Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

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Luke
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Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Luke » Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:46 am

Would spreading Budddhism to a large extent in a non-Buddhist country generally make its army less effective? Buddhism teaches compassion and more compassionate soldiers are probably more hesitant to kill, and it would seem that "kind soldiers" would generally lose to more ruthless soldiers.

And perhaps also spreading Buddhism in a country which has a non-Buddhism native religion might help to destabilize that country because it could create conflicts between the new Buddhist converts and their native countrymen who practice their country's main religion. It could create conflicts between the young and old and create a sense of confusion and instability.

What are your thoughts about the effects of a country becoming more and more Buddhist? Would such a sincerely Buddhist country always lose in war and politics to the more ruthless and unethical countries' soldiers and politicians?

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Paul
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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Paul » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:39 am

Luke wrote:What are your thoughts about the effects of a country becoming more and more Buddhist? Would such a sincerely Buddhist country always lose in war and politics to the more ruthless and unethical countries' soldiers and politicians?
Well, the first thing to do is to look at history. There have been countries that have a majority (or significant minority) Buddhist population or have had Buddhist rulers - and plenty which eventually stopped.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by BrianG » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:47 am

Luke wrote:Would spreading Budddhism to a large extent in a non-Buddhist country generally make its army less effective?
Not in the case of the Mongols.
Telepaths - I like to kill them

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Jesse » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:47 am

Luke wrote:Would spreading Budddhism to a large extent in a non-Buddhist country generally make its army less effective? Buddhism teaches compassion and more compassionate soldiers are probably more hesitant to kill, and it would seem that "kind soldiers" would generally lose to more ruthless soldiers.

And perhaps also spreading Buddhism in a country which has a non-Buddhism native religion might help to destabilize that country because it could create conflicts between the new Buddhist converts and their native countrymen who practice their country's main religion. It could create conflicts between the young and old and create a sense of confusion and instability.

What are your thoughts about the effects of a country becoming more and more Buddhist? Would such a sincerely Buddhist country always lose in war and politics to the more ruthless and unethical countries' soldiers and politicians?
It seems like a good idea, render their army passive and non-violent than destroy them totally. It just might work.

edit: that was sarcasm, very few people will ever willing be totally non-violent, especially when confronted with a life-death situation. If your in the military, and your life is in harms way, you sure as shit better be able to shoot to kill.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
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gloriasteinem
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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by gloriasteinem » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:31 am

What about heavenly warriors in both Buddhism and Christianity, they are to defend the good and the dharma.
Image

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Techno Yogi
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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Techno Yogi » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:36 am

Luke wrote:Would spreading Budddhism to a large extent in a non-Buddhist country generally make its army less effective?
The short answer is no:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuan_dynasty

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altan_Kha ... _the_Gelug

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_Japan

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Queequeg
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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Queequeg » Wed Dec 16, 2015 1:59 pm

We spread dharma to spread awakening. Awakened people tend to be evolved beyond viewing the infliction of violence as an answer. Society in general becomes pacified and violence becomes less and less an acceptable norm. The effect is as a society we turn our energies to peaceful pursuits and the military capabilities degenerate. Bob Thurman maintains this happened in India, Tibet. You could probably include Thailand and SE Asia in general. It happened at times in Japan. This is one of the main themes of Nichiren Buddhism when the people are awakened, society is awakened, the land is awakened.

If you open up to the true aspect of reality, fighting just seems so pointless. You guys don't see this in your own experience? Can't you extrapolate what would be the case if the majority around you were also opened up like that?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Luke
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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Luke » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:49 pm

Thanks for your responses. Reading them has helped me clarify my thinking.

The Mongols are indeed an example of a strong Buddhist empire. Although what I am curious about is "how Buddhist" was the average Mongol soldier at this time? What Buddhist knowledge did he have and how did he practice Buddhism?

I think before I had some double standards in my mind. I thought "Well, no really deeply devout Buddhist could ever be an expert at killing people and manipulating politics." But any religion has people of varying degrees of commitment and insight. It isn't as though one has to be like the Dalai Lama to be Buddhist!

However, there does seem to be something powerful--at least militarily--about the monotheistic "I am ready to kill for my god and I am ready to die for my god" attitude which has fueled lots of historical conquests.

