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    Summer, Early Fall 2020Missoula & The Bitterroot Valley
    This is a long-term project that I started working on around the end of last year. My intention is to bring Claude AnShin Thomas to Montana. Here is an initial information piece:
    Proposal: To bring Claude AnShin Thomas, a Zen Buddhist monk, for a visit to Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley. Anticipated dates are in the summer or early fall of 2020.
    Claude AnShin Thomas wrote the book At Hell’s Gate ~ A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace (Shambhala 2004). It is a courageous telling of his time as an American soldier in Vietnam, from 1966 to 1967. In 1991 he came in contact with the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Claude became a student at the Vietnamese monastery and retreat center Plum Village in southern France. It was here that he became aware of the devastating and lasting effects of war and how to make peace with this unpeacefulness. Claude AnShin has taken vows of mendicancy. He formed The Zaltho Foundation in 1994 and has walked many pilgrimages.
    “He (Thich Nhat Hanh) told us that the only way to heal, to transform suffering, is to stand face-to-face with suffering, to realize the intimate details of suffering and how our life in the present is affected by it.” (Pg 42) 
    I was privileged to hear Claude AnShin at Naropa University while attending college there in the spring of 2013. (The entire talk can be seen by clicking the link.) I recently re-read his book and realized how pertinent his message is, not only in these times, but especially here in Montana. We are home to a large number of veterans, who constitute more than 13% percent of our population that is over 18 years of age. While Montana’s veteran population is relatively small, veterans account for more than one out of every five suicide deaths in the state.
    I invite you to consider sharing this project with anyone you think might like to have Claude AnShin speak or lead a meditation retreat while he is with us in Montana.
    Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I so appreciate your time in reading this, and for your consideration. Please use the form on the Connect page.