Zen Peacemaker Order


Zen Peacemaker Order

The Zen Peacemaker Order, also known as Zen Peacemakers Circle or simply Zen Peacemakers is an organization of socially-engaged Buddhists. It was founded by roshi Bernie Glassman and and his wife Sandra Jishu Holmes in 1996, as a means of continuing the work begun with the Greyston Foundation in 1980 of expanding Zen practice into larger spheres of influence such as social services, business and ecology but with a greater emphasis on peace work. Zen Peacemakers is a school within the White Plum Asanga lineage of Taizan Maezumi. Religious historian Richard Hughes Seager writes "The Zen Peacemaker Order...has the potential to rival Thich Nhat Hanh's groups and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship as a force in American activism" [*cite book| last =Seager| first =Richard Hughes| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =Buddhism In America| publisher =Columbia University Press| date =1999| location =| pages = 209| url =http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/40481142&referer=one_hit| doi =| id = | isbn = 0231108680] .

Tradition and lineage

Although Zen Peacemakers is part of the White Plum Asanga lineage, founder Bernie Glassman did not envisage it as an organisation bound by traditional Japanese Sōtō zen practice. Bernie Glassman has said:

"Maezumi Roshi was not carrying out the tradition of the Japanese Soto sect when he came here. The Soto sect of Japan was not carrying out the traditions of Chinese Zen. You have to be careful with the word 'traditional.' We honor a lot of eccentric people." cite web|url=http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1492&Itemid=0|title=White Plums and Lizard Tails: The Story of Maezumi Roshi and his American Lineage|last=Jones|first=Noa|publisher=Shambhala Sun|accessdate=2008-06-24]
According to Noa Jones, who interviewed him, Bernie Glassman "likens it to Snow White's seven dwarves, each with his own style. "And I'm Dopey," he says" cite web|url=http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1492&Itemid=0|title=White Plums and Lizard Tails: The Story of Maezumi Roshi and his American Lineage|last=Jones|first=Noa|publisher=Shambhala Sun|accessdate=2008-06-24]

Likewise, although within the lineage, the Zen Peacemaker Order was not formed as part of the White Plum Asanga organisation. Links between the two organisations are now distant, despite being named as heir to the presidency of White Plum Asanga in Maezumi's will Glassman ceased attending the annual meetings of Taizan Maezumi's dharma heirs within a few years of his former teacher's death. cite web|url=http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1492&Itemid=0|title=White Plums and Lizard Tails: The Story of Maezumi Roshi and his American Lineage|last=Jones|first=Noa|publisher=Shambhala Sun|accessdate=2008-06-24] According to author James Ishmael Ford, as of 2006 Glassman has, "...transferred his leadership of the White Plum Asanga to his Dharma brother Merzel Roshi and has formally "disrobed," renouncing priesthood in favor of serving as a lay teacher and leader of what is now called the Zen Peacemaker Family."

Greyston Foundation

Activities of the Zen Peacemakers originated in Yonkers, New York with the opening of the Greyston Bakery, its most well-known and prosperous project, in 1982 [cite web
last = Goldman
first = Ari L.
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = YONKERS JOURNAL; Cookies, Civic Pride And Zen
work =
publisher = NY Times
date = 1991-12-23
url = http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE5D81630F930A15751C1A967958260
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-22
] . Its projects eventually united under the auspices of the Greyston Foundation, a network of community development companies and non-profit organizations based in the inner city. Greyston Family Inn opened in 1991, on proceeds from the sale of Greyston mansion. It provides permanent housing for homeless people, with a child day-care center amongst services avaiable for residents. Currently there are three buildings, providing fifty housing units. Other projects include the Greyston Garden Project, five community-run gardens established on neglected properties. In 1992 Greyston Health Services was formed, primarily to provide services for poor people with HIV/AIDS. In 1997 Issan House opened, named after Issan Dorsey a Zen Roshi who had died from an AIDS-related condition in 1990. It provides thirty-five permanent housing units for people living with both HIV/AIDS and mental illness or chemical dependency [ [http://www.knowledgeplex.org/showdoc.html?id=163263. KnowledgePlex: Issan House Supportive Housing Case Study-2004 MetLife Foundation Awards, 2004] ] . The Maitri Day Program within the building provides a varity of health and rehabilitive service to 150 people with HIV/AIDS from the local community. As one of the first 'welfare to work' programs in the USA, in 2004 Greyston had an annual budget of over $20 million and received numerous government grants.

