4 April 2016 — Zaltho Foundation


By Club consensus during a 10 January 2016 planning session, the “poll” at the bottom of the Program page has been removed. Members are asked to post a comment each week. If you don’t have something interesting to say–although with our members we know what you have to say is interesting–feel free to say “Present” or “Here” or “Be-Bop-a-loo-bop ramma lamma ding dong” or write your favorite color, just let us know you were here.


SUNDAY, APRIL 24 — 12:30pm to 2:00pmOur FOURTH SUNDAY meeting for April! Speaker: TBA.  We gather in The Fireplace Room at Denny’s, 5525 Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.  (Meeting reminders: Inspiration, JoAnne; Pledge, Reed; Four-Way Test, Yoko; Rotary Minute, Jorge)  BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING in The Fireplace Room at 11:00 a.m.

SUNDAY, MAY 1 — 10:00pm to 4:00pm  — The next ONE MORE ITEM FOOD DRIVE, in support of Valley Food Bank, at Gelson’s in Sherman Oaks.


We have launched our Clunkers4Charity fundraiser! If you know of anyone (yourself included) who wants or needs to donate a car for tax purposes, send them to our website…and to the Clunkers4Charity “Link” you see at the right side of this page. Funds we raise will go right into the community for our projects.



1. Zaltho Foundation Logo






This month’s First Monday Program is provided by Club Member Linda Wehrli.

The Zaltho Foundation: Promoting Mindfulness and Nonviolence

Back in the mid 2000s, my husband and I learned of a remarkable book, At Hell’s Gate, A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace by a Vietnam veteran, Claude AnShin Thomas. Having an uncle who had served in Vietnam in the US Army, I wanted to learn more about the author and how he made it back from the brink to bringing peace and healing to our veterans and victims of violence.

2. book






I’m pleased to share what I have learned both from his memorable presentation to my then Rotary Club of Studio City-Sherman Oaks which I was able to arrange, and his organization’s website, zaltho.org.

Growing up in rural Pennsylvania back in the late 1940s, Claude Thomas survived a violent childhood. At age 17 he was inducted into the US Army and sent to Vietnam in the mid 1960s. He was shot down on five occasions and was wounded once, receiving the Purple Heart.

3. CAT induction age 17






After being honorably discharged in 1968, society did not welcome home him and his fellow veterans, but socially ostracized them instead. Over the years, Thomas fell victim of homelessness, drug addiction, unemployability, social isolation and thoughts of suicide.

In 1991 he learned of the Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh and became a student at the Vietnamese monastery in southern France, Plum Village. http://plumvillage.org/

4. Thich Nhat Hanh






There, he learned how to make peace with the devastating effects of war and to find peaceful means for conflict resolution.

In 1995, he was ordained a Zen Buddhist monk, AnShin AnGyo (Peace-Mind Peacemaker).

5. CAT Portrait







As a monk, he is best known for his pilgrimages, including one that began in Auschwitz and ended in Hiroshima/Nagasaki, a New York to California cross-country journey, a Budapest through Austria journey to Bergen-Belsen, Germany, Concord, MA to Ground Zero in NYC and walking the entire US-Mexican border from Brownsville, TX to south San Diego, CA.

6. CAT Walking







Those who walked with him practiced the ancient Buddhist tradition of relying on donations of food and shelter throughout the journey. The main focus of the journey was realizing the unknown, bearing witness and healing.

In order to better assist combat veterans, victims of war, sufferers of PTSD and their families, Claude AnShin Thomas founded The Zaltho Foundation in 1994. http://www.zaltho.org Programs include meditation retreats and visits with veterans in prisons, hospitals, on war zones. Teaching mindfulness has brought about positive changes within individuals, using practices based on the spiritual principles of Zen Buddhism with a focus on the manifestation of these spiritual principles in daily life.

You may hear Claude Anshin Thomas speak for a few minutes at his Masterclass at The World Congress in 1999. https://youtu.be/GdLE9vjY44k

7. CAT Speaking






It is uplifting to know victims of violence not only have a safe haven and path to heal at The Zaltho Foundation, but can also learn to help heal others there as well.


The opinions expressed by guest speakers, or in advertisements that appear on external websites linked to this program, are those of the speaker(s) / websites / advertisers and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.

11 responses to 4 April 2016 — Zaltho Foundation

  1. Having never heard of this foundation, I found it very interesting.

    Thanks for the program, Linda W.

  2. A very dedicated man. Thanks Linda for bringing his life and work to our attention.

  3. It was an honor to sit with him and his associate, Wiebke KenShin Andersen at that Rotary Club meeting. He opened his presentation by first ringing a bell to focus our minds on the present. It was a remarkable meeting.

  4. Thank you, Linda, for sharing. His story is amazing. I am sure it was very moving to meet him in person.

  5. Ditto to what has been said. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Thanks, Linda. It’s nice to see that non traditional avenues of healing like this are also vailable to veterans.

  7. Great info about someone doing good work, and the good work being done. Thank you for the Program, Linda.

  8. From a violent past came peace. Beautiful journey, thanks for sharing Linda.

  9. Thank you for putting together a wonderful and enlightening program, Linda.

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