with Brad. If he isn't getting you to question things than he isn't doing his job. If you are looking for a neat and tidy world view then join a cult, there are plenty out there.

gniz said...

Martin S. really did say it. Buddhism doesnt really change anyone or make people better. I think the people who want to become kinder, gentler, more aware people do--by any means necessary--and those who dont, dont, even if they practice zen every day for the rest of their lives.

Its an empty technique that we fill with ourselves.

Rich said...

Thanks veterans, your defense of our country is appreciated.

The war is right in front of you. People racing around in guided missiles (cars & trucks), gathering resources and money for survival. Don't go to the wrong place, someone has a knife or gun and doesn't play by the rules. Or maybe you'll encounter a war of words which can escalate quickly to physical violence. So pay attention to every moment cause this thing can change fast and you don't want to be caught in the dead zone. Life is fragile and holding on tight can break it. So its a question of balance and sitting is good for regaining and maintaining your balance.

Anonymous said...

gniz said...
> Martin S. really did say it.
> Buddhism doesnt really change anyone
> or make people better.

So if zazen cannot rewire the brains of assholes,
then perhaps they (we?) should be cheerfully encouraged
to commit self=euthanasia (assuming there are no
surgical or pharmaceutical or other fixes).

Anonymous said...

I wish I was brave enough not to post anonymously. (Whimper, whimper). Zen at War was right. What a load...

Steve said...

Tibet, Afghanistan, and let's not forget Cambodia were the Buddhists were literately exterminated.

Jinzang said...

Brad advises us to live in the world as it is. What man would not try to protect his loved ones?

The purpose of Buddhism is the elimination of suffering. We suffer for two reasons. First, we divide the original wholeness of experience into a duality. And second, we layer feelings of attachment and aversion on top of that duality. It is deluded to think that one can divide the world into friend and foe and then go to the meditation hall and attain enlightenemnt. The enlightenment one is seeking is nothing other than to have gratitude for whatever circumstances arise, be they pleasant or unpleasant, and to have impartial love for all persons. True meditation cannot be threatened by adverse circumstances since it takes these circumstances as fuel for meditation. When you see this, no person, whatever they may do to you, is your enemy and everyone is your friend. Your friend is your friend because they help you and your enemy is also your friend because they show you where you are still attached, so they help you in another way. This is not the practice of a beginner, but one can aspire to it. There is no end to acting from within a dualistic attitude with the idea that one needs to set the world right. There will always be another situation that needs to be set right before one can practice properly. And the disturbed mind that always chases after an imagined future when things will be better will never know satisfaction. It takes a different sort of courage to look at the many difficulties of life without flinching, but as the Dhammapada says, better than the conquest of a thousand enemeies is the conquest of oneself.

Jinzang said...

So if zazen cannot rewire the brains of assholes,
then perhaps they (we?) should be cheerfully encouraged to commit self-euthanasia.


You shouldn't assume that because someone takes pleasure in the suffering of others that this is a fixed and unchangeable state of affairs. People can and do change and there are many stories that show this. From Buddha's own life there is the story of Angilimala (Garland of Thumbs), who became an arhat despite his gruesome beginnings.

Brad Warner said...

HARDCORE ZEN pg. 149, 2nd paragraph
Last 3 sentences

"A war stops when people stop firing guns at each other. Treaties and ceremonies are just window-dressing. World peace happens when no one fires guns at anyone anymore."

andro said...

gniz said: "It (zazen) is an empty technique that we fill with ourselves."

I think you have it backwards.

Anonymous said...

Zen Always Supported the Troops

"In the war against Russia, Soen served as a chaplain in 1904. "I wished to inspire," Soen later wrote, "our valiant soldiers with the ennobling thoughts of the Buddha, so as to enable them to die on the battlefield with confidence that the task in which they are engaged is great and noble. I wish to convince them.... that this war is not a mere slaughter of their fellow-beings, but that they are combating an evil."

Stephanie said...

Brad, are you just being contrary because that feels like the "punk" thing to do or are you turning into a conservative propaganda-basher already? (Aren't you a bit young for that?)

Other people have pointed out the many ways in which your logic is flawed here. The soldiers currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan are losing their lives for the sake of symbolism; reality is that they are not protecting our freedoms, or even our safety. If they were fighting against an invading army, I'd agree with you. But all they're doing is dying for someone else's reasons.