International

In 1996 Bernie Glassman - with his wife Sandra Jishu Holmes - officially founded the Zen Peacemaker Order, later the Zen Peacemaker Circle and currently Zen Peacemakers. According to professor Christopher S. Queen cite book| last =Queen| first =Christopher S| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =Engaged Buddhism in the West| publisher =Wisdom publications| date =2000| location =| pages =| url =http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/41951145&referer=one_hit| doi =| id = | isbn = 0861711599] "The order is based on three principles: plunging into the unknown, bearing witness to the pain and joy of the world and a commitment to heal oneself and the world."

Zen Peacemaker projects have included a Paris soup kitchen for immigrants and non-violence efforts in Palestine, with joint Israeli-Palestinian peaceful coexistence projects in Israel. Zen Peacemakers in Poland established 'Nonviolent Communications Training and Practice' in the national public school system and opened an AIDS hospice. The Auschwitz project brought together families of the Holocaust survivors and the descendants of those who ran the camps to '"bear witness to the horrors of war" during retreats at the site of the concentration camp in Poland. In the United States, Zen Peacemakers have campaigned for prison reform, provided hospice care and worked with the poor in both inner city and rural areascite web | Anonymous Author | title = Zen Peacemaker History | Undated | url = http://www.zenpeacemakers.org/about/history | accessdate = 2007-07-10 ] .

Zen Peacemakers have a 34 acre campus, the Maezumi Institute, Massachusetts, as well as 54 affiliate centers, communities and circles worldwide. Countries with groups affiliated to Zen Peacemakers include: Austria, Brazil, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, Switzerland and the UK. In the United States affiliates include the Upaya Institute and Zen Center led by Joan Halifax in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Elders and Spiritual Directors

The founder roshi Bernie Glassman served as the spiritual director of Zen Peacemakers from its inception until recently. In May 2005 roshi Enkyo Pat O'Hara was ratified as Co-Spiritual Director by the Zen Peacemaker Board. In May, 2005 Robert Kennedy became a Spiritual Director, in Training with Roshis Bernie Glassman and Pat Enkyo O'Hara. In May 2008 Bernie Glassman announced in the Maezumi Institute's newsletter that he had handed over leadership to Paul Genki Kahn. In the same newsletter Paul Genki Kahn wrote:

This brings Roshi Bernie Glassman and my life back together in the synergy we enjoyed at the Zen Center of Los Angeles in the heady days of our youth. I am grateful for this chance for intimate study and practice with him again.Roshi turns 70 this January, and so many of his pioneering efforts are coming to fruition - the transmission of authentic Zen realization, multifaith cooperation and social action as Zen practice. This fall we will begin our Residential Program in Socially Engaged Buddhism, and our first Zen Houses will open early in 2009. The Maezumi Institute is beginning full programming in all our four tracks - Zen, Multi-Faith, Social Action and Sacred Ways in the Arts. [ [http://ukzenpeacemakers.blogspot.com/2008/05/genki-sensei-officially-takes-charge-of.html Zen Peacemaker Circle UK: Genki Sensei officially takes charge of the Zen Peacemakers Sangha] ]

Zen Peacemaker Sangha

The structure of Zen Peacemakers is, like the Greyston Foundation, somewhat complex and also like Greyston is described as a mandala. The mandala is based on the Five Buddha Families with the intention that the organisation addresses needs in all aspects of life. The Zen Peacemakers Sangha (ZPS) is a branch of the Zen Peacemakers Order. It is an association of groups founded by or led by seniors empowered by Bernie Glassman or groups who practice Zen and socially engaged Zen. The ZPS is a forum for sharing the diverse methods of practice, service and teaching within the Zen Peacemakers Order for the purpose of education and personal development as practitioners and teachers [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Zen Peacemakers web site
work =
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date =
url = http://www.zenpeacemakers.org/zps/index.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-18
] .

