The American Forces Press Service reports that US soldiers in Baghdad are being offered mindfulness as a tool for coping with deployment stress, and in the same report quotes one official as saying that mindfulness meditation can “help anyone, no matter where they are.”
From the report:
Mindfulness is a simple but ancient approach to living, which Western medicine has begun to recognize as a powerful tool for dealing with stress, illness and other medical or psychological conditions, and it can help soldiers in any circumstance, said Army Maj. Victor Won, deputy assistant chief of staff for intelligence in 1st Armored Division’s general staff section.
“It would be more effective for soldiers to learn and train mindfulness prior to deployment,” Won said, “since the practice will offer soldiers [a means] to cope with their mental stress before getting into a high-stress environment. However, practicing the meditation on a regular basis will help anyone, no matter where they are.”
Read more of the report here.
I have a problem with the military using mindfulness meditation with soldiers who are going off the kill people. To me, that appears in conflict with Buddhist teachiings. Just saying.
Army Man says
And act of terror such as killing innocents and suicide don't conflict with Allah teachings!!! Get over it Hippocrates
Of course, if they become more mindful, perhaps they won't feel so much like killing people.
wai meng says
I think you hit on something there. If they can be so mindful they will not be soldiers who subdue or suppress their thoughts. And perhaps if they so happen to have the bad karma to be in a position to harm others may thoughts of compassion arise either at that moment or later.
Some people do have the karma to carry on their previous tendencies or be a soldier. We should also have compassion for the soldiers as whomever they kill, they will have to endure the same one day or another. There is no escape from karma.
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OH DEAR! What may then intent be, here? As Matthieu Riccard said in session day 2 pm (end), even a sniper will benefit from an increased mindfulness (see Dalai Lama's website for 'mind and life 18' documentation). Jon Kabat Zinn' definition in 'Wherever You Go, There You Are' —"paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally"— forms the conceptual foundation of the use or helas abuse of mindfulness. We need BODHI-CITTA, a thorough, uncompromising commitment to the teachings of Sakyamini Buddha, or else. May beings far and wide know true freedom from suffering!
From Thich Nhat Hanh, sharing about the recently updated Five Mindfulness Trainings
#1 Reverence For Life
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I am committed to cultivating the insight of interbeing and compassion and learning ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and our Earth. I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to support any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, or in my way of life. Seeing that harmful actions arise from anger, fear, greed, and intolerance which in turn come from dualistic and discriminative thinking, I will cultivate openness, non-discrimination and non-attachment to views, in order to transform violence, fanaticism and dogmatism in myself and in the world.
@ Joseph and Cosmicbreezes – Most people do have a reverence for life…. having said that, the reason you even have a reverence for life is because there are soldiers that fought for our freedom and our rights to have the choice ….. without them, you would be saluting a Swastika where only blonde hair and blue-eyed beings would prevail (I"m blond and blue eyed by the way so I'd be safe although as a woman also subservience would be expected – not likely for me so I'd be dead too. I would also be defending everyone that is not white, blonde and blue eyed) Everyone else, not blond and blue eyed would either be dead or worse medical experiments and slaves… It is very easy to judge others but judging anyone – let alone a soldier about killing and such who also ensure that the swastika doesn't resurrect its ugly head. Yes it is easy to sit and judge and have an opinnion and have reverence for life, when things are peaceful on your corner and in the country you call home…. how would you feel if your children were being slaughtered or you had no food to feed them, or medicine to give them when ill – and didn't have the benefit of time to take out – so that you could learn mediation because you were working three jobs or scrounging and begging for food. There are millions of soldiers that died to ensure that you had that right – so you have no right to judge them as not having reverence for life – that is what they fought for – so that we would have the freedom to be able to have and enjoy that reverence with your loved ones and have the freedom and the time to delve deeper and having the luxury of being able to explore the very existence of reverence of life….. just saying…. Jesus even said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”…. no one is without sin but God – be it a sin by act, deed or thought, and thus no one has the right to judge anyone… except themselves.