Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Buddhism in the British Army

From the Daily Mail

'Buddhism is experiencing an extraordinary upswing in popularity in the armed forces.

Since 2005, the number of servicemen and women practising the religion has risen from 200 to 3,800. Around 2,800 are Gurkhas, whose home nation Nepal has pockets of Buddhism.

But the other 1,000 are British, with many converting since they joined the military.

According to spiritual leaders, the reason behind the phenomenon is that Buddhism allows service personnel to escape the stresses and strains of military life.

Sunil Kariyakarawana, the Buddhist chaplain for the armed forces, said: ‘Buddhism has a different perspective about things.

'The military is a very stressful place. People go to war, that is one factor, and have to fight.

'Personnel see a lot of suffering in theatre. People are finding that Buddhism can help with these mental agonies.

'It is laid back and they can practise their own way.'

Dr Sunil said Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago, never ruled out force: 'Sometimes you have to choose war as the least bad option.'

Read the full article

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