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Why Some Of The Most Hardcore Warriors In History Practiced Meditation
There is no surprise that the samurai class in Japan took to the practice of Zen meditation. It blended nicely with the needs and values of their militaristic lifestyle, particularly in dealing with the issue of facing death, but also more broadly with its inclination toward orderliness, self-discipline and focus — very useful tools in training for the martial arts.
According to D.T. Suzuki, one of the greatest proponents of Zen Buddhism in the West, Zen appealed to the warrior with its insistence on moving forward 100% once a course of action has been decided upon. In other words, the warrior, either on the battlefield or on the training ground, does not let doubt or fear get in the way of the successful completion of an objective.
In samurai culture, the greatest warriors were expert swordsmen. Those who trained in Zen sought a state of no-mindedness. In Zen, the empty mind is the free mind and for a swordsman in the midst of combat an empty mind freed him from doubt and fear and the need for calculation or concentration on technique. Of course, they all trained constantly, seeking out the greatest teachers, but once real combat began all thinking departed and the purity of action took over. It is not something that can be learned in a day, but rather requires a life-time of dedicated practice in both zen meditation and swordsmanship. One can do without the other but together they create a formidable synthesis.
In the military, service members are taught to consider all options before they act, to gather as much intelligence as possible and to try to completely understand the opponent right from the beginning. To the Zen mind, too much thinking leads to doubt and paralysis, especially to someone in the middle of mortal combat. Better to move resolutely forward, forget one’s ego, and complete the task at hand with the least amount of analysis and reflection.
With respect to death, Zen can become very controversial. For the Zen-trained warrior, death is not something to be feared as that fear can cause the type of paralysis which can be devastating to someone who experiences it. When we face an enemy and we fixate on the enemy instead of on our training, the mind gets captured by the enemy even before the combat begins. In everyday life, if we fixate on our problems or on the behavior of others, our mind gets captured by these things and we are no longer free to act autonomously. For the Zen-trained warrior, the thought of death is almost irrelevant. Victory or defeat are two sides of the same coin. Colleagues and foes are considered equal. Maintaining your zen attitude is the most important outcome. Fist-pumping your victory or disrespecting the enemy in his defeat are to be avoided.
Meditation does not make problems go away; it allows us to face them with a completely different attitude. Meditation has nothing to do with finding God or traditional religious awakening, but it has everything to do with understanding how the mind works and how we can become more enlightened and effective people by the practice of overcoming our own egos and the inherent weaknesses of our personalities.
The former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs thinks that the VA needs to start researching medical marijuana. Not in a bit. Not soon. Right goddamn now.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's withholding of $391 million in military aid to Ukraine was linked to his request that the Ukrainians look into a claim — debunked as a conspiracy theory — about the 2016 U.S. election, a senior presidential aide said on Thursday, the first time the White House acknowledged such a connection.
Trump and administration officials had denied for weeks that they had demanded a "quid pro quo" - a Latin phrase meaning a favor for a favor - for delivering the U.S. aid, a key part of a controversy that has triggered an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives against the Republican president.
But Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff, acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid — already approved by Congress — was held up partly over Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine.
"I have news for everybody: Get over it. There is going to be political influence in foreign policy," Mulvaney said.
CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - Shelling could be heard at the Syrian-Turkish border on Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreed between Turkey and the United States, and Washington said the deal covered only a small part of the territory Ankara aims to seize.
Reuters journalists at the border heard machine-gun fire and shelling and saw smoke rising from the Syrian border battlefield city of Ras al Ain, although the sounds of fighting had subsided by mid-morning.
The truce, announced on Thursday by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia withdraw from an area controlled by Turkish forces.
The SDF said air and artillery attacks continued to target its positions and civilian targets in Ral al Ain.
"Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.
The Kurdish-led administration in the area said Turkish truce violations in Ras al Ain had caused casualties, without giving details.
Boyfriends can sometimes do some really weird shit. Much of it is well-meaning: A boy I liked in high school once sang me a screamo song that he wrote over the phone. He thought it would be sweet, and while I appreciated that he wanted to share it with me, I also had no idea what he was saying. Ah, young love.
Sure, this sounds cringeworthy. But then there's 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker, who appears to be, dare I say, the best boyfriend?
The Colt Model 1911 .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol that John Browning dreamed up more than a century ago remains on of the most beloved sidearms in U.S. military history. Hell, there's a reason why Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, still rocks an M1911A1 on his hip despite the fact that the Army no longer issues them to soldiers.
But if scoring one of the Army's remaining M1911s through the Civilian Marksmanship Program isn't enough to satisfy your adoration for the classic sidearm, then Colt has something right up your alley: the Colt Model 1911 'Black Army' pistol.