Claude AnShin Thomas, a Zen Buddhist monk, Vietnam War veteran, author and international advocate for nonviolence, will speak at the May 15 meeting of the Emerald Coast Meditation Society. His topic will be “A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace.” The meeting will start with a 30-minute meditation at 6:30 p.m. at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 480 N. Co. Hwy. 393, Santa Rosa Beach, half a mile north of Hwy. 98. The ECMS follows no religion and does not charge. Born in Pennsylvania, Thomas served in Vietnam in 1966-67 at age 18. Part of a helicopter crew, he was shot down five times and wounded once, receiving the Purple Heart, among other medals. He was honorably discharged from the army in 1968. Since that time, he has worked to heal the wounds from that war for himself and others, and “to address the plight of many of my fellow veterans who were being socially ostracized--suffering homelessness, drug addiction, unemployability, social isolation, and abnormally high rates of suicide, divorce, and imprisonment.” In 1991 he came in contact with the Vietnamese Zen monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It was through Buddhist practice that he became aware of the devastating and lasting effects of war and violence, and how to make peace with this unpeacefulness. In 1995 he was fully ordained as a Zen Buddhist monk in the Japanese Soto Zen tradition by the American Zen Master Bernard Glassman. In 1994 he founded the Zaltho Foundation, a nonprofit organization to foster nonviolence and change. In 1999 he started the Magnolia Zen Center in Mary Esther. Thomas is a mendicant monk by vow. In 2004 his book, “At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace,” was published by Shambhala Publications. Today he leads programs worldwide on meditation, healing, and transformation, dividing his time among the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia in working to bring an end to the repetitive cycles of suffering and violence. The evening will conclude with a short guided meditation. The ECMS meets on the first and third Thursday of every month except July and August. Anyone who needs meditation instruction should arrive by 6:15 p.m. For information contact Nancy James, at firstname.lastname@example.org .