Zen Peacemakers http://zenpeacemakers.org Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:06:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From War in Syria to Bearing Witness in Auschwitz http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/from-war-in-syria-to-bear-witness-in-auschwitz/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/from-war-in-syria-to-bear-witness-in-auschwitz/#respond Wed, 28 Sep 2016 13:27:53 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14380 roland-yaser-barbara-1-1

Story by Roshi Barbara Wegmüller, Switzerland, September 2016 My friend Rabia is an extremely courageous woman and I am happy to share my story of how we met. It was in 2006, only days before Beirut was bombed, and our friend Sami Awad from Bethlehem, Palestine, who is a Peacemaker, gave a talk against the […]]]>
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Story by Roshi Barbara Wegmüller, Switzerland, September 2016

My friend Rabia is an extremely courageous woman and I am happy to share my story of how we met.

It was in 2006, only days before Beirut was bombed, and our friend Sami Awad from Bethlehem, Palestine, who is a Peacemaker, gave a talk against the planned war in Lebanon. He was invited to speak at a big peace demonstration in Bern the capital of Switzerland. The square was packed with people and I waited for him at the edge of the crowd. Small children with dark curly hair were playing right next to me, their mothers urging them to keep quiet.

I was playing with the children and tried to have a conversation with the women. One of them spoke a little French and was desperately fumbling for words. She told me she had arrived in Berne the day before and I spontaneously handed her my business card saying that if she learnt to speak German we could communicate.

Ten months later my phone rang and a female voice said, “this is Rabia speaking, I have learnt German and would like to speak with you.“ I immediately knew who it was and we arranged to meet for coffee and that’s how our friendship began. Rabia is from Palestine and her parents fled from there with small children. They travelled a long way through distant countries, from Yemen to Syria. The war in Syria made life for the extended family unbearable and with the help of Peacemaker Switzerland we could arrange to evacuate many members of the family and get them out of the war zone.

We had the entire family stay with us for one week in our home. On the last evening Yazer told us his story. He had not eaten for 3 months, just some leaves to have something in his stomach. He had given his last ration of food to some hungry children. Yazer, the brother of Rabia, a young dentist arrived in Switzerland after a long ordeal and totally famished. What helped him to survive and safe his life was a film he had seen several years earlier by Steven Spielberg — “Schindler’s List“. In the film a few people had survived despite of incredible pain and hunger and this memory helped Yazer to hang on one day at a time.

My husband Roland and I were very touched and near to tears listening to the story of this young muslim who had gained strength from this unexpected film about suffering and which helped him survive.

Now Yazer and Rabia are joining us to bear witness at the next Auschwitz retreat. To bear witness for their own family history. We are grateful for your contributions in making this possible.

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Celebration of diversity has been a hallmark of the Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreats and in particular in Auschwitz-Birkenau, once a symbol of extreme intolerance towards others. Through the years the Zen Peacemakers hosted there countless nationalities, faiths and ethnicities. In 2015, our community collected donations to bring Lakota Native Americans, Croats, Bosniaks & Serbs, Palestinians and the indigenous of Australia.

Rabia And Yazer’s presence will connect the retreat and all its participants with the horrors of the present-day war in Syria and the excruciating difficulties encountered by those fleeing its shores. We are raising $5000 towards their retreat tuition, travel and lodging. Contribution in any amount will help us bring them there.

Thank you to all those who have already donated to bring Rabia and Yazer to Poland. We are still open for donations.

Donation can be done online with Paypal or credit card at the link below, US checks can be sent to: Zen Peacemakers ATTN: Auschwitz Diversity Fundraiser 2016 POBOX 294 Montague MA.

Zen Peacemakers, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization for your tax purposes.

 

 

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Bernie Glassman to Join 2016 Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz-Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/bernie-glassman-auschwitz-2016/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/bernie-glassman-auschwitz-2016/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2016 02:00:08 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14366 beraus1

Bernie Glassman, after eight months of post-stroke recovery, is determined to attend the upcoming retreat in Poland in October 2016. In two conversations, one at the video above and another at the written interview below, he explains his motivation.  Bernie: Since the stroke, I have been mainly focusing on getting my mind and body back in shape. Not […]]]>
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Bernie Glassman, after eight months of post-stroke recovery, is determined to attend the upcoming retreat in Poland in October 2016. In two conversations, one at the video above and another at the written interview below, he explains his motivation. 

Bernie: Since the stroke, I have been mainly focusing on getting my mind and body back in shape. Not too long ago, it struck me that as I am right now—in terms I can walk, I’m still with a cane—I’m ready not just focusing on getting myself better, I’m ready to look out.

And of course during this whole time I’ve had a lot of meditation, and a lot of space in which I could peer at things. But somehow the idea of Auschwitz came up, and I want to be there. I want to be there for the next retreat.

And what also came up is Marian. Everybody who goes to Auschwitz goes one night to see Marian’s work, and hear his story. And that’s been happening since pretty much the beginning. He died a few years ago. But people still get to see his work, and hear his story. But for me the importance of his story—and it is amazing, I loved the man, amazing person . . . But what struck me, I think from the first time I met him—which I believe was the second retreat that we met him—was that I noticed that he wasn’t showing anger, or hatred. And he said, “How can you hate anybody? I have not hatred for any of the Capos, or Nazis. I don’t have hate for anybody.”

Now for most people—and you have to remember that that’s why I started the Auschwitz Retreat, to learn how we can live with others without hate, without anger. Here was a man living that way. I hadn’t met people doing that. Everybody has somebody that they hate, they dislike. And in my relationship with him, he never showed me that side.

So it was very important for me. And then he died. And a couple of years have passed. And I went through my stroke to remember this path that he had started in Auschwitz started fifty years after he was released from Auschwitz. And it was started because of a stroke that he had. And a stroke brought him back to Auschwitz where he, in using his words, “drew his bearing witness to those years.” And out of that bearing witness we see the horror that we see. He did not have any hate out of it.

OK, so many years, twenty-five years have passed since I wanted to do this retreat. And what’s so important for me again, is the idea of how do we treat others. And I feel that my going back—and I want to go back to Auschwitz—one of the important things that I want to do is continue the work of Marian.

