...Buddhism for Urban America
Urban Dharma Newsletter...
January 21, 2003
1st Buddhist Police Chaplain to Serve in Hawaii County
2. Police Chaplain Program Is Keeping Many Faiths ...by
3. United We Will Stand, United We Will Serve ...by Chaplain
4. Temple/Center/Website- of the Week: Sweetwater
5. Book Review: Thomas Merton and Thich
Nhat Hanh: Engaged Spirituality in an Age of Globalization ...by
Robert Harlen King
1st Buddhist Police Chaplain to Serve in Hawaii County
COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT ...OFFICE OF THE POLICE CHIEF ...DECEMBER
IN—The Rev. Earl Ikeda of the Puna Hongwanji Mission is
sworn in as police chaplain by Police Chief Lawrence K. Mahuna.
Looking on is the Rev. Midori Kondo, left, of the Hilo Hongwanji
Mission and Mrs. Lei Kakugawa of the Puna Hongwanji Mission.
Buddhist Police Chaplain to serve in Hawaii County...
Chief Lawrence K. Mahuna has sworn in a new police chaplain,
the first Buddhist minister to serve with the Hawaii County
Police Department's Chaplains Corps.
Rev. Earl Ikeda, of the Puna Hongwanji Mission in Keaau, took
the oath of office during ceremonies held Friday (December 13,
2002) in the police chief's office.
Rev. Ikeda is assigned to the South Hilo Patrol District. He
is one of eight chaplains, each assigned to a police district,
who administer to the needs Hawaii County police personnel.
Police Chaplain Program Is Keeping Many Faiths ...Religion:
Garden Grove fields a highly diverse group, including a Buddhist
and Muslim ...by WILLIAM LOBDELL, Times Staff Writer
Garden Grove's newest police chaplain puts on his bulletproof
vest, he stuffs two items into the pocket centered over his
heart: an extra slice of body armor to protect against a kill
shot, and a photo of Kwan Yin, as beloved by Buddhists as the
Virgin Mary is by Catholics.
both the Kevlar and Kwan Yin, I thought that was the way to
go," the Rev. Kusala Ratana Karuna said. "You can
never have too much protection."
51, a Buddhist monk, is one of two new recruits in the Garden
Grove Police Department's cutting-edge chaplain program. The
10-member volunteer force also includes a Muslim, a Mormon,
a rabbi, pastors and priests.
if any police departments nationwide can match Garden Grove's
diversity of faith. Kusala is only the second Buddhist police
chaplain in the United States, according to the International
Conference of Police Chaplains. The other is in Rockford, Ill.,
where the Police Department has some Buddhist officers.
major driver behind the yearlong revamp was Police Chief Joe
Polisar's desire to form better relationships with immigrant
communities, some of which often are distrustful of the police.
Grove's population of 160,000 is divided about evenly among
Asians, Latinos and whites. The city is home to Buddhist temples,
synagogues, one of the nation's largest mosques, and churches,
including the Crystal Cathedral.
call 24 hours a day, the chaplains traditionally have given
advice or provided a shoulder to cry on for police officers,
their families, crime and accident victims, and troubled citizens
such as runaways. In Garden Grove, they will be ambassadors
in the diverse neighborhoods.
can now bridge those gaps that we haven't been able to until
now," said Lt. Scott Hamilton, who is in charge of the
program. "We've just never before had direct lines of communication
with those groups."
who came on board last month, spent his first police ride-along
visiting four Buddhist temples in the city.
"Danny" Bundakji, the department's first Muslim chaplain,
is less than a month into the job. He already has responded
to a 4 a.m. call to help a young Muslim whom police deemed suicidal.
was in really bad shape," Bundakji recalled. "I told
him that harming himself or anybody else is totally against
Islam. I've talked with him a lot since then."
Spreads Among Muslims
Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove draws 2,000
worshipers to Friday prayer services. News that they now have
a police chaplain spread quickly in the tightknit Muslim community.
are very excited and very surprised. That term 'chaplain' is
very new for them," said Bundakji, who added that in his
new role, he received nine calls last week for assistance.
programs within police departments have been steadily growing
for more than a decade, said Stu Nelson, assistant executive
director of the International Conference of Police Chaplains.
