The Horizon Greets You From Every Side: Reflection on 2017 Zen Peacemakers Week of Service, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation

In August of 2017, thirty non-Native American Zen Peacemakers conducted two weeks of programs as another step in a years-long-arc of developing relationship and appreciation with the Lakota of South Dakota. Both weeks were based on and held by the Three-Tenets of Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action. This reflection is from a participant of our 1st week, in which volunteers were immersed in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation community where they constructed and helped rebuild community members’ homes.

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Auschwitz Bearing Witness Retreat 2017

OSWIECIM, POLAND. Bernie Glassman and The Zen Peacemakers are returning for the 22nd year to the old site of the concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oświęcim, Poland, for a Bearing Witness Retreat. Bernie Glassman began the annual Bearing Witness Retreats in 1996, with help from Eve Marko and Andrzej Krajewski. They have taken place annually every year since then. Much has been written about these annual retreats; at least half a dozen films have been made about them in various languages. They are multi-faith and multinational in character, with a strong focus on the Zen Peacemakers’ Three Tenets: Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Taking Action.

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Summary Report on the 2017 Zen Peacemakers Native American Summer Programs

In August of 2017, thirty non-native American Zen Peacemakers conducted two weeks of programs as another step in an years-long-arc of developing relationship and appreciation with the Lakota of South Dakota. Both weeks were based on and held by the Three-Tenets of Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action…

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Roshi Joan Halifax’s Nomad Clinic Treats Rohingya Refugees in Kathmandu

KATHMANDU, NEPAL. American Zen Peacemaker Roshi Joan Halifax and her team from Upaya Zen Center have been conducting their annual Nomad Clinic program in Kathmandu when a few days ago #Rohingya#refugees from #Myanmar started appearing at their medical camp with harrowing reports of violence over the border. Read below her report of bearing witness on the ground, the actions that arose and the Rohingya’s request to raise awareness.

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Everything Has To Do With Us: Roshi Collande Reflects on Bearing Witness at Auschwitz

HOLZKIRCHEN, GERMANY. This November, 2017, Zen Peacemakers are returning to the concentration camp site at Auschwitz for the twenty-second time. Read retreat Spirit Holder Cornelius V. Collande’s reflection on entering Auschwitz’s “big not knowing.”

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100,000 Fires to Feed: Roshi Michel Dubois’ Twenty years of Homelessness Ministry in Paris

PARIS, FRANCE. Roshi Michel Dubois, founder and teacher at Zen – A Way of the Heart center in Paris,  describes how spending a night among the homeless of Dusseldorf gave rise to a social enterprise serving its 100,000th meal this year to the homeless in Paris. Michel has engaged with bearing witness retreats for years, and his experience in Auschwitz, Bosnia-Herzegovina and with the Lakota on Turtle Island give a wider context to his ministry.

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Turning Towards Turners Falls: Local Collaboration Serves Underserved Families in Massachusetts USA

TURNERS FALLS, MASSACHUSETTS, USA. Massachusetts USA Zen Peacemakers joined the Montague Catholic Social Ministries group to provide relief for underprivileged families in the Turners Falls area.

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

MANZANAR, CALIFORNIA, USA. “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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No Pretension, Much Humor: Bernie’s Visit to Vassar College, April 2017

POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK STATE, USA. “Not once in his speech did Roshi Glassman use words like ‘consciousness,’ ‘freedom,’ or even ‘enlightenment,’…What he spoke repeatedly of was ‘taking action'” — Rick Jarow​, Professor of Religion/Asian Studies and Chairman of the Carolyn Grant Endowment Committee at Vassar College, hosted Bernie Glassman​ and reflects on his visit on campus.

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Bernie’s Recovery Fund

MONTAGUE, MASSACHUSETTS, USA. We are gathering funds for a $14,000 treatment developed by world-renowned neuroscientist Edward Taub at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Taub Therapy Clinic. Bernie has undergone one such treatment in October 2016 concentrating on his right leg. This treatment was instrumental in helping him travel and participate in the 2016 Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat. This next 2-week treatment will concentrate on his right arm, and this amount will cover the treatment, his travel and compensation for an accompanying caregiver. We thank all those who have contributed in the past and encourage all those who can contribute towards this next phase to do so again.

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Support Zen Peacemakers in 2017

Zen Peacemakers, inc., as founded by Bernie Glassman, is the home of engaged Buddhism based on the Three Tenets – Not Knowing, Bearing witness and Taking Action. With these three simple principles, Zen Peacemakers has borne witness and engaged today’s most challenging social issues. 2017 promises new global social, ecological and ultimately spiritual challenges. Zen Peacemakers is committed to engage them and we invite you to help.

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Pursuing Peace: Israeli Zen Peacemaker Reflects on Bridging Divides in Israel-Palestine

ISRAEL. At the beginning of March, Zen Peacemaker Order member Iris Katz presented at a full day workshop in Washington, DC as part of Save Israel-Stop the Occupation (SISO). In this post, Iris gives personal testimony about her role as an Israeli Jew in social movements to alleviate the suffering caused by the Israeli occupation. She discusses the complexities of patriotism, activism, community, and justice in an Israel Palestine context, and highlights the way of responsible Judaism as the vital work of bridging the deeply entrenched divides created by “us and them” frameworks.

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Rain, Thunder And Lightning Were All Present – Report from the Native American Bearing Witness Retreat in Fort Snelling MN USA, November 2016

ST PAUL, MINNESOTA, USA. Read this report from ZPO Member Laura Gentle Dragon Kennedy who co-organized a bearing witness retreat with the Native American Dakota in MN, bearing witness to the history of genocide there and its present day expression in the community and land.

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Street Retreats

Street Retreats are a unique offering rising from the Zen Peacemakers’ Three Tenets, and are now available in many locations around the world. Trained leaders support you and others in living on the streets for one, two or more days and nights, experiencing first hand interdependence through practicing Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action. While having nothing you will witness the bounty that is available and the unexpected ways it appears. Always with your group, you will mediate together, share in council, go on begging rounds, walk across town, checking in at a local soup kitchen etc.

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