Introducing ZPI Affiliate: Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen

To strengthen our planetary network, ZPI will feature newly affiliated groups.    

Join us here on the Hive to explore some of the offerings of the organizations affiliated with ZPI.

Introducing a new ZPI affiliate group:

Zen Peacemakers

De Lage Landen

(The Netherlands and Belgium)

Where is your organization’s name?

Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen (ZPLL). “De Lage Landen” literally means “the Low Lands,” referring to the Netherlands and Belgium in Western Europe.

What type of affiliate are you?

Regional Affiliate – centering around serving the members in a specific geographic region (the Netherlands and Belgium).

What is your Mission?

OUR MISSION is to support, inspire, train, and mobilize a local movement of members and affiliates conducting humanitarian, peace-building, and social and civic action based on the Zen Peacemakers International’s Three Tenets: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, and Taking Action.

Where is your organization based?

The Netherlands and Belgium, online.

How many regular members do you serve?

Approx. 1,000.

Tell us a bit about how the group was conceived?

The ZPLL was founded in the spring of 2013 by a number of Buddhist practitioners from different traditions. It seeks to organize itself as a regional Zen Peacemakers Circle, of which a Belgian Zen teacher Frank De Waele, Roshi, and a Dutch Zen teacher Irène Bakker, Sensei, serve as the ‘spirit holders’ and elders. At the end of 2015, the Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen officially became a religious denomination.

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

Spirituality that stimulates social engagement: that is the main theme of the Zen Peacemakers. From March 11 to 13, 2022, we as Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen are organizing a weekend in the Catholic Lioba Monastery in which we acknowledge and experience our legacy from other times.

We explore the themes of engaged spirituality in Christianity and Buddhism such as Vows, Vocation and Devotion, Gender and Hierarchy, and Commitment to all living things. We focus on women in Zen Buddhism and on the female religious congregations that have set up education, care for the sick, care for the elderly, and social work in the Netherlands and in Africa. We highlight their dedication and consider our own commitment. In the footsteps of her devoted aunts, Diana Vernooij explores the vocation of active religious congregations. Annemie Vercouter talks about Hildegard von Bingen, and Frank De Waele Roshi will evoke inspiring women ancestors in Zen’s ‘forgotten’ female lineage.

To learn more, visit: Goddamn Girls* and Devoted Aunts

How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement? Best to include a specific story or anecdote to illustrate?

The individuals involved in the Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen express their social commitment (as a volunteer or as a professional) in various fields. They integrate the Three-Tenets (Not knowing, Bearing Witness, and Action) in their lives and in their (volunteer) work.
For example, they commit themselves concretely as volunteers in the care of the dying and working with prisoners, the homeless and refugees, in interfaith action and care for the environment. They support each other in their work through meetings with listening circles and other group activities.

What is the most meaningful challenge your organization faces?

Succeeding in our mission by smart collaboration within the national and international communities. Ensuring that we share the thoughts and teachings of the late Roshi Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers with others in a relatively simple way, as part of our daily routine.

Your main website URL:

Main contacts:
General office email: Wolter Spaink ( and Frank De Waele Roshi (


Irène Kaigetsu Kyojo Bakker, Sensei, is a Spirit Holder of the Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen, alongside Frank De Waele Roshi. Irène is a Zen teacher in the lineage of Joan Halifax Roshi, Bernie Glassman Roshi, and Taizan Maezumi Roshi, the founder of the White Plum Asangha ( Irène Sensei met Bernie Glassman and Joan Halifax at the Zen Peacemakers retreat in Auschwitz in 1996. While living at Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City as a resident monk at that time, she also became involved in Joan Halifax’s ‘Being with Dying’ program for professionals at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM ( In 2004 she founded Zen Spirit ( Read more HERE (in Dutch).


Frank De Waele, Roshi, also serves as a Spirit Holder of Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen together with Irène Bakker, Sensei. Frank received Dharma transmission in 2005 from French Zen teacher Catherine Genno Pagès Roshi. However, Frank also studied and worked for many years with Bernie Glassman Roshi, whom he first met at the Bearing Witness Retreat in Auschwitz in 1996. Frank became his Dharma successor in 2011.

After the street retreat in Cologne (1997), Frank started working on the development of local Peacemaker initiatives in Europe. He attended numerous trainings and workshops with Bernie Roshi in the US, Europe, and Israel and spent several months at the Peacemaker Hub in Santa Barbara and Montague. He often traveled with and translated for Bernie when he came to Europe. Read more HERE (in Dutch).


Wolter Spaink is one of the volunteers within Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen. His spiritual path has developed in a way that brought him to the Sangha of Irène Kaigetsu Kyojo Bakker, Sensei. Together with Frank de Waele Roshi, he represents Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen under the umbrella of Zen Peacemakers International.


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Introducing ZPI Affiliate: Zen Peacemakers De Lage Landen

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