Last Stop

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va hospital
patiently waiting-
last stop

Today while visiting the VA I was nearly brought to tears as I looked around at the many Veterans who looked as if this visit might be there last.

About fiercebuddhist

Welcome. I am happy that our paths have crossed. Here you will find various poems, articles and photography. I hope that you enjoy them and visit often. I am currently working on writing “A Haiku A Day” so that I can, perhaps, have enough good ones for publication. If you are wondering what a “Fierce Buddhist” the following declaration should clarify. The “Fierce” in FierceBuddhist I define as “an obligation to do what I can to benefit all sentient beings, not just those close to me or those I agree with. If I see something or someone that is hurting others I must step forward and do what I can to assist them.” In the Army and in the dojo I learned how to defend myself, family and country but that does not mean I endorse the use of force. Two nonviolent examples of Fierce Buddhists that come to mind are Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama. While I do not claim be even close to them I can strive and so can you. Furthermore, my Buddhist name, given to me by Sensei Kubose, is Seiyo. His interpretation of my communication and interaction with him led him to this name. He told me Seiyo means “Fierce Sun.” The sun shines on everyone without prejudices without giving preferential treatment to anyone. This is tough to live up to, as you can imagine, but it sure sets the tone for my life. In Buddhism this is called a Fierce Bodhisattva. I am only on the path to Enlightenment and can only say to be a Fierce Buddhist.

10 responses »

  1. Are you a Vietnam Vet? I realize that it is a strange question, but I cannot see your icon all that well and you sort of look my age (which might be insulting although it is not intended to be). I ask because they are my heroes. I spent a couple of years leading creative writing at one of our VAs. I am glad that you go there. It is needed. I can surely feel your Haiku.

    • Raven,

      I am a Cold War / Desert Storm veteran. I was injured in what I like to call “The First Bush Fiasco”.
      Thank you for helping out my fellow veterans. We can use all the support we can get.

      • Thank you for your service … a fiasco indeed as are all Bushes and all wars. However, that does not diminish your service!

      • Thank you Raven. My wife and I have been talking about that very thing. How to support the troops without supporting the war.

        When I joined I there were no wars going on and I felt that I should serve my country in some way. During my second year this whole mess started with the invasion of Kuwait. Even then I felt that we were helping the people of Kuwait. I was injured and therefore spent my bit of service time being repaired so I, fortunately, missed most of what occurred.

        My heart goes out to soldiers as I am sure most of them go in, as I did, full of ideals and patriotism. I talk to newly return veterans and most of them are proud of their service but NOT proud of the reason our Country put them there.

        I apologize for the rant. Thank you for listening.

      • No, not a rant. Very, very important words. I was not long ago one who knew nothing of the military. I am old and at times redundant so if I have asked you to read this before, please just ignore me and my request.

        http://ravenpress.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/august-2005-part-one/

        You already serve soldiers in the very best manner. Also look into and your wife may like

        HVWP or Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project, they produce the magazine Veterans Voices. Although I no longer volunteer at the VA I support this project with money. And they can use it. It has been going on since 1946, begs just after WWII for returning Veterans. If a VA has one of these programs where, generally under the auspices of OT (Occupational Therapy) creative writing is taught to the wounded. Then writings are reviewed and sent to the magazine for publication. For all of those whose work is published it can be very meaningful. Unfortunately the Red Tape that is the VA does’t allow this program to flourish as it could. Through donations the magazine gives to the writers a small (very small) bit of money. I underwrite a per/issue poetry prize in my father’s memory. While at the VA I finished my Masters by doing my final project there. Having been in the 1st Gulf War you are probably familiar with Operation Homecoming. If not the book (s), movies and NEA Website are either worth having of reviewing. I brought Operation Homecoming to our VA as a part of my final project. You and your wife could do something re creative writing with returning soldiers if your VA is amenable.

        One of the terrible things today is the huge disconnect between the military and the US citizen. This is of course orchestrated by the military. OK, enough.

  2. A very sad observation and I think, unfortunately, all too common. Your haiku tells the truth of it.

    My son recently returned from a years deployment in Iraq and was out shoveling snow a couple of weekends ago. A man out taking a walk, stopped to visit with him, and said “thank you” for my son’s service. Turns out, the man is a retired Marine, and still undergoing surgeries from wounds sustained in Vietnam. My son was humbled and said to the man, “No sir, THANK YOU.” It moved him and I both, deeply, this wonderful man. Bless his heart.

    • Jeannie please thank your son for me too, I am a stranger who does care, and who is grateful for all that he has given up as he has placed himself in harms way for this countries citizens. I am very aware of the fact that the war will remain with him for life having tremendous affects upon everything he thinks, does and feels.

      • Raven, this is kindness itself. Yes, when my son came home is boots were here, but he had left himself someplace else. This was in May, he is just now “coming home”. But as awful as it has been for him, this retired Marine put it all into perspective. I say with you, God Bless them–every one! And I will share your heartfelt words with my son. xoxox

      • Jeannie, I had an experience as a citizen who was basically unaware of our military except for 3 holidays a year. I describe the experience here:

        (http://ravenpress.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/august-2005-part-one/).

        It radically changed me. Radically. As a result I truly have a great depth of feeling for combat veterans. I write poetry … not particularly good, except for my Poetry of War. This poetry comes straight from what I have felt … or feel.

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