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.

“The River Song” Zen Peacemakers at Simply Smiles, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation, August 2016

Posted by on Jan 26, 2017 in Bearing Witness, Blog, Native American, News, Reflections, Video, Zen Peacemaker Order, Zen Peacemakers | 0 comments

“The River Song” Zen Peacemakers at Simply Smiles, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation, August 2016

In August 2016, the Zen Peacemakers visited Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation. They met the people of La Plant and Eagle Butte, visited the local youth center and the wild mustang horse refuge, as well as worked with Simply Smiles – a non-profit building and revitalizing homes for Lakota families. This August 2017, The Zen Peacemakers will return to Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation for a week of service, in collaboration with Simply Smiles inc. Meet the local Lakota community, rebuild and prepare homes for the winter, practice meditation and council and deepen your appreciation of the Zen Peacemakers Three Tenets: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action. Join us! August 6-12 2017 Register at http://zenpeacemakers.org/nat2017/ “The River Song” Kristen Graves, Guitar, Music and Lyrics Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Flute Rami Efal, Video and photos...

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Standing People, Rooted People: Peacemaking Among the Indigenous Cultures of Southern Africa and Turtle Island

Posted by on Jan 23, 2017 in Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreats, Bearing Witness, Blog, Native American, Projects, Reflections, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Teachers, Zen Peacemaker Order | 3 comments

Standing People, Rooted People: Peacemaking Among the Indigenous Cultures of Southern Africa and Turtle Island

Drawing experiences from different corners of the world, two ZPO members, one from the United States, Roshi Grover Genro Gauntt and one from Finland, Mikko Ijäs, share their stories of being welcomed by #FirstNations and the #indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (Northern America) and Southern Africa and how their appreciation of #peacemaking was affected by encountering these rich wisdom cultures and the individuals that embodied them.

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Despair and Empowerment in Our Watershed Moment

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Blog, Dharma Talks, News, Reflections | 2 comments

Despair and Empowerment in Our Watershed Moment

“How are we going to end polarization while we ourselves are polarized? How do we unpolarize ourselves from the people we want to blame and hate for this electoral disaster? How do we disarm ourselves of our own attitudes and prejudices? How do we do the inner work of self-transformation and simultaneously extend ourselves outward to organize and resist, which we absolutely must do?” By Paula Green A talk given at Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, December 7, 2016, in Northampton, Massachusetts. She has 40 years’ experience as a psychologist, peace educator, consultant, and mentor in intergroup relations and conflict resolution.

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One Year Since Bernie’s Stroke: A Letter of Gratitude

Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 in Bernie Glassman, Bernie's Health, Blog, News, Reflections, Zen Peacemaker Order, Zen Peacemakers | 5 comments

One Year Since Bernie’s Stroke: A Letter of Gratitude

A year ago today, Roshi Bernie Glassman suffered a severe stroke. Zen Peacemakers is deeply grateful to all those who supported him in a remarkable recovery and in his further healing ahead. In the link below, read ZP’s letter of gratitude, as well as a reflection by Roshi Eve Marko on this one year journey.

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2017 ZPO EUROPE Bearing Witness Retreat in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Posted by on Jan 11, 2017 in Bearing Witness, Bearing Witness Ministry, Zen Peacemaker Order | 0 comments

2017 ZPO EUROPE Bearing Witness Retreat in Bosnia-Herzegovina

in May 2017, Zen Peacemakers will commence the Bearing Witness Retreat in Bosnia-Herzegovina

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Sharing a Meal with Hungry Hearts

Posted by on Dec 23, 2016 in Blog, Homelessness, Hunger Ministry, Projects, Socially Engaged Buddhism, Street Retreats, Zen Peacemaker Order, Zen Peacemakers | 0 comments

