Thursday, May 15, 2008

Interview with US Army Buddhist Chaplain 2ndLT Somya Malasri

There's a nice interview w/Chaplain Malasri that UWest student and civilian chaplain Danny Fisher did on his blog. You can read the entire interview here:


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to this article. I will forward it to Rev. Okamoto. He asked me about Prison Chaplains and about 2LT Malasri. I work at a prison as my civilian job and National Guard part time.

Sean said...


May I say that it is encouraging to see these developments of the sangha in the military.

"My story", in short : I began attending the Soka Gakkai services during OSUT for the Army's 21B, Combat Engineer MOS. That was last year, in fact. I attended with one of my fellow trainess. Since then, we've been put into another unit, and deployed to the so-called sandbox. During this, I have picked up a copy of a book titled, "The Book of Five Rings", translated by Thomas Cleary from a work by the Samurai Myamoto Musashi, also including a translation of a work by the Samurai, Yagyu Munenori. Visting, I decided to broaden my studies from there -- picked up a work having letters from Takuan to Yagyu, and a work by a Samurai having taken the pen-name Issai Chozanshi. Most recenlty, started reading translated writings of Hakuin, and have begun to focus about Rinzai Zen tradition.

Going about this as like one being immediately alone, in it -- stationed apart from the fellow soldier, formerly the fellow trainee, over here, and not any nearer to any physical facilities of the Sangha -- I've come to consider that it may be difficult to learn of the Dharma, if one would have to pursue it like a student removed from teacher.

Having begun to understand what 'sangha' means, I began to search online for forums. Ultimately, I found this your web-log.

I don't mean to occupy your attention overmuch, while you are on-ship, ma'am :^)>

I hope I may be able mention, lastly, if not primarily: In the interview you provide us with this link to, ma'am, Lt. Malasri mentions: You know, in some ways it is quite difficult for me to be the first Buddhist chaplain in the Army. There is not a lot of Buddhist literature and information available to soldiers or for chaplains to use.

I know of one resource that may be mentionmentioned -- , have recently discovered it, online, myself -- an online edition of the Shobogenzo [definition - wikipedia] as translated to English -- it is available online, from Shasta Abbey monastery.

Reading that work, in my own minor opinion, it appears to be a very helpful resource in considering the Dharma -- insomuch as I may conceive of what the Dharma is. I hope that it may be useful to others, to be aware of the availability of that resource.


-- S.C., PFC, En, US Army

ascendinside said...

Hello, my name is Dathane Turner and I plan to follow in 2ndLT Somya Malasri's footsteps to become the first Air Force Buddhist Chaplain. (Actually, it has been difficult to contact 2ndLT Somya Malasri's. I would like to start a dialogue with him.) I have been practicing Buddhist for 7 years now and I see it as an enormous need for the 3,000 or so Buddhist soldiers in the Military. My aspirations, however, is to not only assist in the spiritual progress of Buddhist Soldiers towards personal liberation, but to also be a resource for non-Buddhists on how to live wise, centered, and happy lives which sharpens their execution to achieve mission. Pooling from ancient Buddhist wisdom, combined with western ideologies and practices (i.e. Warrior Mind Training, Integral Life Coaching, Behavioral and Insight Therapies, etc)I wish to create a holistic approach to Inner Warrior development. Achieving my masters in psychology in May 2010, I plan to start my Buddhist Divinity Program in the fall of 2010 at Naropa University. If anyone has suggestions, comments, or ideas of making these wishes a reality, do not hesitate to email me at Put in the subject line "Buddhist Military Sangha comment" so that I know it is not junk mail

Although Sentient Beings are innumerable, we vow to save them all.


Scott Xian-Liao said...

After returning from a deployment to Iraq, it was pretty obvious that there were not a large support network for military and deployed Buddhist personnel. I am grateful for the development of a military sangha and hope that will be helpful for their practice. I would like to contribute, and can in two ways, with your help. I am a civilian residing between Scott Air Force Base and Fort Leonard Wood. I would like to set up dharma discussion groups and assemble Buddhist care packages for deployed military personnel. Any help that anyone can provide would be gratefully appreciated.

With metta,


Jeanette Yuinen Shin said...

Dear Scott,

Thank you for your support and interest in providing for Buddhist servicemembers! My question to you is, are you able to provide lay services onbase, or are you ordained? Also, is there contact information you can provide so Buddhist servicemembers in your area, or who would like a care package, can reach you?

Scott Xian-Liao said...

I have taken the Boddhisatva vows and can offer lay services. We have many traditions here in the St. Louis area, and if a specific one is requested, I can reach out to those Sanghas as well. My tradition is Mahayana (Chan), but there is also Soto Zen, Tibetan, Thai temples and practice centers here as well. Am I correct in assuming the post Chaplain would be a good first contact?

Any service member can reach me via e-mail:

With Metta


Jeanette Yuinen Shin said...

Yes, definitely contact the base/post chaplain's office as a first step.

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