"The sacred warrior conquers the world not through violence or aggression, but through gentleness, courage, and self-knowledge. The warrior discovers the basic goodness of human life and radiates that goodness out into the world for the peace and sanity of others.......There is a basic human wisdom that can help solve the world’s problems. It doesn’t belong to any one culture or region or religious tradition—though it can be found in many of them throughout history. It’s what Chögyam Trungpa called the sacred path of the warrior."
"A religious war or holy war (Latin: bellum sacrum) is a war primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. The account of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites in the Book of Joshua, the Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, and the Christian Crusades (11th to 13th centuries) and Wars of Religion (16th and 17th centuries) are sometimes classified as examples. A religious aspect has been part of warfare in some cultures as early as the battles of the Mesopotamian city-states."
"In the modern period, debates are common over the extent to which religious, economic, or ethnic aspects of a conflict predominate in a given war. In several ongoing conflicts including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, religious arguments are overtly present but variously described as fundamentalism or religious extremism depending upon the observer's sympathies."
"The first Christian holy war was probably in October 312 CE when the Roman emperor Constantine saw a vision of the cross in the sky with this inscription "in hoc signo vinces" (in this sign you will win).......Constantine trusted the vision and had the cross inscribed on his soldiers' armor. Even though his forces were outnumbered, he won the battle against an army that was using pagan enchantment. (Historians regard this as a turning point in Christianity's fortune.)"
Holy wars usually have three elements:
.....the achievement of a religious goal
.....authorised by a religious leader
.....a spiritual reward for those who take part
"In the Bible there are several occasions where God gave direct instructions to peoples to wage war. "
The Crusades....."The great series of western holy wars were the Crusades, which lasted from 1095 until 1291 AD. The aim was to capture the sacred places in the Holy Land from the Muslims who lived there, so it was intended as a war to right wrongs done against Christianity......The first Crusade was started by Pope Urban II in 1095. He raged at the capture of the holy places and the treatment given to Christians, and ordered a war to restore Christianity. He said that the war would have the support of God: Let this be your war-cry in combats, because this word is given to you by God. When an armed attack is made upon the enemy, let this one cry be raised by all the soldiers of God: It is the will of God! It is the will of God!......Whoever shall determine upon this holy pilgrimage and shall make his vow to God to that effect and shall offer himself to Him as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, shall wear the sign of the cross of the Lord on his forehead or on his breast."
The first Crusade captured Jerusalem after bitter fighting, and the residents of the city were brutalised and slaughtered by the Christian invaders. The invaders' conduct breached the principles of modern just war ethics, and the massacres still colour Islamic politics today.
Buddhism, like the other great faiths, has not always lived up to its principles - there are numerous examples of Buddhists engaging in violence and even war.
.....in the 14th century Buddhist fighters led the uprising that evicted the Mongols from China
.... in Japan, Buddhist monks trained Samurai warriors in meditation that made them better fighters
.....Japanese Zen masters wrote in support of Japan's wars of aggression. For example, Sawaki Kodo (1880–1965) wrote this in 1942:....It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb.
“If ordered to march: tramp, tramp or shoot: bang, bang. This is the manifestation of the highest wisdom of enlightenment. The unity of Zen and war … extends to the farthest reaches of the holy war now under way.” —Zen Master Harada Daiun Sogaku (1939)
.....in Sri Lanka the 20th century civil war between the mostly Buddhist Sinhalese majority and the Hindu Tamil minority has cost 50,000 lives.
Hinduism includes both teachings that condemn violence and war, and teachings that promote it as a moral duty.....The teachings that condemn violence are contained in the doctrine of ahimsa, while those that permit it centre around the Kshatriyas - the warrior caste......Hindus believe that it is right to use force in self-defence:
May your weapons be strong to drive away the attackers, may your arms be powerful enough to check the foes, let your army be glorious, not the evil-doer.....Rig Veda 1-39:2
"Ahimsa is not just non-violence - it means avoiding any harm, whether physical, mental or emotional.....In modern times the strongest proponent of ahimsa was the Indian leader Gandhi, who believed that ahimsa was the highest duty of a human being......Ahimsa, non-violence, comes from strength, and the strength is from God, not man. Ahimsa always comes from within......Gandhi did not equate ahimsa with non-killing - he accepted that killing because it was a person's duty, and doing so in a detached way without anger or selfish motives, would be compatible with ahimsa."