I admire the bravery of those who join the armed forces, and the ideals for which some of them fight. But truth is, the ideals aren't reality. Reality for our dying soldiers is a sad farce of lies and self-deceptions, as it is for so many of us.

If critical thinking was your forte, you'd realize how far-fetched your claim that the current actions of our soldiers has anything to do with the freedoms we have here in the good ol' U. S. of A. Truth is, as others have said, these wars have done more to take away our freedoms than to preserve them.

Doesn't mean we have to hate the soldiers, or even the war. I think the thing we need to do is take care of these folks when they come home to us, physically and psychologically battered and beaten down. Because they need us to take care of them, and we need to take care of them. But we needn't let our love, sympathy, and even admiration for them snatch away our critical judgment and ability to keep it real. And the real deal here is that all the propaganda and idealism about what our soldiers are doing is just a smokescreen over the ugly truth that they're fightin' and dyin' for nothin' at all...

Lone Wolf said...

Unfortunately, I agree that violence is at times necessary in the world we live in. But if were talking about being practical, I'd like to speak upon the phrase "Like your freedom? Thank a Veteran." The irony is many American's freedoms were lessoned during the Bush Administration in the face of war. The Patriot Act is one example. This is not the veteran's fault. Military woman and men are suppose to trust their government enough to not be sent into harms way for an unjust war with no real aim (Iraq).

Brad - I understand there are many Buddhist who are very left and you promote the idea that the left and right are both wrong and that you are speaking against the extreme left because that is the "punk" thing to do. (By the way, I would not praise George W. even if it was the "punk" thing to do. Even if I do like the South Park creators) I also understand your point of not getting so emotional over the election, but I was disappointed in the sense of apathy I felt in your last SG article about voting, as if both candidates were one and the same. Anyone who took the time to look at the views of each candidate on the issues could see a difference between the two. I felt such an apathy in that article that I later wondered if you even voted sir?

jamal said...

This is some funny shit. Brad basically said to support the troops, they are needed. It is a dirty job but thank god someone does it.

People have turned that into Brad being a Buddhist Rush Limberger.

I realize some of you are are naively idealistic but do you really think that peace is won by just thinking nice thoughts? Nice thoughts are cool but people have all kinds of less than noble thoughts, some of which they will act on given half an opportunity. You don't believe it? Take a walk in my neighborhood after the sun goes down sometime..

rose-colored glasses said...

perception is everything(?)

mark twain said...

"Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out...and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel. ..And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for 'the universal brotherhood of man'--with his mouth."

mark twain also said...

[Patriotism] ...is a word which always commemorates a robbery. There isn't a foot of land in the world which doesn't represent the ousting and re-ousting of a longline of successive "owners" who each in turn, as "patriots" with proud swelling hearts defended it against the next gang of "robbers" who came to steal it and did -- and became swelling-hearted patriots in their turn.

Uku said...

Jamal wrote:
This is some funny shit. Brad basically said to support the troops, they are needed. It is a dirty job but thank god someone does it.

Exactly, I agree. It's a fact that there are a lot of wars around this globe. It's a fact also that wars are always very sad and fucked-up events. It's a fact also that this worlds needs a lot of peace and compassion but right now this world needs also soldiers to cover our asses. This is just realism, nothing more, nothing less.

And that's why need more peaceful and loving thoughts and acts that maybe someday things are a little bit better. But hiding behind redrose glasses, shutting eyes from wars and suffering... come on. This world doesn't need that kind of acting. This world needs actions agains wars and violence and this world needs also supporting those brave men and woman are willing to risk their lives because of some fucked-up wars.

Stephanie said...

Saying that the most recent Middle Eastern "wars" are neither necessary nor beneficial is not the same as saying that there was and never will be a reason to have a military or to defend oneself with force. I personally lean toward nonviolence as a political stance but I also recognize that we live in a violent world and don't try to candy-coat it.

Yes, sometimes violence may be necessary. Yes, sometimes what soldiers do helps protect us. But neither of these are true about the Afghan and Iraq "war" efforts. I don't believe that these wars have made us any safer from terrorism (one could even argue that the original Gulf war was part of the causes that led to the effect of 9/11, and that we're continuing to create the same results with the violence we're perpetrating over there) or any freer.

