Supporting veterans and war

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pael
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Supporting veterans and war

Post by pael » Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:15 am

Is it right to support veterans? Is i thanking for making war. Is freedom worth of it?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Ayu » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:19 am

Sometimes the veterans are the strongest pacifists, because they know what war is about. Isn't it?
Maybe this is very different compairing Europe and USA? In Europe not only the soldiers were veterans but also the general public. You cannot find anyone among these people who cherrish war.

What is this "support" like, in detail?
I think, any glorifying of war is bad. This happens in Hollywood films often. Even in many films for children. I think, that's criminal. :)
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by BrianG » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:51 am

pael wrote:Is it right to support veterans? Is i thanking for making war. Is freedom worth of it?
Once upon a time, I was in the infantry. Most of the military is children, who don't know any better. I know a lot of people who fought in Fallujah, they overwhelmingly did not enjoy the experience, and some of them became completely mentally screwed up because of it.

From my own experience in infantry, about 80% are anti-war, pro-going-home. Only about 20% are actually of the "let's go kill some people!" variety.

Should they be taken care of when they return home? I think that's the right thing to do.
Telepaths - I like to kill them

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by seeker242 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:28 am

Supporting the troops means not putting them in harm's way. Which means to make every possible effort to not send them off to war to begin with. The anti-war position is the single most troop supporting position there is. :smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by DGA » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:12 pm

Everyone is deserving of compassion and kindness. No exceptions. I'd go so far as to say that those who have the most blood on their hands, the Dick Cheneys of the world, are deserving of the most compassion, because the actions they've taken will ripen and that will be bad news for them.

I agree with the statement that the majority of veterans, especially those who have experienced combat, hate war and want peace--many of them demand peace and an end to war from a gut-level aversion to suffering for themselves and others. That's quite an insight. To give an example, the first Buddhist in my family was my uncle, who fought very bravely in the US Army (special forces) in Vietnam for several years. After that experience, with many close brushes with death, he felt strongly that he was living on borrowed time and lived his life with that understanding. He was a beautiful human being.

Shorter version: don't be a dick to combat veterans. Instead, treat everyone you meet with courtesy, dignity, and respect, including veterans of war.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:12 pm

I have very strong feelings about this. I've debated how to respond.

It's hard to know what a person "is" based on what they have done in the past. My root guru, Garchen Rinpoche, is a veteran. He was in three year retreat when the Chinese invaded. His people pulled him out of his hermitage and put a gun in his hand. By his own admission, he killed people in war. Now he's an actual bodhisattva.

It's really the same with every veteran. We really have no understanding of what karma brought them to that time and place to have to take up and weapon and use it as a vocation. All the men in my father's generation of my family were WW2 veterans. They fought in places like Iwo Jima and Normandy largely for reasons out of their control. Some were drafted. Some enlisted because they felt something was at stake... while some enlisted because they were poor and hungry and had nowhere to go. But what's universally true is that they did what they did so that others didn't have to do what they did. They did horrible karmically damning things for the benefit of others. Whether they were right or wrong is besides the point. Everything rests on the tip of intention. Even now, when it becomes clear that EndlessWar is the modus operandi of military-industrial hegemony, I give veterans the same respect.

Supporting veterans != supporting war.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by theanarchist » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:40 pm

The military is exploiting the naivety and material poverty of young men.

Helping the victims is only fair.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Ayu » Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:14 pm

theanarchist wrote:The military is exploiting the naivety and material poverty of young men.
...
... and young women. And their families. And their descendants.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Fortyeightvows » Fri Jul 24, 2015 5:02 pm

seeker242 wrote:Supporting the troops means not putting them in harm's way. Which means to make every possible effort to not send them off to war to begin with. The anti-war position is the single most troop supporting position there is. :smile:
:thumbsup:

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Jul 24, 2015 6:36 pm

I would agree that the best way to support veterans is to make them not become veterans-- by stopping war from ever happening. That's a pretty deep converastion right there.

