poem no. 2: claude anshin thomas




when it





my skin,

or if

it indeed

is just

resting --

I wander


town streets


with their


a shared

kinship -

I sit under

A street lamp,



a pothole,


an act

of concentration,



the aching

of 1,000


of loss,







the surf,

slipping beneath




in its


far from



never to be



in loving









cry -

if only


had been

a stronger


get to know our sangha: marion genrai lukas

When and where was your first encounter with Buddhist practice?
In 1991 I came into contact with Tibetan Buddhist practice through my yoga teacher at the time. In 1998 I saw the Dalai Lama at a retreat near Hamburg, Germany. He recommended looking for a teacher. Then I met Claude AnShin Thomas in Cologne, Germany in 2000.

What do you like best about your Zen Buddhist practice?
The simplicity and clarity of the practice. That it is so straightforward and very compatible with everyday life.

What has been a challenging aspect in your Zen B auddhist practice?
To pay attention to my breath in every moment. This is the biggest task of my life. Another challenge for me is to appear in public with the practice, to represent it.

Name one thing you changed as a result of your Zen Buddhist practice?
 I stopped drinking alcohol.

What would be an ordinary moment in your daily life that feels truly joyful for you? 
To cuddle with “my” cat.

What is something that you are deeply grateful at this time?
For the possibility to continue the practice online and to support myself and others with it.

get to know our veterans: erica angyo miller

1. What year/how old were you when you joined the military?
I signed up to join the military in 2003, at the age of 17, with parental permission. 

2. Why did you enlist in your branch of service?
As a kid I dreamed of being an investigator. I loved watching detectives shows like “Matlock” and “Murder She Wrote.” Being able to figure things out, to see the world through a different lens and uncover the truth has always inspired me. The U.S. Army seemed aligned with my goal of becoming an FBI Investigator, with opportunities to serve and pay for a college degree.

3. How many years did you serve and what unit/units?
I served a total of nine years in Army, with the 96th Military Police Battalion and the National Guard Transportation Unit in West Palm Beach, Florida.

4. Which practice forms (sitting, walking, working, eating, or Deep Listening and Mindful speech) have been important and supportive in your daily life?
Daily practices that continue to impact my life are sitting meditation, eating meditation, walking meditation, and deep listening/mindful speech. Each have helped me be present to what is happening inside me but also what is occurring in that specific environment. 

5. What drew you to Zen practice?
My understanding of Zen started at a young age. For me, it is a state of being from within the self, and it can be a cultivated state of peace, happiness, or contentment. The practice emerged more for me as the chaos of the outside world was pulling me from those natural states and more discipline needed to be applied.

6. How does Zen Practice influence your daily life?
Zen practice in some shape or form is the life in which I am influenced to live. Every day it shows up differently, but the basics of sitting, eating, and mindfulness remain as the backbone of the day.

7. What does it mean to you to be a part of this practice community?
The active support of like-minded people helps me to understand that I am not alone in the world, and that should I need a listening-ear or guidance, there are others who love and care about me who will help me if they can, as well as who trust me to be there for them. Community to me is “my chosen life family."

8. Who is/was the most inspirational person in your life and why?
An influence in my life was my brother, who was born mentally handicapped, and how powerfully positive he was about life and loving others.

9. What one word would you use to describe your Zen practice?
“Compassionate” is my word to describe my Zen practice. It helps me see value in waking up every day and also being gentle with myself. 

rememberance: denis hoin darby

Denis Hoin Darby, 72, of Montrose, Colorado, passed away suddenly at his home on January 23, 2023. Hoin was a regular participant in our community’s weekly online veteran’s gatherings and at our in-person veteran’s retreats for many years.

Hoin was born in Oakland, California, on January 31, 1950. He served in the US Navy Air Wing attached to the Seventh Fleet, Fifteenth Carrier Air Group, Attack Squadron 94, aboard the USS Coral Sea (1970-74). He completed two WestPac cruises to the Tonkin Gulf, Vietnam.

During his first combat deployment, while fulfilling his duties as an operations yeoman, he volunteered aboard ship as a peer-counselor for the drug rehabilitation and substance abuse team, facilitated group counseling sessions, and helped with crisis-suicide intervention/prevention.

Hoin went on to work as an artist, printmaker, graphic designer, software designer and developer in New Mexico and Colorado. He was ordained as a Buddhist monk (receiving the dharma name Hoin) in the Soto Zen tradition of Katagiri Roshi. Hoin was also the founder and executive director of the Heart of the Mountain Veteran Resource Center. Hoen’s work with veterans throughout his life was supported and enriched by his personal spiritual path in Zen Buddhism.