Greetings everyone! My name is Mark Vanslooten. I am a Marine Staff Sergeant stationed in Camp Pendleton, CA. Usually. Currently I'm at Camp Al Taqaddum in Iraq until November.
I'm new to the Buddhist practice. Only very recently have I been able to say that I'm a Buddhist. I've read books off and on for a few years and was never able to grasp the wealth of Sutras and philosophy I encountered. At Powell's Books in Portland Oregon (shameless plug) I picked up The Idiot's Guide To Understanding Buddhism. It laid out the history, Eightfold Path, Meditation and precepts very clearly. It's a great start for beginners like me.
I came in contact with Chaplain Shin by chance. There's a listing online for Buddhist groups in San Diego County and I e-mailed for info on a military group study. This came at the perfect time for me. The more I studied the more I became confused and conflicted with the military and the Buddhist practice. Chaplain Shin cleared a lot up for me. It really is possible to integrate the two. The discipline that is inherent in the military helps one follow the Eightfold Path. I'd like to share more of my thoughts on this sometime in the future.
When I return to the "world" I'll be looking forward to meeting others on the same path. Peace be with you!