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Luke » Wed Dec 16, 2015 10:58 pm

Jesse wrote:edit: that was sarcasm, very few people will ever willing be totally non-violent, especially when confronted with a life-death situation. If your in the military, and your life is in harms way, you sure as shit better be able to shoot to kill.
Yes, we Buddhists are allowed to kick some butt when necessary! :D hehe (Although this has at least some negative karmic consequences so many Buddhist masters still wouldn't fight at all.)
Jesse wrote:It seems like a good idea, render their army passive and non-violent than destroy them totally. It just might work.
Well, I guess the image in my mind was taking some normal western country and through lots of propaganda making most of its people something almost like Jains, so that they would no longer be willing to put up any opposition to invaders, but yes, it is rather far-fetched and is more of a thought experiment than anything else.

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Luke » Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:22 pm

Queequeg wrote:We spread dharma to spread awakening. Awakened people tend to be evolved beyond viewing the infliction of violence as an answer. Society in general becomes pacified and violence becomes less and less an acceptable norm. The effect is as a society we turn our energies to peaceful pursuits and the military capabilities degenerate. Bob Thurman maintains this happened in India, Tibet. You could probably include Thailand and SE Asia in general. It happened at times in Japan. This is one of the main themes of Nichiren Buddhism when the people are awakened, society is awakened, the land is awakened.

If you open up to the true aspect of reality, fighting just seems so pointless. You guys don't see this in your own experience? Can't you extrapolate what would be the case if the majority around you were also opened up like that?
Beautiful thoughts, Queequeg. Yes, I agree, that in the long run, fighting doesn't accomplish much, but in the short term, for people who are not yet Buddhas, it can be incredibly important.

It would be nice live in a utopia in which every nation voluntarily disarms itself and puts its resources into scientific research, education, healthcare, etc.

But the political problem is how can each country which is disarming be assured that one of the other countries won't just suddenly turn around and say, "You have all disarmed! Wonderful! Now I will dominate you all! Mwahaha!"

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:45 am

Techno Yogi wrote:
Luke wrote:Would spreading Budddhism to a large extent in a non-Buddhist country generally make its army less effective?
The short answer is no:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuan_dynasty

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altan_Kha ... _the_Gelug

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_Japan
Alternatively, you might consider the Tang dynasty in China which is considered one of the the high points of Han Chinese civilization, whose religion was Buddhism. Chan'an (Xian) was at the time the most populous city in the world.

The problem with the Mongols is I don't think those guys could get off their horses and put down their arms long enough for Buddhism to have an impact on their culture during their reign. To conquer so much territory is a feat; to actually hold it and rule while you're constantly infighting and being sabotaged by your subjects is a still greater feat that the Mongols ultimately failed at after only about a century.

The Empire of Japan is not an example of a Buddhist nation. The religion of the state from the Meiji restoration until 1945 was State Shinto, and Buddhism was actively persecuted. Before that you had the Tokugawa Shogunate which was built on the foundation laid by Oda Nobunaga who is largely responsible for breaking the influence of Buddhism on the state once and for all.

When it comes to the Buddhist influence on Japanese civilization, you have to look at the Asuka, Nara and Heian periods when Buddhism was the state religion; the constitution written by Shotoku Taishi explicitly states that the governance of the nation must be founded on Dharma. The Heian period which is considered one of the high points of Japanese civilization was a period of nearly 400 years of peace. Wrap your head around that - 400 years with little or no war.

The problem is that a society pacified by dharma becomes vulnerable to others who have not been so pacified. The peace also lends to indolence and ineptitude in government, which, if the society is not attacked from without, will give rise to a disgruntled internal population who will over throw the order.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:59 am

Luke wrote:
Queequeg wrote:We spread dharma to spread awakening. Awakened people tend to be evolved beyond viewing the infliction of violence as an answer. Society in general becomes pacified and violence becomes less and less an acceptable norm. The effect is as a society we turn our energies to peaceful pursuits and the military capabilities degenerate. Bob Thurman maintains this happened in India, Tibet. You could probably include Thailand and SE Asia in general. It happened at times in Japan. This is one of the main themes of Nichiren Buddhism when the people are awakened, society is awakened, the land is awakened.

