Camp Casey, Republic of Korea - U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan-Casey hosted its first official Buddhist Talk Service at the West Casey Chapel for Soldiers, family members and civilians on March 15.
Area 1, in the northern part of the Republic of Korea, has a population of over 10,000 with a variety of religious beliefs.
Garrison Chaplain LTC Ronaldo O. Silva says personnel who are Buddhist have distinct religious needs that cannot be met by available military chaplains in Area I.
“The free exercise of religion under the First Amendment and religious support is prioritized for all faiths including low faith densities,” said Silva. “This service addresses the religious diversity of personnel in the community.”
The USAG Yongsan-Casey Religious Support Office partnered with two local Buddhist monks approved under the U.S. Army Distinctive Religious Group Leaders to provide a very precise service.
“From my understanding, this has never happened before on Camp Casey…I’m happy to be part of it,” said Buddhist Monk/Distinctive Religious Group Leader Gyeonglyun Sunim.
“Doing this is about serving other others while also developing myself by participating in practices like this. I want to have a good time with people who attend, study Buddhist literature and the lessons discussed.”
Silva also added, those who are not sure but considering attending the Buddhist Talk Service can do any or all of the following recommendations:
a) Ask God’s guidance through prayer.
b) Seek advice from their religious leader or chaplain.
c) Call and ask questions to one of the Buddhist monks.
d) Attend the service and ask questions during the Q&A.