US Military Engages in “Mind Training”

According to Time‘s Bonnie Rochman, the US military is engaging in a unique method of strengthening the military mind.  In her article “Samurai Mind Training for Modern American Warriors,” Rochman notes the increasing use of meditation in military training.  “Warrior Mind Training” is a program that is intended to build “mental toughness” in American servicemembers as part of an Army initiative set to begin in October.

Rooted in the ancient Samurai code of self-discipline, Warrior Mind Training draws on the image of the mythic Japanese fighter, an elite swordsman who honed his battle skills along with his mental precision.

Free to members of the military and their relatives, Warrior Mind Training classes are offered at 11 U.S. military installations and veterans centers across the country…

While the “Warrior Mind Training” does not directly reference religion, it calls on traditions related to a variety of eastern belief systems.  The reference to samurai, for example, does not directly refer to a deistic belief system, but the samurai bushido is an ethical philosophy and life construct that mirrors the tenets of religious belief.

The Army, in particular, has been placing emphasis on the non-physical attributes of warrior strength, largely due to the mental, psychological, and spiritual demands of the ongoing war.  The results of the strain on individual servicemembers have manifested themselves in high divorce rates, suicides, physical abuse, and even capital crimes. 

While their intentions have been noble, the non-traditional methods the Army has employed have often been criticized for their spiritual implications.  (See, for example, the controversy over Fort Hood’s Resiliency Campus, which has a “Spiritual Fitness Center.”)

While Time covered it only this week, as noted last year the Warrior Mind Training has been in use for some time.

As noted at Buddhist Military Sangha.