The seven virtues of Bushido

A great post was recently featured on Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen . He examines an idea proposed by Steven Batchelor that speaks of an existent need perhaps, for violence. I suggest that you read the article for yourself and draw your own conclusion.
My daughter is getting married next month and a month later her new husband will be deployed for the third time after having served in Iraq twice. He is now being sent to Afghanistan for a year.
For some, there exists a sense of duty and that is also true for him. And while I respect that, I can't help but have the feeling that while there is duty, there also exists sheep and pawns who are easily duped into a loyalty founded upon empty political and emotional charged rhetoric. (remember Freedom Fries?)
Our war on terror has drained the economy of both money and spirit. I trust very little in what may be guiding the American Government to do what they do. If there exists any principles at hand that seek to guide Washington, it is simply money and power. I am more inclined to listen to Major General Smedley Butler than to hold up as truth statements made during the yearly State of the Union address or the nightly news or via the President's weekly radio address.
I am convinced that there are times that exist in which we must defend ourselves. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and our fingers poking the pie in Libya? I think not.
I am convinced that not unlike the Samurai of Bushido or the Buddhist monks of Shaolin, there may exist a duty to protect and to defend our liberties; and to do it absent of malfeasance; But seldom is that  the way of things. It is for me no wonder why there exists a high (record number of suicides and those taking anti-depressants) percentage of P.T.S.D attached to our returning vets.
I remember a story relayed by Joseph Campbell in his highly viewed interview conducted by Bill Moyers. Campbell told a story about a samurai warrior whose master was assassinated. It thus became the duty of the samurai to take the life of his master's killer and he plotted for that end. The day at last came when the samurai had his chance and as he raised his sword to take the head of his master's assassin, the man spit in the samurai's face. The samurai then sheathed his sword and walked away.
What reason could provoke the samurai's action?
That is my Koan for you...
 While I seek to conclude my convoluted diatribe against our government and it's highly manipulated military my friend Doug just stopped in seeking a ride to the park where he now resides. Homeless, car recently repossessed, deemed by the V.A. as there is nothing left for them to do, he is in the last stages of disease rooted in his continuous exposure to Agent Orange when he served in Vietnam.
Don't get me started and what a ridiculously naive post overall! Virtue? Duty? War?
Virtue is not found in war but can be found in moments of war. 
And as Teddy was quick to remind us, "The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life."
And as for war, what can be said that hasn't been said? The very word "war" is almost equal in status with the word, "candy bar." Unless you're the one digging in the dirt and trying to live, and kill, and live until you're able to return home; and unless you're being sent back for a third time.

Comments

baroness radon said…
Re: your koan...
Revenge is a recurrent theme in the wuxia I enjoy; very often rejecting it (spitting instead of slicing) is recommended as the way to stop the fighting. Spit and walkaway, But we have such an eye for an eye mentality, and don't pay attention to history (the British and the Soviets could not subdue the Afghans, why do we think we can?). We need to spit and walk away.

And PTSD is nothing new...we just called it shell shock before, And I had a great uncle who had serious illness from mustard gas from WWI.

Best wishes to your daughter and son-in-law.
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