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Oct 08
Video, Audio, Photos
Last Days of a Civilian

In 2010, Shambhala practitioner Ben Biggs joined the U.S. Navy. The following video captures his transition from living and working at Shambhala Mountain Center to entering the Navy. The video is by Scott Bison at Bison Pictures.

Scott has this to say about producing the video:
During the summer of 2010, I was involved in an independent study at the University of Colorado at Denver. My task was to make a short documentary. Very quickly, I began to think about making a documentary about my good friend Ben Biggs, who was soon to leave for the U.S. Navy. Knowing Ben as a friend, I knew there were a great many concerns that he had about the military, and in my mind those concerns could possibly be universal for many other soldiers. Ben is one of the most interesting and engaging people I know, so it seemed natural to make a documentary about him. For more information or to get in touch with me, visit: http://vimeo.com/bisonpictures

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7 responses to “ Last Days of a Civilian ”
  1. Patrick McGlamery
    Oct 14, 2011

    As I watched the video, I felt Gesar, as a young man, becoming a warrior. The Armed Forces need men like Ben, who have practiced, are practicing and will practice calm abiding and engage in skillful means.

    The most powerful voices against War are those of the Warriors.

    Be Brave Ben.

  2. Arthur Ramsay
    Oct 14, 2011

    Excuse the anger in my first post, and its one-sidedness on reflection.
    I do not doubt Ben’s bravery and his patriotism, and the fact that the Navy sometimes helps to defend democratic systems against horrific totalitarian regimes such as Maoist or fundamentalist distortions of the Muslim religion.
    However I think Ben and anyone else thinking of joining the military should try to make themselves more politically aware of the imperialism involved in the defence of capitalistic systems which exploit us at home and abroad, and are used often to pervert democracy and freedom. They might also reflect whether it is Shambhalian or Buddhistic to be involved in warfare at all.
    In some extreme circumstances (e.g. to stop the butchering of others such as in the Holocaust or in the former Yugoslavia ) this might be necessary, I don’t know.
    The recent and ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have to mind a very ambivalent moral and political basis. There have been many civilian deaths and it is likely that the NATO forces are often creating as many terrorists and hatred of liberal democratic societies as they destroy.
    Good luck to you Ben and I very much hope you do not come to any harm. I also hope you do no harm to others, especially if they are not directly involved in actions against yourself and your companions. Perhaps you could switch to some role which is more helpful. Overall I hope that these wars come to an end soon and less aggressive means are used to maintain our defences. I admit it can be complicated and I also hope my own aggression and confusion clears through the practice and study of the sublime dharma and the teaching which lead to Victory over War/

  3. Lawrence Seidl
    Oct 13, 2011

    Scott: Your film is very accomplished, in my estimation. Watching it, I feel connected with Ben’s quest for maturity and vitality.I am moved to think of the contrast between the Mountain Center environment and the milieu he has entered, unknown and slightly intimidating. You have captured his brave act. Thank you.

    Ben: I wish you good luck. I don’t know what you will find, but I will think of you and practice with your well-being in mind. Peace.

  4. Ben,

    the small picture of you as civilian brings a shower of questions;
    what adventure are you looking for,
    where to look for the adventure,
    what do you need to grow up as human being?
    f e .

    wish you well, with sunny greetings,


  5. Robert W French
    Oct 12, 2011

    Hi Ben! Great to see you, at least virtually. I remember you well from the 2010 summer Dathun, esp. when I loaned you my hat when you were heading off to the stupa with Greg for the tour! Wish you all the best in your adventure and I will keep you in my thoughts.

  6. Arthur Ramsay
    Oct 9, 2011

    Does it not require you to help kill innocent civilians to help NATO’s military-industrial and economic warfare?
    Maybe he should practice some more.

  7. May he learn all he needs to learn. May he come back home having done no harm.

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