Introducing ZPI Affiliate Group: Upaya Zen Center

To strengthen our planetary network, ZPI will feature newly affiliated groups.  Join HERE to explore some of the offerings of the organizations affiliated with ZPI, and visit here for a full list of these groups.  The following is an introduction to Upaya Zen Center.

What is your organization’s name?

Upaya Zen Center

What is your mission?

Upaya Zen Center integrates Buddhist practice and social action.

Where is your organization based?

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

How many regular members do you serve?


Tell us a bit about how the group was conceived?

It was conceived through the Founding Teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and founder of Prajna Mountain Buddhist Order, Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot and Head Teacher founded Upaya Zen Center in 1992.

Tell us about one exciting project, retreat or other offering that you are currently working on?

Monday May 11, 2020 Upaya Zen Center and the Metta Institute presented Frank Ostaseski and Roshi Joan Halifax for Bearing Witness Together in Troubled Times, the third of three webinars at 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. MT. We also held sessions on- Wise Hope, No Matter What. In this webinar, we explored how hope is a basic human need and can be an optimizing force that includes buoyancy, resourcefulness, courage, and imagination. To be helpful, hope requires both a clear intention and a simultaneous letting go.

How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement? 

From Roshi Joan: The Three Tenets and GRACE are powerful upayas (skillful means) for working with the suffering of others. I learned about the Three Tenets in the mid-nineties from Roshi Bernie Glassman and his late wife Jishu Angyo Holmes, as skillful means rooted in socially engaged Buddhism. The Tenets are Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Compassionate Action. I developed the practice of GRACE ten years ago as a way to strengthen altruism and compassion when encountering suffering. GRACE is a mnemonic that entails five braided steps: Gathering attention, Recalling intention, Attuning to self and other, Considering what will serve, Engaging and ending.

What is the most meaningful challenge your organization faces?

In this moment, deep in the center of the pandemic of 2020, our challenge continues to be how best to serve those who are suffering.

Your main website URL

Your main contact email address for members

Learn more about Upaya Zen Center by visiting their website, and visit to find more great work by our global affiliate network.  A complete list of our affiliated groups can be found here.

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Introducing ZPI Affiliate Group: Upaya Zen Center

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