The chaplains' association has added 100 chaplains a year in
the last 12 years, Nelson said, and now have 2,500 increasingly
diverse members in nine countries.
faith leaders in Garden Grove are subjected to background checks
and training sessions. The chaplains are instructed to use a
nondenominational approach, keeping clear of evangelizing. Even
the dress suggests uniformity: black jeans, bulletproof vest,
black shirt, black jacket and baseball cap.
and Bundakji were personally recruited by Polisar, who met them
at community events. Both were selected for their ability to
jump easily between the police officers' world and the immigrant
community: Kusala, as an American-born monk and Bundakji as
a well-respected spokesman for the Muslim community.
became a monk later in life. He never thought he would be affiliated
with law enforcement, but admits he was a big fan of the TV
Polisar first proposed revamping the chaplain program, officers'
reaction was underwhelming.
did not come about without a great deal of discussion, concern
and consternation," Polisar said. "To the officers'
credit, once we got into the discussion, they were open to it.
The chaplains themselves were the best sellers."
officers worried that a new religion was going to be pushed
on them. They were unsure of what to expect from a Buddhist
you start talking about people's faith, things can be very,
very volatile," Hamilton said. "Once the idea sunk
in a little bit--that there was going to be a liaison to the
[immigrant] communities--they were excited."
new breed of chaplain also helps educate the American-born police
officers, who know little about Islam or Buddhism.
Car as a Confessional
ask me all sorts of questions," Kusala said. "Like
everyone asks me: 'Do Buddhists go to heaven?'
explained the difference between nirvana and heaven: "Buddhists
go to heaven by what they think, what they say, and what they
do--which is their karma. Eventually, they will end up in nirvana."
said he hopes that he eventually will gain enough trust to teach
the officers meditation.
the chaplains gain the officers' confidence, a ride-along can
turn the inside of the police car into a confessional--or a
have a lot of young officers, and they see a lot of things,"
said Steve LaFond, a Mormon chaplain.
supposed to be real macho, but no one's that tough. I don't
care who you are, when you see a SIDS [Sudden Infant Death Syndrome]
baby, it affects you.
won't ever go to a psychologist, but they'll spill their heart
and soul to a man or woman of the cloth."
United We Will Stand, United We Will Serve ...by Chaplain
Dan Nolta, ICPC President 2001-2003
Vision of ICPC's (International Conference of Police Chaplains)
Future ... An address at the Annual Training Seminar ...
Anaheim, California ... July 11, 2002
from Nolta's address...
evaluating the past and preparing for the future it is always
wise to ask two questions: What is our business and how is our
business? As to what is our business I take you back to 1973
when our founder Joe Dooley presented to the 10 chaplains present
at the initial organizational meeting a fourfold statement of
To develop and recommend standards for the service of police
To seek the appointment of qualified chaplains to provide spiritual
guidance, counseling and assistance to the police officer and
To secure proper training and encourage the establishment of
a chaplaincy program in every law enforcement agency.
To work for the general improvement of police service and to
promote such chaplain service internationally.
First Obstacle: Lack of a Clear Vision
I look ahead I see a large glass window standing upright in
the road, I cannot see through it. It represents obstacle number
one: The lack of a clear vision for our future.
vision for our future relates not only to where we want to go
but it also has to do with how we are going to get there, and
relates as well to our being prepared to deal with change and
opportunity that they might become a part of our future. There
is at present not a clear united vision of where we want to
go. Therefore, how we are going to get there is in question.
We are not truly prepared to deal with change and current opportunities
which are presented to United States in the ever dynamic culture
in the United States and abroad.
we have not invested in our future. We have until a couple of
years ago limited our office staff to little more than those
who could keep the chickens in the coop happy as we have balanced
limited funds. Two years ago you enabled more staff by your
increase in dues...but it takes more than secretaries. It takes
courage to face the future and say, we must change to move on.
old ways were good; now some of them are plainly inadequate.
Our growing pains tell us that is true. We must continue to
analyze our current structure and program emphasis, not leaving
any stone unturned. And then we look to the future and decide
what we want the ICPC to be and what we need to be together
to meet the challenges. The analysis may mean some change in
structure or emphasis that will make us all uncomfortable but
enable us to meet the challenges and opportunity before us.
