Australian Defence Forces seek a Buddhist chaplain – any takers?

The number of Buddhists in the Australian Defence Forces has now exceeded 350. This means the ADF is seeking a chaplain to minister to their needs. This issue has been discussed a number of times over the years, but it is only now that the number of Buddhists is great enough that the ADF is actively seeking a chaplain for them.

The role would be as an officer, who would receive basic ‘brush & comb’ training in protocol and so on, but would not go through boot camp. They would minister to the spiritual needs of Buddhists in the Defence Forces – which, one can imagine, would be a tough call.

This call has come through the FABC. If anyone’s interested, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.

In this Resource Package Related to Buddhist Chaplaincy, you’ll find an interesting selection of material on this issue, complied by the ADF.

9 thoughts on “Australian Defence Forces seek a Buddhist chaplain – any takers?

  1. It seems a bit peculiar to me that a disciple of the Lord Buddha would agree to – as I understand the purpose of military organisations such as the ADF – purposely killing living beings, even if it is purely for self-defense. But then again, a country without such an army would render itself defenseless against any possible attacks. What an inconvenient dilemma, especially in the case of Buddhist nations. Do you have any comments on this, Bhante?

  2. The only advice a Buddhist chaplain could give, would surely be : ‘defect, desert, go home, disobey orders, love your enemy, do not shoot, protect the women and children.’

    I can’t really see that such a Chaplain role would be entirely sincere otherwise — ok, the Buddhist Chaplain could of course, fulfil the role of kindly sympathiser, and counsellor — but surely, one would have to then take the next step and simply say, ‘you shouldn’t kill other human beings.’

    I rememeber always being troubled by black and white photos I saw of a Thai/Cambodian monk, ‘blessing’ the nose of a fighter plane with incence, and smearing a ‘Buddhist-blessing’ stupa swirl symbol on the plane, whilst smattering it with ‘holy water’.

  3. I am very interested in this role, and I am trying to find out excally what qualifications I would need. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hi Brenton,

      Great—but this is a while ago now, and I’m not sure what the situation is rght now. Let me put you in touch with Kim Hollows from the FABC and he can probably help you.

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