The idea of having a retreat to help us realize how hard it is to honor everyone, how we have so many hatreds that linger. But after the first retreat I met a man who was living that.

So my going back now is to continue his legacy. Maybe we could say it’s to continue the legacy of Marian and of Bernie, the both of us.

Rami: So I hear you relate to Marian, and the story of his stroke, and what the stroke made available to him. What do you see now in common, that you have with Marian?

Bernie: The ability to not hate. It’s that simple. If you look at it, it’s completely different lives and trajectories. But the one thing we share I think is the ability to not hate. I certainly felt that in him. And I feel that in me. And it’s pretty rare.

It’s interesting, so many people told me—including the varied occupational therapists, the physical therapists—mentioned to me that they haven’t heard me blaming someone for the stroke, hating what’s . . . Yeah, it’s the same thing.

What’s the point of blaming, and criticizing? And look at what it does to the life of the people. They get so caught up with hatred and anger; instead of accepting what is . . . It’s such a simple story.

For me, Zen preaches the same thing—being here, now. If I take away all the past, and all those things—where is the anger? I’m here, now. And so the question now is, what do we do? What do I do now? It’s not who do I blame? That’s not the question. The question is what do we do now? That’s where we start. Here it’s a clean slate.

Rami: So what is there?

Bernie: For me, at this point, that word is love. There’s something the stroke is doing to me – feelings and emotions are vivid to me.  You could see the love Marian had for his wife. I did not know him before the stroke. I’m curious if this all grew out of his stroke the same it did from mine, or was this part of who he was before? In my sense a lot has to be from the stroke because he hid for fifty years the fact that he was at Auschwitz. If he was open and free, he wouldn’t have to be hiding it that time. So he was trying to be away from that. And I didn’t know then— but I know ‘post-stroke’ because I feel more.

So if you’re thinking about coming to Auschwitz, please come. And I would like to address you all at the opening evening. And then based on how much energy I have I’ll meet you on the following days.

 

Interview Transcribed by Scott Harris

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When An Elder Speaks : Impressions from Standing Rock http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/when-an-elder-speaks-impressions-from-standing-rock/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/when-an-elder-speaks-impressions-from-standing-rock/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 20:41:08 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14345 12322934_10157389237795526_6327280281458426358_o

  This September 2016, Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders, abbott of  Sweetwater Zen Center, San Diego USA and member of the Zen Peacemaker Order, visited Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Turtle Island (USA), the location of the ongoing historic stand taken by many nations of Native Americans in response to construction of pipeline on reservation land. This is […]]]>
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This September 2016, Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders, abbott of  Sweetwater Zen Center, San Diego USA and member of the Zen Peacemaker Order, visited Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Turtle Island (USA), the location of the ongoing historic stand taken by many nations of Native Americans in response to construction of pipeline on reservation land. This is her report.

 

“When An Elder Speaks: Impressions from Standing Rock”

By Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders

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Seisen and a local artist

My friend and dharma sister Debra Shiin Coffey dropped everything to join me. Her husband is native (of the three affiliated tribes) and they live close to Standing Rock. We ended up talking past midnight. She shared about the suffering of her husband’s ancestors and about her own spiritual growth through native tradition. Her Mother-in-law and family were flooded out of their ancestral home because of a dam in 1951. To this day they are treated with racism and cruelty by the non-native people in North Dakota. On the other hand her life is so rich due to the deep spiritual tradition of her husband’s people.

When we first arrived at the camp we were interviewed by a young non-native who had brought her camera equipment from Arizona to ask people why they were there. She was taken with Deb’s laugh and just had to interview us as elders. I said “I am here because I think this is the most important thing happening on the planet right now”. Deb talked about the beauty of the native way. “When a child is sick, Mom stays home from work to take care of the child. Mom is willing to put her job in jeopardy to care for her child because, for the natives, family is the first priority”

After Debra left I was sitting with folks around the kitchen area. There were a group of young non-native activists sitting around the fire laughing etc and a native elder who was also sitting there started to talk. The others kept talking. From across the area comes a loud voice “when an elder speaks you listen. You will learn something.” The youngsters listened and afterwards were deeply grateful for the teaching.

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Susan and Debra

We had a beautiful and long prayer before the meal that was completely from the heart and so inspiring. Then someone said “now first the elders eat. Let the elders go first from respect” An elder woman came up to me and said “You go eat now” I said (not being hungry, being vegan and feeling more like watching than participating) “no thank you” she said a little louder “you come eat now” so I followed her to the head of the line (a couple non-natives said “o do you want to eat first?” and she said “yes”) Afterwards I talked to her and she said, ”you have to eat with everyone to be part of the community—to fit in.” I thanked her so much for her teaching. Then I found out that she and her son had taken the bus from Denver to protect the water. She is hoping to live in one of the places there are for old people since she is originally from North Dakota. When she said that she smiled for the first time. Then she asked me to take her to Bismarck the next day. I was heading out the other way but there was a part of me that wanted to stay and follow her around and learn from her for a long time.

There was an action that day. The Red Warrior Camp is a few miles from where the pipeline is halted and where the action occurs. The folks who were out there that day who were not arrested appeared and got in line for dinner. Then I got the sense of the bravery and courage of the warriors. And also the sense of the camp as support for them and also a training ground for us to learn about respect and appropriateness.

SO many other encounters, the two white women from California decked out in beads and turquoise (cultural appropriation anyone?) who were so sweet and so genuine. The white woman who was cooking and told me she drove here and immediately started cooking (she seemed to have moved up to a top organizational position in the kitchen right away). Her back hurt from sleeping in the car and she was cold. “O Mama” I said “you are still giving everything for the struggle” Hugs and tears and stern admonition that she get a good warm place to sleep. And the horses, some doggy kisses, a calf who was very interested in me but Mama said no to that.

This is the most deeply spiritual place I have ever encountered. There were incredibly powerful people just walking around. The feeling of the place is so peaceful and yet two miles away some young people were jailed for standing in the way of the bulldozers that are harming our earth and our water.

