What is a warrior? What are the conditions under which a warrior can be said to be victorious? If we define victory as arriving at a state in which we no longer have an enemy, then we can see more than one way to be a warrior.

In Buddhist thought, a true warrior is never armed with tools of aggression or violence. That person would be seen as a coward. The definition of warriorship is fearlessness and gentleness, a quiet positive state of individual dignity, but also a kind of joy. This joy blossoms from the practice of loving kindness, and as the practitioner becomes more skilled, his or her joy increases and she is able to share her joy with those who would benefit from it.

The joy of the warrior is always needed to one degree or another, and warriors are devoted to the human spirit, and armed with compassion and insight. They train diligently to see clearly into the nature of reality, reflecting a presence that can help others recognize their own basic goodness.

A warrior has the same emotions as everyone else, but she practices transforming the energy of emotion into a positive force through mindfulness. To be mindful of your emotion is to act as a steward of the energy so that it can be used without harming anyone. Thich Nhat Hanh often speaks of such stewardship in the context of a gentle and loving older sister looking out for her little sister.

People can be supremely kind, gentle and wise despite the messages we so often receive. And while the path to becoming a warrior is a lengthy and intensive practice, there is no one who cannot begin to open themselves to warriorship today. The qualities of compassion and goodness are always available to everyone, and in these difficult times, warriors will appear wherever people commit to working together as good human beings.


2 thoughts on “warriorship

  1. i would add “fierceness,” to the warrior spirit. to love fiercely, to live fiercely. not with gritted teeth or tensed body, but a resolute attitude. to stick to my principles and the promises i make to myself in the face of opposition and sloth. being fierce helps me to stand up, shoulders back, head up, and stretch.


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