Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)


Form for submitting your question(s).

Questions and Answers

What if I have a question or suggestion to make to how things are done in the ZPO?

Proposals are taken up by the regional circle to discuss according to local needs and culture. You can find the Steward of these circles at this link. Circles are a governance process which allows strong horizontal participation in place of a single decision maker.

Would ZPO consider including a cause in its list of activism that is not on it now?

ZPO doesn’t endorse certain causes over others. It works the other way around – On our website, we are listing fields in which our ZPO Members are active in, and support them in what they are already doing. If you become a member and are active in this field, we will add that too.

Would it be possible for me to train for steward of circles even if I can't participate in a circle of ZPO members on a regular basis? Can I be part of a circle via mail and share, bear witness and exchange thoughts that way?

If you can’t participate in a ZPO circle, and want to train to be a ZPO Steward, here are the steps you should take. Train to become a circle facilitator. You can do this by training in a ZPO group that offers this training or by attending the Bearing Witness Training Program-Second Cohort ( or by doing the trainings (council 1 and council 2) at Auschwitz. Then you would train with a Steward training. That currently could be done with Barbara Salaam Wegmüller, Roland Yakushi Wegmüller or Frank De Waele.


What if I don't want to formally take part of an organization, but am interested in ZPO events, workshops or actions? Must I be a member to participate?

Most ZPO trainings and all ZPO workshops are open to everyone, not only ZPO Members. You may also apply to be a ZPO Friend and benefit from a 5% discount on ZPO events and receiving all newsletters and communications.

Last year in Hotel Saski it was possible to train in the Way of Council before the retreat. Will that be a possiblity in the future, or has that changed now when you have the Bearing Witness Programme going so it will only be for them? I plan to go to Auschwitz with you in 2015 and would like to learn more about council then if possible.

That would be possilble at Auschwitz retreats or by taking the Bearing Witness Training Program-Second Cohort (

The question of a healthy relationship with a ZPO group, circle or study group. What that really can mean for someone like me, living far away from any ZPO group? Would it be ok to do a lot of study of the ZPO rule and share other stuff over Skype for instance with someone like Barbara? That is – can I do a lot of the studying and reflection days individually – at least in the beginning? Maybe a circle could form here later on and we could have days of reflection of the ZPO rule togehter here.

You can choose any ZPO Group to do the trainings you wish. It is up to the person doing the training whether that could be done by Skype or has to be done in person.

I more or less live a life dedicated to practice and my vow. I don’t have an intimate relationship and no children. Even for me it is impossible to hold all the requirements, if I somehow want to stay connected also with relationships of non-practitioners and do the body-work I need to do for my sick back. Don’t you think that such a huge set of commitments is not a fall-back into a kind of contemporary monastic rule setting that puts practitioners under pressure and will finally end up in feelings of inadequacy and ending practice all together? In my Tibetan Sangha I often say we are practicing “spiritual psychotherapy”, in the ZPO I sometimes have the impression of practicing a “spiritual helper syndrome”. As a nurse I am quiet aware of its danger of a burn out.

Do the best you can. Noone will check on you.

I took Jukai at 2001 at Upaya, when there was a ZPO. I always felt a member of the ZPO, and funny enough, did and do quiet most of the practices, even since I live alone now. Is the idea that I would have to do another?

No, on the ZPO Member Application Form, there is a place to list the Name of Your Precept Teacher (write none if you haven’t had jukai). The form asks for your study and training information.

How is formal Zen training integrated with being a ZPO member? Who among the teachers train in koan study?

Check out the ZPO Member Application Form: where it says that every ZPO Individual Member should

  1. Maintain a healthy relationship with a ZPO Training group. (Members can take trainings at any ZPO Training Group. See the ZPO Training Group Listing where groups are sorted by location, social action involvement and trainings offered.)

As groups sign up their trainings will be listed here. We have asked every ZPO Group to offer their trainings not only to their members but to all ZPO Members.

I expect another 20-30 groups will be signing up.

Is there a group in Philadelphia PA USA or are there people who would like to start one up?

Please see the ZPO Training Group Listing where groups are sorted by location, social action involvement and trainings offered. Currently, no group is listed in Philadelphia PA USA but I believe one will be joining shortly.

Dharma Holder , Preceptor , Priest , Minister , Zen Teacher , etc. What are the differences between them in ZPO and how they serve by their functions?

These entitlements are described at this link.