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At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey

At Hell s Gate A Soldier s Journey In this raw and moving memoir Claude Thomas tells the dramatic story of his service in Vietnam his subsequent emotional collapse and how he was ultimately able to find healing and peace Thomas went

  • Title: At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey
  • Author: Claude Anshin Thomas
  • ISBN: 9781590301340
  • Page: 403
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In this raw and moving memoir, Claude Thomas tells the dramatic story of his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and how he was ultimately able to find healing and peace Thomas went to Vietnam at the age of eighteen, where he served as a crew chief on assault helicopters By the end of his tour, he had been awarded numerous medals, including the PurpleIn this raw and moving memoir, Claude Thomas tells the dramatic story of his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and how he was ultimately able to find healing and peace Thomas went to Vietnam at the age of eighteen, where he served as a crew chief on assault helicopters By the end of his tour, he had been awarded numerous medals, including the Purple Heart He had also killed many people, witnessed horrifying cruelty, and narrowly escaped death on a number of occasions When Thomas returned home he found that he continued to live in a state of war He was overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, fear, anger, and despair, all of which were intensified by the rejection he experienced as a Vietnam veteran For years, Thomas struggled with post traumatic stress, drug and alcohol addiction, isolation, and even homelessness A turning point came when he attended a meditation retreat for Vietnam veterans led by the renowned Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh Here he encountered the Buddhist teachings on meditation and mindfulness, which helped him to stop running from his past and instead confront the pain of his war experiences directly and compassionately Thomas was eventually ordained as a Zen monk and teacher, and he began making pilgrimages to promote peace and nonviolence in war scarred places around the world including Bosnia, Auschwitz, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and the Middle East At Hell s Gate is Thomas s dramatic coming of age story and a spiritual travelogue from the horrors of combat to discovering a spiritual approach to healing violence and ending war from the inside out In simple and direct language, Thomas shares timeless teachings on healing emotional suffering and offers us practical guidance in using mindfulness and compassion to transform our lives.

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      Published :2019-01-14T03:00:01+00:00

    1 thought on “At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey

    1. At Hell's Gate: A Soldier's Journey by Claude Anshin ThomasIn the early 2000s I became friends with a very homesick Australian monk who lived at a Dai Dang monastery in CA. He has since gone back home and assured me that his loneliness has ended. He gave my husband this book to read, hoping that it held a message for him because he had served in Vietnam. I was the one to read it; my husband doesn't wish to remember.The source of this poem is from my living in Berkeley and seeing veterans on the [...]

    2. Claude Anshin Thomas volunteered, at 17, to go to Vietnam and fight the war his nation was waging there. He did so, in part, because his father suggested his should - his father who had fought in WWII, and who passed stories to him about the valor and honor of serving in combat.What Thomas quickly learned was that there was little valor or honor to be had in Vietnam - that the lines of combat were ill-drawn, that it was impossible to clearly identify an enemy . . . and so he disassociated; grew [...]

    3. This book was amazing. It is well written, almost poetic. It is one of those books that changes your life. It is a must read!

    4. This is an amazing and powerful book about the ongoing practice of transforming suffering. I cannot say enough good things about At Hell's Gate, it moved me that much. An autobiography of a Vietnam combat veteran, At Hell's Gate shares with the reader the author's life experiences, from the traumatic to the transformational. This is not your typical Dharma book, and much contained within is not pretty to read about. What makes this book so precious to be is that Claude Anshin Thomas (a mendicant [...]

    5. At Hells GatebyClaude Anshin ThomasAt Hells Gate is about a man the was in Vietnam and tells the stories of how it was like to be a helicopter gunner and he explains the suffering he went through all his life whether it was in Vietnam or back home and how he reached peace and transformed his suffering into ways he could handle it and not let his anger and fear from his past consume him. Claude Anshin Thomas was a boy that grew up in a family that loved war Claude was a great sports player and he [...]

    6. Anshin is a Viet Nam vet who suffered from severe post traumatic stress for nearly 20 years before discovering a sense of healing using meditation. His book is really written for other veterans and his life work is directed at veterans and others directly affected by war - although he would say we are all damaged by war and all damaged by violence. The chapter I liked best was the one on pilgrimage and walking as meditation - Anshin has taken walking pilgrimages from Auschwitz to Viet Nam, acros [...]

    7. *Peace can exist* "Without warmongers no weapons and without weapons no warmonger." ~ Biniam Yibaleh ~ My Review about the book *AT THE HELL's GATE* ~ Soldiers are trimmed it to dehumanize other people or the so-mentioned enemies, and therein lies the seeds of war." This reading, "A soldier overcomes hatred and violence" showed the unimaginable understand, namely how it is possible to look at a stranger as an enemy so that killing appears to be legitimate ? Soldiers pay for most mental illnesses [...]

    8. "War is just the acting out of suffering." He had me on the first page. This small but rich and truthful book took me four months to read a testimony in part to the great wealth of dharma it contains. Below are just a few of the many passages I gleaned from my first reading (some transcribed onto my study wall): p. 42: 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 [...]

    9. Wow. He's a Zen monk now, writing about his experience as a soldier in Vietnam and subsequent suffering through PTSD, drug addiction, and homelessness, and how he was introduced to a Buddhist approach to living with all this by Thich Nhat Hanh. He also tells about his Zen pilgrimages, walking without money or food, in his Buddhist robes, across the country and from Poland to Vietnam. A few quotes: War is just the acting out of suffering Everyone has their Vietnam--everyone All veterans of violen [...]

