Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Soldier and the Chanters

This is a story Dennis Banks recently told at a stop in Arizona during the currently happening "Longest Walk" from SF to Washington DC. The walkers came to a place where Indians were protesting an unwanted coal-fired power plant which is due to be constructed on their land. Here is the story:

"When I was a young man, and in the military, I was in Tokyo holding a rifle and standing on one side of a fence, very much like the one we are standing in front of today -- but I was on the other side. The army had a military installation that we were guarding. We were on one side -- and on the other side were protesters. Japanese people who did not want us there, because our runways and roads were destroying their farmland.

"This is when I first heard the words NAMU MYOHO RENGE KYO from the chanting of the monks. We were standing with guns and I didn't know how these people were going to win without fighting. At the time, I had wanted a military career, I had gone to military boarding school and had taken that path. But I was beginning to change as I was watching what was unfolding. And in the end . . . they did win without weapons, without fighting."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Foolish me.
I never realized this mantra was such a powerful & ancient Japanese mantra.
My only experience of it was from the sect that the celebrities belong to, that became popular in the US back in the 70's. A friend of mine was a member then & I was invited to their world conference in Santa Monica. I remember it being somewhat odd and military-esque. But as i said in the beginning, foolish me.