It's no less "naive" and "idealistic" to think that our troops are dying for some noble reason than to think that if only we all held hands and sang kumbaya the lion would lie down with the lamb. They aren't defending or protecting anything over there. They're just dying.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, Please tell me exactly what my friends are doing over there from your direct experience. How many months were you over there, how many KBR meals did you eat? how many times did you have a close call with a mortar? How may times did you haggle at the market over the cost of CD's? How many toothbrushes did you hand out to Iraqi children? How many times did you see love in the eyes of a child just for giving them your lunch? How many times have you seen a mass murderer get their comeuppance immediately? What do you think we are doing over there? it is not "Just About" anything. there are more issues involved than you have fingers and toes so I know it will be tough for you. Please enlist at your local recruiters office and spend some time "Over There" before you presume to tell me what I am doing you arrogant elitist brainwashed tool.

May you be well and happy!

Anonymous said...

They're just dying.

They are dying for you, and all sentient beings. They are dying for love, attachment, greed, anger, ignorance, Bush, and Obama. apple pie, and hot dogs.

How many people died violently today in the US?

On the highways? in the prisons? In the Schools?
In the cities? Crossing the Border? Of addiction? Of depression?

What will you do?

Anonymous said...

Be careful in what you read and watch on television and decide to believe about events in your own neighborhood, let alone half a world away. There are lying materialists out there who successfully sway idealists towards what they believe about life by deception. Beware!

Anya said...

I used to think Brad was merely a bit of an asshole who had cultish tendencies. Now, looking at these comments, I see that he really has a cult following in every sense of the word. He can put any idea forward, no matter how ridiculous, and people will wag in agreement and say the most ridiculous quasi-mystical shit in order to back it up. Ignoring just the straight up "The Iraq was is great!" comments we just saw, what's hilarious is the way Bradites feel the need to piss on Occam's grave by adding a bunch of hand-waving magic bullshit. Oh, I don't have perfect emotional equilibrium so there's violence in ME, so it's EXACTLY THE SAME as when the US illegally ivaded another country plunging it into chaos and killing or displacing 10% of the population. I need to just sit down, shut up, and displace the causes of war and anger in me (like, uh, Brad has I guess), and that's better than actually doing anything that positively contradicts real violence. I also love all the "the punkest thing you can do" comments. I'm not fifteen, so I tend to care more about the best thing I can do, not the "punkest". Of course, according to Brad and Trey Parker, "punk" is just about pissing people off, so fifteen might be aiming a bit high. "Dude, it's so PUNK to say Bush is awesome. It's so PUNK to say that the military rules!" Man, I guess neo-nazis are the most PUNK dudes of all. The original nazis were so punk that the zen Buddhists (who are PUUUUUUNK) joined up with them in World War II. If Japan had won, I guess we could really say "Like Buddhism? Thank a vetran. Because they spread it to the entire pacific rim and the US". I don't think all war is "wrong", in the sense that we do need to protect ourselves sometimes. So I'm not against having a standing army per se. However, show me any war the past century besides World War Two where our involvement could be said to have been necessary? Hell, what exactly about our current wars is giving me the "right" to practice Buddhism? If anything, the Iraq war has strengthened Islamic religious fanaticism. Why don't you Brandroids actually try thinking for yourselves and looking at the real problems instead of just saying how great conservatism is (ooo, you pissed off a leftist, THAT's tough to do) and sitting on your asses? Oh wait, that's not SotoPunk(tm) enough.

Anonymous said...

Anya, Thanks, but personally, I am a bit too paranoid to ever become involved in a cult like The Art of Living.

"The tenth day is a very important transition back to ordinary life. No one is permitted to leave on that day."

Anonymous said...

Faites des chats

pas la guerre!*



(From the French documentary 'Case of the Grinning Cats' by Chris Marker)


*(make cats, not war)

Anonymous said...

Although more of a dog person,
I must admit those are pretty
cool cats.

Anonymous said...

when Brad goes to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. and sits zazen with troops there, I'll believe his gratitude
his words, sure sure
but actions are reality itself
maybe he can take 0dfx along and entertain as well

Kozan Bob said...

I consider Brad a teacher and I love his books and most of his posts; but when it comes to politics, I agree that he's naive. My take on the matter is http://ratzaz.blogspot.com/2007/11/lets-think-before-we-support-these.html

Anonymous said...

