No Devil Dog, you can't do that.

Got a phone call today from some sergeant, I did not catch his name.

“Gunny Fountain, your some kind of Zen Mediator right?



Apparently they caught a Marine who was burning incense in his room.

This is against the Barracks’ order.

I was asked if the Marine had some kind of religious right to not follow the rules as he is converting to Buddhism.

Nope. Can't do that…

The first of the three universal precepts is to observe the rules of society.

In the Marine Corps we are maybe a micro society, but it’s still a society.

We have some unique rules in the military, and they are numerous at that, and heck no I don’t know all of them (heck I don’t even have the 16 Bodhisattva precepts I took memorized) and I have likely unknowingly broken a few and knowingly broken a few that I never got called on. However just because you want to claim Buddhism as your new found faith doesn’t give you permission to bend or break one of those rules on account of your new calling. Please come see me for further explanation.

I feel dumber now, for having typed this.

Update: I may meet a sincere person!


Uku said...

Hey, Jordan, important post! To obey the rules of society Oh yes, that's important! In Dogen Sangha where I took the precepts it's To observe the rules of society. Obey or observe, oh yes! Or like Master Powers said "Oh behave!"

Take care, Jordan!

SlowZen said...

Hey Uku, Good call. I was going off of my dodgy memory. Yes! "Oh behave" indeed.

All the best!

SlowZen said...

Fixed it.

Jeanette Yuinen Shin said...

Hello Jordan!

If he is a sincere Buddhist trying to practice, it may be good to advise this devil dog to work with his base chaplain to see if he may have some time in the chapel so he can practice his faith without getting in trouble!

Ch. Shin

SlowZen said...

Thank you for stopping by.
I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said.

Anonymous said...

Chaplain Fountain?

SlowZen said...

Negative Mike, Military Chaplains have to have a Masters degree from an accredited school, and meet quite a few other requirements. I had thought about it for a while, but never aggressively followed up on it.

Molly said...


Glad to see all is well in Japan. Behaving. Hmmm.


Anonymous said...

hmm can I sit zazen instead of showing up at work?

I do like burning incense in my room, so I am glad that I am not in the Marines.

I think they should be looking fora few good zen chaplains. Just think about it Gunny.

SlowZen said...

It is a pleasure to see your name pop up in the comments section. This day keeps getting better!

You can, but your employers may object... Or your paycheck... Better run that by them first.

I don't know if we will ever see a Zen Buddhist Chaplin in the military. I'd love to do it, but my experience as a recruiter makes me think that the arms full of tattoos are kind of a show stopper for officer commissioning programs.

Thanks for looking!