That said, I've found that Buddhists in my circles are pretty shitty to veterans. Self-righteous Buddhists who have been pacifists, most if not all of their lives, looking down on vet Buddhists because--- they killed. It's pretty horrifying to see your dharma sister, who is some 20-something vegan crunchy hippy chick, talking down to a dharma brother who was a door gunner in Vietnam, lecutring him on karma and nonviolence. I won't mention the comments made about the broken down homeless vets begging for money to get drunk.

I find it sickening that people will take advantage of the good things our military-industrial hegemony provides, like the opportunity to practice dharma, but look down on those who, for a whole complex of reasons that is beyond us, did the bidding of the system that provides such liesures.

Padmasambahva said to not break the hearts of the elderly. That goes for vets as well.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Son of Buddha » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:09 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote: That said, I've found that Buddhists in my circles are pretty shitty to veterans. Self-righteous Buddhists who have been pacifists, most if not all of their lives, looking down on vet Buddhists because--- they killed. It's pretty horrifying to see your dharma sister, who is some 20-something vegan crunchy hippy chick, talking down to a dharma brother who was a door gunner in Vietnam, lecutring him on karma and nonviolence. I won't mention the comments made about the broken down homeless vets begging for money to get dmoney.
Yea I have experienced that before........it sucks.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by daelm » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:12 pm

pael wrote:Is it right to support veterans? Is i thanking for making war. Is freedom worth of it?
Supporting war is almost always bad. There is no such category as "veterans". There are only people.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:35 pm

You don't need to support war to support veterans. Occasionally you'll run into someone who thinks that, but it seems unusual. Maybe i'm just lucky, but the vets I know don't seem to expect constant jingoistic adoration, or that I hold certain political views in order to be their friends. Simply not judging them and treating them like everyone else, allowing them to have space to express their own stuff (at least in daily life and Dharma contexts) has worked out fine for me. Also one of the guys I know is a combat medic, it's a noble thing to do, even if I don't support the wars he's served in.
Is freedom worth of it?
I think it is a bit more complex than that.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by joy&peace » Fri Jul 24, 2015 10:58 pm

If you're willing to sacrifice to stop a senseless war, which I believe anyone should be, then certainly the corollary is making oneself available by all means to those who have been in a war. . . as several have mentioned, these people are in so, so, so, so, so,

(may I imply a hundred so's here?)

so many ways, usually our best ally in the work of peace. The reason is - they know. They know. The whole point is learning to trust them, those who say - and they almost say uniquiviocally - don't do that. Don't, it's just - don't.

I'm not going to go into particulars, because that would pretty quickly get political, but I tend to view things both globally and locally -

Globally and locally the causes for war are almost always the same, and their solution is also, always the same.

To live and act locally is also a very, very essential means on the path - My quest to live exactly as I should, is my main task in life - there's no need to open the doors to pain and suffering every day - close the wound, and it will heal;

Let me heal myself, and then come back to society, and then work in small ways to share peace and good living.

Each and every saint shares this exact path - Milarepa, among the most especial. . . But every single one, seems to say - untie your hands, then untie others' hands - unwork your knots, and then help others - when they wish it - with theirs.

Learn your Buddha-nature, and then help others to learn theirs;

Find the further shore - then practice the way here and back, so you may safely lead others to peace.

Or what have you - go up on the mountain, but then come back down.

It's certainly true, completely true what someone said - supporting the troops, helping them heal, is very much the action of peace. . .

As I have come to find, after some significant heart-to-heart with some veterans, this is really true - that doing this, when possible - when the circumstances arise, as Dogen says - is the total corollary to peace, advocating stopping the war in the first place.

In other words - to help heal after the fact is the same type of process as the work done, the steps laid, to prevent war from happening - which we must continually make efforts, transform ourselves so that our actions - far-reaching into the future - will be beneficial for so many future generations.

It is worthwhile.


Here's a quote by Thay which sums up an insightful view.