A medicine man allowed me to connect with the eagle that is his medicine stick. I think it was a real eagle head. Once I looked at him (the eagle) I started bowing from the waist and almost couldn’t stop. I cannot express how powerful it was to connect with that eagle. The medicine man just said “don’t touch him!” and then turned his back and chewed on some jerky and allowed that connection. So grateful.

14352352_10157389238460526_5681561497239637215_oI am so grateful for Debra for everything she shared with me and to all of the people who are involved with Standing Rock and saving the earth. I am so grateful to the native people for their teaching.

As I was leaving I was one of a few cars on the two-lane road, headed towards Standing Rock were car after car. I said to myself “this has been the best day of my life.” At a convenience store, I encountered an older cowboy who reminded me of my people (who worked for the railroad and homesteaded in the Dakotas). With the native clerk looking on with amusement, we had a conversation about what was going on at Standing Rock.

Cowboy “you’re the second car from California I saw today, that’s so rare” me “we’re participating at Standing Rock” him “I just don’t get that. We need the pipeline for the oil” me “we have to stop our dependence on fossil fuels, the planet is dying” him – long conversation about his idea about how to make a pipeline that won’t leak. Me “eventually pipes leak” him “what am I going to do with all this corn I planted” I think both the clerk and I were impressed by his genuine desire to understand the issues and a realization of the hardship that divesting ourselves of fossil fuels is.

This is such a small slice of being at Standing Rock. I went to Bear Witness and to pray. As I expected, I received way more than I gave. My vow was to take the peace and harmony and deep spirituality of Standing Rock with me along with a stronger vow to fight for the health of the planet.

 

                                                                                 — Seisen

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Diversity Fundraiser, Auschwitz 2016 http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/celebration-of-diversity-fundraiser-auschwitz-2016/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/09/celebration-of-diversity-fundraiser-auschwitz-2016/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:34:03 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14323 file_007

  Celebration of diversity has been a hallmark of the Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreats and in particular in Auschwitz-Birkenau, once a symbol of extreme intolerance towards others. Through the years the Zen Peacemakers hosted there countless nationalities, faith and ethnicities. In 2015, our large community collected donations to bring Lakota Native Americans, Croats, Bosniaks & […]]]>
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Celebration of diversity has been a hallmark of the Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness Retreats and in particular in Auschwitz-Birkenau, once a symbol of extreme intolerance towards others. Through the years the Zen Peacemakers hosted there countless nationalities, faith and ethnicities. In 2015, our large community collected donations to bring Lakota Native Americans, Croats, Bosniaks & Serbs, the indigenous of Australia and Palestine.

Barbara and Roland Wegmueller of the Zen Peacemaker Order have been working with Syrian refugees for several years. Two of their friends, a brother and sister who had to flee Syria and are currently in asylum in Switzerland, would like to join the retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau this year. Their presence will connect the retreat and all its participants with the horrors of the present-day war in Syria and the excruciating difficulties encountered by those fleeing its shores. We are raising $5000 towards their retreat tuition, travel and lodging. Contribution in any amount will help us bring them there.

Donation can be done online with Paypal or credit card at the link below, US checks can be sent to: Zen Peacemakers ATTN: Auschwitz Diversity Fundraiser 2016 POBOX 294 Montague MA.

Zen Peacemakers, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization for your tax purposes.

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Flowers on the Edges of Graves: Greg http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/flowers-on-the-edges-of-graves-greg/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/flowers-on-the-edges-of-graves-greg/#respond Tue, 30 Aug 2016 14:36:01 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=13961 1397736_679970188710271_947401727_o

 This post is another in the series “Flowers on the Edges of Graves” –
reflections from 20 years of participants in the Zen Peacemakers
Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreats since 1996.

 

By Greg Rice, USA

 

This last November I quit fishing early to attend the annual Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz, Poland. After an all-day flight, I arrived at the hotel in Kraków after dark, tired and unsure of what I was doing there. Within minutes I was invited to dinner with a group of other participants.

I felt welcomed in as part of this retreat immediately, and my doubts vanished… In the big changing room of the “sauna” was a display of thousands of photos collected by the guards as they stripped the prisoners of their lives. Sitting in that room, we sang a simple song, the first line of which was “how could anyone ever tell you, you are anything less than beautiful”.

We all sang, in this dreadful room, first looking each other in the eyes, then at the beautiful pictures of happy children, of lovers, of grandmothers. Pictures taken in a time in their lives when they were happy, a time in their lives like this time in ours. And then they experienced what no living being should ever experience. It broke my heart, walking slowly through these walls of photos, singing “how could anyone see you as anything less than beautiful.” How could they? One day, as we stood in a circle around the blown-up remains of Crematorium chamber IV, we all read the Kaddish in our native tongue. It was read in at least eight different languages. At the end, Reb Shir blew on the Shofar – the ram’s horn. It was the first time I had ever heard it. The sound brought tears to my eyes. It seemed a strong and ancient call to the world, to the ashes, to all that keeps us separate. It was a voice saying we are still here, we will always be here, all of us. It was the sound of perseverance and inclusiveness. To me, a secular guy, the sound of that Shofar was Holy.

There is a teaching that says, if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill the Buddha. What needs to be killed is the sense of truth, of knowing, the root of this separateness that keeps us apart. It seems almost impossible to consider the Nazis who committed these crimes as just like us, as of our tribe. Yet if we can’t, we are living the same exclusionary view (…)

This is an excerpt and appears in full in the book “AschePerlen – Pearls of Ash & Awe. 20 Years of Bearing Witness in Auschwitz with Bernie Glassman & Zen Peacemakers” (2015) Edited by Kathleen Battke, Ginni Stern, and Andrzej Krajewski, in German and English. Printed copies or e-book available at: https://janando.de/steinrich/en

 

 

 

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ENLARGING THE SCOPE, PART 2: DIG INTO COMPLEXITY http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/enlarging-the-scope-part-2-dig-into-complexity/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/enlarging-the-scope-part-2-dig-into-complexity/#comments Tue, 23 Aug 2016 17:27:40 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14256 IMG_2991

 

Preface: As we are gearing towards the 21st Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness retreat, Bernie requested to bring to view his questions, intentions and themes that were shaped by twenty years of co-leading these retreats in Poland, Rwanda and the Black Hills. The narrative of events that led to the first retreat is described in the article “Bernie’s Training: Bearing Witness”. Part 1 of this interview is available here. Below is part 2 of this interview.

