Monday, September 1, 2008

Not Necessarily the News

   I apologize in advance, but this isn't necessarily a news story as much as it is an announcement. But then again, I suppose announcements count too! Today was day one of the processing period for my first trip to Iraq as an RP (Religious Program Specialist). I arrived in San Diego this afternoon, checked into my room, and am now preparing to be up and at em' by 0530 in order to get fitted for my NEW UNIFORMS! I'm actually very excited to be wearing the Desert Camouflage. Let's face it, who wants to look like a milk man right?!?! Just kidding!

   Being that I have only ever worked at a Chapel I am really looking forward to stretching my wings and flying in a more challenging assignment. It's something I have no experience in but am very much looking forward to. I'll admit, I went a little over the limit in regards to luggage due to the fact that I wanted to have plenty of buddhist books and materials with me while there. It's very easy to find bibles, daily bread's and other religious materials related to pretty much every group represented in the Navy, but not so much on the Buddhist end of things. My intent is to change that at some point and I fully plan on cornering Chaplain Shin to help with that when the time comes.

   But, what ARE some good things to bring along in that regard? There isn't really a buddhist bible (although there are a lot of published scripture), so what things are needed?

   My list...

1) A small statue of The Buddha - There are numerous sizes available that you can easily pack and take with you.
2) A small Bell - Again, there are several sizes available and the smallest ones will do the trick just fine.
3) Malas or Ojuzu - Most Buddhists will most likely have their prayer beads of choice with them, but it never hurts to bring along a few for the ones that didn't and want them.
4) A Buddhist Bible, edited by Dwight Goddard - I am sure a lot of you are familiar with this work, and it is a wonderful resource to have for Dharma discussions. It is also fairly inexpensive to get.
5) The Dhammapada - A superb source for Dharma talks and discussions. It is the essential teachings of the Buddha.
6) The Tao Te Ching - This may seem odd to some of you, but in my own practice it has been an excellent source of wisdom for me and very applicable to everyone, regardless of their religious preference or background.
7) Sitting: A guide to buddhist meditation - An excellent source for those not trained in meditation but would like to know how. It is also a very practical guide for us to use in order to explain some of the most basic principles involved with meditating.

I have several other books by many great teachers, but most of them are of the Zen flavor and deal more with Meditation. 

I know many of you have your own sources that you utilize and I highly encourage you to post them for the rest of us. I definitely want to be prepared and for the most part, I feel that I am. But my biggest obstacle is yet to come and that is meeting my new Chaplain and working with him, side by side, to meet the needs of all of our brothers and sisters in uniform that are serving in Iraq. I look forward to sharing my experiences with all of you!

3 comments:

De Campo BC said...

The Tao Te Ching is an excellent accompaniment for any deployment! It’s seen me all the way through boot camp to combat tours.

Good luck in Iraq! If you’re passing through Kuwait, or need any support from down here look me up on the global.

- 2LT Brendan M. Curran

RP1(SW) Jerry Benson said...

I completely agree, it's probably one of my most favorites to read.

I should be hitting Kuwait first for about a week to ten days before going to my location in Iraq by convoy. Not sure what kind of down time I will have there during the processing, but if I do I will definitely get in touch so we can meet up.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few books that I recommend:

1. The Teaching of Buddha, from the Society of the Promotion of Buddhism or Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai

2. for anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhism: How to Practice, The Way to a Meaningful Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

3. for anyone interested in Shin Buddhism and basic Buddhism: Ocean by Kenneth Tanaka

4. any of the Kubose books

I have actually learned quite a bit about Buddhism during deployments. I hope you have a good one.

CPL Lawrence

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