Station chapel welcomes Buddhist monks
The station chapel welcomed seven Buddhist monks aboard station Nov. 8, 2012, with hopes of bridging an uncommonly traveled bonding point, different religions.
“This was a great way to build a good relationship, especially on the religious side,” said Lt. Cmdr. Louis Lee, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron command chaplain. “If
two different groups of religious leaders can come together and compare what they do professionally and personally, as they help out their own people, I think that’s a great indication of two countries coming together, holding hands together and doing the good work that is before them.”
The monks went on a tour with the chaplains and religious programmers, viewing the various rooms within the chapel.
During their guided tour, the monks received a presentation about the chapel, its personnel and the services offered.
“This was a great way to show unity and learn about each other,” said Lee. “In the process, I think they learned a great deal about us, we learned a great deal about them, and yes we’re different, but in the end, we’re people. There are a lot of similarities in what we do and what they do. I hope they left the chapel with that in mind, so the next time they run into an American, Marine or sailor, they will have the benefit of knowing a little more about them.”
An excursion to the Zero Hangar was part of the day’s plans before a final meeting took place at the station chapel.
“My favorite part about coming here today was being welcomed by the American priests,” said Kenjun Torii, a Buddhist monk, via translator. “It’s important, even for a priest, to be able to experience different cultures, and this was a great opportunity to do so.”
As the monks waved their final goodbyes and disembarked the station, chapel personnel returned to their day, both groups having vocalized their hopes to remember their bonding experience, which traversed religious boundaries.