Zen Peacemakers Blog

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The Zen Peacemakers Blog is dedicated and committed to providing news, reflections, essays and interviews to support, inspire and inform spiritual practitioners and social activists, off high-quality content by our global network of Zen Peacemaker Order members and allies to the Zen Peacemakers.

Rags to Rakusus: Paco

Posted by on Jun 22, 2017 in Greyston, Rags to Rakusus, Social Entrepreneurship, Zen Peacemaker Family, Zen Peacemaker Order | 0 comments

Rags to Rakusus: Paco

Lay practitioners of Zen Buddhist lineages who take refuge in the Buddhist precepts and vows prepare and wear a rakusu – a cloth garment around their neck – representing the monastic robe, also known as kesa. In the days of the Buddha, it is said that certain materials called Pamsula were taboo for use by society. This included materials used for shrouds covering the dead, those gnawed by rats, or menstrual rags. These were collected to create the monks’ robes. The late co-founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order, Roshi Sandra Jishu Holmes, first conceived the Zen Peacemaker Rakusu that is made up of pieces of discarded cloth from origins meaningful to their wearer’s life and practice. This series of posts named ‘Rags to Rakusus,’ showcases the personal stories of Zen Peacemakers’ rakusus around the world.

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Zen Peacemakers Joins Zen Center of Los Angeles’ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in Reflections, Zen Peacemakers | 0 comments

Zen Peacemakers Joins Zen Center of Los Angeles’ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Zen Peacemakers congratulates Zen Center of Los Angeles and abbot Roshi Wendy Lou Egyoku Nakao on its 50th Anniversary! ZCLA was founded by Japanese Zen Master Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi in 1967 and was the training grounds of his creative and influential successors, starting with Bernie Glassman, 2nd abbot of ZCLA and founder of Zen Peacemakers. Today, ZCLA is a bustling urban training center in the heart of Los Angeles. Its robust residential and lay sangha is deeply involved in the local community of immigrants, artists, homeless and refugees. Read here Roshi Eve Marko’s reflection on the occasion.

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Knowing When to Quit: Roshi Genro Reflects on a Photo from a 1999 New York City Street Retreat

Posted by on Jun 20, 2017 in Bernie Glassman, Homelessness, Reflections, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Street Retreats, Zen Peacemaker Family | 0 comments

Knowing When to Quit: Roshi Genro Reflects on a Photo from a 1999 New York City Street Retreat

“…Once you’ve experienced a certain amount of difficulty as a group, and the group’s gone through a lot, sometimes you don’t need four days on the street to get it.” Roshi Grover Genro Gaunt reflects on his experience during a street retreat in 1999.

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Cardboard Boxes, Begging and Birdsong – Reflection from Street Retreat in Chicago

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in Bearing Witness, Blog, Homelessness, Reflections, Street Retreats | 0 comments

Cardboard Boxes, Begging and Birdsong – Reflection from Street Retreat in Chicago

“We ended up sleeping in cardboard boxes on the banks of the Chicago River…I didn’t sleep much, but I felt the cold to be a deep cleansing, the rocks breaking through my cardboard box to be incentives to stay aware, and the birds on the river were surprising rushes of interconnected joy. As the sun rose and the sky lightened, I came out the other side of my fears.” Skye Levin shares about her first experience on Street Retreat this past month in Chicago.

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This Food of Seventy Two Labors, an Invitation to a Bearing Witness Retreat to Food, Land and Racism in the USA

Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Bearing Witness, Environment, Green, Hunger Ministry, Justice & Activism, Racism & Diversity, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Street Retreats | 2 comments

This Food of Seventy Two Labors, an Invitation to a Bearing Witness Retreat to Food, Land and Racism in the USA

Rev. Ariel Pliskin​, ZPO Minister and founder of Unity Tables​ and community-based Stone Soup Café Greenfield MA​ has participated in several Bearing Witness Retreats on the streets, at Auschwitz, and the Black Hills. He now brings this rich experience to examine the interplay of food, land and race in the USA, in a new retreat he is organizing together with Sensei Francisco Lugovina​ from Hudson River Peacemaker Center-House of One People​, and Leah Penniman from Soul Fire Farm​. Read what led Ariel to co-develop this retreat, and join him in September 2017 on Soul Fire Farm.

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For the Sake of Children: Pilgrimage to Manzanar, Bearing Witness to Fear, Bonds, and Love

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Bearing Witness, Blog, Peace, Racism & Diversity, Reflections, Three Tenets of ZP, Zen Peacemaker Order | 1 comment

For the Sake of Children: Pilgrimage to Manzanar, Bearing Witness to Fear, Bonds, and  Love

“Bearing witness and experiencing the Three Tenets at Manzanar helped me, and gave me the courage, to touch deeper parts of myself. Whatever I saw at Manzanar: family love, family bonding, silence, community, and fear, was about me. It reflected me.” Last month on April 29, 2017, Zen Peacemaker Order member Nem Bajra joined 2,000 others and traveled to Manzanar, one of ten concentration camps that interned Japanese Americans during WWII, to participate in the 48th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage. The following piece details his personal experience of the pilgrimage.

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We Are Sumud, or If You Imagine It, It Will Be

Posted by on May 24, 2017 in Inter-Faith, Justice & Activism, Native American, News, Non-Violence, Peace, Racism & Diversity, Socially Engaged Buddhism | 2 comments

We Are Sumud, or If You Imagine It, It Will Be

“Sumud, like so many other acts of heartful resistance, begins as an act of the imagination. Someone dares imagine that force, occupation, discrimination, poverty, and violence can end.” Eve Marko reflects on her recent trip to Israel, and acts of imagination and revolution.

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Flowers on the Edges of Graves: Roland

Posted by on May 13, 2017 in Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreats, Contemplative Care, Death & Dying, Peace, Reflections, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Three Tenets of ZP, Wellness, Work & Livelihood, Zen Peacemaker Family | 1 comment

Flowers on the Edges of Graves: Roland

At the site of gruesome human medical experiments, Sensei Dr. Roland Yakushi Wegmüller has been serving and ministering the participants of the Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness retreat for the past 14 years. In this personal essay, Roland reflects on his role as the retreat’s doctor, the healing and kindness in the old camp, and the rich experiences and connections he’s had with his patients there. Deutsch nach Englisch.

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