Thursday, September 10, 2009

Memphis Buddhists Prepare for Deployment

Ms. Naomi Bourne of Memphis, Tennessee, forwarded me her article and photo about several soldiers from her Sangha, who are preparing to deploy to Iraq. They are members of the Pema Karpo Meditation Center, which belongs to the Tibetan tradition.This group includes recently commissioned US Army Chaplain Thomas Dyer. Many blessings to them as they deploy!
Namo Amida Butsu

Memphis Buddhists Prepare for Deployment
by Naomi Bourne

Memphis, Tenn. 9/6/09

Three Tibetan Buddhists from Memphis will be heading off to military assignments with the Army later this month. John Hixson will be stationed in Afghanistan . Michael Boundy and Thomas Dyer, the first Buddhist chaplain in the Army, will be going to Iraq .
The soldiers practice at Pema Karpo Meditation Center (, located in an area of the city known as Raleigh . Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche, a graduate of Namdroling in India , is the teacher-in-residence. Sunday's session was lengthened and modified to include a Chod practice, which Khenpo chanted in Tibetan, accompanied by damaru and bell. After the dedication of merit, Khenpo gave each of the soldiers a spiral-bound practice text, with a thangka image of Shakyamuni on the cover.
After the session, Thomas Dyer spoke briefly to the civilian group, striving to convey a deeper understanding of what daily life will be like for John Hixson and Michael Boundy.
“These men will be carrying M-16s, and they will be locked and loaded,” Dyer said. “I will be in a comfortable office, but they will be walking around, and they will see things. Also, for the next year or so, they will be away from their wives.”
At that point, Candia Ludy, director of the center, stopped him to interject:
“Thomas may not carry a weapon, but there will be a soldier right next to him who will have one.”
The practice text that was given to the three soldiers was arranged by Khenpo and designed specifically for soldiers. It includes a blessing for protection, and for their safe return home. An introductory message examines the challenge of performing combat duties with mindfulness.
The group at Pema Karpo has grown in recent months. Around 30 individuals in this Bible Belt city call themselves Tibetan Buddhists. They spent several hours together Sunday afternoon taking photographs, enjoying a potluck meal, and deepening their friendships. The sangha will be practicing for the benefit of the soldiers they know – and those they don't know – for many weeks to come.


conceição said...

send us some fotos

Anonymous said...

Congratulations for your blog. I will be following it.

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