Bearing Witness Training Program-Second Cohort

Program Begins October 31, 2015

Participation Limited to 20 Attendees

When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. We don’t have to worry about what to do. We don’t have to figure out solutions ahead of time. Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises.

Loving action is right action. It’s as simple as giving a hand to someone who stumbles or picking up a child who has fallen on the floor. We take such direct, natural actions every day of our lives without considering them special. And they’re not special. Each is simply the best possible response to that situation in that moment.

—Bernie Glassman

Description of Bearing Witness Training Program

We are happy to announce that the Zen Peacemaker Order has opened the second cohort for the training program for those interested in training in Bearing Witness.

The program begins with a one-day workshop (Oct 31, 2015) led by Jared Seide, the Director, Center for Council, on The Way of Council. On Nov 1, the Foundations of ‘Bearing Witness Retreats and the Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemaker Order (ZPO), i.e., Not-Knowing, Bearing Witness and Loving Actions will be led by Roshi Grover Genro Gauntt of the ZPO.

On November 2-6, 2015, there will be the Bearing Witness Retreat at Auschwitz.  After the Retreat, on November 7, 2015 there will be a one-day workshop, led by Jared Seide, on The Way of Council-Part 2. On November 8, 2015, there will be a one-day workshop on Evaluation of the Retreat via the Three Tenets and how these Tenets can be integrated into our lives led by Roshi Grover Genro Gauntt of the ZPO.

Please visit the webpage describing the Auschwitz/Birkenau Retreat and read more about the details of that retreat.

This training is required for those wishing to become staff at ZPO Bearing Witness Retreats and for those that wish to create a Bearing Witness Retreat under the auspices of the Zen Peacemaker Order.

Finance your Tuition with a Mala Practice

2,500 years ago, it was the practice of the lay congregation to support monks through donations of food and clothing. Shakyamuni Buddha led his monks each morning in the practice of begging for their daily food. Each day’s offering was received with thanks regardless of its nature or size. In this way the Buddha encouraged simplicity, the generosity of both giving and receiving, and undiscriminating appreciation.

We continue this begging practice by raising support for our work by assembling a mala, or beads that are strung together and worn like a necklace. Each bead represents a person who supports that member’s vision and work, and the entire mala represents the Member’s community of support.

This is a practice of giving and receiving. By asking for support from family, friends, and associates, we acknowledge that as individuals, we are limited in what we can do. We depend on the generosity of others to increase our membership, train more peacemakers, and develop and support more programs. This is one more way in which we bear witness in the interdependence of life.

Another important aspect of mala practice is the incorporation of the ministry of money in our program. The assembly of malas insures that money management and fundraising are not seen as foreign to peacemaking work; instead, the give-and-take of money is the compassionate, unobstructed flow of energy that nourishes and transforms our activities.

Mala practice also gives us the opportunity to share our work with our families, friends, and associates. Most of us lead professional work lives and have families. By raising money for our Socially Engaged Buddhist work, we publicize its activities, and most important, our own commitment. By wearing the beads we have assembled, we take our supporters with us in our peacemaking endeavors and on Bearing Witness retreats such as Auschwitz, thus making family and friends an intimate part of this peacemaking journey.

For the Bearing Witness Second Cohort Training 2015 please assemble a mala (not from your personal funds) consisting of 18 small beads and one Buddha (large) bead or one of 108 beads and dedicate each bead to each of your donors. Beads from individuals or from groups or families are equally appreciated. When they offer a bead, they will be working, training, studying and traveling with you wherever you go.

Registration, Payment and How to Get More Information

Fee: $2500

Fee for ZPO Member: $2250

Fee for ZPO Friend: $2375

Travel to Workshops and Retreats is not included in the Fee.

2015 Auschwitz Retreat Single Room Add-on: $800

Travel to Workshops and Retreats is not included in the Fee.

Provide a Tax Deductible Donation for supporting this Program.

Please specify in the comments block, of the donation form, that your donation is for the support of the 2nd Cohort BWT Program.

You can also give

Rami Efal, ZPO Coordinator and Assistant to Founder

PO Box 294, Montague, MA 01351

[email protected], Tel:347.210.9556

your credit card information, or send a check made payable to Zen Peacemakers, PO Box 294, Montague, MA 01351 attention 2nd Cohort: BWT  Program.

If you have special needs please list them in the comments box in the Registration Form.

For more information, please contact

Rami Efal, ZPO Coordinator and Assistant to Founder

PO Box 294, Montague, MA 01351

[email protected], Tel:347.210.9556.


There are a small number of single rooms at the Auschwitz Retreat. When you fill out the Registration Form please help us with room assignments by filling in your gender. If you are attending this program as a couple, please list your roommate and select “yes” on the couple’s button in the Registration Form. If you have a desired roommate, please give us their name in the appropriate box.

Housing and food for at Auschwitz Retreat is included in the fee. Housing and food for the workshops in Krakow before and after the retreat are not included in the fee.

What does the Fee include?

The fee includes the tuition for the 2-day workshops before the retreat, the 5-day Auschwitz Retreat, and 2-day workshops after the retreat, as listed in the Schedule of Training’s below.

During the Auschwitz Retreat:

The fee includes all buses, food and accommodations at the Dialogue Center in Oświęcim (walking distance to both Auschwitz 1 and Birkenau) for  the 2015  retreat. 

The training/workshops will take place at the Hotel Saski in Krakow.  Housing and food for the training/workshops in Krakow, before and after the Auschwitz Retreat is NOT included in the fee. Travel to and lodging at Krakow are not included in the fee.

The Three Tenets of the Zen Peacemaker Order

Entering the stream of Socially Engaged Spirituality, I vow to live a life of:

  • Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe
  • Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world
  • Loving actions towards ourselves and others

The Three Tenets serve as the foundation for the Zen Peacemakers’ work and practice. Using the Three Tenets as an orientation transforms service into spiritual practice. Specifically, these practices suspend separation and hierarchy, and open direct encounter between equals as the spirit and style of the services offered through Zen Houses.

Not-knowing drops our conceptual framework from very personal biases and assumptions to such concepts as “in and out” “good and bad” “name and form,” “coming and going.” Not-knowing is a state of open presence without separation.

In this state we can Bear Witness, the second Tenet, merging or joining with an individual, situation or environment, deeply imbibing their essence. From this intimate “knowing,” we can then choose an appropriate response to the person or situation, described as “taking loving actions,” our third Tenet. This gives rise to the holistic, integrated, wrap-around style of service projects inspired by Bernie’s vision.

In speaking about the Three Tenets as separate practices and phases of consciousness, we are making deference to the discriminating mind. They are actually a continual flow, each containing and giving rise to the others.

Cancellation Policy

If the workshop is canceled by the Zen Peacemakers, registrants will receive full refunds of the paid registration fees. No refunds can be made for lodging, airfare or any other expenses related to attending the workshop.

If a registration is canceled by the participant more than one month (31 days) prior to the retreat start date, all but $100 of the paid fees will be refunded.

If you cancel 15-30 days before the start date of the workshop, you will receive all but $300 of your retreat fee.

Fees are non refundable if a registration is cancelled by the participant within two weeks (14 days) of the start date of the retreat.

All refunds will be processed within 60 days of notification of cancellation.

For more information, please contact

Rami Efal, ZPO Coordinator and Assistant to Founder

PO Box 294, Montague, MA 01351

[email protected], Tel:347.210.9556