Zen Peacemakers

The Zen Peacemakers Order (ZPO) is an international spirituality and social action
network. In 1994, after a Street Retreat in Washington D.C., the name was adopted by the
Zen Peacemakers, a socially engaged community that grew up around the American Zen
master Bernie Glassman since the 1980s.
Today the Zen Peacemakers Order is a virtual organization with an extensive network of
more than 80 affiliated groups or circles that want to shape the vision and inspiration of
socially engaged Buddhism. In recent years, thousands of people participated in the
Auschwitz Bearing-Witness Retreats and the various Street Retreats that have taken place
all over the world. The Zen Peacemakers are present in 15 countries of the five continents.
This committed Zen community emphasizes working for peace. They organize “Journeys
to the Field” (including the local promotion of nonviolent communication and coexistence
between Palestinians and Israelis, and peaceful actions in Rwanda). But the specific Zen
Peacemakers practice has expanded in the area of social commitment: ecology, work in
prisons (Prison Mindfulness Institute), reduction of hunger (The Stone Soup Café)
and poverty (Greyston Foundation), terminal care (Being with Dying), and the setting up of
social enterprises (Greyston Bakery).
As Bernie Glassman says, you can best describe the Zen Peacemakers as a hub of
creative energy. “The Peacemakers are a spiritual community of people who want to work
for well-being and peace. Think of it as a meeting place where you can exchange
experiences and gain new strength and ideas. We have no fix convictions or beliefs; not knowing
is our point of departure, and we want to listen to and learn as much as possible
from the people for whom we want to make a difference”.

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