Zen Peacemakers Blog

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

Practicing With The Ten Thousand Opinions

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Blog, Ministries, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Teachers, Zen Peacemakers | 1 comment

Practicing With The Ten Thousand Opinions

Following a letter received at Upaya Zen Center stating they should avoid commenting on politics, Joshin Byrnes, Vice Abbot of Upaya Zen Center responded, advising listening to opinions, patience and political engagement based on spiritual principals.

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The Face I See Everywhere: Why Barbara Wegmüller Returns to Auschwitz

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreats, Bearing Witness Ministry, Blog, Inter-Faith, Ministries, Non-Violence, Peace, Racism & Diversity, Reflections, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Teachers, Zen Peacemaker Order, Zen Peacemakers | 0 comments

The Face I See Everywhere: Why Barbara Wegmüller Returns to Auschwitz

“There is the face of a woman, looking at me, ever since I met her eyes for the first time. She is looking at me on one of the pictures in one of the memorial halls in Auschwitz I, the original camp. The photo shows her as she is waiting with a group of women and her children at the selection site. Her face shows disgust, fear, distress, and she seems to know what will happen to her and her children as she looks into the camera.”

Barbara Wegmüller, a Zen Peacemaker Roshi and Bearing Witness retreat Spiritholder (facilitator), responds to the question of why she’s been coming back to bear witness at Auschwitz for nearly 20 years.

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Yet the Ground Holds Firm: Highlights from the 2017 Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreat in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Posted by on Jun 30, 2017 in Bearing Witness, Bearing Witness Ministry, Blog, Featured, Reflections, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Zen Peacemakers | 0 comments

Yet the Ground Holds Firm: Highlights from the 2017 Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreat in Bosnia and Herzegovina

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA. Bearing Witness Retreats reveal how, even though each place of tragedy reflects a unique circumstance, they all share in common universal human experiences – even the tendency to violence can be seen as a source and expression of commonality and connection. Several years ago, Zen Peacemakers began collaborating with Bosnian peace-builders at the Center for Peacebuilding, to plan a bearing witness retreat following the genocide there in 1992-1995. These planning efforts were passed to local European Zen Peacemakers leaders, who brought it all to fruition this past May. In this post Zen Peacemakers thanks the organizers and features the stories of four European Zen Peacemakers who attended the retreat.

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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 | 1 comment

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 | 2 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

PETERSBURG, NEW YORK STATE, 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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