Zen Sesshin and Basic Training

I found this blog post on Celestial Lands today via Buddhist Military Sangha and was captivated. UU Army Candidate Chaplain David Pyle shares some “observations of similarities and surface differences between Sesshin and Military Basic Training, in the hopes that it might inspire thought.”

Just this morning I talked with my youngest brother, who will soon be off to basic training in North Carolina. Usually I can give plenty of advice to my brother ranging from finding memory leaks to playing the guitar, but today I had nothing to say. I have never been through basic training.

So this post meant so much to me because it explains an experience that I will probably never have by relating it to something that I’ve gone through, namely, a mediation retreat. One line really resonated with me with regards to my retreat experience: Sleeping, eating, and a hot drink are more important than you ever thought they could be. How true.

Keep in mind I’m not saying that I now know what basic training is like from a retreat where I just sat on my butt for a couple of weeks. I don’t. I appreciate these similarities simply because they ring true with my meditation experience.

On Wednesday my grandmother told me that she was supremely upset with my youngest brother—my p‘own poew—for joining the service. I knew she was goading me into telling her that I would encourage him to do otherwise. I couldn’t tell my grandmother over the phone, but I’m extremely proud of him. It just occurred to me today that he will be the fourth generation of my family to serve in our military.

So this is a thanks to David Pyle! Your post made my day. I won’t be able to share the experience that both you and my brother will have had, but you’ve helped me understand my brother’s path just a teeny bit better.

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