The Purpose

The Karuna Award is offered to Camp Fire USA members who pursue and complete the course of study on Buddhism. It is a two year or 72 hour course of study geared towards Adventure, Discovery and/or Horizon members. At the completion of the first year or the first 36 hours, a certificate is given. At the completion of the final year, or second 36 hours, the Karuna Award is presented in a ceremony.

The course covers teachings on Buddhism on a non-denominational basis, so that it may be pursued by Camp Fire USA members in any Buddhist school of thought. Provisions can be made so that teachings from any sponsoring institution may be emphasized. The course is not only academic, but encourages the study and practice of many aspects of Buddhist culture, sub-culture, etiquette and/or the arts.

The word “Karuna” means loving kindness. Compassion, loving kindness, Dana and human ideals are encouraged so that Camp Fire USA members may become a Bodhisattva at heart. A Bodhisattva is one who deeply cares for all.

The Karuna course of study is not conducted at a Camp Fire meeting, but is offered at a separate time and is taught by a qualified instructor, subject to the approval of the BCA Scouting Committee.

Who is Eligible?

Any Camp Fire USA member, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, in the Adventure, Discovery or Horizon levels may pursue the Award.

Are There Tests?

Yes, at the end of the first section there is a small test. For example, one such test is to write an essay on “What do I like about Buddhism”. The student may write on any aspect of the Teachings.

At the end of the 2nd year or 72 hours, another essay is required. Rather than testing the student’s memory it will be based on how one feels about life and the Teachings. An example of an essay topic could be, “How has Buddhism affected my life?”

 How to Earn the Award?

  1. Request an application from the National Buddhist Committee on Scouting, fill out and submit with the registration fee.
  2. Your Karuna instructor will receive the course of study outline.
  3. Study diligently under the supervision of a Buddhist minister, qualified instructor or Buddhist counselor.
  4. Fulfill all requirements of the Karuna course.
  5. Pass the required tests successfully.
  6. Upon completion of the course, the instructor submits a Completion Form to the Committee. A personalized certificate is created and sent back to the participant with the Karuna medal.


The Karuna Award Program is administered and supervised by the National Buddhist Committee on Scouting. The Camp Fire USA organization recognizes the Buddhist Churches of America as the sponsor of the National Buddhist Committee on Scouting.

For additional information contact the Chairman of the National Buddhist Committee on Scouting at

Study Materials:

The basic text for the Karuna Award course of study shall be the “Young People’s Introduction To Buddhism” by Reverend Philipp K. Eidmann.


Other Suggested Materials

Winston, Diana. Wide Awake-A Buddhist Guide for Teens, Perigee-The Berkley Publishing Group, 2003
Loundon, Sumi ed. Blue Jean Buddha: Voices of Young Buddhists. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2001
Gach, Gary. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Understanding Buddhism. Alpha Books-Penguin Group, 2004
Jonathan Landau & Stephan Bodian. Buddhism for Dummies. Bodian Wiley Publishing Inc., 2003
Urubshurow, Victoria. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Life of the Buddha. Alpha-Penguin Group 2006
Penney, Sue. World Beliefs and Cultures-Buddhism. Heinemann Library 2001
Metcalf, Franz. Buddha in Your Backpack: Everyday Buddhism for Teens. Ulysses Press, 2002
Teece, Geoff. Religion in Focus-Buddhism, Franklin Watts, 2003
Penney, Sue. Buddhism-Discovering Religions, Raintree Steck-Vaughn Publishers, 1997
Tanaka, Kenneth K. Ph.D. Ocean-A Dialogue with Buddhists & Others-An Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in America, WisdomOcean Publications, 1997
Ikeda, Daisaku. The Way of Youth-Buddhist Common Sense for Handling Life’s Questions. MiddleWay Press, 2000
Hanh, Thich Nhat. Old Path White Clouds-Walking In The Footsteps Of The Buddha Parallax Press,1991
Metcalf, Franz, Ph.D. What Would Buddha Do?-Answers to Life’s Daily Dilemmas, Gramercy Books, 1999
Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha, various publishers, Bantam Books, 1971
Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai. The Teaching of Buddha, Kosaido Printing Co., Ltd. 1966
Rahula, Walpola. What the Buddha Taught. New York: Grove Weidenfeld,1959
Robinson, Richard H. The Buddhist Religion: A Historical Introduction.
Belmont, California: Wadsworth Publishing Co. 1982
Tanaka, Kenneth K. Ph.D. pamplet Think BIIG-Wake Up-Give Back-A Three-Step Process of Everyday Reflections and Action for Young
Adults, Department of Buddhist Education-Buddhist Churches of America, 1992