 

Rami: I heard you say once that you have a vision of what Bearing Witness retreats are and that while both the Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness retreats in Rwanda  2014 and in the Black Hills 2015 were successful in their own way, they both differed from that vision. Can you say more about that?

Bernie: In Rwanda, we had mostly two sides, the Hutu and the Tutsis. We had some Europeans of course, but it was all about Rwanda. No Congo, no others… We did have this guy—you heard about the guy that was a paramilitary guy that came to a retreat. Twenty years before, when the genocide in Rwanda was happening, he was sent with a battalion (I think it was 600 Belgian) to rescue the local Rwandans that were surrounded in a coliseum by militia. He was sent with orders to stop what was going on. He commanded armed soldiers, they could have stopped what was happening. When their planes landed, he got a message from Belgium headquarters saying, “Forget it. Rescue whatever Europeans you can. Go there, get them out, and leave.” And that’s what he did. For the twenty years he hadn’t told that story to anyone. Not to his wife—his marriage was on the verge of breaking up. It was killing him. At our retreat, 20 year later, he broke that story. Now that’s a bearing witness kind of thing. I tried to get more people like that. We couldn’t. So if I had any remorse, it was that I wasn’t able to get enough different kinds. It was just a few people.

0328_black_hills_pcWe had a woman who’s arm was chopped off, and we had the guy who cut her arm off there. But it wasn’t broad enough for me. I wanted—because I know the Europeans have a heavy burden in what happened there, and we did not have enough Europeans to spell that out.

You could focus on what the Hutu  did to the Tutsis or vice-versa, but there’s that whole history of how this goes on. That’s what I was trying to bring out. Well it’s not so simple, you know. You start looking at who you’re blaming. It’s like in Israel, you dig down and say oh, this is what it looked like in there. And these people were in charge, and these people were killed in their villages. And you dig a little deeper, and you know.

Part of my thing is wanting to show that things are not so simple as you think. And then the Jews wind up talking about how bad ‘these people’ are. Come on man, go back a little. Why did that happen? What went on? They were all caught up in what the thing is, which was enough for them. For me, it was never enough—just to see the one-sided view, or the two-sided view . . .

Rami: And that goes back to that point that you were trying to make about Auschwitz—that it’s not just about Jews, or just about Gypsies. So I’m really hearing from you that there’s a sense of expanding the scope. There’s something very vast, very wide around it.

Bernie: Yeah.

Rami: And I heard you say about that Belgian trooper, you said that he told the story after twenty years, for the first time. And you said, “that’s the kind of bearing witness.” Can you say more? What do you mean by that? “That’s the kind of bearing witness.”

Bernie: Well, first of all, he kept that inside him—what the Belgian government did. The Belgian government told him, “You can’t do that.” The Belgian government set up this goddamned war between these people. But it wasn’t all Belgian, it was Dutch, the French had huge play. If you go far back the Hutus and Tutsis were one knot. But the Europeans created this hatred among them.

IMG_3579 copySo we allowed something to come out. I met him a year later at Frank’s place. He came to Frank’s. And he told me, he tells his wife the story after twenty years. He couldn’t tell anybody. The same kind of thing we heard about the Holocaust. People couldn’t tell what went on. They couldn’t tell. Then twenty years later he tells the story. And now he’s free to tell his wife. His whole life changed.

So it’s a case of what happens—in all of these cases where people are allowed to tell, to bear witness to what went on, and it changes their surroundings. It did not happen years ago. In the past, they didn’t do bearing witness. They just did blaming, or grief. They didn’t go through a bearing witness kind of . . . not just the people—the country. In the country there was no bearing witness. . . .
That was my feeling – to start asking where can I create these venues where you bring more than one voice? How many voices can you bring? Because all of these things are not one voice. Or two voices, more and more, we can’t comprehend, as it gets too big. But that’s what I was trying to do, you know. We keep doing that, and not that many people could understand where I was coming from.

But it doesn’t matter. It’s a bearing witness, whatever you do is a big enough story that it’s really . . . It was a big enough step away from just bearing witness to myself, like in Shikantaza [a form of Zen Meditation], it opened up, and opened up. I’ve always felt that you can go and go and go.

So people now, they call something a Bearing Witness Retreat—I don’t know if I would call it that. They call it, because that’s the genre. But they don’t even think the way I think about what it means. It doesn’t matter. They think about it the way they think about it, and it’s enough. But to leap from doing something as a Sesshin on your own in your own zendo to something that involves another person—that’s a big leap, to try to make it bigger, and bigger.

IMG_4165 copyRami: What is the essence of what Zen Peacemakers, and what you are trying to do in Bearing Witness retreats? how is that different from a Plunge? I was recently asked about the ZPO members-led plunge in Cheyenne River Reservation, if what we did in there was a Bearing Witness Retreat. We have these different containers and I find it important to clarify what each means – so my opinion is that it was fulfilling a different container, it was a terrific example of a ‘Plunge’ — entering a new situation with not knowing, with no agenda — hopefully we will see more of these plunges. I wonder if what you mean in a ‘Bearing Witness Retreat’ is that is it’s beyond going to a place and being with it. Because that’s a lot of what I hear people say. “Let’s go to the river to Bear Witness.” What I heard from you now is that in these retreats we are proactively expanding our view of how big is the narrative. There’s no end to the complexity of those things. And how can we involve more and more aspects, and hear more voices and stories that illustrate that complexity?

Bernie: Yeah, that’s my feeling.

