I am here at the Florida Nature and Culture Center, enjoying the sunny warm weather and the Active Duty Military and Veterans Conference. What better way to ensure the future safety of American–and the entire world, than further expanding and developing the network of Buddhists among this group of people. Many years ago, I recall hearing an Air Force missle officer describing a conversation he had with his commanding officer (CO). He explained how he had asked the CO, “You know I am a Buddhist and therefore a pacifist; are you sure you want me responsible for turning a key and launching a nuclear missle?” The CO reportedly replied, “Would you rather have someone who is not a pacifist on the key?” The reality of the situation is that these people constantly undergo training to ensure that they are not at risk of trying to launch when unauthorized (despite the fact that two key officers were required to launch). Of course if authorized, they were supposed to launch–but which is more crazy: launching an intercontinental missle capable of massive destruction of life and property or refusing?
As I alluded to in my previous post, there haven’t been any Buddhist initiated holy wars. That is not to say that there is no such thing as a Buddhist warrior, just that the actively practicing Buddhist is unlikely to initiate combat. In a message to participants at the FNCC conference, Daisaku Ikeda, (president of Buddhist lay organization Soka Gakkai International) said the following:
“Nichiren Daishonin wrote, ‘Regard your service to your lord as the practice of the Lotus Sutra’ (The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, vol. 1, p. 905). Please be convinced that all the painstaking efforts you have dedicated to your country and society are a great cause for kosen-rufu [the widespread propagation of Buddhism as an essential element of achieving world peace] and the prosperity of your family and loved ones, thanks to the great, beneficial power of the Mystic Law [Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the fundamental law of the universe].