Episode 148 :: Mike Nam :: U.S. Military Buddhists

| December 21, 2012 | 4 Comments

Mike Nam

Secular Buddhism seems like an oxymoron, especially when we simply take the words themselves at face value without any deeper understanding of what we mean. Military Buddhists might be another phrase that elicits a similar response.

There are many service men and women in our armed forces that would describe themselves as Buddhist. And, even some who do not may have an inclination to Buddhist inspired practices. They come to this tradition sometimes as part of their personal family heritage, and sometimes as an adopted religion. That may have occurred early in their lives, or after already being in the military. However these men and women have found themselves as Buddhists in the armed forces, the simple fact remains: both are a part of their daily existence, and how those aspects contrast, blend, and work together is a challenge those of us on the outside can only guess at understanding.

Mike Nam was in the Marines from 2000 to 2004, and from 2005 to the present is a Medic in the California Army National Guard. Mike has been on three combat deployments, is currently in his fourth year at South Baylo University, and is the creator of the U.S. Military Buddhists page on FaceBook.

So, sit back, relax, and have a nice mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. Merry Christmas, Clarence.

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Music for This Episode Courtesy of Rodrigo Rodriguez

The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez. The track used in this episode is “Cross of Light” from his CD, Shakuhachi Meditations.

Category: The Secular Buddhist Podcast

Ted Meissner

About the Author ()

Ted Meissner is the host of the podcast Present Moment: Mindfulness Practice and Science. He has been a meditator since the early 90’s, has been interviewed for Books and Ideas, Mindful Lives, and The Whole Leader podcasts, spoken about mindfulness with various groups including Harvard Humanist Hub, and has written for Elephant Journal and The International Journal of Whole Person Care. He is the Executive Director of the Secular Buddhist Association, host of the SBA’s official podcast The Secular Buddhist, and is on the Advisory Board for the Spiritual Naturalist Society. Ted’s background is in the Zen and Theravada traditions, he is a regular speaker on interfaith panel discussions, and is interested in examining the evolution of contemplative practice in contemporary culture. Ted teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, where he is the Manager of Online Programming and Community Development.

Comments (4)

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  1. Candol says:

    Very nice. Positive story. Its amazing how that when we start talking to people we can find about a whole lot of good things we had no idea of. I had this experience this morning with some Thai buddhists who are neighbours. People are always breaking the stereotypes when we get round to talking to them at the one on one level. Your podcast is one of those type of stories. Nice guy doing good work.

  2. Dana Nourie Dana Nourie says:

    Mike, I’m so glad you safely made it through your deployments. This was a wonderful interview to listen to. Many of us don’t have a chance to hear the struggles military people go throuh, and I am so happy to hear that the military is now providing Buddhist meditations and talks. Thank you so much for sharing your challenges, struggles, and triumphs. Wonderful that you and your family have developed mutual respect for the differences in spiritual practices. It’s wonderful to hear when families do that successfully. Be safe!

    • Mike_Nam Mike_Nam says:

      Dana you’re so very welcome and thank you! I am glad to be able to share a part of my story with you. Actually my mom went to temple with me last week just to get a feel for what her “hippie” son is doing. She loved it.

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