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 firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for a copy of this month's Hozo.
Well, that's it! More later!