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At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey from War to Peace Kindle Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This is a book of great power. Thomas's pilgrimage to find living peace in a world full of terror and war gives us a wonderfully practical lesson in how to lift ourselves out of the insanity of fear, hatred, violence, and trauma. His singularly courageous story has the power to heal, to inspire, to teach."—John Laurence, former CBS News correspondent and author of The Cat from Hue: A Vietnam War Story
"A powerful, wise, and genuinely profound spiritual odyssey from the insanity of violence (in the world, within ourselves, and in the assumptions of American culture) to the peace and compassion of mindfulness practice. Thomas beautifully models Zen teachings in his daily life, and by doing so he enlightens and liberates us all."—Charles Johnson, winner of the National Book Award for Middle Passage
"Claude Anshin Thomas has been an inspiration to me. Our world urgently needs to listen to him tell of his life in war and then in peace."—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of The Woman Warrior
"Thomas's journey from the killing fields of Vietnam to the path of peace and pilgrimage testifies to his—and our—powerful urge to awaken. At the same time, this is not a pretty story. Anshin Thomas has lived in hell, knows its smell and taste, and continues to confront it every day of his life. Yet he remains undeterred in his work to make peace in himself and the world at large."—Bernie Glassman, author of Instructions to the Cook and Bearing Witness --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B00BBXJH0Y
- Publisher : Shambhala (January 10, 2006)
- Publication date : January 10, 2006
- Language : English
- File size : 823 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 196 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1590302710
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #751,295 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What I got from this book: You can't change until you acknowledge those aspects of your self. And, change may not look like what you think it looks like. Change might look a lot more like diligent effort of practicing sitting every day, morning and evening. Sitting just to sit, without any preconceptions or ideas of so-called enlightenment. Sitting and watching the mind race, allowing those thoughts to go without holding on to them or being afraid of them. Being introspective and looking at the ways in which we treat ourselves, family, friends, our neighbors, and the world in which we live. Coming to terms with the fact that our nature is to be very un-peaceful. If left unaware we may continue to cause great suffering, in ignorance.
If you're coming to read the war stories you'll get those too, but that's not the point of the book.
Many of the more popular writers, argue for putting aside rituals that have become part of practice in Asian countries, putting aside a literal belief in the idea of reincarnation, and an empahsis on compassion and meditative practices. They argue these accomodations are both promising, and are inevitable, anyway. Then there are those who brook no compromise whatsover. Claude Thomas Anshin's, autobiographical, "At Hell's Gate," is a daunting, challenging, and ultimately inspiring look at a man who, through a sincere, if severe, dedication to the dharma, overcame drug addiction, PTSD, and a deep personal history of violence, to live as 'pure' a buddhist life as is possible in our life and times. Fascinating reading for those wrestling with the issues of adapting the practice to life in the West. Check out one of his dharma talks' on youtube: Claude AnShin Thomas, FAU Talk Boca Raton March 2013, to get an idea of what I'm talking about ...
When Thomas and his fellow vets returned home from the war, our society and culture attempted to wash its hands of its responsibility in that war by marginalizing those who had served, which reminds me of this quote by David Foster Wallace: "It's in the democratic citizen's nature to be like a leaf that doesn't believe in the tree it's part of." The excessive violence and trauma he experienced in Vietnam was exacerbated by the public's distrust of the veterans, so he isolated from other people and sought relief in drugs.
Thomas recovered from his addictions in 1983 and went on to be ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk and took the vows of a mendicant: to not own property, to not live in a monastery or reside with any permanence indoors, to not be gainfully employed and to commit to wander as a spiritual practice. To accept the inevitable suffering of life, he says we must practice mindfulness, which he defines as: "a state of existence that arises as we become more aware of our habitual impulses, our conditioned nature, our patterns of thought and behavior, and begin to stop allowing the habits to dictate how we respond to the world."
The gist of "Hell's Gate" is that suffering is not something to run from. It's to be embraced, because without suffering, there can be no joy.
David Allan Reeves
Author of "Running Away From Me"
Top reviews from other countries
In this blunt, open testimony of his life, Claude AnShin Thomas succeeds to touch and describe the depth of his suffering. The transformation and power that comes from it are impressive and inspiring to me as a reader of this story.
The author extends a hand to his reader: the possibility to touch one's own suffering in life, if we are willing to live differently. I am grateful for this book and would recommend it to everyone.