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Lesson 6

#1 User is offline   DAS4283284 

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 11:11 PM

Do some research on your denomination’s representation in police, fire, prison, or emergency response chaplaincy. Post your findings on the ULC Discussion Board.

Ten years ago a Buddhist monk, Kusala Bhikshu, briefly volunteered as a Chaplain with the Orange County Police Department. I can find no mention of any official Buddhist police chaplaincy work, however.

There is significantly more information about Buddhist Fire Chaplains, although nothing about specifically Buddhist fire chaplaincy. Nonetheless, the book Fire Monks: Zen Mind Meets Wildfire by Colleen Morton Busch tells the true story of a group of Buddhist monks’ successful effort to defend the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in California from the massive wildfire in 2008. In the UK, Buddhist communities and the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) have formed an organization called Faith and Fire. Established in 2013, Faith and Fire works to increase faith awareness among FRS personnel and volunteers. Their website offers information on a wide range of topics, including chaplaincy, interfaith dialogue, death and dying, post-traumatic stress disorder, and mindfulness, although it does not itself provide advice, counseling, or chaplaincy services. Burmese Theravada Buddhist Monk Venerable U Uttara served as a Buddhist Fire Chaplain to LFB London Fire Brigade. He was the first known Buddhist Fire Chaplain in the UK. As of 2015, Ven. Galpottayaye Pemananda from Ketumati Buddhist Vihara served as a Fire Chaplain as part of Faith and Fire. As of 2016, Rev. Alan Urasaki was the only Buddhist Fire Chaplain in the USA. He volunteered in Hawai’i.

In terms of first response, the UK-based Buddhists Engaged with Emergency Services (BEWES) developed out of Faith and Fire in 2014. BEWES is an informal group that enables Buddhists (advisors, chaplains, mindfulness teachers, volunteers, etc.) working with, or who have worked with, the emergency services and related organizations to engage with one another. In the US, there appear to be a number of Christian churches and organizations who provide training for Christian Emergency Responder Chaplaincy. However, I could find nothing about Buddhist first responders in the US.

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