Zen Buddhism and Global Wars



My view as a practicing Zen Buddhist .........

Last year I joined a Soto Zen Buddhist sangha in Japan. I started participating some months after I joined, and this year, I realized (with some surprise) that I've been practicing Zen Buddhism pretty regularly for some months now.

Buddhism isn't something that requires formal conversion, unless you're a monk or a priest. It can be considered a philosophy or a religion, depending on your view, but it works well with any religion — including the Big Three. (This is how I can observe Ramadan with my Muslim brothers and sisters while being a Buddhist.)

The core tenets of Buddhism remain the same, regardless, which is why I step in to defend and explain Buddhism when the subject of Rohingya Muslims comes up (that slaughter and oppression is not part of Buddhism, any more than ISIS' slaughter and oppression of Muslims is Islamic — no connection), or gruesome stories of a temple in Thailand holding frozen corpses of baby tigers.

None of this is Buddhism, folks. If it was, I would not be a practicing Buddhist.

Buddhism — like Islam — is a way of peace, nonviolence, compassion (called the altruistic intention), self-knowledge, and service. Like Islam, it requires dedication and self-work to adhere to its principles. Islam has many prayers, Buddhism has meditation (zazen in Zen), and more meditation. Islam is a way of life, a whole lifestyle; Buddhism is a way of life, a whole lifestyle.

I can't speak for all paths of Buddhism. i can speak for Zen Buddhism, and for Mahayana Buddhism (Bodhisattva Way) — my paths of study.

The hatred and violence in this world will never make sense to me. But every drop I am able to give of peace, understanding, truth, and compassion, gathers in the midst of that global hatred and violence, and it also helps me to see and understand the darkness within myself. We all have darkness within us, but it doesn't have to rule over us. We can acknowledge it, accept that it exists, and let it go — we don't have to act on it.

Gassho, namaste.

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