In December of 2004 I left my pregnant wife and two-year-old daughter behind to deploy with the 15th MEU. We sailed from San Diego to Hawaii, and from Hawaii to Guam. As we laid anchor in Guam disaster struck. A Tsunami had washed over several coastal areas in South East Asia. After a four-hour re-supply we made for Sumatra, Indonesia and southern Sri Lanka.

Imagery of the destruction came to us over the Internet; plans were formed on how we could help. Negotiations were made with the governments as to how many people we could send ashore.

I was running on the flight deck when I saw the first casualty of the tsunami. I felt a strange emotion come over me that I had not felt since a child. Empathy, compassion things the angry demon I was did not recognize. I felt for this victim, did he have family? Did he leave behind children? Was he Married?

For the first time in my life I recognized the First Noble Truth.

My part in the relief efforts were small.
Just a Marine in a line passing supplies.
But the effects of just being there will last a lifetime.
I became a human being.

More later.

Be well and happy


Anonymous said...


Thank you for sharing your experience, strength, and hope on the path.

"As soon as one sets the mind on complete enlightenment, one is praised by all the Buddhas of all quarters and can thereupon expound the teachings, edify and purify the beings of all worlds, and can thereupon shake all worlds, and can thereupon illumine all worlds, and can thereupon extinguish the pains of the states of misery in all worlds, and can thereupon beautify and purify all lands, and can thereupon manifest attainment of Buddhahood in all worlds, and can thereupon cause all living things to rejoice, and can thereupon enter into the essence of all reality realms, and can thereupon maintain the lineage of all enlightenend ones, and can thereupon attain the light of wisdom of all Buddhas."
(THE AVATAMSAKA SUTRA, The Merit of The Initial Determination for Enlightenment, Translated by Thomas Cleary, p. 412)

Gassho, Ted

SlowZen said...


Thank you for your gracious comments.

I could have used your knack for expression to paint the picture more clearly here.

I am afraid sometimes explaining an experience is more challenging than to cut off your own arm.

Be well and happy!

Thanks for looking!