Buddhist Reflection: Warrior Work

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A few months ago I was listening to a Buddhist podcast when the dharma teacher said something that really struck me. She said

What we do–this process of mindfulness–is true warrior work.

Warrior work. I really took to that concept. What I’ve come to understand is that Buddhism is all about facing oneself, truly and completely. This is a difficult thing to do for most. Self examination takes a lot of courage. Our culture teaches us to embrace the “good” things about ourselves and ignore (or be ashamed) of our flaws. This leaves us with a certain amount of aversion to our essence. We are at war with ourselves, fighting through this aversion to discover who we truly are.

When I think of a warrior I think of someone who is disciplined and dedicated. In my mind, warriors follow strict moral principles and believe in what they are fighting for. They encompass tenacity and are able to both lead and follow. Warriors symbolize perfect balance. They are a constant contradiction. They are fierce and gentle, ruthless and compassionate, proud and humble. They destroy in order to build. Warriors are intelligent, cunning, and insightful. They are always seeking knowledge. They have inner peace and are not ruled by their emotions. That’s the description that comes to mind when I think of a warrior. Balance, discipline, inner peace, wisdom, mindfulness, all the things Buddhism teaches us to cultivate. To draw on our own inner strength in order to discover our truth.

The Warrior strives to reach above himself, his false perceptions, his adversaries. His highest achievement is not one of victory, but one of absolute truth.

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