(Brilliant Picture By C K Hon)
I am interested in becoming a buddist, however as a soldier in the US ARMY some of the things that I do directly or indirectly result in the breaking of one or more of the five precepts.... my question is that does this disqualify me from buddism altogether or are there excetions to these rules...?
No one is disqualified from becoming a Buddhist just because of his profession. The Buddha taught universal truths about this existence. The truth is that if one associates with unskilful and unwholesome profession, one must be prepared to face the unwholesome consequences. If one is prepared to be a soldier, then one must be prepared to kill and/or be killed in battle. The final decision rest on the individual. Buddhism does not force anyone to change one's profession.
There are certain principles which a Buddhist will strive to uphold along the line of the 5 precepts. Of course ideally one should choose a profession that is not against the 5 precepts. But then who is going to do the "dirty jobs" so to say. Who is going to defend the country? Who is going to keep law and order in the streets? Who is going to get rid of the pests that may affect our health? These are all very urgent and realistic questions. Those who are in this category may take consolation that they are doing it for the greater good of the society and nation. However, at the same time they could strive to lead a dignified, noble and harmless life as best they could. They still can follow and practise the teachings of the Buddha to the best of their ability.
The realities of this world and this existence are such that there are always this unsatisfactoriness and flaws where many a time we are confronted with.