Back to People Rule

Buddhist chaplain to provide religious support to 1-23 Inf. team

Chaplain (Capt.) Niphon Sukuan was sworn in Nov. 7

7th Infantry Division Public Affairs Lt. Col. Drew Steadman, left, commander 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, welcomes Chaplain (Capt.) Niphon Sukuan to the battalion by presenting him with a battalion tomahaw

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Chaplain (Capt.) Niphon Sukuan was sworn in Nov. 7 at the Lewis Main Chapel on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Sukuan will provide religious support for the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

Sukuan is the fourth Buddhist chaplain to be sworn into the Army and the second to serve on JBLM.

Sukuan was raised in Thailand where he mastered the art of meditation. He moved to the United States in 2005, earned his Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy in 2014.

Before his move to JBLM, he was a chaplain and meditation teacher at Wat Mongkolratanaram, Tampa, Fla. He also volunteered at the U.S Federal Bureau of Prisons, Coleman, Fla.

As the battalion’s chaplain, Sukuan will provide spiritual support, provide guidance for Soldiers coping with combat stress and provide the skill set for Soldiers to deal with everyday well-being and guidance.

“As a chaplain, I am a Buddhist, but on this side (patting his chest) I am a U.S. officer,” he said. “So, I am part of the team. One team, one work so we can serve each other. As a battalion chaplain, I will be available for everyone; listen to Soldiers, allow them to talk, help reduce stress or talk about issues they are not comfortable talking to others about.”

Sukuan spent the past two years at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, in Tampa, as a chaplain resident to complete his Clinical Pastoral Education, specializing in mental health.

“I have worked as a chaplain resident in a VA hospital, so I have dealt with many veterans returning from the battlefield,” Sukuan said. “One of the veteran’s was having a hard time letting go of the bad memories at night and was unable to sleep. I brought him meditation and mindfulness to him, which was able to help him.”

One of the key beliefs in Buddhism is meditation. Which is a tool in Buddhism for people to gain a better insight into their personal well-being.

“(The) main idea in Buddhism is to help people to get to know themselves,” Sukuan said. “We have to be confident about what we are doing. As a Soldier, we need confidence to stay focused on our duty. By Soldiers getting to know themselves, they can lead themselves which will give them the ability to lead others.”

Read next close

Spouse magazine

SPOUSE magazine - November 2017

comments powered by Disqus