Wild Mind blog features a piece by Jeanette Shin, a Jodo Shinshu priest who in 2007 became the Dept. of Defense’s first Buddhist chaplain. (She also blogs for the Buddhist Military Sangha.) Jeanette makes the case that the Buddha taught warriorship, although what we do with that instruction is up to us.
“The Buddha never advocated the killing or destruction of ‘infidels’ of any religion or doctrine, and always recommended the path of nonviolence. However, Sakyamuni’s life and teachings reveal a person raised to be a heroic warrior invested in honor. While he renounced the life planned for him by his parents, as a secular warrior-king he used the language of warriors to convey the Dharma, so he could stress that following the path of Dharma required similar virtues possessed by warriors . . . . Everyone is responsible for his or her own karma, and should be mindful of what our present and future actions may entail, which is the causing of death and death for ourselves in battle. Preferably, people should consider this before enlisting! Even though we have voluntarily accepted this path, we should also be prepared to accept the karmic results, and also know that, like any career, our own military path will end one way or another.”