Second Obstacle: Lack of Preparation
Number Two is even now in the road ahead. It is a man. He represents
our lack of preparation to be what we say we are, an international
organization. His skin is not white. He does not speak English.
He points to the badge on his chest and the symbol of the chaplain
on his shoulder.
cannot help him. I cannot speak his language; I do not know
his culture. A united chaplaincy across the world is my dream.
Yet within ICPC today there is a great chasm. A chasm of numbers
that by itself creates a huge gap between international in name
and being truly international. It is the gap of 2,600 Americans
and 100 from other countries. The answer is of course not to
reduce the number of American members but to increase those
from outside the United States.
desperately want to help that one who stands in the road beckoning
for us to come. We have been international in name and now we
think we want to be truly international in scope and function.
Do we have any idea what that means? Only a little glimpse,
only a little hint here and there. I submit to you, we are not
ready and it may be that planning and training are not enough
to make us ready. We may simply have to move forward, learning
as we go. Time is of the essence as the international fields
are now ripe, ready for harvest.
meet the needs of the man in the road we must do more than translate
language, we must translate culture. Go beyond North America
and you find cultures that most of us do not understand and,
in part, do not accept. We see it only through our eyes and
then only want to make it homogenous with ours. We cannot. I
know that the police personality is the police personality wherever
it is found but the culture and style of policing can be very
different and thus the problems the chaplain faces are very
different. We must understand that culture if we are to train
and support the chaplain who serves within.
police officers need chaplains; those chaplains need support
and education. Where will it come from? As ICPC, we have the
resources and experience to move forward into that arena. We
need to do so, learning as we go. Certainly, we will make mistakes
but the successes and the victories will far outweigh such mistakes
we might make. The support and education for chaplains beyond
North America will come from an ICPC that is bold enough and
farsighted enough to send their leadership out into those cultures,
instead of expecting them to come to the United States.
are we prepared to think beyond an ATS in the United States
each year? If we are not, we must then be prepared to raise
up leaders in other places to conduct national training sessions
to rival the United States-held ATS or to completely revamp
our structure and schedule of the ATS. If we are not prepared
to provide the lead and leadership for training in most countries
beyond North America, it will be a long time before the chaplaincies
springing up across the world have quality opportunities such
as have been afforded us.
is my dream that we will all be united under one banner but
we must face the fact that some may not want to come and play
with us, especially under our current mode and perhaps attitude
of function. Within our ranks are those experienced in cross-cultural
communications, travel, and training. I am going to ask that
those with such experience make themselves available to the
ICPC during this year to originate an action plan as to how
this dream might be realized with the greatest concern that
we become international in personality and practice. International
in the sense of Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, Europe
and to the four corners of the globe. A truly international
ICPC – a dream to be realized, both an obstacle and an
opportunity that we must face.
Third Obstacle: Lack of a Clearly Defined Identity
number three is less clearly visible to us but it is nonetheless
an obstacle to be reckoned with: it is our lack of clearly defined
identity as a non-homogenous organization.
obstacle in the road might be represented by something that
we seldom see any more, a bottle of milk with the cream still
on the top. It is non homogenous. We drink homogenized milk,
all mixed together. The milk at the top of the bottle looks
the same as the milk from the bottom of the bottle. There is
little about the membership of ICPC that is homogenous.
are a variety of races and ethnic groups and sometimes we don’t
know what to do with each other. History and the modern political
correctness movement have so super-sensitized us that we are
afraid of and suspicious of each other racially.
have no desire to favor white, black, brown or any other because
of color alone. That ought to be what we see throughout the
ICPC, talk, truth, trust and equal opportunity. We are not there
yet. JFK once said, "Let us not be blind to our differences,
but let us also direct attention to our common interests and
the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if
we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make
the world safe for diversity."
we are not homogenous racially or culturally, we certainly are
not in matters of faith. In the main, we are Christian but of
so many varieties that even among the Christians we are as ignorant
of one another as we are in regards to race and culture, and
as suspicious and afraid of each other in our religious diversity
as we are in issues of race if not more so...yes more so.