If you open up to the true aspect of reality, fighting just seems so pointless. You guys don't see this in your own experience? Can't you extrapolate what would be the case if the majority around you were also opened up like that?
Beautiful thoughts, Queequeg. Yes, I agree, that in the long run, fighting doesn't accomplish much, but in the short term, for people who are not yet Buddhas, it can be incredibly important.

It would be nice live in a utopia in which every nation voluntarily disarms itself and puts its resources into scientific research, education, healthcare, etc.

But the political problem is how can each country which is disarming be assured that one of the other countries won't just suddenly turn around and say, "You have all disarmed! Wonderful! Now I will dominate you all! Mwahaha!"
You make it sound so intentional. That's not how it works.

You don't wake up and say, "Let's disarm today!" It happens imperceptibly over a few generations who are day by day, year by year, pacified by their absorption with dharma.

You don't have to be a Buddha to understand violence is reprehensible and abhorrent and it should be avoided. You can simply observe the most basic Buddhist precepts, even without understanding them - Don't Kill, Don't Steal, Don't Lie, Don't get intoxicated, Don't be sexually irresponsible. Live by those norms for a generation and see the character of the children you raise. Their minds will be purer than yours, and they'll naturally abhor violence. And this is not some dream - it would take a much smaller percentage of the population than you think to make these influential societal norms - less than 50%. Probably with 33%, maybe even less, especially if the ruling classes adopt these values.

This isn't utopia talk. This is Buddhism. It actually works.

As for outsiders who don't share the same values... they are no different in having to walk their own path to awakening. They might take advantage of a society that is pacified by dharma - its happened in India and Tibet. This is not a reason to not practice dharma.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Luke » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:10 pm

Queequeg wrote: As for outsiders who don't share the same values... they are no different in having to walk their own path to awakening. They might take advantage of a society that is pacified by dharma - its happened in India and Tibet. This is not a reason to not practice dharma.
Yes, it is not a reason for an individual to practice dharma, but it does give politicians reasons to not want their own countries to become too Buddhist...

It is a shame that our religion can lead to these strategic disadvantages.

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Luke » Wed Dec 30, 2015 2:15 am

But I do wonder if spreading Buddhism widely in the American South would disrupt their hunting culture there and in turn, disrupt some of their warrior culture.

A lot of men from the south who end up in the military (especially famous snipers) seem to have started off with the local hunting culture. Christianity supports the local hunting culture, but Buddhism is mostly opposed to hunting for recreation. Therefore, if children in the south became more influenced by Buddhism, they would be less likely to hunt and in turn, less likely to want to be soldiers.

Buddhist countries with successful militaries seem to have integrated their warrior culture with Buddhism. But most Buddhist converts in the west seem to be opposed to fighting and war.

...and Jainism would disrupt every country's warrior culture! lol

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Zhen Li » Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:13 pm

Queequeg wrote:As for outsiders who don't share the same values... they are no different in having to walk their own path to awakening. They might take advantage of a society that is pacified by dharma - its happened in India and Tibet. This is not a reason to not practice dharma.
These are myths of Shangri La. Neither India nor Tibet can be spoken of as having been "pacified by Dharma." Both, upon their conquest, had brutally violent cultures and armies. That does not, however, prevent a civilization from having highly realised masters.

Likewise, warrior cultures are not disrupted by Buddhism or Jainism, but can have highly realised masters within them. All you need to do is look at history. In Jain cases, when one, like Candragupta Maurya, wishes to engage upon the path of practice, one cannot simultaneously rule or engage in household life, and must renounce in favour of one's successors -- otherwise, like Vikramaditya, one is simply a "patron" of Jainism, while engaging in typical royal duties (dandaniti). This is because the role of kingship necessitates harm. One might even say that the only cultures that survived, were essentially warrior cultures -- this doesn't mean that they didn't have other virtues. Just like you cannot characterise the US or even the American south by being a warrior culture, there's all sorts of things that make up a culture: arts, science, technology, religion.

All I'm really saying is, I don't think the goal of being a Buddhist should be utopianism. The world is obscured by hindrances, and while it's not all bad, it's no use trying to make it all good; if we try to engineer it to fit our vision, it will just slip through out fingers. Instead, focus on your own cultivation and the benefits that you can personally bring to any given situation.

