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Veterans’ Day

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Today is Veterans’ Day in the U.S., Remembrance Day in Australia — a day to honor soldiers of wars past.

There are some who believe that it’s wrong for people who practice Buddhism to have anything to do with the military. In moving toward a socially engaged Buddhism beyond labels, I would suggest that it’s not useful to label any person or institution as inherently “bad,” “evil,” or “violent.” Everything has both wholesome and unwholesome seeds, including the military.

There’s much more to be said about this which I’ll write about another time, but for now I join with others in remembering all those in the Armed Forces who gave their lives in the service of protecting others.

And a few links:

First, a couple of Buddhist-oriented programs and projects that offer support to military vets. I’m sure there are more, and would love to hear from you if you have resources to add to this list.

  • The Coming Home Project, founded by Zen teacher Joseph Bobrow, is devoted to providing compassionate expert care, support, education, and stress management tools for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, service members, their families, and their service providers.
  • The website for Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, based on a book by Maxine Hong Kingston. For many years, Kingston has led writing retreats for veterans to help them find their voices as part of the process of healing from the wounds of war. This page has some wonderful resources on how to start a veterans’ writing group.


And — collection of today’s relevant writings on this topic from Buddhist bloggers:

Buddhist Military Sangha Blog entry by Lt Jeanette Shin, CHC USN

One City Buddhist Blog “A Minute of Silence”

Rev Danny Fisher’s Blog “5 Facts about Veterans and How You Can Help”





About Maia

I've been practicing and studying the Buddha way since 1994, and exploring the question "What is engaged Buddhism?" since the late 90s. As former executive director of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and editor of its journal, Turning Wheel, I had the honor of meeting and working with many practitioners of engaged dharma, including Roshi Joan Halifax, Joanna Macy, Alan Senauke, and Robert Aitken Roshi. I write about socially engaged Buddhism on my blog, "The Jizo Chronicles," as well as on the theme of personal and collective freedom on my website, "The Liberated Life Project." Through my Five Directions Consulting, I offer support to individuals and organizations who aspire to integrate awareness into their work.

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