issue of multi-faith diversity within the ICPC is what got me
this assignment of speaking tonight. It is a very decided obstacle
to our moving ahead as an organization. I have read evaluations
and surveyed dozens of you and I am hearing that this just may
be the greatest issue we face in this moment of our existence.
is time to face this issue and to face it head on. As one of
our esteemed members put it: "There are those who may not
wish to face the matter of diversity because to do so would
be "organizational suicide." I suggest that not
to do so is organizational homicide. For a group such as
ICPC deliberately to shy away from the implications of diversity
in this day and age is tantamount to turning the back to the
greatest opportunities for professional, spiritual and intellectual
growth. Any decision to avoid those areas of growth is a decision
to bring a slow and probably painful death to a very worthwhile
organization, one which has been very good to me.
have read too many evaluations and hear too many concerns from
across the religious spectrum to believe that we can any longer
approach multi-faith diversity as we have in the past.
understand our dilemma, we must first look at our membership.
It is overwhelmingly Christian, but of every sort. Then we also
have some who would describe themselves as Universalist and
some who are Jewish, Islamic, and perhaps a Buddhist or two.
might say, well that is not very diverse, and then ask, "What
is the problem?" The problem comes on two fronts, each
front caused by a separate factor.
first factor is numbers. The majority number of Christians undoubtedly
makes some of us feel left out...just by sheer numbers, nothing
intentional about the numbers, we do not discriminate as to
who can join, but rather the numbers alone do it for the minority.
So the minority in numbers feels left out. That is the first
Factor Two and Front Two: The second factor is the doctrine
of Religious Pluralism.
pluralism suggests that there is not one religion but that there
are many religions, which are equally valid. That doctrine or
school of thought has permeated American society and we are
trying to treat each other in the ICPC as if we believe it.
I doubt if any, or at least very few, believe that, yet it is
there as a constant pressure upon us.
effect of believing or acting as if we believe religious pluralism
has been to destabilize us. Here is why: It is often noted that
seeking pluralism or pluralistic behavior results in a spiritual
identity crisis. (We have one.) At home we do just fine but
we come to the International or Regional ATS and we don’t
know how to behave toward one another. Can I be who I really
am? Should I not pray like I usually do? What scripture can
I use in the morning devotional? Which are safe songs to sing?
They don’t believe like I do, Can I trust them?
second effect is noted in the fact that ministry/service actions
derive out of the caregiver’s spiritual identity. That
is what distinguishes the pastor, priest or rabbi from each
other and all of us from the psychologist/psychiatrist. Not
to be able to act out of who we really are has the effect of
causing us to not be comfortable in the gathered setting. As
the old preacher told the young preacher who was seeking spiritual
direction, "Be who you is cause if you ain’t who
you is, then you will be what you ain’t, and if you is
who you ain’t then you won’t be who you is."
it is often true that pluralistic leveling does not result in
solidarity; in fact it often produces the opposite effect, a
feeling of division if not an actual splintering. ICPC has not
yet splintered but you can feel the cracks widening. We are
reading it in our evaluations and as one member, responding
to my survey reported: "I have expressed concern, disappointment,
and at times even anger at the way multi-faith diversity has
been handled by the ICPC since I became a member in 1990 –
that is one of the reasons why I have not been at an ATS for
a few years."
the one hand the numerical religious minority among United States
feels left out, and on the other, a large segment of the Christian
membership feels that they must withhold or not be true to their
faith under the pressure of pluralism and political correctness.
I do not believe that ICPC was established or today purposely
seeks for anyone; minority or majority to feel that way, but
that is, I believe, exactly where we are at this point in time.
are two words, which should be our guide in this question. The
first is respect. The second is honor.
must be mutual, therefore, I must respect you in your beliefs
and you must respect me in mine. Respecting you in your beliefs
does not mean that I have to accept yours as valid and true,
or that I may not question you at some point. However, it does
mean that I accept and respect you in spite of the great possibility
that you and I will never agree on some points of faith.
honor for me means that I will hold those beliefs to which I
believe God has brought me. How you may ask? Simply stated,
I cannot honor that which I believe by denying it. Equally,
I cannot honor that which I believe by using it to beat up others
who do not hold my view. There must be balance.