 

 

This interview with Roshi Bernie Glassman was conducted in Montague, MA USA in June 2016 by Rami Efal, executive director of Zen Peacemakers Inc. It was transcribed by Scott Harris. Photographs from Rwanda by Aleksandra Kwiatkowska, song ‘In the Center’, in Rwanda video (above) by Morley. Photographs from the Black Hills by Peter Cunningham

 

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ZPO Member Initiates a Self-led MN Native American Bearing Witness Retreat http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/bwminnesota/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/bwminnesota/#respond Mon, 22 Aug 2016 19:41:50 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14205 cloudsinwater

PREFACE:The following invitation is to a ZPO members-led retreat organized in the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers’ Three Tenets of Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action. Zen Peacemakers, Inc. supports but does not administer the retreat. Please follow the instructions below to contact the organizers. This event is another expression of the building momentum between the […]]]>
cloudsinwater

cloudsinwater

PREFACE:The following invitation is to a ZPO members-led retreat organized in the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers’ Three Tenets of Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Taking Action. Zen Peacemakers, Inc. supports but does not administer the retreat. Please follow the instructions below to contact the organizers.
This event is another expression of the building momentum between the Native American of Turtle Island and the Zen Peacemakers, following the 2015 Zen Peacemakers Bearing Witness retreat in the Black Hills and 2016 ZPO Members-led plunge in Cheyenne River reservation this past July.

The retreat’s page on Facebook 

Clouds in Water Zen Center Registration page 

Article by ZPO Member Laura Gentle Dragon Kennedy, Clouds in Water Zen Center, Minnesota

Gentle Dragon Laura Kennedy

Gentle Dragon Laura Kennedy

This Bearing Witness retreat began over 15 years ago. As many processes in life what I thought would take place and what is actually unfolding are different. About 15 years ago I read Bernie Glassman Roshi’s book “Bearing Witness.” There was an immediate resonance with Roshi’s teachings. Practicing meditation for years and working with people who appeared on the edges of life, Bernie Roshi expressed engaged Buddhism for me. I have always felt a deep connection to Beings who intersect with suffering and resilience. Direct experience combined with training in spiritual practices and formal education supports having a chance to help. I understood genocide and resilience was everywhere. After reading, “Bearing Witness”, I decided to meet Fleet Maull, Bernie Roshi and coordinate a Bearing Witness retreat at Wounded Knee.

This was not to happen until many years later. In 2012, I participated in a workshop with Fleet Maull at Upaya and asked him if he would come to Clouds in Water Zen Center and share his teachings with us. This was a direct bloom of my bodhisattva vow. In 2014, I went to Upaya again, this time to see Bernie Roshi. I explained my dream of a Bearing Witness retreat at Wounded Knee. Bernie Roshi said, Zen Peacemakers Inc. was already coordinating this retreat in August of 2015 and I could come at that time.

Jim Bear pulpit

Jim Bear Jacobs

I went to the Black Hills and it was clear — the retreat was to be where I lived. In Minnesota there was was a concentration camp for 1700 Grandmothers, mothers, children and elders in the winter of 1862 and 1863 at Fort Snelling. Minnesota’s legacy of genocide is embodied at Fort Snelling. As a non-native person, I am a guest on the Land of the Dakota. As a guest, I have a responsibility to this host, to honor and remember those who died at that concentration camp with dignity. The process of visioning a Bearing Witness retreat, that began 15 years ago has come to fruition. The spirits of Wounded Knee, Auschwitz/Birkenau and the streets live within me. I have directly experienced the expression of love and compassion from Zen Peacemakers participants and these places. I was sustained by the sacred fire and beings in the Black Hills while listening to stories of genocide and resilience. At Auschwitz/Birkenau, which I attend with the Zen Peacemakers in 2015, I was sobbing with agony, overwhelmed with grief in the children’s barrack at Birkenau, and an angel held me in the form of a human. On the street retreat in SF, a noble one would stand guard, so I could take care of my bio needs at 5 am. My heart has been blown wide open for all beings through these loving actions arising from the boundless ocean of compassion. How could I not share this deep love offered to me freely? We are one in this liberation.

Clouds in Water Zen Center has collaborated with many faiths and organizations to sponsor this The Bearing Witness to Native Peoples in Minnesota retreat. There have been many people who have put tremendous energy and life force into this process to bring this offering forward, and its my expression of Bernie Roshi’s teachings. I am honored to be a member of ZPO and a priest at Clouds in Water Zen Center. I invite you to join this Bearing Witness retreat at Fort Snelling, Pilot Knob and Cold Water Springs. These places will be our teachers from November 17-19, 2016. Native Peoples will lead us in Ceremony at each place. We will bear witness to the genocide and resilience of Dakota people. We appreciate and are grateful for the support from the Zen Peacemaker Order.

More of the organizers:

Bob Klanderud

Bob Klanderud

2009-12-31 23.00.00-82

Ken Ford

Ramona Kitto Stately

Ramona Kitto Stately

Scott Russell

Scott Russell

The retreat’s page on Facebook 

Clouds in Water Zen Center Registration page 

The Mississippi in Minnesota

The Mississippi in Minnesota

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ENLARGING THE SCOPE, PART 1: START WITH THE LIVING http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/enlarging-the-scope-part-1-start-with-the-living/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/enlarging-the-scope-part-1-start-with-the-living/#comments Fri, 19 Aug 2016 18:18:00 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=14191 IMG_7648x copy

 

ENLARGING THE SCOPE, PART 1: START WITH THE LIVING

Interview with Roshi Bernie Glassman, Conducted in Montague, MA USA in June 2016

Transcribed by Scott Harris

Preface: As we are gearing towards the 21st Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness retreat, Bernie requested to bring to view his questions, intentions and themes that were shaped by twenty years of co-leading these retreats in Poland, Rwanda and the Black Hills. The narrative of events that led to the first retreat is described in the article “Bernie’s Training: Bearing Witness”. Below is part 1 of this interview. Part 2 will follow.

 

BERNIE:  So, I just want to talk and lay out the history of the retreat in Auschwitz. When I entered Birkenau the first time, I was overwhelmed by the sense of souls. And at that time I called it a remembrance of souls. In English it’s an interesting word—remembrance or re-membering, putting together of souls. Now, I did not fix a label on the souls. If you think of it—and I didn’t think of it at the time, at the time I just thought I was remembering souls. But there were so many souls there. Definitely it wasn’t just Jewish souls. There’s Poles, and Gypsies—so many different souls. So at this time, that’s a feeling I had, and I didn’t know what that meant, for remembrance of souls. At that time I didn’t go deeper into “what does this all mean?” I was just overwhelmed by remembrance of souls. And I decided I need to sit here until that becomes clear—perhaps as I’d done before. And I felt I had to do it here. I had to sit until I had that experience that cleared it up for me in some way. I had to go deeper.

