Comparing Scouting and the Dharma
My Experience in Scouting
Back in 1958, I joined Cub Scouts. I enjoyed wearing the uniform on Scout days to school. Right after school, I walked to my den leader, Mrs. Gonzales’ home. It wasn’t a fun experience since her son was a bully and he would chase me around after the Scout meeting with a fishing pole. I only survived 2 years in Cub Scouts until my grandfather said it’s a waste of gas to travel 20 miles round trip. That was it for my personal Scouting career. In 2002, I became an ASM (Assistant Scout Master) in Scout Troop 611 when my son started Scouting. I’ve been an ASM ever since.
Boy Scout and Dharma School
As most fathers, I expected to stay in Scouts until my son either quit or completed his Eagle Merit Badge. Well, He accomplished getting his Eagle rank but I’m still in Scouts. I learned that in Scouting, it’s not just about achieving a rank or collecting merit badges. It’s about molding a person to become a good well-rounded citizen. In Dharma School, we teach them historical background and meaning about Buddhism but also how to be a good citizen. Here is the Boy Scout Law.
A Scout is:
Trustworthy: As Scouts and Buddhists, we want to be trusted by others. If you are entrusted with someone else’s property, you would take care of better than your own.
Loyal: Be faithful to your family, Scout leaders, friends, school, temple and nation.
Helpful: During Obon, everyone is out helping the temple. Some Scouts have it and some don’t but Scouting help to cultivate being helpful and to stop relying on others to do the work.
Friendly: Being friendly takes a little time. As Scouts get older, and as they become mature and sure of themselves and they become friendlier. The temple should be a friendly place.
Courteous: This is a tough one, we are all competitive, but we should be courteous to each other, always.
Kind: Scouts go to Sacred Heart to help with donations. The Betsuin donate to the Dana project.
Obedient: Listen to the leaders and teachers and follow, Buddhist listen to the Dharma and follow.
Cheerful: Scouts are always happy and cheerful when they are together. So are temple members coming to service.
Thrifty: When camping, Scouts don’t waste food, as Eco Sangha followers, we rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, renew, rethinking.
Brave: This is a tough one. To protect all who are weaker than myself. It’s easy to watch from the sidelines seeing someone get bullied but to step in and stop the bully takes bravery.
Clean: When Scouts are at summer camp, we expect them to take at least 1 shower and swimming is not considered a bath.
Reverend: Scout is faithful in his religious duties like performing Oshoko. As Buddhists we follow the teachings of the Dharma.
Because I have limited knowledge of the Girl Scout program, I reached out to Kathlynn Uenaka for some enlightenment. Here is the Girl Scout Law comparing to Buddhism.
Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
Honest and fair: Girl Scouts are not discriminatory, the Betsuin will follow the law.
Friendly and helpful: Girl Scouts are helpful and friendly and BWA and ABA are helpful and friendly.
Considerate and caring: Girl Scouts are out to help make this a better world. Gold award is achieved when the Scout completes a project when she accesses her community and it’s need and develops a vision for change.
Courageous and strong: Means that you will be brave making difficult decisions, which means making tough decisions that are right in the Buddhist belief and standing by them.
Responsible for what I say and do: Think before about what you are doing and saying; think how it will affect people and this includes social media. The Golden Chain comes to mind, “I will try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect all who are weaker than myself.”
and to respect myself and others: If you don’t respect yourself, how can you respect others?
Respect authority: Don’t talk back to your elders, your teachers, the police officers. There is a right way and time for rebuttal.
Use resources wisely: Girl Scouts try not to pollute the earth or be wasteful and as Buddhists, we follow our Eco Sangha practices.
make the world a better place: Gold Award shows insightful thinking to improve community issues. Betsuin Dana Project makes the world a better place.
Be a sister to every Girl Scout. All Girl Scouts are united and as Buddhists, we follow the Golden Chain, “I am a link in Amida’s golden chain of love that stretches around the world.”
The world would be a better place if more of us followed the Scout Laws and the Golden Chain.
I went to the BCA National Council Meeting a few weeks back and one of the important lessons is promoting the attitude of tolerance and inclusiveness. As Buddhists, we see things as they really are. We should be kind and gentle to everything and everyone. Akiko Rogers is an IBS student studying to become a BCA minister. She will be the guest speaker for Hanamatsuri and I urge all clubs and organizations to promote Hanamatsuri and to come and listen to our special speaker.