Sharing a Meal with Hungry Hearts

by Cassie Moore, Upaya Resident “Calling all you hungry hearts All the lost and left behind Gather ’round and share this meal Your joy and sorrow I make it mine.” —from The Gate of Sweet Nectar liturgy Most nights, people line up outside of the Santa Fe homeless shelter, Pete’s Place, well before the glass doors stretch open for dinner at 6 p.m. For dozens of people, “Pete’s” (formerly the Pete’s Pets building on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, now the Interfaith Community Shelter) is a winter emergency shelter that offers nourishment and beds, as well as community and safety. To serve meals, the shelter relies on legions of volunteers, like us. A Upaya team of eight, we’ve come dressed not in our usual Zenblack, but in “normal” clothes. We unpack a Subaru full of prepped veggies, spices, oils, and kitchenware and lug it all into Pete’s kitchen. Debbie who works at the shelter greets us with boundless energy, and orients us on how to prepare dinner, how to serve, and when to sit to join the shelter guests for dinner. Over several days, we have been preparing for this dinner with the help of local sangha members. Our menu feels like a pre-Thanksgiving feast for the 105 people who will fill Pete’s dining hall tonight. As we unload the car in trips, walking back and forth through the parking lot, we pass a dozen people looking in through the still-locked glass doors, pacing outside, resting on the sidewalk, catching up, smoking. A sangha volunteer whispers to me, “This is where I get shy.” Internally, I feel an old shyness fog me, too. I feel intense waves of differentiation coming up, noticing the clients who appear to be on drugs, seeing a group of women yelling in the parking lot corner. A man in the lot catcalls me. I notice this feeling arise that says, These people are different than me. I feel self-doubt. I’m afraid I don’t know how to show up with these people, that our differences are too big for us to connect, that I won’t know the right thing to say or do. As we settle in, the kitchen begins smelling like holidays: it’s snowing out and our chicken soup and chili are in massive pots on the gas stove, roasted sweet potatoes and green beans are steaming, homemade ranch dressing intrigues the dinner guests lining up to be served, fresh bread will soak up their soup, and towers of brownies made by our local sangha members delight almost everyone—from the 9-year-old girl who is too shy to request one, to the oldest man, teeth missing. During an unusually cold winter in 2005, 25 people died in Santa Fe from hypothermia and this birthed a local-led initiative for a winter emergency shelter. Those who come to Pete’s are only a fraction of Santa Fe’s homeless: In 2014 the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness estimated there is around 1,400 homeless in Santa Fe.  Pete’s is the only shelter in town that allows non-sober guests to spend the night. In one view, coming to Pete’s for one night and serving food feels miniscule. What about systemic oppression? What about systemic poverty? What about luck and circumstance, and how it seems some people are set up for homelessness?...

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“If Strain, No Gain”

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Bernie Glassman, Bernie's Health, Blog, Reflections, Three Tenets of ZP, Zen Peacemaker Family, Zen Peacemakers | 1 comment

“If Strain, No Gain”

“Bernie … realized… the similarities between the somatic arts like Feldenkrais and his own Peacemaker tenets…What if…not-knowing… also includes letting go of movement patterns that don’t work?” Read Ariel Setsudo Pliskin’s reflection on accompanying Bernie in his post-stroke physiotherapy exercises.

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“DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU IT DOESN’T MATTER!”

Posted by on Dec 18, 2016 in Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreats, Bearing Witness, Blog, Native American, Reflections, Zen Peacemaker Order | 3 comments

“DON’T LET ANYONE TELL YOU IT DOESN’T MATTER!”

Gen. Wesley Clark Jr., middle, and other veterans kneel in front of Leonard Crow Dog during a forgiveness ceremony at the Four Prairie Knights Casino & Resort on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Photo by Josh Morgan, Huffington Post By Roshi Eve Myonen Marko, Zen Peacemaker Order   I met a friend of my brother’s the other day at a Jerusalem café. He told me that he had taken part in a convocation honoring Elie Wiesel at the Hebrew University, and that the Chief Rabbi of Rumania was there and told the following story: In my position I’ve visited many small Rumanian towns and villages which once had a large population of Jews but which are now empty of Jews after the Holocaust. In one such town I hear something strange. There is an old synagogue there, abandoned and unused since World War II. But every Friday night, when the Sabbath begins, the lights go on in the synagogue and they go off on Saturday night, at the end of the Sabbath. I decided to look into it, and discovered that a goy, a non-Jew, enters the abandoned synagogue every Friday evening and puts the Sabbath prayer books by every single empty seat. On the Sabbath morning he comes in again and puts prayer shawls by each seat. He comes back on Saturday night, returns the prayer shawls and prayer books, and turns off the lights. He has done that for many years. I told Elie Weisel about this long ago, and he told me to support this man as much as possible so that he could continue to do this work. When I heard this story I immediately remembered Bernie’s and my 1996 visit with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement, to ask him for his blessing for the Zen Peacemakers’ retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Reb Zalman said that he was all for it, only the retreat had to be done for the sake of the souls there. I vividly remember driving back and pondering his answer: What souls? Weren’t the dead dead? Beside, as a Buddhist I didn’t believe in souls. We’d asked him for his blessing for a single retreat, not knowing that this retreat would continue for 21 years. During all that time I and many others have sensed a powerful presence in those death camps. I hear visitors to Auschwitz-Birkenau number almost 2 million a year, most of whom come to look around quickly, turn away and leave. But a small group of 100 comes every year to sit in a circle on those tracks, chant names of the dead and do ceremony. Time is a human construct; past, present, and future are only human parameters for organizing experience and information in a way that can be processed by our brains, nothing more. In that case, how can anyone gauge the impact of a diverse group of people bearing witness to millions killed in the name of sameness, uniformity, and racial purity? Or the work of one non-Jew who, week after week, year after year, puts out service books and prayer shawls at the beginning of the Sabbath in a half-destroyed synagogue and puts them away at the end? Why does he do that? What does he see?...

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