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Buddhists in the United States military

Insignia of Buddhist chaplains of the United States Air Force[1]

Buddhists make up a small percentage of the United States military, with a 2009 article stating that only 5,287 of 1.4 million military personnel identified themselves as Buddhists.[2]

As Buddhism is a generally pacifistic religion, people have commented on the apparent dischord between the religion and military service; a Buddhist program leader at the United States Air Force Academy stated in an interview: "The questions of Buddhism are the questions of life and death. So, where else would you want Buddhism than right there where those questions are most vivid?"[2]


  • Chaplains 1
  • Chapel 2
  • External links 3
  • References 4


The first Buddhist chaplain in the United States Department of Defense was Lieutenant Junior Grade Jeanette Gracie Shin, commissioned in 2004. Shin, a former enlisted Marine, graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Buddhist Studies from the Graduate Theological Union/Institute of Buddhist Studies located in Berkeley, California.[3]


As of 2009, there was only one official dedicated Buddhist chapel in the United States military, located in the basement of the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, which also houses Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish chapels. The Buddhist chapel was constructed in 2005, and a 2009 report stated that at the chapel's Wednesday services "about half of the 18 pillows on the floor are usually occupied."[2]

External links

  • Buddhist Military Sangha, "An Online Resource for Buddhists Associated with the United States Armed Forces"


  1. ^ Selected : Emblems : Occupational Badges : Buddhist Chaplain.
  2. ^ a b c Jeff Brady. Military Buddhist Chapel Represents Tolerance. National Public Radio, October 13, 2009
  3. ^ U.S. Navy Commissions Military's First Buddhist Chaplain. United States Navy story number NNS040723-10, Release Date: 7/23/2004
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