Claude AnShin Thomas was born 1947 in the U.S. His childhood began his exposure to violence and abuse. At the age of 18 he volunteered to serve in the Vietnam. He was there from 1966-67 and was seriously wounded. He states that he carries the responsibility for the death of countless numbers of people.
After his return to the U.S., he experienced years of unemployment and social isolation. He began to walk a Buddhist path in 1990 and received novice ordination into the Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist tradition in December of 1994.
Claude AnShin deeply realized that the roots of war are within each one of us and that our acceptance of our own vulnerability, aggression, fear, and individual suffering is the starting point of peace.
Today Claude AnShin shares his time between the U.S., Europe, and South America. He speaks in religious and secular communities about cultures of violence and how they can become transformed. He visits war-torn countries, places of past and current suffering, hospitals, schools, and prisons. He facilitates mindfulness meditation retreats, long distance pilgrimages, street retreats and practice days in former concentration camps. These retreats provide participants with specific tools to aid them in the process of healing spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically.
Claude AnShin communicates Zen Buddhist teachings in an unreligious manner, direct and drawn from life with a deep rooted sense of compassion and humor. He embodies what he is talking about, inspires interest, curiosity and an inkling of what it means to see things as they are.
He is also the founder of the Zaltho Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes nonviolence and transformation and the author of At Hell's Gate -- A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace, Shambhala 2004. For more information please visit: http://www.zaltho.org.