Friday, April 24, 2009

Like a Thank You Card?

One of our Jodo Shinshu children's Dharma schools is currently working on a project to send thank you cards and care packages to Buddhist servicemembers deployed overseas! If you'd like to be a recipient, please email me your FPO or APO address and I will forward your request to them.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

US Air Force Scholarships For Chaplain Candidates

I found this news from the official USAF Web Site:
It does not say whether there is a certain faith requirement; currently there are no Buddhist Air Force Chaplains or Chaplain Candidates.

Scholarships available for chaplaincy students

by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

3/30/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- In an effort to better provide spiritual care to Airmen, Air Force officials are offering scholarships for individuals who want to become service chaplains.

The religious professional scholarship program is designed to help fill manning shortfalls within the chaplaincy for underrepresented faiths within the Air Force. The program is available to any commissioned officer or anyone currently enrolled in a commissioning program, such as the Air Force Academy or ROTC.

For candidates who meet the requirements, the tuition will be paid. In addition, students will receive a stipend to cover certain fees or expenses as determined by Air Force Institute of Technology officials, who manage the academic portion of the program. Individuals will be required to serve for eight years, with any time not completed on active duty spent in the inactive ready reserve, said Mr. Craig W. Duehring, the assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs.

"This program is a huge step forward in providing qualified chaplains for the Air Force," Mr. Duehring said. "Our chaplains are such an integral part of our Air Force and we have a responsibility to provide their support to Airmen and their families."

The program will help fill manning shortfalls in faiths underrepresented in the Air Force. For example, 14 percent of the 534 active duty chaplains in the Air Force are Roman Catholic, yet they provide services for 25 percent of Airmen, as well as their families, said Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Cecil Richardson, the Air Force chief of chaplains.

"This is a fantastic program that will help us fill vacancies and make sure we're meeting the spiritual needs of our Air Force family," Chaplain Richardson said. "Right now it just so happens we have a shortage in priests, but next year we may need more rabbis. Either way, this provision will apply as the needs of our Air Force change every year."

To qualify for the program, applicants must:
- Meet Air Force commissioning requirements
- Receive written permission from a listed DoD ecclesiastical endorser
- Be in good academic standing
- Be younger than 39 upon completion of theological studies

For more information about the program, send a request to

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Every Wish Fulfilled"

Happy Hanamatsuri / Vesak! Due to operational commitments I could not post this message so it is late for Hanamatsuri (Japanese Buddhist observance of Buddha's Birthday, which falls on April 8) and it is a little early for Vesak (the commemoration of Buddha's Birth, Enlightenment, and Parinirvana, which is celebrated in May). I hope you are able to return to your homes and temples for observance of these events. The celebration of Buddha's Birth is not merely about historical details, legends, and dates, or only a commemoration of the Tathagata's life, but is a teaching to all people that Enlightenment is possible for all beings regardless of distinctions and abilities, thereby making "every wish fulfilled."

"The Sakya clansmen dwelt along the Rohini River which flows among the southern foothills of the Himalayas. Their king, Shuddhodana Gautama, established his capital at Kapilavastu and there had a great castle built and ruled wisely, winning the acclaim of his people.

The Queen's name was Maya. She was the daughter of the King's uncle who was also the king of a neighboring district of the same Shakya clan.

For twenty years they had no children. But one night Queen Maya had a strange dream, in which she saw a white elephant entering her womb through the right side of her chest, and she became pregnant. The King and the people looked forward with anticipation to the birth of a royal child. According to their custom the Queen returned to her parents' home for the birth, and on her way, in the beautiful spring sunshine, she took a rest in the Lumbini Garden.

All about her were Ashoka blossoms. In delight she reached her right arm out to pluck a branch and as she did so a prince was born. All expressed their heart-felt delight with the glory of the Queen and her princely child; Heaven and Earth rejoiced. This memorable day was the eighth day of April.
The joy of the king was extreme and he named the child Siddhartha, which means "Every wish fulfilled." - The Teaching of Buddha, pp 2-3.

Namo Amida Butsu

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Coming Home: Military Families Cope with Change - PBS Tonight at 8PM

Military chaplains work with family members as well as active-duty or reserve military (about 1/2 my chaplaincy work involves families). This special should be of interest to anyone involved with chaplaincy or working with the military:

"This primetime special, presented by Sesame Workshop and featuring Queen Latifah and John Mayer, tells the stories of service members returning home with injuries — both visible and invisible — and explores the heroic struggles their families face on the path to finding a "new normal." Check local listings for air times.
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Buddhist Military Sangha by Jeanette Shin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
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