'We who have touched war have a duty to bring the truth about war to those who have not had a direct experience of it. We are the light at the tip of the candle. It is really hot, but it has the power of shining and illuminating. If we practice mindfulness, we will know how to look deeply into the nature of war and, with our insight, wake people up so that together we can avoid repeating the same horrors again and again.' - Thich Nhat Hanh


Consider a comparison of Thay and Zen, with First People medicine-man, Black Elk, for some very interesting similarities. . . both lived through wars, and have nearly identical viewpoints on the practice of peace, and also on some other topics like children, and things like that. . very illuminating exercise.
Om Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate bodhi svaha

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by steveb1 » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:14 pm

As fellow struggling sentient beings they should be regarded compassionately. But does that apply to what they do / what they did?

Granted, most of them were probably acting "under the gun", literally with firing back at enemy fire and figuratively in the verbal/physical abuse/brainswashing that accompanies induction.

But still, after the Geneva Convention and Nuremberg, the principle was established that the individual soldier has a right and a duty to refuse illegal and/or grossly immoral orders. How many have the intelligence, education and courage to do that? How many have done that?

The cliche is that "dying for the modern nation-state is like dying for the phone company", and it is, sadly, true. Ditto for fighting and killing for the nation-state. The "police action" in Korea? Vietnam? The invasion and "liberation" of the Falklands? The Gulf "War, "Desert Storm"? The virtually unilateral pre-emptive invasion and occupation of Iraq? None of these resulted from unprovoked attacks upon the US or Great Britain. On the contrary, Iraq was a completely unjustified aggressive assault on "little people", an apoclypse of "Shock and Awe" entered into, as G.W. Bush said, under the auspices of "a merciful God", deliberately waged against a leader who had not attacked us, and who did not have the weapons of mass destruction with which to do so.

Where is the soldier in all this mess? Right in the middle, of course. To the extent that the soldier is not defending his/her home country, is not defending, or making the world safe for. democracy - and in fact is operating in direct opposition to such "noble" ideas - then the soldier is a very active part of the problem. We do not owe soldiers/veterans of modern foreign wars any thanks, we are not obligated to cut them any special slack (other than supporting the normative pay scale, benefits and pensions that any government job ought to guarantee). Fact is, they weren't protecting us, risking their lives to save us, defending us at all. Rather, they were merely serving the corrupt interests of a corrupt government. To that extent, again, soldiers are part of the problem. ("What if they gave a war and all the soldiers resisted?")

So: treat veterans as compassionately as we would wish to treat all sentient beings. But never congratulate, clap on the back, encourage, support, be jealousof /or/ or wistful for, or admire, what they did - inasmuch as what they did was unnecessary, wanton destruction of societies which had never attacked our country - so do not revel in war glory, do not vicariously thrill to war stories. Respect veterans as people, be compassionate to them as suffering samsaric beings, but do not support their "unskillful" war deeds.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:40 pm

There is a slippery slope here for me.

I would agree that it is problematic to rejoice in and relish the act of war committed by the soldier. We have a long history of doing this, and the abhidharma teachings are very clear that we take on the soldier's karma ourselves by rejoicing in their actions-- just as we gain merit in rejoicing in the virtue of others.

I would also agree that we should support veterans by preventing war in any and every way possible.

But I don't think it's enough to simply treat our soldiers and veterans with compassion and love. That sort of sounds like the Christian saying, "love the sinner, hate the sin". I think that is a cop-out as Buddhists, as we understand dependent origination. We understand how phenomena co-arise from causes and conditions. So in addition to showing veterans and solidier love, respect, and compassion, I think we need to appreciate what they've provided us.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:54 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:There is a slippery slope here for me.

I would agree that it is problematic to rejoice in and relish the act of war committed by the soldier. We have a long history of doing this, and the abhidharma teachings are very clear that we take on the soldier's karma ourselves by rejoicing in their actions-- just as we gain merit in rejoicing in the virtue of others.

I would also agree that we should support veterans by preventing war in any and every way possible.