The Maezumi Institute

Sited in Montague, Massachusetts, in the United States, the Maezumi Institute is the study and practice center of the Zen Peacemakers, often referred to as the 'Motherhouse'. The approach of the institute is based on the Japanese concept "gyogaku funi", or "practice and study are not two". [cite web|url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0WDP/is_2006_Jan_2/ai_n15991064/pg_1?tag=artBody;col1|title=Master fuses Zen, Western concepts to draw Japanese to new institute|date=2006-01-02|publisher=Asian Economic News|accessdate=2008-07-14] It provides various training paths, study programs, and hands-on internships. There are five study/practice tracks: Zen, social enterprise, peacemaking and social action, multi-faith and the fine arts.

Training and Spiritual practices

The training of Zen Peacemakers is grounded in traditional Zen practice - meditation, retreats, liturgy, personal study-relationships with empowered teachers and the intimate recognition of mastery, which maintains the integrity of Zen lineages.

Formulations of spiritual principles specific to the order include "The Sixteen Practices of a Zen Peacemaker", comprising the "Three Refuges", the "Three Tenets" and the "Ten Practices" of a Zen Peacemaker [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Upaya Teachings: Peacemaking
work =
publisher = Upaya Zen Center
date =
url = http://www.upaya.org/teachings/peacemaking.php
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-22
]

'Street retreats', excursions by Bernie Glassman and others into the streets for weeks at a time to live amongst the homeless, have become a feature of Zen Peacemaker practice cite book| last =Queen| first =Christopher S| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =Engaged Buddhism in the West| publisher =Wisdom publications| date =2000| location =| pages =| url =http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/41951145&referer=one_hit| doi =| id = | isbn = 0861711599] Author James Ishmael Ford writes, "...'street retreats,' for instance, moves sesshin into the streets: participants eat in soup kitchens, and, if they know they're not displacing homeless people, sleep in homeless shelters or, otherwise, sleep in public places. Zazen takes place in parks and dokusan in alleys." [cite book| last =Ford| first =James Ishmael| authorlink =James Ishmael Ford| coauthors =| title =Zen Master Who?: A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen| publisher =Wisdom Publications| date =2006| location =| pages =| url =http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/70174891&referer=one_hit| doi =| id = | isbn = 0861715098]

Engaged buddhism

Engaged Buddhism - a phrase coined by Nhat Hanh - is a key term for Zen Peacemakers. The socially engaged practices of Zen Peacemakers is aimed at extending Dharma beyond the meditation hall to the worlds of business, social services, conflict resolution and environmental stewardship. Engaged buddhism has frequently led to new models of practice, allowing Buddhists to addressing the needs of individuals and communities in disadvantaged areas. The Zen Peacemakers' way is intended to "illuminate all life as a boundless meditation hall". [cite web
last =
first =
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Zen Peacemakers web site
work =
publisher =
date =
url = http://www.zenpeacemakers.org/about/index.htm
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-06-20
]

Notable Zen Peacemakers

* Ellen Burstyn
* Tetsugen Bernard Glassman
* Enkyo Pat O'Hara
* Joan Halifax
* Paul Genki Kahn
* Robert Kennedy

Notable Affiliates

* Upaya Institute and Zen Center
* High Mountain Crystal Lake Zen Community
* Village Zendo

ee also

*Timeline of Zen Buddhism in the United States

Gallery

References

*cite web| last =Lazarus| first =Chris| authorlink =| coauthors =| title =ISSUE 1: COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION, Recipes for Empowering Community Greyston, Mandala, Yonkers| work =| publisher =New Village Press| date =| url =http://www.newvillage.net/Journal/Issue1/1greyston.html| format =| doi =| accessdate = 2008-03-03

External links

* [http://www.zenpeacemakers.org/about/ Zen Peacemakers]
* [http://www.youtube.com/user/bernieglassman Zen Peacemakers videos]
* [http://www.greyston.org/ Greyston Foundation]
* [http://www.highzen.com/ High Mountain Crystal Lake Zen Community]
* [http://www.villagezendo.org/ Village Zendo]
* [http://www.bambushain.org/ Bambushain (German)]


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