Brazilian J.Ovidio Waldemar, M.D. is a long time member and contributor to the Zen Peacemakers.
He is an American trained Brazilian psychiatrist who has for the last 20 years been active in the Viazen, the Porto Alegre Zen Center. In this program, SENTE, Ovidio weaves his Zen Peacemaker practices of meditation, council practice and the Three-Tenets with his clinical psychotherapy experience to support the children and community of Porto Alegre in South Brazil. Watch theBelow is a full report of this program.
As many of you may know, back in January 12th 2016 Bernie has suffered a stroke. His recovery, according to his therapists, is nothing short of spectacular, other than the peculiar phenomenon that he sometimes, while speaking about his condition, forgets the word ‘stroke.’ He will pause, then recite an esoteric mantra revealed to him in the bardo of neuroscience blackout – ‘Bowling…? Strike..? Stroke.’ – and off he goes resuming his spiel. Watching him do that is like watching a dynamo engine winding itself up, only to release with great gusto. Once he returned home from rehabilitation, between therapies and espressos, Bernie began working on a new book and found great enthusiasm to share his post-stroke insights and current expression of Zen practice, which to him feels fresh and unconventional. “What else is new, right?” Bernie decided to share his process and study with all of us, for the first time, through periodic video internet calls (webinars). The webinar series will be open to all ZPO Member. If you are not a member yet this is the time to join this international community of spiritual practitioners and social activists and take part in this special opportunity to study with Bernie. >>CLICK HERE TO ENROLL AS A ZPO MEMBER<< >>If you are an enrolled ZPO Member, you may register to the webinar now and be notified once the dates become available. Click Here to Register<< Bernie is offering these teaching sessions free of charge. Any dana will appreciated and will support the Zen Peacemaker Order. No bowling experience or shoes...Learn More
The following report on the ongoing Zen Peacemakers peace-building efforts in Bosnia/Herzegovina is a glimpse into the ongoing development of our Bearing Witness program that includes Auschwitz/Birkanu, Poland, The Black Hills in Turtle Island/South Dakota, USA and Bosnia/Herzegovina. These are funded by donations and income from previous retreats (learn more here). They are planned, staffed and participated by many of our Zen Peacemaker Order members, who are actively pursuing social action causes around the world in ecology, human rights, refugee relief, hunger, homelessness, hospice, veteran support and prison outreach and others. To join the Zen Peacemaker Order and participate in world-wide community of spiritual practitioners and social activists, follow this link. “Coming Back to Ourselves: Notes on a Council Training Workshop in the Balkans” By Jared Seide, Center for Council, ZPO Three participants in last year’s Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreat to Auschwitz had come from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). They arrived in Poland with some trepidation about just what the plunge would be like. They left shaken and pretty raw. When Jozo and I met them this month in Sarajevo, they were eager and energized. “I’ve missed you guys so much,” Boris said, “and, seeing you here, I’m starting to realize what the trip to Auschwitz was really about and why I’ve been feeling so unsettled these past months.” Turning toward suffering can take many forms. As a practice, it can seem counterintuitive and, to be wholesome, it demands skillful means, deep fortitude and compassion. The suffering of the Bosnian people is deep and profound and the events of twenty years ago are still tender and uncomfortable. Even now, excruciating memories are triggered by certain sites, uncorked stories, even turns of phrase. Despite the notorious “Bosnian humor,” an off-color and surprising proclivity for diffusing tension with dark jokes, there seems to be a longing for a real encounter with our common experience of suffering. So much there has gone unaddressed, unrestored, unmet… and a deep and embodied experience of coming together to grieve, release, celebrate feels emergent. Or so we imagined, as we designed a 4-day Council Training with an assortment of peaceworkers engaged in the complex and challenging work of rebuilding. The Zen Peacemakers Order is deeply committed to building relationships and bearing...Learn More
