claude anshin thomas, buddhist monk/vietnam war vet
claude anshin thomas is a vietnam vet who turned to zen in part to deal with the residual psychological effects of having been at war. now he holds retreats for other veterans and teaches them to use zen as a way of dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. this picture was taken at the conclusion of a retreat being held for iraq war veterans at the los angeles zen center. as you might expect from a zen monk, anshin thomas was incredibly nice. he said the following thing, which sounded sincere: “it is a gift to be photographed by you.” it might’ve been better had he known anything at all about me, but i appreciated the thought, nonetheless. interestingly, he wouldn’t allow the term “shoot” to be used in describing the photo session, as it was too violent in its connotation. he said he had refused other photographers who insisted on using that word.