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Zen Peacemakers Lowlands Sangha is a socially engaged Buddhist community in the Netherlands and Belgium, which a number of Buddhist practitioners from different traditions founded in the spring of 2013. It is organizing itself as a regional ZPS-Circle, with Flemish Zen teacher Frank De Waele Sensei as its spirit holder.

The individual members of Zen Peacemakers Lowlands Sangha carry out their social commitment as volunteers and exercising their professions in various fields.

ZP Lowlands Sangha is a training group offering a specific practice and spiritual path in line with the Zen Peacemakers Order. It is in touch and closely collaborates with the Zen Peacemakers in Spain.


Zen Group of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands

The Zen Group of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands is a sangha of the Bethany Zendo. Bethany Zendo is a lay Zen school bringing together the Soto and Rinzai traditions, where people can practice Zen within a Western and Christian framework.

It aims at helping the human beings of our time rediscover their own deep roots in an ecumenical atmosphere, which respects every person and all beliefs.

This specific Zen path includes a social outreach program consisting in solidarity collaboration activities directed to disadvantaged or disaster-affected populations. The person in charge for the region of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands is Berta Meneses Rodríguez, a Zen Master in the lineage of Harada, Yasutani and Yamada of the Sanbo Zen school (Sanbo = Three Treasures: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). In 1993 she received recognition as Zen Master from Kubota Ji’un Roshi in Kamakura (Japan), and in 1998 from Ana María Schlüter Kiun-An, who gave her the name of Cho- Sui-An (hermitage of the water that purifies).

Since the late 1970s, she has been studying and investigating oriental cultures, especially Zen Buddhism, and regularly attending intensive courses of Zen meditation in Spain, Germany and Japan. She has been a disciple of Willigis Jäger Ko’un-Ken, and Ana María Schlüter Kiun-An, masters of the Sanbo-Zen school.

She is currently very active in proposing the practice of Zen meditation through conferences and meditation courses, and participating in study seminars in several countries (Spain, Holland, England, Germany, Belgium, Japan, and South America). She is President of the Dana Paramita Association (Barcelona), Vice-president of the Human Values Foundation (Emerging Spirituality), and Vice-president of the Earth and Cultures Philosophy Foundation.

She is the Zen Master in charge of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, Central America (El Salvador and Guatemala) and South America (Ecuador). Zen Peacemakers are working closely with the Zen Group of Catalonia and the Balearic islands.

Photo by Daniel Riera

Photo by Daniel Riera


Spiegel Shanga

The Spiegel Sangha (Mirror Sangha) is a socially engaged, Buddhist community in Switzerland. It is organizing itself as a regional ZPS-Circle, with Barbara and Roland Wegmüller as spirit holders.

The Spiegel Sangha is a Zen Peacemaker Order training group offering a specific practice and spiritual path within the Zen Peacemakers. It is related and closely collaborates with the Zen Peacemakers in Spain.

Bernie and Barbara Wegmüller

Bernie and Barbara Wegmüller


The Shipibo Indians of the Ucayali River: A people in search for recognition of their rights

 
ARKAN LUSHWALA: ”THE TIME OF THE BLACK JAGUAR”
  • Those who recognize themselves as part of the universal web can feel in their heart what is good for continuity of life and what is harmful to the balance of all. In the end, everyone knows the truth. Memory lives within the spirit that flows in our blood. The access to this memory and the experience that we have when the state of amnesia is over is what Indigenous people call vision.”

The Shipibo-Konibo People are one of the three largest ethno-linguistic groups of the Peruvian Amazon Region, which live in the territory known as Selva Baja (Low Forest), on the banks of the Ucayali River. Their knowledge of medicinal plants is one of the richest in the Amazonian Rainforest, and their traditional handcraft products are renowned.

Shipibo Indians have always been a hunter-gatherer society living only on the richness the forest can offer. Nowadays, however, due to the invasion of their territory by multinational companies, the effects of the fight against drug trafficking, and the poisoning of waters – especially the streams, as a result of the chemical waste thrown into the rivers – the Shipibo can no longer live only on their natural resources.

Video: Woven Songs of the Amazon
Photo by Sergio Camacho

One of the main problems the Shipibo-Konibo People have to deal with today is the protection of their rights in face of the conflicts arising from the ownership of the land they inhabit. When we speak about land rights in the Amazonian native context, we are referring not only to the land as livelihood, but also to an integral part of indigenous people’s cultural and individual identity in that region. The tropical woods of the Low Forest are the Shipibo habitat, and there is more here than meets our Western eyes.

Perceiving the dimension lying beyond what our senses perceive is what we call animistic view of nature. The right to the land thus merges with the right to have a worldview allowing the individuals who share it to make sense of life, work, love, death, and everyday life. As the author Clara Cárdenas Timoteo says, “land is the primary basis of the Shipibo- Konibo’s existence, their primary source of food and other basic resources necessary for living, and it ultimately conditions their survival as a cultural group”. Moreover, owning the land means owning the forest, that is, the sacred space of their cosmology.

Therefore, their right to the land is their right to identity. Threatening the Shipibo People’s land rights amounts to infringing their right to identity. The Zen Peacemakers from Spain are actively participating in the Spanish Association in Support of the Shipibo-Konibo People (Coshikox Spain), which aims at raising awareness about the reality and culture of the Shipibo-Konibo People, supporting them through projects to preserve their cultural identity and generate a sustainable development of their communities, by raising funds and looking for ways to finance their development projects in Peru. We need volunteers, people who can lend a hand in the areas of cooperation, communication, human rights, economy and fair trade.

For more information, or if you want to join the Spanish Association in Support of the Shipibo-Konibo People, you can visit the Coshikox website.

Photo by Sergio Camacho

Photo by Sergio Camacho