"Islam sets down clear guidelines as to when war is ethically right, and clear guidelines as to how such a war should be conducted....War is permitted: in self defence, ,when other nations have attacked an Islamic state, if another state is oppressing its own Muslims.....Muslims must only wage war according to the principles of Allah's justice.....some Muslim thinkers in the past, and some more radical Muslim thinkers today, take a different view. They say that other verses in the Qur'an, the so-called 'sword verses', have "abrogated" (revoked or anulled) the verses that permit warfare only in defence. They used these 'sword verses' to justify war against unbelievers as a tool of spreading Islam (Qur'an 9:5, 9:29)......Others take this further and regard non-Muslims, and Muslims who don't conform rigorously to the Islamic code, as non-believers and thus as "enemies of God" against whom it is legitimate to use violence."
The Muslim conquests were a military expansion on an unprecedented scale, beginning in the lifetime of Muhammad and spanning the centuries, down to the Ottoman wars in Europe....There were also a number of periods of infighting among Muslims; these are known by the term Fitna and mostly concern the early period of Islam, from the 7th to 11th centuries....concept known as Jihad, an Arabic word with the meaning "to strive; to struggle" (viz. "in the way of God"), which includes the aspect of struggle "by the sword",.....
"In the Jewish religion, the expression Milkhemet Mitzvah (Hebrew: מלחמת מצווה, "commandment war") refers to a war that is obligatory for all Jews (men and women). Such wars were limited to territory within the borders of the land of Israel. The geographical limits of Israel and conflicts with surrounding nations are detailed in the Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, especially in Numbers 34:1-15 and Ezekiel 47:13-20. The concept of a religious war was absent in Jewish thought for approximately 2000 years, though it reemerged in some factions of the Zionist movement, particularly Revisionist Zionism."From the earliest days of Israel's existence as a people, holy war was a sacred institution, undertaken as a cultic act of a religious community......According to Reuven Firestone, ""Holy War" is a Western concept referring to war that is fought for religion, against adherents of other religions, often in order to promote religion through conversion, and with no specific geographic limitation. This concept does not occur in the Hebrew Bible, whose wars are not fought for religion or in order to promote it but, rather, in order to preserve religion and a religiously unique people in relation to a specific and limited geography."
Sikhism has a concept of the Just War. It's called Dharam Yudh, meaning war in the defence of righteousness.....The crucial difference from Just War theory is that Sikhs believe that, if a war is just, it should be undertaken even if it cannot be won.....Sikhs are expected to take military action against oppression, and there is no modern tradition of absolute pacifism amongst Sikhs.
Native American tribes... "In the Central Plains the Lakota came into conflict with the Pawnee, a village tribe that held the rich hunting lands of the Republican River Valley until the Lakota entered the region. The Pawnee war parties usually made their trips on foot, unlike other tribes. Because the Lakota were mounted on horses, they had an advantage.....The Omaha war parties varied from eight to a hundred warriors. All members of the party were volunteers. The leader was usually a well-known warrior who had demonstrated his skill in battle. The warriors are reported to have worn a white covering of soft, dressed skin for their heads. No shirt was worn, but a robe was belted about the waist and tied over the breast. No feathers or ornaments could be worn at this time. In actual battle, the warriors wore only moccasins and breechcloth.....Occasionally the wives of a few of the men accompanied a large war party to assist in the care of their garments, and to do the cooking. A sacred War Pack, kept in the Tent of War, was important in any war activities. The contents of the pack were believed to protect the tribe from harm. A returning war party with the scalp of an enemy held a special scalp or victory dance. Men who won special honors on the war path were permitted to wear an eagle feather in their scalp locks."