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East meets west...HELP!

vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

So today was another of the twice-weekly English lessons that I am giving to two Thai monks. They're doing nicely, and so we began a project today that should take about a month. They have to develop a sort of lesson that they could give to American non-Buddhists to explain the basics of Buddhism. Fine and dandy.

But then they sprung a request on me. They have been invited to speak to a military group (Air Force, I think) about meditation. And they want me to help them with vocabulary about Thai Theravada Buddhism meditation. Anyone got any good sources that would yield vocabulary I can share with them.

Eek!

Comments

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    This may not really be what you're asking for but Dan Harris has a secular meditation podcast and at one point he interviewed someone from the military teaching meditation alongside a scientist studying it.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/10-happier-with-dan-harris/id1087147821#

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @vinlyn said:
    Eek!

    Well said.

    Talking to the armed services, ahimsa would not go down well.
    Terms and teachings around muay thai may be a start ...
    http://whatmuaythai.com/muay-thai-and-buddhist-monks/

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Everyone suffers in or out of uniform.

    I once corresponded with a military chaplain about the moral ambiguity of his profession. If his highest authority said "thou shalt not kill," how did that square up with his profession within a military charged, when all is said and done, with killing?

    He admitted to the paradox and then went back to the sheer humanity of the suffering any individual might encounter ... and his potential to ameliorate that discomfort.

    There is no profession or faith or belief system or human construct that does not carry its most mortal enemies within.

    Jeffreylobster
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    I don't think we should look at Buddhism or meditation in the military as making better baby killers or allowing people to cope with unethical actions, but more that it helps people in those positions to make better decisions (less likely to kill civilians and babies) because of less stress and a more ethical outlook.

    vinlyn
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I believe the complete teachings of Ajahn Chah had some chapters which deal with meditation, if you are looking for English terms that other Thai teachers have used to translate the Thai tradition. It's available online as a PDF.

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/Chah_The_Collected_Teachings_of_Ajahn_Chah.pdf

    Perhaps Thich Nhat Hanh's vocabulary and style of translating might also be useful.

    But I don't envy you the task of sharing meditative practice with the military, my experience with military thinking is that it can take you a long way from compassion. I imagine they are interested in meditation as a way of gaining resilience against afflictions like PTSD, and perhaps mindfulness might help them with that. Teachings such as insight meditation might help them process their deeds more fully once they complete their tour of duty. Difficult.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I believe the complete teachings of Ajahn Chah had some chapters which deal with meditation, if you are looking for English terms that other Thai teachers have used to translate the Thai tradition. It's available online as a PDF.

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/media/books/Chah_The_Collected_Teachings_of_Ajahn_Chah.pdf

    Perhaps Thich Nhat Hanh's vocabulary and style of translating might also be useful.

    But I don't envy you the task of sharing meditative practice with the military, my experience with military thinking is that it can take you a long way from compassion. I imagine they are interested in meditation as a way of gaining resilience against afflictions like PTSD, and perhaps mindfulness might help them with that. Teachings such as insight meditation might help them process their deeds more fully once they complete their tour of duty. Difficult.

    Fortunately, the monks only want me to help them figure out vocabulary. My involvement ends there.

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