But I don't think it's enough to simply treat our soldiers and veterans with compassion and love. That sort of sounds like the Christian saying, "love the sinner, hate the sin". I think that is a cop-out as Buddhists, as we understand dependent origination. We understand how phenomena co-arise from causes and conditions. So in addition to showing veterans and solidier love, respect, and compassion, I think we need to appreciate what they've provided us.

We also need to appreciate what they've provided "us" (and actually, that varies greatly by individual) came at the expense of others, and is the spoils of some awful actions.

For me in terms of personal interaction, it is enough to know that some of them (notably, also those who are most likely to "expect" that you support their actions) often fully believe (d) they were fighting for just causes, so at least there was some intention that is laudable. That being the case, there is no point in trying to preach to them at all, especially when I haven't "been there, done that" personally, there is too much of a fundamental difference of opinion. At the same time, no way am I going to "support the troops" uncritically either, and I would be glad to share my views more openly (and have) with vets and troops who are more ambivalent about what they are doing.

Right livelihood is, after all, an actual thing. I think there's probably a golden mean between being all uncritically warm and supportive, and being honest with Dharma-specific questions about engaging in combat.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:40 am

JD...

I agree with you.

But when my dharma brother tells US he was a door gunner in Vietnam-- I think we all know what that entailed. He certainly knew what it entailed, which is why he was a (recovered) alcoholic and drug addict. I don't think that's the part of the narrative Buddhists and other pacifists miss-- that war is a horrible goddam thing.

The part that gets glossed by many Buddhists and pacifists is that while war is a horrible goddam thing, we sure benefit from it. For me there's something nauseating damning a man for something one benefits from.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:We also need to appreciate what they've provided "us" (and actually, that varies greatly by individual) came at the expense of others, and is the spoils of some awful actions.

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:47 am

Urgyen Dorje wrote:JD...

I agree with you.

But when my dharma brother tells US he was a door gunner in Vietnam-- I think we all know what that entailed. He certainly knew what it entailed, which is why he was a (recovered) alcoholic and drug addict. I don't think that's the part of the narrative Buddhists and other pacifists miss-- that war is a horrible goddam thing.

The part that gets glossed by many Buddhists and pacifists is that while war is a horrible goddam thing, we sure benefit from it. For me there's something nauseating damning a man for something one benefits from.
Johnny Dangerous wrote:We also need to appreciate what they've provided "us" (and actually, that varies greatly by individual) came at the expense of others, and is the spoils of some awful actions.

Can't disagree. My Dad is a Vietnam combat vet.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Supporting veterans and war

Post by steveb1 » Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:53 am

JohnnyDangerous wrote: At the same time, no way am I going to "support the troops" uncritically

It's hard to walk the line between supporting and uncritically supporting, since public society - Veteran's Day, Memorial Day, D-Day war parades, remembrance services, flag-display, flag-waving...and just being around, being present, for war mongering/bragging speech - gives very little room for war resistance and criticism of the armed services.

Also relevant: the increasing militarization of police forces in the U.S. Forgive my uncharity, but I was outraged at all the young Bostonian knuckle draggers lining the roads cheering police troops from outside Boston and from even relatively far-flung areas as Martial Law was being enforced on the pretense of tracking down a couple of violent but by then possibly scared, lost "terrorist" kids. I mean... you put a prison on lockdown, not an entire city - and when that happens, by God you PROTEST, not CHEER. I recall a man on You Tube just looking out his window taping "riot squad"/"special forces" cops on a neighbor's porch. The cops spot him and tell him to stop filming and stay away from the window, and of course, he complies. My point: what we are considering about active and retired soldiers in this thread has also to increasingly be applied to our local police forces. Increasingly (yes, I'm over-using the word), the "War" is coming to the "Homeland", and our cops are becoming street soldiers, freely or at least inexpensively equipped with surplus arms and vehicles from the "real" Army.

So now cops are merging with the military. It's one thing to contemplate compassion for soldiers whose perhaps "unskillful" actions take place on foreign shores... there's a distance in those considerations ... but when members of the new military-police complex begin to patrol our neighborhoods, the issue will probably be less about having compassion on these new soldier-cops, and more on how to protect ourselves from them.

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