The Cause of War


"Peace is not an ideal. To me, an ideal is merely an escape, an avoidance of what is, a contradiction of what is. An ideal prevents direct action upon what is - which we will go into presently, in another talk. But to have peace, we will have to love, we will have to begin, not to live an ideal life, but to see things as they are and act upon them, transform them. As long as each one of us is seeking psychological security, the physiological security we need - food, clothing and shelter - is destroyed. We are seeking psychological security, which does not exist; and we seek it, if we can, through power, through position, through titles, names - all of which is destroying physical security. This is an obvious fact, if you look at it."
---J. Krishnamurti

Alan A said...

Remember Shunryu Suzuki, who said, "not always so"?

Here's a radical thought: every time you're tempted to use the word "always," substitute the word "sometimes."

The military is sometimes bad.

The military is sometimes good.

War is sometimes bad.

War is sometimes less bad than alternatives.

Many angry people in this neighborhood. Lots of firm convictions.

Anybody doing any Zen around here?

Stephanie said...

I'm not fifteen, so I tend to care more about the best thing I can do, not the "punkest". Of course, according to Brad and Trey Parker, "punk" is just about pissing people off, so fifteen might be aiming a bit high.

Exactly.

I think the "punkest" and "best" thing to do is the same thing, though--which is to tell the truth. Taking an oppositional or contrarian stance just 'cause it makes you feel superior ain't punk or brave, it's just a form of jejune narcissism. "If everyone else around me thinks a certain way, I have to think differently, because I'm better, because I'm special." The real ballsy thing to do is to stick to the truth no matter how bland or mainstream it is, and no matter how controversial. Controversy for controversy's sake ain't any more respectable than appeasement for appeasement's sake. If anything, the latter is more in tune with Buddhism and truth than the former, because at least it promotes harmony and dissolves hatred. I'm all for fighting the system, but only when there's a legitimate reason.

It's like all these mega-liberals that get off on feeling superior by dissing Obama as not being liberal enough, unlike their clueless crystal ball gazing leprechaun hero, Dennis Kucinich. They don't care about really understanding what it takes to make real change--which is a slow process requiring patience and humility--what they care about is being able to be "against" something and to feel superior because of that.

Please enlist at your local recruiters office and spend some time "Over There" before you presume to tell me what I am doing you arrogant elitist brainwashed tool.

May you be well and happy!


You score some major points for classic Buddhist passive-aggressive "fuck you, namaste" tactics right there.

I don't doubt that people have powerful experiences over there. Or that many soldiers are motivated by noble ideals. I even said as much in my comments. But the reality of how their actions over there affect us over here does not require soldiering to ascertain. We can see it at home because we live it at home. Brad's post wasn't about how solders' actions may or may not have affected Iraq, but how they've affected us here. Am I freer politically than I was before these wars started? Nope. Less so, actually, as these wars have been used as a convenient excuse to gut the Constitution, especially the Fourth Amendment.

As for Iraqis' lives? Based on what I've read, as many people are dying there now in the chaos these wars have unleashed as were dying under Saddam's regime. And mind you, the rationale for going into this war had nothing to do with altruistic motives about Iraq. It had to do with "defending America's freedoms" through a quasi-association with 9/11 and terrorism. All a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

I feel a lot for the soldiers over there. I would be honored to work with and learn from them. I'm sure that because of their experiences, the average one of them is a bit wiser and sadder than the average one of us. I respect people who have suffered and who try to reckon with that--a lot more than people who hide themselves behind a bunch of idealistic fluff. I know a lot of soldiers going to or coming from the Middle East will be the first to tell you the whole operation's a fucking sham as far as the ideals and propaganda used to obscure what's really going on over there.

Anonymous said...

"Send the Bush twins to Iraq, put 'em on the front line."

Indeed.

Write it into the Constitution that no one can
vote on the use of US military force unless
they have a son or daughter on the front line.
And if we were really concerned about democracy,
hold an election on whether US troops should
return home immediately in which only
US troops and Iraqis could vote.

mike the dog said...

"I know a lot of soldiers going to or coming from the Middle East will be the first to tell you the whole operation's a fucking sham as far as the ideals and propaganda used to obscure what's really going on over there."

