A Buddhist’s Perspective: Discussion of America’s battles raises question: ‘Is there a good war or a bad war?’

As the leader of a religious organization, Ohtani does not believe in declaring "good wars" and bad ones and takes no specific position on the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The monshu does observe, though, that following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that Americans "were not able to logically reason what happened and jumped into war."

He noted that the U.S. was attacked by individuals and not by a nation, yet it went to war against the countries of Afghanistan and then Iraq "without cool-headedly reasoning what had happened. That is regrettable."

"Is there is a good war or bad war?" he asked. "War is wrong. However, when it happens we must do something to put an end to it. . . . Before the war actually erupts, we must work among the nations to find a way to avoid the final confrontation. That is more important than anything else."