    10. So many lessons That we are all potential killers, that we are all potential awakened people like Jesus or Buddha equally It's up to us to choose what we want to be and make better causes and conditions for our lives. Claude Anshin Thomas became a solider in Vietnam killing hundreds of Vietnamese people, who he learned to dehumanize and label the enemy. Only many years later, after returning home to a people who rejected him, after chronic drug addiction, did he finally learn to heal himself wit [...]

    11. This book obviously is non-fiction and pretty well written. The Vietnam History part is eye opening, and for those of us who remember, pretty revealing when he talks about how the returning vets were treated and how that treatment affected them. It was not their war. But they paid the price during the conflict and upon their return. To know that he eventually found a path to peace is comforting but then you can't help but think of all those who didn't and whose lives were destroyed for the Polit [...]

    12. I enjoyed the first half of this book when he discussed his involvement in Vietnam. I wish he would have went into a little more detail about some of the events that happened to him there. It seems like he left a lot out for being in heavy combat for three years. After about the halfway point in the book it seemed to drag on and get a little boring. Maybe because the second half of the book is more about Buddhism and less about his involvement in the Vietnam war. Overall it was an okay book but [...]

    13. This book is for anyone needing to understand the scars left by service in war. I found it difficult to read most of this book because of the ghosts it brought back to me of my own experiences. The great thing about this book is the information at the end of ways to find peace with the guilt of complicity and regretful actions. Thomas is still around giving talks and doing good for all of us. If you get a chance to hear him speak, take it!

    14. I got this book at a zen Buddhist center where I heard the author talk. I actually didn't like the talk, but I really liked the book. It's an autobiography about a man who was psychologically scarred by his experiences in the Vietnam war, and who found peach through buddhism. Now a Zen Buddhist monk, he argues against war and violence in any form. The book is a nice introduction to Buddhism, and quite moving at times.

    15. this rating is really biased by two things. first, i recently had the pleasure of listening to the author's teaching and was impressed by his wisdom and clarity of thought. second, the book deals with violence and mindfulness, both topics that recently have been on my mind. anshin found me at a really opportune time in my life. i am deeply touched by his words.

    16. So compelling. The true story of Claude Anshin Thomas' journey from Vietnam vet to Buddhist monk. He takes you through the experience of fighting a war and the pain it brought to his life. But, then, perhaps the best part is that, throughout, he guides you through ways of meditation and breathing that help you understand that we are all one and that none of us have to hibernate in suffering.

    17. This was a fast, 2-day read, 166 pages and very worthwhile. A Vietnam Vet comes to grips with his demons and learns to live with a new vision of peace.

    18. You cannot make the world more peaceful and just unless you make your inside self more peaceful and just. And also don't virtue signal/brag about it.

    19. Healing is not the absence of suffering. What happens is that through this process of being more present to my own life, I stop attempting to reject suffering. This is healing and transformation. (58)The bell of mindfulness it not only a Buddhist tradition. In the Middle Ages it was a Christian tradition: When the church bell rang, it was an invitation to stop work and reflect for a moment on the gifts one had received and on the nature of one's life. (59)But there came a point, through mindfuln [...]

    20. In this memoir, Claude Thomas describes his service in Vietnam, and the damage to him emotionally in that war which eventually led him to becoming a Zen monk. His premise is that everyone has their own experiences in some way of violence or trauma in their lives which mindfulness and compassion can help them through. Vietnam was our generation's war so the experiences he went through are powerful to read and bring back the horror of that time. However, his recovery into being a monk and a peace [...]

    21. A simply told story of redemption after a life of anger and being part of a war's violence. Not the most lyrical writer. He just states his story and invites one to understand why we are on this earth. I met this author and his life today is very fascinating. He has an air of great compassion, but there is something still left that shows one how he was before his transformation. He walks the country telling his story and chanting for peace.

    22. Gassho for the many, many thoughts that Claude has given me in his words in this small but treasured book. I was fortunate to meet him in person and receive my copy of the book from his hands, I bow to him for his life and his continued wellness. The bell of mindfulness will forever ring in my moments of need.

    23. With deep insight Claude Anshin tells his tale of transcending the inner war of violence, by his journey of healing a soul torn by the Vietnam War. His simple way of relating the teachings of Zen buddhism illuminates the teachings in a way that is easy to understand and assimilate. A powerful teaching on the source of suffering and how to live without running from ourselves.

    24. Touching and moving memoir by Claude AnShin Thomas about his service in Vietnam, his subsequent emotional collapse, and how he was ultimately able to find healing and peace. He speaks about the unspeakable, and his ability to transform his life is very inspiring. I know Claude AnShin Thomas in person, and participated in several retreats with him, including a street retreat.

    25. I attended a seminar with this author at Omega Institute of Holistic Studies and purchased the book there. Just like the seminar, the book provides some insight for those suffering from PTSD but I found that it stopped too soon. Slowing down and finding quiet and calm is the first step but what is after that? I was left wanting more.

    26. This book was a great read. The author went from such a state of pain to find peace. I did not want this story to end and will look at Vietnam veterans with more empathy. I am happy he found peace after all the traumatic events in his young life.

    27. A very touching book. I shed tears of sorrow, and of joy reading this book about transforming suffering. I bow in gratitude.

    28. The content and context of Claude Anshin Thomas' autobiography gave me an insight into Buddhism and nonviolence that was quite immediate, much more so than ancient texts.

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