Monday, August 24, 2009

Bachelor's Degree

One of the main obstacles for me in this process is education. I joined the military with absolutely no college under my belt. Since then, I've achieved an Associates Degree, but most of those credits were from my military training. I really don't consider that degree a product of my academic studies.

So the first thing I have to work towards is my Bachelor's degree. As far as I know, neither the church nor the military cares what my Bachelor's degree is in; therefore I'm going to go with whatever degree I can get the quickest.

This was actually a hard decision for me. I definitely see the value in studying a subject that is either interesting or applicable. For instance, setting my major as "Religion" makes a lot of sense. But I think that no matter what I study, I'll be able to apply what I've learned to my career. Also, I think that whatever major ends up being the quickest for me will be both interesting AND applicable as long as I adopt the old adage: "It is what you make it."

So tonight I sign up for my first class towards my BA through the American Military University (AMU). It's called "Foundations for Online Learning" and is a requirement for all students at this University. To learn more about AMU check out their site: Wish me luck!

In Gassho,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just getting started

Well, here's the first entry. I guess I should start with my current status.

I'm an E-5 in the USAF, stationed in Hawaii. I've always been interested in Buddhism, but didn't get serious until I got here. After attending service at the Wahiawa Hongwanji Buddhist Mission for about a year, I joined the church. Soon after, I was affirmed, along with my wife and my two sons. I was given the Dharma name Shaku Josho.

After some serious thought, I decided that the chaplaincy would be the best thing for me and my family. I talked about it with my reverend and he agreed. So this process really breaks down into two catagories: 1) Achieving my Ordination, and 2) Meeting the military requirements. The two don't match up completely. For instance, I can be a fully ordained Buddhist Dharma Teacher but not meet the requirements to become a DoD Chaplain. The reverse is also true.

Without getting into too much detail, what this means is that I will first work towards achieving my ordination... and worry about the military side of the house later. I've heard that you can enter into a military chaplaincy as late as age 44 (with a waiver) which means I could do a full 20 years enlisted before I switch over. In other words, I think I have a little bit of time on that side. Reverend Kuniyuki and I have officially begun my unofficial training towards achieving my Tokudo (lower-level ordination).

My first assignment was to write an article about all the different aspects of the Altar. Every Buddhist temple has an Altar and in Jodo Shinshu, they follow a standardized set-up. My task was to write an article for our quarterly publication that explained this set-up. For a copy of the article, please email and ask for a copy of this month's Hozo.

Well, that's it! More later!

In Gassho,