“Be the change you want to see in the world” are the immortal, ever-wise words of Gandhi. It’s truly something to think about. Do you wish people would stop cutting you off in traffic? Do you desire for your family to stop fighting over silly things? Do you long for an overall sense of peace and harmony in your workplace?
There are some basic building blocks to becoming this peaceable person. This “instruction manual” has withstood the test of time, as it’s a branch of Buddhism, one of the oldest religions in the world. You don’t have to join a religious order to follow their incredible, soul-centering tenants. Learn to be a Zen peacemaker today, and start spreading peace and joy to your world by your own hands.
The following are the practices of the Zen Peacemaker Order, an international movement of socially engaged Buddhism, founded by Zen Teacher Roshi Bernie Glassman.
THREE REFUGES OF A ZEN PEACEMAKER
Inviting all creations into the mandala of my practice and vowing to serve them, I take refuge in:
- Buddha, the awakened nature of all beings.
- Dharma, the ocean of wisdom and compassion.
- Sangha, the community of those living in harmony with all Buddhas and Dharmas.
THREE TENETS OF A ZEN PEACEMAKER
Taking refuge and entering the stream of Engaged Spirituality, I vow to live a life of:
- Not knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about myself and the universe.
- Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world.
- Healing myself and others.
TEN PRACTICES OF A ZEN PEACEMAKER
Being Mindful of the interdependence of Oneness and Diversity, and wishing to actualize my vows, I engage in the spiritual practices of:
Peacemakers throughout all space and time recognize that they are not separate from all that is. This is the practice of Non-Killing. I will not lead a harmful life nor encourage others to do so, and will abstain from killing living beings, thus living in harmony with all life and the environment sustaining it.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time are satisfied with what they have. This is the practice of Non-Stealing. I will not take anything not given, and will freely give, ask for, and accept what is needed.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time encounter all creations with respect and dignity. This is the practice of Chaste Conduct. I will give and accept love and friendship without using or clinging.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time listen and speak truthfully and compassionately. This is the practice of Non-Lying. I will compassionately and constructively speak the truth as I perceive it, purposely deceiving no one.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time cultivate a mind that sees clearly. This is the practice of Not Being Deluded. I will embrace all experience directly.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time realize lovingkindness. This is the practice of Not Talking About Others’ Errors and Faults. Accepting what each moment offers, I will realize that I am not separate from any aspect of life.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time realize equanimity. This is the practice of Not Elevating Oneself and Blaming Others. I will not blame, judge, or criticize others, nor compete with others or covet recognition. In this way, I practice inclusiveness.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time are generous. This is the practice of Not Being Stingy. I will not foster a mind of poverty in myself or others, and will use all the ingredients of my life, giving my best effort and accepting the result.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time transform suffering into wisdom. This is the practice of Not Being Angry. I will not harbor resentment, rage, or revenge, and will roll all negative experience into my practice.
Peacemakers throughout all space and time honor their lives as instruments of peacemaking. This is the practice of Not Thinking Ill of the Three Refuges. I will recognize that I and all beings are expressions of oneness, diversity, and harmony.