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Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
buddhadharma| 23 |spring 2007 many years, I don’t think that it’s possible to put the Buddha’s teachings into prac- tice while engaging in combat or train- ing others to engage in combat. This is because it is not possible to aspire to alle- viate suffering in oneself and others while harming oneself and others. One factor of the noble eightfold path is wise liveli- hood, and one area that we are cautioned against is dealing in arms. I do believe, however, that it is possible to bring peace in an arena of aggression, depending on one’s particular role and responsibilities in the military. If one’s values and understanding are different than the status quo, there may be a way to advise others and be of help. I know a practitioner who served in the marines and is now in an advisory position where she’s able to educate and influence mili- tary personnel whose decisions impact many people. I respect her decision to have taken on this position. The Buddha stressed the importance of not meeting aggression with aggression or hatred with hatred because it simply perpetuates suffering. And as others have said, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth means everyone ends up without eyes or teeth. Our task as practitioners is to bring as much creativity as possible to conflict, in the form of wisdom and compassion. It is true that there are rare instances where the path of least harm requires strong and decisive action. In these cases, it seems to me that clarity of intention, restraint, and limiting of physi- cal harm are crucial. Regarding your concern about a career change at this point in your life, I wonder if you are attached to doing what you have always done and are afraid to make a change. It can be easy to rely upon seemingly secure conditions even when we’ve worn out the original rea- son for our involvement. What do you really want to do? What is it that you love? Your present career seems in oppo- sition to your growing understanding of what brings about peace and happiness. It can take a great deal of courage to do something different, but I encourage you to continue to ask yourself these ques- tions. It might also be helpful to speak with former soldiers who are Buddhist practitioners. I imagine that there are many who have been through some of your experiences and who would have much wisdom to offer. 30th annual Summer Seminar on Buddhism June 4th-15th 2007 www.summerseminar.org A unique program of academic study of buddhism and zen meditation with eminent profes- sors, monks and nuns at the Bodhi Manda zen center. Study and meditate in a beautiful mountain canyon adjacent to the Jemez river, which flows through the New Mexico high deser t. Undergraduate and Graduate credits are available through the Univerity of New Mexico. Bodhi Manda Zen Center