Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Congratulations Rev. Malasri!

Congratulations to Rev. Somya Malasri who will graduate this month from the University of the West in Rosemead, California. Soon he will become an active-duty chaplain of Buddhist faith for the U.S. Army. His bio in his own words below:

My name is Somya Malasri, a Buddhist minister. My denomination is Theravada Buddhism. I was born on September 11, 1970 in Buriram Province, Thailand. I joined a Buddhist temple as a novice, when I was seventeen. I went to study Buddha's teachings and meditation in southern Thailand for four years. I was ordained as a Buddhist monk in Southern Thailand on June 1, 1991, when I was twenty one years old. I moved to Bangkok for further education and resided at Wat Bodhinimit Temple. I enrolled at Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University in 1996 and graduated in 2000.
In 2001, I was invited by the Thai Buddhist Sangha Council in the United States (the council of Thai monks) to teach Buddhism and Thai culture to Thai Buddhist communities. I served Thai Buddhist communities in Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado; Layton, Utah; and Las Vegas, Nevada. While I was at a Layton Buddhist temple in Utah, I met with a Buddhist soldier. He came to the temple to get a blessing before deploying to Iraq. This was the first time that I considered to be a Buddhist chaplain. In 2004, I met with another Buddhist soldier who just finished his basic training. He came to the temple where I lived in Las Vegas and told me that he did not see any Buddhist chaplain while he was in basic training. I then checked with a chaplain recruiter, the recruiter told me in positive.
With the intention to help soldiers in the U.S. Army, I disrobed and joined the Army as an enlisted personnel in 2005. The reason I joined as an enlisted soldier first because I wanted to gain basic knowledge of military. I was also waiting for an endorsing document from Buddhist Church of America. My first duty station was at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. I received the endorsing paper from the Buddhist Church of America in May 2006. In November 2006, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant and became a Buddhist chaplain candidate in the Army.
I am currently doing my Masters of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy at University of the West in Rosemead, California. I will graduate on May 15, 2010. I am ready to serve as a chaplain and hope to accession as a chaplain in August 2010.

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