The foundation Friends of Buddhism is pleased to announce that at 14 March 2022 Alie Rozendal has joined the board. She will be taking over the management of the Secretariat from Rozanne van der Veur, who announced the wish to end her tasks on the board in the autumn of 2022. In the article below Alie gives an overview of her career and tells more about her function in the military.
‘I started my working life as a nurse in a university hospital. After more than 8 years I made the switch to the arts sector, but in the end I felt the urge to get back to healthcare. My initial idea was to support oncology-patients and their loves ones. That was why I followed a course for transpersonal therapist, and after that the Master Spiritual Care at RUG University in Groningen. Through my Buddhist network (I was practising at Zen Spirit with Irène Bakker in that period) I was invited to apply for the job of Buddhist chaplain at the Ministry of Justice. To my own surprise I started working with prisoner-inmates, a completely different form of care-giving.
So I have been part of the development of Dutch Buddhist spiritual care (BGV)since the start (2011). I followed the programme to become mindfulness trainer at the Radboud Centre for Mindfulness and worked part-time as teacher and supervisor at the VU University of Amsterdam for the post-academic course for Buddhist Chaplaincy. In order to do this I studied Counseling at Hanzehogeschool in Groningen.
In the spring of 2019 the application of the BUN, allowing buddhist chaplaincy in the military, was approved. After a long selection procedure I started on the first of May 2020 as head of the department of Buddhist Spiritual Care. It is my assignment to develop this department over the coming years. More information about this department can be found here: www.dgv.nl/boeddhisme(in Dutch). For me this means again a different form of giving spiritual care, even though the basics stay the same: assist people who are suffering, who struggle with life and have to sometimes make difficult decisions.
In the military we as chaplains/spiritual care-givers are ‘non-combattant’, we are not part of the military hierarchy and we don’t carry arms. We do have a military rank and when necessary we wear a uniform. After working for almost two years in the military I feel that the lessons of the Buddha are especially important in this setting, both for Buddhist and non-Buddhists and people with different relious backgrounds.
For example assisting the military in the development of their moral values is an important task for the spiritual caregivers. For us Buddhist Chaplains this means we take the Noble Eightfold Path as our leading principle – the symbol of which, the Dharmachakra, is our emblem. We also provide (silent)retreats, in explicit cooperation with Dutch Sangha’s from different Buddhist traditions.
I take my life experience with me into this foundation: I hope to be able to contribute to the further expansion of the foundation’s publications, so that in addition to the Pali-Canon, more texts accessible to novice practitioners will be developed and published.’