Author Topic: The first Buddhist chaplain of the Wisconsin National Guard  (Read 3728 times)

christine V

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The first Buddhist chaplain of the Wisconsin National Guard
« on: August 11, 2013, 05:56:46 PM »
Exciting news posted on Journal Sentinel
Aug 7, 2013
Have you wonder we Buddhist always talk about harmonious and is not related to any warrior kind of training. Read the news below, how Christopher Mohr - the Buddhist Chaplain connected Dharma to the soldier.

 
Christopher Mohr often gets the question.
How does a Buddhist reconcile the religion's belief in nonviolence with the warrior ethos of the U.S. Army?
"Most people have been given an idea of Buddhism that is somewhat more unrealistic than realistic," Mohr, 32, said in a recent phone interview from Fort McCoy, where he's going through annual training.

"In the earliest canonical scriptures, the Buddha describes the ideal monk as the ideal warrior. One of the things he must do is provide the right protection for his people and his army," said Mohr, a first lieutenant assigned to the 32nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

Mohr recently transferred to Wisconsin from the California National Guard, where he was the first Buddhist chaplain in that state. He's one of only three Buddhist chaplains in the entire U.S. Army.

Among the 10,000 members of the Wisconsin National Guard, 32 identify their religion as Buddhist, a number that's growing as more people become interested in Buddhism, said Col. Douglas Fleischfresser, the highest ranking chaplain in the state guard.

"Our Buddhists are becoming either more self-identifying or we have more coming into the military," said Fleischfresser, state command chaplain for the Wisconsin Army National Guard. "That we have a Buddhist chaplain is fantastic because it's getting people to look at their spirituality."

After graduating from Menasha High School in 1999, Mohr attended the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, where he earned a degree in religious studies. As he was growing up, his mother had an open mind about his religious education and told him to figure it out on his own. Which he did during a year abroad in Japan while he was in college.

"While I was there, I found a tradition I had been looking for for a long time," said Mohr, who lives in Appleton with his wife.

"I was probably always a Buddhist at heart, but I didn't have the knowledge or connections to really develop my faith until about a decade ago."

Attracted by Buddhism's emphasis on compassion, mindfulness and service to others, he earned a master of divinity degree in the Buddhist chaplain training program at the University of the West in Rosemead, Calif., and was ordained through the International Order of Buddhist Ministers under the auspices of Bhante Chao Chu, Abbot of the Rosemead Buddhist Monastery. His home temple is Shinnyo-en near Chicago.

After he became a Buddhist reverend, Mohr wanted to use his faith to serve others but wasn't sure how to do that. While he was trying to choose his path he attended a job fair and talked to National Guard recruiters. As a Buddhist, he told the recruiters, he didn't know if the military was a good fit for him.

"They said, 'Have you ever considered the chaplaincy?' I said 'Wow, I hadn't.' The more I looked into it the more I thought about what I could bring to the table that would help soldiers," he said.

During annual training he's scheduled nightly meditation training for anyone who wants to attend and performs a Buddhist religious service once a week for Buddhist soldiers and others who are interested. As a military chaplain he also ministers to the needs of soldiers of other faiths...

source: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/wisconsin-national-guards-first-buddhist-chaplain-brings-compassion-to-job-b9962205z1-218760901.html