Essay By Bernie Glassman Picture by Peter Cunningham I was just doing zen meditation and one day I had an experience in which I felt I lost my mind—and it terrified me. And out of that experience, what came up was I quit Zazen. I quit for a year. I was so terrified by what had happened. That night I had to keep the lights on in the house. I had no idea what was going on. And so I stayed away, and it could have been forever. That experience could have led me to stop doing Zazen forever. But, I had read a book called Three Pillars of Zen, which many of you might know. And a man, Yasutani Roshi, who appears in that book, and some of you are from the Sanbo Kyodan club, and that, was started by Yasutani Roshi. He’s my grandfather in the Dharma. My teacher studied under Yasutani. My teacher studied under three teachers, one of whom was Yasutani. So, Yasutani is one of my grandfathers. And I also studied under Yasutani, but that was later. What happened is I had been terrified. I had read many things about Zen. And then I saw, and I read the book Three Pillars of Zen. And then I saw an advertisement saying Yasutani Roshi was going to give a talk in Los Angeles. That’s where I was living. And so I went to the talk. And at that talk I met the translator—Yasutani Roshi did not speak English. His translator was a man name Maezumi, who then becomes my teacher. I went up to the translator, and I said, “Do you have [It turns out I had met the translator about four years before] a group?” And he says, “I just opened up a place.” And I started to study with him—every day. If that hadn’t happened, I probably would have never gone back to Zen, because of that experience. I had nobody to talk to about it. So, the result of that experience for me was the importance of having a teacher, which then got reinforced when I became my teacher’s right hand person in our Zen Center in Los Angeles. And many students would come who had no teacher, and had...Learn More
Please join us at Upaya Zen Center in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico, to study and practice with three of the leaders of socially engaged Buddhism in the United States: Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Joan Halifax, and Acharya Fleet Maull. August 12 – 14, 2011 Charnel Ground Practice and the Five Buddha Families with Acharya Fleet Maull, M.A and Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD The essential nature of a bodhisattva or a Buddha is that he or she embraces the enlightened qualities of the five Buddha families, which pervade every living being without exception, including ourselves. These enlightened qualities include discriminating awareness wisdom, mirror-like wisdom, all encompassing space, wisdom of equanimity, and all accomplishing wisdom. To achieve the realization of these five Buddha families or the five dhyana buddhas, it is necessary to meet and transform the five distributing emotions of great attachment, anger or agression, ignorance or bewilderment, pride and envy. We will not only explore the practice of transforming these disturbing emotions on our own path, but also explore the five Buddha families as tools for social organizing principles for engaged work. CEUs for counselors, therapists and social workers are available for this program. For more info and to register: http://www.upaya.org/programs/event.php?id=639 ______________ August 19 – 21, 2011 Bearing Witness to the Oneness of Life with Roshi Bernie Glassman and Roshi Joan Halifax The founder of the Zen Peacemakers, Zen Master Bernie Glassman, evolved from a traditional Zen Buddhist monastery-model practice to become a leading proponent of social engagement as spiritual practice. He is internationally recognized as a pioneer of Buddhism in the West and as a founder of Socially Engaged Buddhism and spiritually based Social Enterprise. He has proven to be one of the most creative forces in Western Buddhism, creating new paths, practices, liturgy and organizations to serve the people who fall between the cracks of society. In this workshop Bernie will trace his evolution from the dharma hall to blighted urban streets. He will share the practices and principles he has developed to teach service as spiritual practice and to create sustainable, major service projects, such as the Greyston Foundation in Yonkers, NY. He will share the insights, revelations, personalities and personal experiences that have influenced his life and development. He...Learn More
Three years ago I started Dana Wiki, a website to help Buddhist organizations get involved in social service. On Dana Wiki, you can learn how to start and lead a small volunteer group in your Buddhist center or meditation group; get information on different types of social service; read Buddhist reflections on social service; learn about Buddhist teachers and organizations that are involved in social service; and find places to volunteer. The best part is that Dana Wiki is a wiki, which means that anyone, anywhere can contribute to and edit it. Back in November I did an interview about Dana Wiki and American Buddhism in general with Rev. Danny Fisher for Shambhala SunSpace, “Dana Wiki and the Future of American Buddhism: Danny Fisher interviews Joshua Eaton.” I hope that Dana Wiki will become a hub where Buddhists involved in social service can share what’s working for them, get help with what isn’t, find material for Buddhist reflections on service, and connect with others. I also hope it will be a place where we can learn from religious traditions with a longer history in America about how to do more effective service work. Please join...Learn More
