By Senior Airman Christopher Gross, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 02, 2012
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Ever been interested in learning what Buddhism is all about or just want a clear representation of what it stands for?
During the next several weeks Buckley members have the opportunity to sit in on Buddhism 101 at the Buckley Chapel every Thursday at noon for about an hour, with the exception of July 5. The classes will last till mid-August.
The class is part of Brett Campbell's, a Buddhist chaplain candidate, internship to help him meet his Clinical Pastoral Education requirements. Campbell, who's already completed Navy Officer Development School and is a ensign, will eventually become one of two Navy Buddhist chaplains after completing another year of college and then he must attend chaplain school.
During his classes he will discuss the basics of Buddhism's beliefs, such as karma, impermanence, selflessness, the Four Noble Truths, which are the structure for why Buddhist believe what they do, and other topics.
"I think there's a lot of misunderstanding of what Buddhism is. I was interested (in clearing up) some of those misunderstanding and getting some knowledge of what Buddhism is out there," Campbell said.
Most misunderstanding are about what the individual ideas actually are, he explained. He said it's a very peaceful religion and a lot of the focus is about not becoming too attached to certain emotions and material things.
He said his goal is not to try and convert anyone to Buddhism, but rather to have them walk away with a clear understanding of Buddhism beliefs.
Chaplain Maj. Abner Valenzuela, Buckley wing chaplain, said he was on board with the idea from the beginning.
"The class represents, in many respects, what the Chaplain Corps is about," Valenzuela said. "The primary reason why we exist as chaplains and chaplain assistants is to provide spiritual care and the opportunity for Airmen and their families to exercise their Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion."
Walking away with a sense of the chapel being a place to converse about religion, philosophy, spiritually and more in a respectful and non-judgmental manner, is one of the goals behind this class, according to the wing chaplain.
Another goal the chapel hopes to achieve is to have other classes evolve from this one. Valenzuela said in the future the chapel hopes to bring in a Jewish Rabbi for Judaism 101 or a Muslim Imam for Islam 101 as well as other possible religious experts. Also, a possible class for commanders and first sergeants, where the focus would be balancing the mission and the religious need of our service members.