That is a bullshit statement Stephanie.. You know no such thing. At least you didn't throw out some made up percentage of soldiers who think the war is a sham to bolster your argument.

neocon buddhist said...

Thank which veterans?

Only those fighting now, in the present wars? Only those veterans who fight for the U.S.? Or do we thank all veterans?

Do we thank the veterans who ran Abu Graib? The soldiers who tortured prisoners at Guantanimo?

Do we thank the veterans who fought for the South to ensure slavery during the civil war?

Do we thank the veterans of the Indian Wars who decimated the native americans?

Japanese veterans (many of them zen buddhist) who conducted the rape of Nanking? Those that bombed Pearl Harbor?

The British soldiers who opened fire upon the crowds in India in the struggle for independence?

If I join the armed forces and am ordered to bomb a city, what do I do?

"As for whether a person can continue to serve in the military after she or he starts practicing Buddhism, I don’t see why not"

Why, of course. Look at all the "buddhists" that participated in WWII.

Goes to show that simply practicing zazen does not lead to greater insight or compassion.

As DT Suzuki wrote: "Zen has no special doctrine or philosophy. It is therefore extremely flexible in adapting itself to almost any philosophy and moral doctrine as long as its intuitive teaching is not interfered with." Zen can be "wedded to anarchism or fascism, communism or democracy.... or any political or economic dogmatism."

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Stephanie said:

"It's like all these mega-liberals that get off on feeling superior by dissing Obama as not being liberal enough, unlike their clueless crystal ball gazing leprechaun hero, Dennis Kucinich. They don't care about really understanding what it takes to make real change--which is a slow process requiring patience and humility--what they care about is being able to be 'against' something and to feel superior because of that."

Well let's see Steph. You're against the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but you fully support the president-elect who recently backed off his "bring the troops home in 16 months" rhetoric? And I believe I remember him saying something about intensifying the war in Afghanistan. Hmmm.....a bit of contradiction in your stump speech?

Ultimately the universe only has the meaning each individual gives it. I give it little meaning. I personally give it little meaning because people suck. I frankly don't care anymore what happens in those wars. If your so inclined to "defend" your country, more power to 'ya. If your so inclined to protest your country's actions, I truly hope you enjoy yourself.

And don't call me apathetic to your causes. Sitting zazen, I've realized your causes don't exist.

I simply enjoy observing everything. And when I discovered that I could emotionally detach myself (thanks to zen among other things)from worldly phenomena, a sort of happiness unlike any I'd ever known arose in me.

So why am I typing into this ridiculous blog? To see my own thoughts printed up on a screen. Kinda cool.

Justin said...

I liked the article. Extreme passivism is doomed, or at least relies on the efforts of others to protect it.

War is indeed bad. I didn't read anywhere that Brad supported the Iraq war. The Iraq war is a neo-con con and a terrible.

But then, most troops don't make these decisions. The Iraq War is not a good example. WW2 would be a better example.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Oh...by the way. I did indeed vote for Obama. But for a purely selfish reason. To piss off an acquaintance who phoned me election eve, letting me know he was voting for the first time in his life, only because "we can't let a black man in the white house".

Justin said...

"And don't call me apathetic to your causes. Sitting zazen, I've realized your causes don't exist.

I simply enjoy observing everything. And when I discovered that I could emotionally detach myself (thanks to zen among other things)from worldly phenomena, a sort of happiness unlike any I'd ever known arose in me."

What a wonderful outcome. Learn to give less of a shit through Zen.

Matt said...

I love it. I haven't heard anyone bad mouth the cops yet. We don't need them do we? And prisons....if we got rid of them the world would be just peachy wouldn't it?

Stephanie said...

That is a bullshit statement Stephanie.. You know no such thing. At least you didn't throw out some made up percentage of soldiers who think the war is a sham to bolster your argument.

Well, I don't have statistics, but I have read reports, statements, and stories from multiple soldiers who have come back disillusioned about the war, just as was the case with Vietnam. If you want me to, I'm sure I could quickly Google search and come up with many examples.

Well let's see Steph. You're against the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan but you fully support the president-elect who recently backed off his "bring the troops home in 16 months" rhetoric? And I believe I remember him saying something about intensifying the war in Afghanistan. Hmmm.....a bit of contradiction in your stump speech?