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by skittles » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:48 pm

I like to think Buddhists would be less likely to fight an unjust war, but then there's Myanmar proving that you can raise a band of thugs to murder innocent people for the cost of a hamburger from a Buddhist population. Consider that Myanmar, a Buddhist country, slaughtered over 5000 monks just a few years ago. Many of them burned alive in their monasteries for opposing the government that was forcing a large portion of their de-facto slave population to literally starve to death by desubsidizing their Chinese gasoline. Currently, Myanmar is brutally brainwashing its citizens by bringing in Western anti-muslim propaganda tactics to send the citizens into a dumb rage and ignore that they are China's slaves. Sorry for the rant. I feel strongly about Myanmar and my blood boils when I think about the Chinese oil companies and their evil evil evil directors like Ruby Khong. It won't be long before you're reading about these Chinese crooks in the New York Times. I don't consider myself to be in the loop, but even I've been told a tremendous amount about the Chinese oil companies and the way they bribe officials to make policies to exploit their country's citizens.
"My main teacher Serkong Rinpoche, who was one of the teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explained that having a protector is like having a very strong and vicious dog. If you are a strong person, you could go sit and guard your own gate every night to make sure that thieves don’t attack, but usually people wouldn’t do that. It’s not that we don’t have the ability, it’s just: why bother? You could post a dog there instead." - Alex Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rs_ab.html

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Zhen Li » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:06 am

It's no surprise, humans are humans: Buddhism is not the same as Buddha Dharma, and Buddhists are not the same as bodhisattvas. The Buddhism and Buddhists are contingent demographic categories (vapid from the perspective of genuine doctrine and practice), the Buddha Dharma and bodhisattvas are grounded in truth.

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Taco_Rice » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:01 am

Zhen Li wrote:
Queequeg wrote:As for outsiders who don't share the same values... they are no different in having to walk their own path to awakening. They might take advantage of a society that is pacified by dharma - its happened in India and Tibet. This is not a reason to not practice dharma.
These are myths of Shangri La. Neither India nor Tibet can be spoken of as having been "pacified by Dharma." Both, upon their conquest, had brutally violent cultures and armies. That does not, however, prevent a civilization from having highly realised masters.

Likewise, warrior cultures are not disrupted by Buddhism or Jainism, but can have highly realised masters within them. All you need to do is look at history. In Jain cases, when one, like Candragupta Maurya, wishes to engage upon the path of practice, one cannot simultaneously rule or engage in household life, and must renounce in favour of one's successors -- otherwise, like Vikramaditya, one is simply a "patron" of Jainism, while engaging in typical royal duties (dandaniti). This is because the role of kingship necessitates harm. One might even say that the only cultures that survived, were essentially warrior cultures -- this doesn't mean that they didn't have other virtues. Just like you cannot characterise the US or even the American south by being a warrior culture, there's all sorts of things that make up a culture: arts, science, technology, religion.

All I'm really saying is, I don't think the goal of being a Buddhist should be utopianism. The world is obscured by hindrances, and while it's not all bad, it's no use trying to make it all good; if we try to engineer it to fit our vision, it will just slip through out fingers. Instead, focus on your own cultivation and the benefits that you can personally bring to any given situation.
:good:
One might even say that the only cultures that survived, were essentially warrior cultures
Especially good point.

skittles wrote:I like to think Buddhists would be less likely to fight an unjust war, but then there's Myanmar proving that you can raise a band of thugs to murder innocent people for the cost of a hamburger from a Buddhist population. Consider that Myanmar, a Buddhist country, slaughtered over 5000 monks just a few years ago. Many of them burned alive in their monasteries for opposing the government that was forcing a large portion of their de-facto slave population to literally starve to death by desubsidizing their Chinese gasoline. Currently, Myanmar is brutally brainwashing its citizens by bringing in Western anti-muslim propaganda tactics to send the citizens into a dumb rage and ignore that they are China's slaves.
This sounds hellishly awful, though I would imagine that maybe ignorance and desperate poverty would explain how people could be convinced to turn on even Buddhist clergy.

