The branch of international humanitarian law (IHL) related to targeting is notoriously challenging to apply in practice. In this important article from the ICRC Buddhism and IHL project, Dr Noel Trew examines how Zen Buddhist kōan meditation practice might help to alleviate this problem by enabling combatants to cut through the fog of war and better comprehend the battlespace.

Kōans are short stories or puzzles which are not meant to be solved logically, and can help train the mind to be more alert to attachments and habitual ways of thinking. As such, they can also assist practitioners to make decisions based on ambiguous information, as is often the case in combat situations.

Noel J. M. Trew is an International Law Adviser for the British Red Cross, a former Red Cross volunteer, and a former US Air Force research psychologist and instructor. Additionally, he was a Buddhist lay leader for the US Air Force Academy’s Special Programs in Religious Education (SPIRE). He holds a PhD in Strategy and Security Studies from the University of Exeter, an MA in Social Psychology from Florida Atlantic University and a BSc in Behavioral Sciences from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Please read the article here.