challenge for us to find the way out of what some have come
to call "the mush god" approach. We must devise a
vision of the way in which we can live together harmoniously
in a larger society such as ICPC, while at the same time being
able to maintain, rather than dilute or lose, a strong sense
of belonging to our particular cultural, ethnic or religious
short, how can we live together in a multi faith organization
and do so with trust and respect while at the same time each
of United States be true to our own faith? Again the words respect
and honor come to bear upon the subject.
come to ICPC to be trained to be a police chaplain. At the same
time the ICPC gatherings have allowed me a much broader and
very wonderful scope of understanding and to meet and know some
of you who, if we chose to talk about it, would quickly know
beyond a shadow of a doubt that we do not agree theologically
and never will.
I want to say, nonetheless, we can love each other, respect
each other, trust each other and join together for the education
and support of fellow chaplains and for the advancement of law
enforcement chaplaincy around the world.
may have to adjust, to do separate devotional hours, to have
small group meetings for fellowship, and in our larger joint
meetings to trust and respect each other but allow each other
our own convictions knowing they are not exercised with "an
in your face" attitude.
apt appeal for us is "Unity, not Uniformity." Unity
in our task to train and support chaplains, in spite of our
lack of uniformity in issues of faith.
would add to that, we need to be a multi-faith organization
because those we minister to are multi-faith and we recognize
those even of no faith. None of our departments can discriminate
against someone for their faith or lack of and we, as chaplains
serving in public agencies, cannot either. The good thing about
a multi-faith organization for me is I learn here at ICPC how
to minister to those of a different ethnic or religious background.
This is my school to learn much of what I cannot learn within
the confines of my own faith group.
– THE Pre-eminent Professional Police Chaplain’s
believe that ICPC should stand as the pre-eminent professional
police chaplain’s organization, built upon and guided
by the principle the United States Naval Chaplain Corps has
adopted, the principle of cooperation without compromise.
We must work that principle into every fiber of our gathering
is a world waiting for us to come and share with them what we
have to offer, training and support for police chaplains. The
idea is now worldwide and we are in the forefront. Police officers
everywhere need chaplains. That is our impetus to take hard
looks and clear obstacles; to do the painful work that change
we will stand – United we will serve.
Sweetwater Zen Center
City, CA 91950
residential Zen Buddhist meditation practice community working
together to realize the awakened way.
Zen Center offers a traditional Zen buddhist schedule with opportunities
for group meditation as well as koan practice with a certified
recognize that there is more than one way to see the oneness
of all things. So we explore practices from traditional and
contemporary spiritual paths such as Way of Council, Yoga, Gender
Reconciliation, and Breathwork.
Seisen Saunders, Sensei
founder and head teacher of Sweetwater Zen Center is Anne Seisen
Saunders, Sensei. Seisen has been practicing and teaching Zen
Buddhism for nearly 20 years.
is a student of the late Taizan Maezumi Roshi and a Dharma successor
of Bernie Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi, cofounder of the Greyston
Mandala and the Zen Peacemaker Order.
lived at the Zen Center of Los Angeles for 15 years, and worked
on ZCLA's administrative staff. She served for four years as
the co-abbot of Zen Mountain Center, a traditional monastery
and practice center in Idyllwild, California.
founding of SWZC marks Seisen's return to San Diego. Before
coming to Zen practice Seisen attended UC Berkeley and then
later went to UCSD, where she worked as a biochemist. Establishing
SWZC is the unfolding of her vision for an urban residential
Zen practice community.
Tetsugen Glassman Roshi
Bernie Glassman, the first Dharma Successor of Hakuyu Taizan
Maezumi Roshi, was the first Abbot of the Zen Community of New
York. Along with his wife, Sensei Jishu Holmes, he cofounded
the Peacemaker Community, an international order of social activists
and peacemaker villages engaged in peacemaking based on Three
Tenets: penetrating the unknown, bearing witness to joy and
suffering, and healing ourselves and others. The two also cofounded
the Zen Peacemaker Order and interfaith Peacemaker Order.