Birkenau anniversary 2000
I don’t know when I decided that I would invite other people to join me in that. It was either then, or on the plane going home with Eve—I don’t remember now, things get a little mixed up. But by the time I got home I decided that I was going to invite people to join me, and that it would not be a Jewish retreat. That it would be a retreat honoring all those souls that had been desecrated. And so therefore I spent a year and a half inviting—before we opened it up to people—I first invited certain people to the retreat. And by inviting, it meant that I was going to pay for them.

So there were certain people I invited. And I tried to invite as many leaders of different faiths — The first retreat we probably had about eight, nine different faiths represented — and probably had twenty countries. And because I gave a lot of scholarships (because certain people didn’t have money, but I wanted them there), we raised money for that first retreat. And it was a very important retreat for me. I thought it was going to be one retreat. That’s it. At the retreat we, Eve Marko, Andrzej Krajewski and I, decided that it had to go on.

I tried different things to make the theme be how we treat others. And most people who came were fixated on one group who treated another group badly. They couldn’t generalize. Whether it was the Palestinians being treated badly by the Jews, whether it was the Jews being treated badly by the Germans—and at Auschwitz there were so many groups that were treated badly. And it went on and on, because the seeds of hate and being mistreated . . . and very tenacious, and keep happening. So even though I tried to make that a theme, and bring people that even now are still mistreating each other, or hating each other, I try to make that the theme—to deal with that. It was very difficult to do that. So it’s a theme that goes on and on. I don’t think it’s the whole retreat. But every time you choose a place to do it—of course I chose Auschwitz as the site for this. Obviously a lot of Jewish people came, and they felt that this was their retreat, they owned it.

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Later on we did some other retreats at some other places. I still have difficulties to separate the place from how we treat each other. In Rwanda, we couldn’t just separate that. It was hard to, even when we had Belgians and other people who were quite affected. We couldn’t separate. And then when we did it with the Lakota, you couldn’t separate it and talk in general. The Lakota live there; it had to be about them. As humans we tend to feel that we’re the only ones being treated this way. It’s very hard to make the space of our work large.

I decided to make these retreats, and I went to my old, dear friend, who has passed away, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. And I told him about my thoughts. This is about twenty-five years ago—he had just had cancer. And we all thought he was going to die. But he didn’t, he waited ten, twenty-five years to die. I went to him, and talked about my ideas, and asked how does he feel about it. I was hoping he wasn’t going to say ‘this is for the Jewish people’. He didn’t do that; he’s a much larger person. He said to me he felt it was very important, to do what I’m doing, and that he would have done it by now if he hadn’t had this cancer. And he would go if he didn’t have this cancer. So he said, “Please do it.” And he said, “but one thing, start with the living.”

Ola and KenaiI take that “start with the living” in two ways. How did the people live before this atrocity, or whatever it is, happened to them? Now for example, if we take the Lakota. Before their holocaust they lived in encampments, in the woods. Afterwards they lived in reservations. And it goes on and on. There’s always a before and after.

So there, we were doing it at Auschwitz, we tried to look at the ‘before’. We started off in Krakow, and particular, in Kazimierz, where almost all the Jews were killed. So we started there.

And we talked off an on through the years how this was progressing. The first thing I did was I tried to find some Polish person, living in Poland that would work with me in how to set this up, how to organize. I was lucky; Andrzej Krajewski was the ideal person. He had been in the underground, part of the solidarity movement in Poland. He was also a Zen student, like me. And because he was a Zen student, when he heard what I wanted to do, he says, “Oh, I can help you, create a Sesshin [a meditation intensive retreat in the Zen lineages].” I had no thought of creating a Sesshin. He got that pretty soon… Of course we talked a lot, for a year and a half before it happened. But even a year and a half later, the Polish people who came expected a Sesshin. So they were all surprised.

But in my mind, Andre was perfect. His father was a Catholic intellectual, killed at Auschwitz. His mother was a Jewish intellectual who escaped the Holocaust by fleeing from farm to farm in Poland, carrying this young boy and hiding him. Then of course, after the war he hid the fact that he had a Jewish mother, so that he would not be beat up by the anti-semitics. But eventually, as a youngster he was assaulted by his friends, and beaten up. They’d call him, “Dirty Kike.” And he’d run home, and say to his mother, “What’s going on here?” And she says, “Well, it is true. I hid this from you because of how people treat people.”

So this becomes another big theme for me on this retreat. So first, how we treat each other; The second—how our life gets formed by the fears we have. And for me a natural component were that there were people that waited ten years before they could come to the retreat. That is, they wanted to go, but they were afraid to. And it took them ten years to just get there.

There was a woman who had a stone for somebody who died in Auschwitz – she gave it to a man named Heinz Jurgen Metzger, a beautiful man, and she told him she tried to get that stone to Auschwitz three times. First she couldn’t get a ticket. Second time, she got to Poland, and had to turn back. Third time she got to Auschwitz, and then had to turn back. She couldn’t go, out of fear. So she gave it to him so he could do it, and then she could visit. So the notion of fear became an important one for me. How do you work with that, in terms of this retreat?

So, time goes on. I think it was either the first or the second retreat—we had a man that was at the retreat with his wife. He had been at Auschwitz. He was Catholic. He had been at Auschwitz for the whole time of the concentration camp, and until the release when there was a final march at the release. But he was there the whole time. He went through horrible things. He was an artist. After the war he became Poland’s leading set designer. For fifty years he never told anybody that he was at Auschwitz.

1654888_890293597677928_2631826398672677512_oHe had a stroke. And as part of his recovery he started to draw his remembrances. He called them his bearing witness. Amazing drawings. And I had a lot of time to talk to this man. And the thing that struck me the most is that with all that he went through, what he shared was the experience of love—not of any hatred of any kind towards anybody, the Nazis, the Kapos.