I disagree with Obama's stance on Afghanistan. I don't think we should be sending more troops there. I also believe we should get our troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible. Just because I like and support him overall doesn't mean I think he's perfect or agree with every last one of his political positions. I think overall he's smarter and more realistic than Kucinich and most of his far-left ilk, however. (A smart friend of mine recently said, "'Department of Peace'--what does Kucinich think all the diplomats in the State Department do?")

I relate to Brad because my spiritual journey has been somewhat similar to his, in that I've gone through periods of intensely naive and gullible idealism, only to later realize just how deluded I was. I see a lot of that foolish idealism in the far left--people have lovely ideas about perfect utopias that completely ignore the complexity of our nature as human beings. There's as much frightening anger on that side of the political spectrum as there is on the far right, people who are so convinced that their extreme and narrow views are right they would destroy all who would stand in the way of their imposing them on everybody else.

That's a major reason I respect Obama--I believe that his desire to look for what unites rather than what divides us is sincere and related to his personal and spiritual experiences. I respect him because he seems to want to listen to what everyone has to say. That is how anyone who serves the public as a politician truly reflects a government "of the people." Extreme ideologues on either side of the political spectrum don't want to listen to the other side--it's all about demonization and smug self-congratulation. In other words, bullshit.

And don't call me apathetic to your causes. Sitting zazen, I've realized your causes don't exist.

You heard the phrase, "living in a ghost cave," Zen-boy? 'Cause that's what you're doing.

So why am I typing into this ridiculous blog? To see my own thoughts printed up on a screen. Kinda cool.

If you didn't value your thoughts and opinions or believe that other people should see them, you wouldn't be sharing them, much less so forcefully and self-righteously. Don't be disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

Boots on the ground.

Anonymous said...

The Surge is working.
websites and statistics can be found to support every point of view.

Anonymous said...

"The Surge is working."

Anonymous said...

Obama agrees
the surge is working.

Anonymous said...

Obama sucking O'Reilly's surge
speaks volumes.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Veterans for Freedom?
Catchy name for a bunch of brownshirts.

After the Revolution and
the War Crimes Tribunal,
Bill Kristol will be at the head of the line to
the guillotine.

Anonymous said...

la verdad en España

Jinzang said...

I simply enjoy observing everything. And when I discovered that I could emotionally detach myself (thanks to zen among other things)from worldly phenomena, a sort of happiness unlike any I'd ever known arose in me.

This sort of distancing from your experience, taking a step back and observing it, is a pretty common early result of meditation practice. Some people like it, some don't, and it scares others. But it's not the goal of Zen. Because as long as there's a split between the observer and the observed there's still more work to do.

You heard the phrase, "living in a ghost cave," Zen-boy? 'Cause that's what you're doing.

Actually, that's another experience. When your meditation gets stronger, it's possible to block all thoughts and enter a state of mental blankness. That's doesn't sound very appealing, but thinking all the time, even when we dream, is very tiring. And putting that aside is very peaceful and joyful. The problem is that there's a subtle dullness associated with the absence of thoughts that facilitates that state, but also keeps you from seeing the mind as it is. So that state is a side track, a trap that can seem like the goal of Zen practice, since it's easy to fall into the error that thought is the enemy. But it is not the goal and a good teacher will get you out of this trap.

Anonymous said...

Naive idealism or not
it was Veteran's Day, ok?
and Brad, who hadn't blogged in a while, did
and on this blog, on this, which was Veteran's Day at the time, day he says Thanks!

no more different than on New Year's Day, his blogging something about "Happy New Year,"

or on Mother's Day (which, by the way started as an anti war protest one day by mothers wanting no more of their precious sons to be sent off to their deaths) Brad might very well blog Thanks Moms!

I don't think it was a particularly deep piece.

He sat down and put a little sumptin' up on the blog.

It isn't deep, people.
It doesn't always have to be deep.

So we should thank all people everywhere all doing their jobs in the best way they can, paying attention to all things needing attention be paid, and being caring and kind in all their encounters

Veterans are people too, on Veterans Day, hey--thank them--

But really everyday, thank everyone, especially for all kindnesses shown to you, personally.

Living itself, when it comes down to it, is just one GREAT BIG THANK YOU.

who could possibly misunderstand 'Thank you'

Jinzang said...