Please join us on Saturday, September 18, 7:00 pm, at Upaya Zen Center for a very special evening with Jami Sieber (electric cello/vocals) and Colleen Kelley (author, artist). “Hidden Sky” is a lush musical and visual journey into a world honoring the bond between human and elephant; a magical multi-media performance inspired by their remarkable experiences with elephants in northern Thailand. The evening is a benefit for the Buddhist Education for Social Transformation (BEST) program that is being created in northern Thailand at International Womens Partnership for Peace and Justice, in collaboration with Upaya’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Program. Jami and Colleen are generously offering this concert as a gift to the community and in support of the BEST program — no ticket is required and admission is free. We hope that you will respond generously at the concert with a donation to support scholarships and other expenses for the BEST program (minimum suggested donation is $25). Sign up...Learn More
From the Elephant Journal: The Princeton Review and U.S. Green Building Council have recognized Boulder’s own Naropa University as one of the greenest in the nation in their recent Guide to 286 Green Colleges. Through using electricity that is 100% wind powered and implementing an all-encompassing composting system, they are among a list of schools, also including four other Colorado schools, that are leading the nation in sustainable learning environments. Naropa also has an on-campus greenhouse that yields crops for both the campus’ cafe and landscaping and its sprinklers, unlike CU Boulder’s, only waters when needed. Another impressive part of Naropa’s program is their academic opportunity for green majors and minors in a wide variety of subjects ranging from sciences to agriculture to sacred ecology. Naropa’s full press release. The Elephant Journal is a great publication. Here is why we should support...Learn More
DETROIT STREET RETREAT SOCIAL ACTION THROUGH BEARING WITNESS May 13th – 16th, 2010 “When we go… to bear witness to life on the streets, we’re offering ourselves. Not blankets, not food, not clothes, just ourselves.” -Bernie Glassman, Bearing Witness We will live on the streets of Detroit, having to beg for money, find places to get food, shelter, to use the bathroom, etc. By bearing witness to homelessness, we begin to see our prejudices directly and to recognize our common humanness. We will stay together as a group and twice a day participate in meditation (in the Buddhist and Christian traditions) and sharing. The donation for the retreat is $250.00. All funds will be donated to Homeless Service agencies and to the non-profit forming to address systemic causes and find solutions to homelessness in Detroit. Registration and payment deadline is May 7, 2010. The retreat is limited to 12 participants on a first come, first served basis. Jeanie Murphy O’ Connor and DaeBulDo Stuart Smith will lead the retreat. To learn more about bearing witness to homelessness, read Bearing Witness by Bernie Glassman. If you have any questions or to register, please contact Jeanie or Ch’anna Lynda Smith at:...Learn More
Roshi Joan Halifax says “At Upaya Zen Center, we feel that our Facebook page, Ning sites, and Twitter sites, plus our blogs and free dharma podcasts, provide a powerful resource for our students, who come from all over the world.” Adding to the shift towards online teaching events and learning communities already taken by Buddhist magazines Tricycle and Shambhala Sun as well Zen Peacemaker affiliates like Upaya, the Peacemaker Institute and Prison Dharma Network, two other purely online Dharma media groups are elaborating web-based study initiatives as well. The Elephant Journal started as a magazine in Boulder, CO and eventually switched to a purely online format. It posted yesterday that it will initiate an online study of the Bhagavad Gita. They say the initial responses were positive. The second group is Buddhist Geeks. They started as a podcast by some (relativity) young practitioners and recently expanded to include an online magazine. Their e-newsletter today explained: “In the coming months, we’ll be hosting a number of online teaching events that will give Buddhist Geeks listeners direct contact with some of the teachers featured in our interviews. We’re also planning a meditation mentorship program to give practitioners the kind of access to teachers that’s normally only found on retreat.” As we prepare for the May issue of Bearing Witness on Socially Engaged Buiddhism online, I’ve grown optimistic about the power of online media to support Dharma study and practice. Isn’t part of the point for us to disidentify with our body and day-to-day persona anyway? I hold my face-to-face relationships as central, but have also grown to warmly feel connected to a global cybersangha. In terms of the power of online media to reduce suffering for everyone and achieve social change, my verdict is out. I found Zen Peacemakers online, so I feel like there is potential, but I still want to see more...Learn More
As Maia Duerr explains in the Jizo Chronicles, Upaya Zen Center’s Buddhist Chaplaincy Program just finished an intense 10-day period, graduating and ordaining their very first group of thirteen chaplains. We at the Zen Peacemakers are inspired to see these developments in the movement for Socially Engaged Buddhism.Learn More