Now just a sideline—on that first retreat we asked people to read the text of a book by Yehiel De-Nur, known by his pen-name Katzetnik, which means a person of a concentration camp. The book is called Shiviti. That book was out of print when our retreat happened. I thought it was such a powerful book that I thought that we should publish it. So we had it at the first retreat. The guy had been living homeless in Tel Aviv for quite a while, but now had an apartment. But he was in hiding. He didn’t deal with people. He said he wanted the title to be “I Could Have been the SS” And the publisher wouldn’t do it. They said, “It’s too much. We can’t publish it with that name.” They didn’t let him do it, but that’s what he wanted

Question: You spoke about Auschwitz not being a retreat as a response to one thing, for the Jews, about the Holocaust, for example. You spoke about a larger context of how we treat others. You also spoke about the very individual and personal stories of people’s fears. What would you say to those who are challenged by holding both aspects at the same time? The personal and the universal?

Bernie: So I would love for people to be able to come away from this seeing how we treat others. We have so much hate in us, so much bile. And I’m going to get to some stories, which illustrate that. I don’t expect anybody to change their opinions.

One story which is amazing for me—one person came to many of these retreats, hearing me say these words each time—the retreat before last, she told me, “Bernie, you’re wrong. It’s not about all that. It’s about the way the Germans treated the Jews. That’s what this retreat is.” She couldn’t change. But you can’t say I’m wrong. I feel that. If you feel different, you feel different. I don’t expect everybody to feel how I feel. And so to see some of these holocausts, and to universalize it is not easy. We get pulled down to our own thing, which is so big. I know that. But that doesn’t mean I can’t try. So in all those years I kept looking for things that can enlarge the scope. And little by little some things happened. But it was always difficult.

I’m going to go back to the first retreat. A man, a German stood up and talked about something in his life. He had an uncle that was his favorite uncle. And whenever the family all got together, everybody ignored this uncle. He loved this uncle. But everybody ignored this uncle. And he found out a few years before this retreat (his first retreat) that his uncle had been an S.S. officer, and sent to Auschwitz to work. And when he saw what was done at the camp, he rebelled. He said, “I can’t be part of this.” And they castrated him because he acted like that. And they kicked him out of the S.S.

1399270_689175164456440_1658429984_oNow this fellow was quite a liberal, so in a sense that should have made his uncle a hero. For him it should have made his uncle a hero. But his family—whom he loved also—ignored this uncle. And he had to live with that dichotomy. How could they for all these years ignore his uncle who stood up for what he thought was right?

And then later on, the same fellow suggested that at the Auschwitz retreat we chant every day the names of the people who died there. And we actually added on the people who might be relatives. And he said, “I suggest that we also chant for the names of the people who worked there. They’ve gone through as much hell as anybody else.“

Out of a hundred people at the retreat, about half of them threatened to leave the retreat. “We can not open our hearts to that extent.” I was talking about how we treat others throughout the whole universe. Here we’re being asked to open our hearts to those who served pain . . . But half the people could not open, and said if we did such a thing, they were leaving.

Question: What do you think, why did they resist?

Bernie: That we should include those people in our thoughts for remembrance.

Question: But why not include them?

Bernie: Why not? Because they couldn’t help it. They couldn’t tolerate it. The hate was so huge. I wasn’t at that retreat. I came home, and heard about it first from Andrzej, this Polish man—but then from many people. And of course they didn’t chant those names, because the retreat would have ended.

So I decided that the next retreat, I would be there and that the theme of that retreat would be what that guy brought up—opening our retreat to the perpetrators, whatever they’re called. And that became the theme in the morning council. But in the evening we had councils for the whole group, with that as the theme, and it was difficult.

One of the women who was going to most of our retreat, and Israeli, she early on had been in the Israeli police force, and then got involved in something called N.V.C., Nonviolent Communication. And she became a teacher of N.V.C. She came up to me one evening after council, and said, “Bernie, if you weren’t here, I would kill this guy.” So with all of her training, and all of what we were trying to do and all, she was still ready to kill the person for bringing up the thought.

I think it took us another couple years, and we started to do that—open it up. And we made a process of thinking of the aggressor within us. We made that a process. And that became very important. So it took ten/fifteen year—I don’t know how long it took before we could do that. So if I go back to my initial entering Birkenau, being overwhelmed by all the souls—of course it had these souls. But we took ten years to even touch them. So for me that was such an important step. And for some, “You’re crazy, man!”

File_007So I’m sure we can open up further, and get more people . . . There are always individual cases. One year we had a beautiful Imam at the retreat. An Imam is a Sufi clergy—not necessarily Sufi, he happened to be Sufi. He lived in Israel, in Yaffa, and was married to a Jewish girl. A beautiful guy, a beautiful gal, they had some children. She was a Tzabra, that is, was born in Israel. When she got married to the Imam (a sweet beautiful guy), her father wouldn’t see her or his grandchildren. And I had him go up and talk one of the evenings that we had people talk. I had him talk.

And after that, an American came up to me—from California—and said, “How dare I invite an Arab to this retreat? And in addition, to even let him talk here? How dare I?” I said, “Oh, is that a problem?” I said, “You know, I talked about how we treat others, Can you look at if anything coming up for you?” He says, “Don’t give me that bullshit. You should not be doing that.” So I said, “OK. Let’s at least do this. Come with me. Let’s go to the Imam, and you talk with him.” He did. His mind got somewhat peaceful. At the end of the retreat he said, “My family and I had a fantastic time at this retreat. But I still warn you, don’t invite Arabs.”

Those are the cases that are so important to me. Not that I only want to see the horror that remains. I would love to see that we make transformations, and can allow others into our hearts, but I know that’s not easy. I didn’t feel anything amiss with this guy. In fact, this guy was a reason for having this retreat.

So as we went on, for me the retreat became more and more about “How do we treat others?” in an expansive way, and my thinking kept going, “How do we do that?”

There’s got to be other ways of doing it, and not just focusing on one. When you focus on one group, automatically you create problems. Council is a testament to that. In Council you try to hear different voices. So I would think that now is a great time to experience all the different voices that are still causing pain to others. What are our voices?

The process that we let in, the dealing with the aggressor within us has been one of the most important processes. How do we expand that? That would be an interesting thing to me.