Here's a radical thought: every time you're tempted to use the word "always," substitute the word "sometimes."

Always?

Anonymous said...

Thank-you-Buddha, Fuck-you-Buddha...
two sides of the same coin.

Anonymous said...

"LIKE YOUR BUDDHISM? THANK A CAT!"

btw, joshu was right
dogs do not have buddha nature
(but cats do)
watch out, nansen, you're next

Jordan said...

I heard a good quote today, I would like to share it with you all. It is from Franklin Covey, that Seven Habits guy...

we like to think we see the world as it is, but really, we see the world as we are

I thought that was nice and a helpful way to look inward when considering the wide range of comments here. Thank you all for being brave enough to share your thoughts.

Take care,
Jordan

Anonymous said...

That was another great comment, jinzang. Living in the Ghostcave is more of a danger to those doing shikantaza, just as conceptualizing is a danger for koan zen. The sects often misunderstand and denigrate one another: 'Soto is just dead sitting, living in the ghost cave.' Or 'Rinzai isn't real zazen, they just sit and think about koans.'

If I manage to stop all thoughts, there's still one thought left, though it's the hardest to see. Suzuki roshi said that 'to stop the mind does not mean to stop the activities of mind.' That's real stopping. Thankyou for your teaching.

plaudertasche said...

I do like Brad, even sometimes he writes like he has fallen "off the wagon" seeing things clear.
But hey he is a human-bean after all, how can you blame him :)
This article seems to be proof of it, at first glance.
The only thing I can make off it, is that he likes to underline that he doesn't judge people who think that violence and aggression is an unavoidable part of our existence, rather then a choice we make. All though, violence/aggression seem to be a necessity on the PATH of our existence....

PeS

Alan A said...

Jinzang quoted Alan A:

"'Here's a radical thought: every time you're tempted to use the word "always," substitute the word "sometimes."'"

"Always?"

Alan A. answers:

Almost always!

Rich said...

Sometimes I'd rather read this blog than do anything else.

But I could never substitute the word always or almost always.

Alan A said...

Sometimes, then!

Matt said...

Thanks for sharing that Jordan.

Rich said...

"If I manage to stop all thoughts, there's still one thought left, though it's the hardest to see. Suzuki "

That's world peace.

Rich said...

Keep going, to the place of no idea then only what you do has substance and that's only for this moment.

Anonymous said...

I very much disagree with the idea of following buddhism and being an active member of the armed forces. To think that using the argument that buddhism is situated in the real realm to back up the need to selfishly and the ego driven annihilation of other people is simple preposterous and even though i do not practice zazen or buddhism as a day to day religion i still cannot help to feel that if we simply sit and observe the reality around us and not put into action things that can change that reality into a more peaceful existence than all is lost. To tell soldiers that doing zazen to have a more peaceful mind while they are throwing bombs down residential alleys to protect themselves from suicide bombers is stupid. I am not in support of the ideology that continues our need for a military(as a world not nation), i love to support the men and women who go into battle only because they are humans not because they are soldiers. And might i add that the last true war fought for our freedom was WWII.
Buddhism should be about not only understanding the real world but trying to make it the better place being Buddhist is about. That is at least how i feel.

ihxel said...

i completley agree with what a few of the anonymousposts say. Brad just had an idea and posted it, he´s not only a buddhist, he´s also a guy w a personal political view, as we all are.
I don´t agree with him at all, i believe that the military has only done wrong throughout the decades, and it´s not meant to protect a nation´s freedom or rights from other nations, it´s meant to ensure national economy by whatever means neccesary. The fact that soldiers/veterans believe they are putting their life´s in danger defending a country´s freedom is exactly what a government wants them to believe, it´s the only possible way to make sane citizens fight daily a war that is only protecting a minority´s economical interests.
This being said, why not thank them? as someone else said, why not thank anyone anywhere anyday?

It´s not their fault governments are a piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

As a Veteran, an American, Buddhist and an aging punk; Thank you for this article.

Anonymous said...

As a Veteran, an American, Buddhist and an aging punk; Thank you for this article.

Anonymous said...

Violence is icky. As a Soldier, I may have to commit violence against others at some time in my career. As a Buddhist, I will try to do so with compassion, and without hatred.