Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Proposed Guidebook for Buddhist Servicemembers

Mr. Brian Nagata of the Numata Center in Berkeley, California, is currently working on a Guidebook for Buddhist Servicemembers. This guidebook would primarily be for Buddhist lay leaders/readers to conduct discussion or services in the absence of a Buddhist chaplain. It could potentially also be used for information by those interested in Buddhism or even as a source of info for non-Buddhist military chaplains. Right now this book would include the following chapters:

Brief History of Buddhists in the American military
A Brief Introduction to Buddhism
The Four Noble Truths & Eightfold Path – basic explanation
Key Buddhist Terms
25 Basic Questions about Buddhism and American Buddhist Military Personnel
Central Objects of Worship (different Buddha pictures and Dharmacakra)
Sample room layout for conducting a Buddhist Service
Sample layout for the Buddhist Altar
Sample Buddhist Altar Set up instructions
Weekly Buddhist Service – Basic Instructions on how to run the service
Weekly Buddhist Service – Suggested service format
Sample of the laminated “Weekly Buddhist Service” card (to be used by service attendees)
Sacred Sayings from the Sutras
Readings from the Dharmapada
Buddhist Holidays
Short Explanation on “Gassho” (Anjali) – universal Buddhist Gesture
Brief Explanation of the Dharmacacra Dharma wheel symbol
A Brief history of the Recognition of Buddhism and the Dharmacakra by the US Armed Forces
Sample Service Format – Simple ceremony to become a Buddhist
Sample Service Format – Last Rite for a Buddhist Soldier (on the battlefield or in a military hospital)
Sample Service Format – Memorial Service for the Committal Ceremony for a Buddhist Soldier (if not at a Buddhist temple or Buddhist Center).
Items Available for Buddhist Military Personnel
Suggested Reading Material List on Buddhism

This book will try to be inclusive of Buddhist traditions; it would probably be unrealistic to expect that this book could be used for every Buddhist service, given the vast difference of practices, but at the minimum it could serve in the absence of texts or other materials. We would welcome your input!


Michael Shinyo said...

That's a great idea! I hope to see a copy before the next deployment.

_/\_ Shinyo

Unknown said...

I think it is wonderful.

I would like to have a copy even though my time as a service member is over.:)

_/!\_ Namaste


Unknown said...

Perhaps a chapter devoted to certain practices and meditations that can be done outside of regular services? For example, zazen instruction could potentially be very helpful for service members no matter where they are or what they are doing on a daily basis.

Scott Xian-Liao said...

Thank you for the heads up :) Is there a title yet, or anticipated completion date?

Jeanette Yuinen Shin said...

Thank you everyone for your comments! I will keep updating on the status of this guidebook. It has taken several YEARS to get to this point, but hopefully it should not take too much longer. We've asked for assistance from other sources, but were rejected because of, IMO, a lack of knowledge about what chaplaincy entails. This little book isn't intended to take the place of an ordained priest or monk, or to endorse wars. It's simply to provide assistance to Buddhists (or the curious) who are already enlisted in the Armed Forces. For those of you who've ever seen the inside of a Chaplain's Office, there are lots of religious materials available, but nothing or very little on Buddhism. At most there might be a "Teaching of Buddha" available. This book can be an additional resource to that.

Michael Shinyo said...

Any update on this?

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