Question: And by speaking, and looking at the aggressor, doesn’t mean, “dismissing the pain of the victim.”

Bernie: No, that’s part of it. Yeah. You’ve got to bring it in. You’ve got to bring it in.

CONTINUED IN PART 2 (COMING SOON)

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The Woman Sitting Next to Me http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/the-woman-sitting-next-to-me/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/the-woman-sitting-next-to-me/#comments Fri, 12 Aug 2016 19:59:14 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=13637 Frauen 2016-04-06 21.39.34

 

By Roshi Barbara Salaam Wegmüller, Spiegel, Switzerland

Tala is three years old. A year ago she arrived out of the war in Syria to Switzerland. Her mother brought her to our women circle. The first time some weeks ago, Tala sat for two hours in the circle, holding the talking piece when it was her turn, looking in our faces, smiling. Tala loves it, as we all do, our sitting in the meditation room around the candle in deep listening of what our one heart wants to share and to the sharing of all the hearts in our circle of women.

Yesterday evening she laid down on the black zabuton and slept during all the rounds of our sharing, but at the end she woke up to blow off the candle. It is a good way – to share in council – about the pain and the joy we hold in our hearts. We invoked the presence of family members who are gone in the war, we called their names and accepted the deep pain of the loss. I often hear in Switzerland people hope not to meet their parents too often because their relationships are not always easy. In the circle, we listen to the pain of loosing everything, home, work, culture, friends, brothers and sisters — and out of this, came to me the idea to write poems in Arabic and work together on translation, to share it in a book. Later when I expressed this idea, I saw light in the sad eyes of the woman sitting next to me.

20160406_195732After the council we had tea and sweets together. Every time the Swiss women come to the circle, or to the meditation, they bring bags full of beautiful outfits and shawls for the others or for their friends or families. The field is filled with love and respect for our different lives as women, all with the wish to be happy and live a precious life.

Later, I wrote to Jared Seide a dear peacemaker friend and director of the Center of Council, asking if he knew anyone who would have Council guidelines in Arabic language. The same day, I got it, with warm wishes from Jack Zimmerman, Leon Berg and Itaf Awad, founder and head teachers and editors of the book “The Way of Council.” I am deeply moved of their generosity and kind support.

They generously shared — this is the essence of council, a wonderful practice to make peace in bringing all the pieces together. I feel deep gratitude to all who invited me in all the years, again and again, to be part in the circle, to practice it in letting my heart learning how to listen and to share.

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Roshi Barbara Salaam Wegmüller is a grandmother, a dharma successor of Bernie Glassman and a founding member of the Zen Peacemaker Order in Europe and the development of the Zen Peacemaker Circles. She and her husband Roland are Zen teachers offering weekly Zazen practice in Spiegel, Switzerland. They are involved in various socially engaged activities around the world and are actively supporting Syrian refugees in their area. (Read more about Barbara)

 

 

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Flowers on the Edges of Graves: Iris http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/flowers-on-the-edges-of-graves-iris/ http://zenpeacemakers.org/2016/08/flowers-on-the-edges-of-graves-iris/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2016 14:18:47 +0000 http://zenpeacemakers.org/?p=13963 iris

(Iris, on right, during 2013 Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat)  This post is another in the series “Flowers on the Edges of Graves” – reflections from 20 years of participants in the Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreats since 1996.   By Iris Katz, Israel It was in November 2010. It was my first time […]]]>
iris

iris

(Iris, on right, during 2013 Zen Peacemakers Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreat)

 This post is another in the series “Flowers on the Edges of Graves” –
reflections from 20 years of participants in the Zen Peacemakers
Auschwitz/Birkenau Bearing Witness Retreats since 1996.

 

By Iris Katz, Israel

It was in November 2010. It was my first time in the Bearing Witness Retreat in Auschwitz. Three months before I have visited Bernie in Montague, USA. He had been telling me about the retreat, I told him that I had never been to Auschwitz. I used to have my own fears which prevented me to go there. They were connected to all that I have known about Auschwitz. Bernie convinced me to go. I went.

I had “my” two tenets to follow: Not-Knowing and Bearing Witness. The first one was very important for me. Forgetting all I knew, all that had made me afraid and horrified of the Holocaust and its Jewish victims that for me was the main issue about Auschwitz till then. Not-Knowing helped me to go, to be there and to bear witness with some sort of empty mind. Many experiences and few transformations were the outcome of my first retreat in Auschwitz. But one of these experiences changed my life. This one was connected to Ihab, the Israeli-Palestinian from the city of Jaffa, Israel.

Ihab, my husband Tani and I became close friends during the retreat. We felt like cousins (which we are, mythologically) or friends who grew up together since childhood, many years back. We speak the same language, share the same history, and have the same background and ideas. I mean, I felt close or oneness with many people in the group. I felt close to psychologists or therapists, for example. I felt close to the victims and I even could feel their guards who had been “sharing” their lives on that place. But with Ihab it was different. We had our jokes, our joint stories, our small idiosyncratic talks, our combined ideas. But … I was an Israeli, a Jewish Israeli, and Ihab was Israeli as well, but “Arab” Israeli, as we keep saying in my country, or Palestinian Israeli, as “they” keep saying in my country. “They,” that is the “Arabs” in Israel. It was a painful recognition to reflect on that in Auschwitz Ihab and myself were equals, close, just the same people, having different religions – but in Israel we were not equal at all. Mainly, our particular communities were not equal at all. It was like a wide opening in my consciousness: the insight, active and alive in me, that I have to do something about this. This special and deep insight into my sick society has brought me to the decision that has become a path in my life. This path was dedicating myself to give my share in making “Arabs” and “Jews” in Israel more equal, bringing them closer, having them experience the same recognition, respect, and dignity.(…)

This is an excerpt and appears in full in the book “AschePerlen – Pearls of Ash & Awe. 20 Years of Bearing Witness in Auschwitz with Bernie Glassman & Zen Peacemakers” (2015) Edited by Kathleen Battke, Ginni Stern, and Andrzej Krajewski, in German and English. Printed copies or e-book available at: https://janando.de/steinrich/en

 

 

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