Podcast: Bernie Glassman Introduces Symposium for Western Socially Engaged Buddhism

August 9, 2010

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Want to be part of the Friends of Bernie cybersangha squad?

For a relaunch of Zen Peacemakers website we are looking for passionate people, who appreciate the power of the Internet to reduce suffering, enjoy creating something new and want to be part of Bernie Glassman’s vision of peace.

The main task will be transferring content from the old website to a new WordPress platform. Knowledge of WordPress or HTML is helpful, but not necessary.

Later on, we will need help to market and promote the website and translators from English to German (other languages will follow).

Ideal would be a longer committment to work on this project, but help for the relaunch alone (July -October) is welcome.

How much time you can offer is up to you, but 5-10 hours per week would be ideal.

We will show you via screen sharing what to do. We will communicate via skype and email. We will add a lot of new features to the website, so there will always be a lot to do. If you like to join our team we will be happy to work with you. Working on this project is dharma work and practice and a great opportunity to spread the dharma.

If you are interested, please contact: [email protected]

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Street Retreat Reflections ~ Heinz-Jürgen Metzger

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham.

Fourteen years ago, in 1997, Bernie invited me to a street-retreat in New York
City. After having been together with him in the retreat at Auschwitz, this
street-retreat was my second experience of practice outside a traditional zendo.
Both retreats helped me to see my true zendo, my true place of practice: our
green planet.

Fourteen years later, on Easter Holy Weekend, we met again at Tompkins Square
Park in the Lower East Side of New York City.  This time, it was a family
gathering:  some of us had already been previously together at the 1997 Street
Retreat; and the remaining I have been working with in the context of the
Peacemakers for the past fourteen years.

All of us participated in a ceremony of recognition with Bernie. For me, this
recognition has two aspects: Of course, Bernie recognized the work of each of
us, but he also recognized the work of us as a group, as a mandala of
Peacemakers.  How will this mandala actualize itself in the future? How will we
keep alive and continue to develop the vision, Bernie shared with us?

It’s not easy to be a visionary, it’s even harder to stay a visionary: There’s
the gap between vision and reality, year after year, year after year. – Thank
you, Bernie, for keeping your vision alive all the years!

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Street Retreat Reflections ~ Sally Kealy

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham.

Appreciatory Verse to Bernie:

Your vow has been to feed all the hungry spirits throughout all space and time.

Under that red beret,

You call a new game into play.

So many slices in this pizza-

Delicious!!!!

Yes, so many slices and flavors became apparent at our Holy Week New York City Street Retreat which also commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the first ever street retreat located also in the Big Apple.  This retreat was a little different.

Bernie invited ten of his long standing students and activists to participate in this event.   There was also a wonderful Theravaden nun, Pannavati, and our long time street guide, Larry Batman Chamberlain, and Bernie’s assistant, Ari Pliskin, with  Sensei Paco Lugovina and our street retreat leader, Roshi Genro Gauntt.  As we walked the streets in the wind and rain I looked at the flavors of this pizza:  Belgian, French, Swiss, Polish, American, Israeli, Puerto Rican,Afro-American, and they all karmically gathered around a divine madman from Brooklyn named Bernie Glassman, “Bernie”.

At the end of the retreat on Easter Sunday the ten invited plus Pannavati and Batman participated in a ceremony of Dharma Recognition in the Five Buddha Familuies—ironically nothing is given in this ceremony between teacher and student for it is already there.  It impressed me deeply how this ceremony strips everything away to “just this”===moment by moment.  How could there be something added?.  And yet, I always felt that when we chanted the women’s lineage and said, “And to all those who have been forgotten or left unsaid”, that I stood for all of them.  And now the title, Sensei, has been given to me, and I feel rather odd, and yet, encouraged.

The street retreat prepared me for what happened a few days later.   Our home is for sale, and that is a necessity, and we found that my husband, John, is also retiring in two months!  Many changes and many chances to trust and believe in the words that launch the Bowery Mission service, “God is Good!”  “All the time!”

Easter Sunday with my family was wonderful, and as I returned over the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey that evening, I saw those slices of pizza in my mind’s eye.  Bernie with his walking stick, Barbara holding his arm.  Frank sleeping so well, Peter Cunningham in his red beret, Michael O”Keefe directing our ceremony, Rabbi Ohad’s sweet-nectar voice,  Pannavati’s bow,  Batman’s smile and glowing eyes,  Genro’s commanding leadership,  Roland Wegmuller’s generosity in making rakasus (and Barbara making malas), Heinz washing my feet, Michel Dubois’s Don’t Know smile, Andrejez’s wonderful profile,  Ari Pliskin’s tirelessness, Paco’s joy for others.

Truly, truly—- one DELICIOUS pizza!

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Street Retreat Reflections ~ Andrzej Krajewski

This article is part of a series of articles written about a Holy Week 2011 Street Retreat, which took place in New York City. This retreat commemorated the 20th Anniversary of the first Zen Peacemakers street retreat, also in New York.  Zen Master Bernie Glassman invited several longtime students and companions to the retreat to become recognized as Senseis and Dharma Holders. Read bios and reflections of retreat participants. Read explanation of ceremony by Bernie Glassman. See more retreat pictures by Peter Cunningham.

I wouldn’t miss one single moment of the New York City  Street Retreat with old and new friends.  Each moment was a peak experience filled with intensity and complete vigilance even while asleep!

The infinite Circle embraces all.  Seeing the integrity of all energies and spheres, their interlocking working, no need to put one in front of other, they are a mandala, Indra¹s net – one in all and all in one.

Appreciatory Verse to Bernie:

I met a guy walking the same way, but he was so much more advanced than me.  While we walked sometimes together, I appreciated more and more the crystal brisk air and distant goal as well as Bernie’s clear and simple language, practical tools and steps.  Such simple joy, and an astonishing way to let go and move on ­and off the side walk when necessary.  Thank you, Roshi Bernie.

Sensei Andrezej

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