SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Fukanzazengi XXIX (The War Koan)

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For practice in a 'quiet room' to have real meaning, that room must hold the beautiful and the ugly. Thus, before leaving this topic, we will sit with the ugliest. We should avoid nothing in our room.

In our sitting, we drop all thought of 'good' and 'bad', 'war' and 'peace' and the rest. We embrace the world on its own terms, just-as-it-is. A garden is both flowers and weeds and, as Master Dogen noted in his Genjo Koan, "flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds, though despised, flourish."

But that being said ... and while fully accepting the mixed nature of things ... there is no reason not to encourage the flowers, and pull the weeds where we can.

Our Precepts guide us to avoid violence and the taking of life. Though some good can come from even the worst events, war is a tragedy. Yet some wars may be unavoidable evils, and the taking of lives, and the defense of nations, may be required for the saving of lives. If a soldier fights for his society with such intent in his heart, and if his actions are what are necessary to realize that intent, then he breaks no Precept (I think).

At least a couple of the members of our Sangha have experienced military service. One posted a profound statement of this 'War Koan' on another Blog, which I reprint in the comments section below with his permission. It is the dilemma of the soldier who must do his duty, and believes in his service, although there may be questions about the war itself.

All this will remain a fact until our human race matures beyond violence, assuming we survive that long. The following film contains graphic images of war. I sit with them tonight. They are not meant to make a political statement, no matter how someone may feel about the rightness of a particular war or a government's actions.

Though disturbing, you may choose to watch them before our sitting tonight.


Press on arrow for 'play'
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