Military Intelligence

The US Marines are testing the use of meditation in their training.

At first I was unsure if this was an appropriate use of meditation. One of the precepts for deep meditation is to abstain from killing and soldiers are asked to kill sometimes. Therefore, a soldier must not be a proper candidate for meditation. But then I started thinking about this precept, the world we live in, and what we ask of our soldiers. We live in a complicated world with rage, fear, and chaos all around. Drugs and guns are easy to obtain allowing individuals with unstable minds have the ability to take the lives of innocent civilians. We live in a very different world than the Buddha did. I can think of situations where a soldier full of love and compassion would need to take someones life for the safety of a community.

I’m glad I not in these situations having to make the gut wrenching decisions and I think it’s important to help the soldiers we send into combat prepare for these difficult situations and the recovery process. Meditation is the best tool I’ve found to deal with the difficulties of life and I hope soldiers receive the best mental health support we can provide.

We have a lot of guns on this planet. Turning my back on this reality while leaving the people who face this reality every day out to dry isn’t the responsible choice. I wish the world was safe from violence and I believe many soldiers hope for the same. Maybe if we train our soldiers to be more mindful they will find creative ways to reduce the number of military deaths on both sides of the battle field. Maybe a mindful military would be able to choose their battles more wisely.

I don’t want to pretend that I understand the complex reality of war. I don’t want to get in an argument about the right and wrong military choices of the past. I just want to acknowledge the realities of our world today and express support for anyone who is trying to make the world better for tomorrow. Time to meditate.

2 thoughts on “Military Intelligence

  1. Anonymous

    Question: How should members of the armed forces perform their duties properly?

    Goenkaji: The army is necessary for the protection of our country, for the protection of civilians. The army should not be used to kill others unnecessarily. It should be used to show the strength of our country so that an enemy will be deterred from attacking it and harming its people.
    If somebody is harming our country, then the first thing to do is to give a warning. Then if it becomes necessary, action has to be taken. But the soldiers should be trained to fight with a balanced mind. Otherwise, their minds will become unbalanced; all their decisions will go wrong. With a balanced mind, they can take good decisions, right decisions, which will be very helpful to them and helpful to others.

  2. Remember the example given during the course. A thief wants to steal and stabs the person. In another case a surgeon wants to operate and puts the knife into the patient’s body. It so happens in both the case person dies. In both the case mental volition of the thief and doctor are different.

    While serving the course at Delhi Police Training college, I heard the discourse from Mr. Goenka ji and he mentions similar to the above comments Q/A. He gives the example of King Asoka after he changed from chanda/cruel Asoka to peaceful Asoka. He used to have army always alert along all the borders. To his army he used to mention words as in above Q/A.

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