It is indeed a beautiful Memorial Day here on the east coast, as people gather for family picnics, barbecues, and patriotic parades. But for some this day has a shadow cast over it, as they remember the loss of someone very dear to them. Someone who died defending our country, and defending the rights and privileges that we as Americans (and indeed human beings) hold dear- and often take for granted.
So please spend a few moments today remembering those selfless enough to subject themselves to the harshness and peril of war, so that we could live our daily lives in peace.
I recently came across a great blog called the Buddhist Military Sangha, which I think does a great service in revealing a sector of society that would otherwise be completely unknown and overlooked- Buddhists in the US military! The author of the blog, Shaku Yuinen, is also an ordained Buddhist priest, and serves as a chaplain in the US Navy. Among her interesting posts is an article about Thomas Dyer, who went from being a Southern Baptist pastor to the first Buddhist chaplain in the US Army! This post recounts Dyer's journey, from his discovery of Buddhism in 2003 through his 2010 Iraq deployment. He discusses his experience as a chaplain there, and his transformation from being viewed as an anomaly to a valued asset. For a very interesting read about Thomas Dyer's journey please click through to Shaku Yuinen's article here.
I hope you enjoyed this post- please share your thoughts in the comments below. And have a great (and reverent) Memorial Day!
May all beings be happy!