Zhen Li wrote:All I'm really saying is, I don't think the goal of being a Buddhist should be utopianism. The world is obscured by hindrances, and while it's not all bad, it's no use trying to make it all good; if we try to engineer it to fit our vision, it will just slip through out fingers. Instead, focus on your own cultivation and the benefits that you can personally bring to any given situation.
Buddhism is full of Pure Lands. I think it's a bit narrow to shrug our shoulders and leave Bodhisattva work for beings in Sutras or for another distant life. We're nearing the point when we will actually be able to give eyes to the blind, legs and arms to the maimed, brain and marrow (well, we already give marrow, don't we?) to those who need it. If the European diaspora taught the world anything, it's that the seemingly impossible can be reached.

I don't see the point of Buddhism as being that we should simply be content with whatever, but instead that if we don't master ourselves and learn to be happy, we won't be content with anything. But a better world and the stars are worth reaching for just as much as the impossible goal of saving all beings is worth striving to accomplish.
When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of its red leaves, you will not see all the others. When the eye is not set on any one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number of leaves are visible to the eye without limit. But if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there. One who has understood this is no different from Kannon with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes.
— Takuan Sōhō, the Unfettered Mind

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skittles
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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by skittles » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:18 am

Ultimately, it was ignorance on a large scale that caused the situation. The Burmese citizens were / are completely capable of throwing out the Chinese business men and their puppets at the cost of fewer lives than were lost in 2007. Ironically, it was probably the monks that tried to protect the Burmese people that kept the Burmese from killing off their puppet government and China's economic agents.

But now Myanmar people are being told everything is the fault of a few Muslims by fake monks. It's about as low as Chinese plain clothes officers beating protestors to death and then citing murders by their own officers as reasons to arrest everyone.

And Malaysia is next. Both Malaysia and Myanmar are key locations needed by Chinese oil. In 30 years, Malaysia will be giant sweat shop unless they wake up to what is happening.

Not killing is well and good, but this is a situation where either tens of thousands of innocents will suffer and die or a couple hundred soldiers and crooks will. As far as I'm concerned, the soldiers and crooks signed up knowing the risks.
"My main teacher Serkong Rinpoche, who was one of the teachers of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, explained that having a protector is like having a very strong and vicious dog. If you are a strong person, you could go sit and guard your own gate every night to make sure that thieves don’t attack, but usually people wouldn’t do that. It’s not that we don’t have the ability, it’s just: why bother? You could post a dog there instead." - Alex Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... rs_ab.html

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Re: Spreading Buddhism to weaken armies?

Post by Taco_Rice » Wed Jan 06, 2016 9:52 pm

I just don't know, Skittles.

If an anything, I was under the impression that the Chinese were China's slaves. I've read stories about them working people over 12 hours a day, barracking them at the factory and placing nets outside the windows to thwart their suicide attempts—so I doubt the Chinese are doing anything to other peoples that they don't expect of their own, for what that's worth. (And I mean, hey, we all need iPhones, right?) And I can't see how evil Chinese oil companies are worse than regular oil companies in any way. I think that might just be how oil companies work.

The Muslims are a pretty blameable group, though. [paranoia] And no offense, Skittles, but when you talk about being "in the loop" or not, we don't really know who's talking. For all we know, you're actually a propagandist agent of Sheik Ibn Al Falafel of Abudabi (or worse, an existing user's sock account,) who has his sights set on Asian oil and wants to subtly influence opinion here.[/paranoia] These issues aren't black and white and this isn't as clear cut as innocent, watery eyed little Palestinian boys and girls bawling their last gasps as their flesh is shredded apart by hot machine gun fire bitterly dispatched in cold blood. My news sources tell me that the Islamic world is at war in Asia, and that isn't to be taken lightly.

As far as soldiers and enforcers, they definitely do sign up for their jobs knowing that they will be obligated to follow orders and enforce whatever laws are in place. They choose their positions and they make their own karma. Whatever happens to them is their own karma.
When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of its red leaves, you will not see all the others. When the eye is not set on any one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number of leaves are visible to the eye without limit. But if a single leaf holds the eye, it will be as if the remaining leaves were not there. One who has understood this is no different from Kannon with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes.
— Takuan Sōhō, the Unfettered Mind

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