Blessings on all our Nation's Veterans past and present! May they be well and happy.
This year witnessed several accomplishments in Buddhist Military Chaplaincy: two chaplains completed deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan respectively, and we have had several new chaplain candidates accepted into preliminary commissioning programs for the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. Also a UK British chaplain visited Buddhist personnel serving in Afghanistan.
We still have more work to do: we still do not have any chaplain candidates for the U.S. AIr Force Chaplain Corps, and we still do not have Buddhist supplies registered in the Department of Defense supply system, due to various reasons. We have had difficulties in creating a Field Service Book; we had contacted several Buddhist organizations for assistance, but some have refused to work with us, due to our association with the Armed Forces. However, I believe there is significantly greater support for Buddhists serving in the U.S. Armed Forces than in the past now that many more people, including non-Buddhist chaplains, recognize the religious and ethnic diversity of the individuals serving, and the growing presence of Chaplains to serve their spiritual needs. Buddhists are in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is my hope that this trend will continue in the future. We are also actively working with the dependents of Buddhist Servicemembers and Veterans, who also fall within the care of all military chaplains. We ask for and welcome your support and prayers.
Namo Amida Butsu