Glassman is also the cofounder of the Greyston Mandala, a network
of businesses and not-for-profits engaged in community development
in southwest Yonkers, New York. He was the second Spiritual
Leader of the White Plum Asangha (after Maezumi Roshi died)
He is a former aerospace engineer who worked on manned missions
to Mars at McDonnell-Douglas during the 1970s. He holds a Ph.D.
in Applied Mathematics from UCLA.
addition to training in Zen Buddhism under Taizan Maezumi Roshi
in Los Angeles, he studied with HakuunYasutani Roshi and Koryu
Osaka Roshi. He studied with Krisnamurti, received a mantra
from Swami Asheshananda in the Vedanta tradition, took hand
with Sheik Lex Nur Hixon in Islam, and considers Reb Zalman
Schachter-Shalomi his current spiritual guide.
Glassman has empowered many teachers and clergy in both the
Soto Zen and Zen Peacemaker Order traditions. He is also the
author of Bearing Witness and Instructions to the
Cook, a translation and commentary on Dogen Zenji's Tenzo
Roshi was ordained as a Soto Zen monk at the age of eleven.
He received degrees in Oriental Literature and Philosophy from
Komazawa University and studied at Sojiji, one of the two main
Soto monasteries in Japan. He received Dharma transmission from
Hakujun Kuroda, Roshi, in 1955. He also received approval as
a teacher (Inka ) from both Koryu Osaka, Roshi, and Hakuun Yasutani,
Roshi, thus becoming a Dharma successor in three lines of Zen.
1956, Maezumi Roshi came to Los Angeles as a priest at Zenshuji
Temple, the Soto Headquarters of the United States. He devoted
his life to laying a firm foundation for the growth of Zen Buddhism
in the West.
1967, he established the Zen Center of Los Angeles. ZCLA was
the first practice center of the White Plum Asanga, named after
his father Baian Hakujun Daiosho. The White Plum Asanga has
grown to include 14 additional Zen temples and practices centers
in the United States, Mexico, and Europe. Six temples are formally
registered with Soto Headquarters in Japan.
1976, Maezumi Roshi established the Kuroda Institute for the
Study of Buddhism and Human Values, a non-profit educational
organization formed to promote scholarship on Buddhism in its
historical, philosophical, and cultural ramifications. The Institute
also publishes a book series with the University of Hawaii Press
devoted to the translation of East Asian Buddhist classics and
presentations of scholarly works from its conferences. Maezumi
Roshi also founded the Dharma Institute in Mexico City.
Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh: Engaged Spirituality in an
Age of Globalization ...by
Robert Harlen King
and Healthy, December 2001
great enthusiasm the author summarizes the unique aspects of
their [Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh] writings."
Magazine, January 2002
uses his analytical abilities to create a work that is comprehensive
and insightful...personal and global in its conclusions."
a dry, academic thesis, this book is something of a conversion
story...the fruit of King's spiritual journey."
Merton Seasonal, Winter 2001
writes well and his personal approach is evident throughout
May 20, 2002
fine introduction to these well-known monks....crucial for the
continued relevancy of religion in today's world."
C. Buchanan, Choice, June 2002
for general readers and lower- and upper-division undergraduate
and graduate students."
Reviewer: Sherrill Pantle from Canon City, CO United
States... Thomas Merton said, "Nhat Hanh Is My Brother,"
coming to this conclusion after meeting him but once.
H. King traces the paths of these two men toward their historic
meeting, yet respects their differences and the differences
between Christianity and Buddhism. According to King, the contemplative
practice which each of them followed in his own tradition led
both of them into an active role in worldly affairs and to a
deep respect for each other and for one another's tradition.
King sees here the start of a fruitful inter-religious dialogue
and the beginning of relationship between very different traditions.
really enjoyed hearing how these two men, from such very different
backgrounds, arrived at a similar place of "engaging"
the world and its problems.
interested in learning about contemplation, either Christian
or Buddhist, will find much to think about in this book.
Reviewer: A reader from Colorado Springs, CO United
States... Sept 11 demands a new perspective on old issues. Dr
King gives readers just that with a beautifully written, fascinating
look at these two peace advocates, who tried to expose the true
face of peace hidden by the clouds of political dust during
the turbulent Sixties. This is an elightened look at bringing
major religions together for peaceful exchange.
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