Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We've not been updating this blog for a while because we have two other ones at the moment:

for Leicester and Chester, and

for just Chester.

There are regular activities going on in both cities - check on the respective blogs for details!


Chris Zang Starbuck

Friday, April 12, 2013

We're starting a new Zen Peacemaker Circle in Chester, in the North West of England, on Sunday 14th April.  We'll be meeting at 2pm on Bridge Street Row outside the gift shop Sally's Secret Garden. and then taking a walk together down to the Roman Amphitheatre - which might (it's suggested!) be the origins of the legend of King Arth ur's Round Table!  What better place to symbolically begin a new Peacemaker Circle which will hopefully serve the people here in Chester!  The new Zen Peacemaker Circle will be building on a few months of meditation classes in metta and silent sitting which we've been offering since Novemeber, and which have been well attended by local people.  I hope this new Circle will be of benefit to the happiness and wellbeing of everyone, from whatever background, culture and religion they come.

Chris Zang Starbuck,
12th April 2013

Friday, July 29, 2011

An Ending and a Beginning...

Dear Friends,

I'm writing today from Bern in Switzerland, from the beautiful house of Barbara and Roland Wegmueller. I would like to let you know that this will be - for the moment - the last post for this "UK Zen Peacemakers" blog, after four years of postings. Please find future blogs at

After many interesting discussions this week here in Switzerland, I've decided to focus our work on the Great Heart Circle in Leicester, and no longer keep one blog open for both this and wider UK Zen Peacemakers activities. At present there is no Peacemaker Circle still going in the UK, since our Steward Steve Suleyman Hart brought the North of England Circle to a close last month. There may well be new ones in the future (and so future posts for this blog!)

The Great Heart Circle will be continuing as usual on the first Thursday of every month in Leicester. Email for details. Although we'll no longer be using the name "UK Zen Peacemakers" as well as "Great Heart Society", we will still be connected to the wider Zen Peacemakers community, and if anyone would like to train further in the Zen Peacemaker Circles please contact Barbara at

Thankyou for following us on this blog for the past few years - it's been fun making the postings. If a new ZP Circle begins, this Blog may be back...!

With love,

Chris Zangtsal Starbuck
Friday 29th July, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

"This too is wonder"

In the past month, two pioneers of Zen Buddhism have passed away.

On 15th June, Charlotte Joko Beck died at the age of 94. Her last words were reported to be "This too is wonder!" Although this wasn't actually true (internet Chinese whispers!), it is really a quote from her and a lovely way to remember her. She was a great Zen teacher, who explored the approach of shikantaza in modern life.

And then yesterday, 17th July, John Crook, scientist and first Dharma successor of Master Shen Yen of Taiwan, passed away aged 81. He was a teacher in the Chinese Chan traditions of Lin-chi and Cao-Dong (Japanese: Rinzai and Soto), and like Joko Beck he developed forms and approaches to explore Zen in modern life.

May their efforts and inspiration continue to bring happiness to the World.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Zvonko Radikovic Ordained in Thailand

Dear Folks,

You may remember Zvonko Radikovic, the Croatian war veteran who's been corresponding with us for a few years now? People from UK and European Zen Peacemakers helped raise money for his flight to Thailand last year.

I'm delighted to let you know that this week he's received full ordination as a Buddhist monk (bhikkhu) in the Thai Theravadin tradition, studying with experienced meditation teachers there! His new name is Cattamaro Bhikkhu - sitting front right on this photo...

Thanks once again for everyone who helped out financially or with good thoughts to Cattamaro's wish to train over there. The Thai meditation tradition is very valuable and beautiful, and I'm delighted we're able to be connected to them in this way.

With love,

Chris Zangtsal Starbuck
UK Zen Peacemakers

Friday, July 8, 2011

Leicester Great Heart Circle, 7th July

Last night we held our monthly Great Heart Circle in Leicester. It was a relaxed gathering of five regulars, beginning with guided relaxation led by Natalie and peaceful walking meditation in the chapel garden.

As a theme, we talked about the subtle approach to life called 'Malamati', the 'Path of Blame', which underlies Rumi's sufi tradition and is very close to what we're trying to do in our Zen practice. The name comes from a mischievious saying of the Prophet Muhammed - "I am among the foremost of the people of blame", or something like "I'm one of the best at being modest"! Which is a lovely clue to something very beautiful...

We held a period of Silent Sitting shikantaza meditation, then ended once again with an enjoyable sacred feast! Natalie's home-made cake was especially appreciated...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leicester Great Heart Circle, Thurs 2nd June

This evening we held our monthly meditation training circle in Leicester. It was a warm Summer's evening, and the big trees in the chapel garden were lovely and green and alive. We talked about two poles of leading a spiritual life- the need to create spaces of refuge and peace for ourselves and others, and the need to plunge headfirst into the messiness and pain of life and be with it lovingly. Once again, a great celebratory feast was enjoyed at the end. Here is a poem written recently by Mike Petterson, one of our regulars:


To hear the broken silence
With every sense of being
To see the confusion of the moment
And feel the stillness of the soul

To penetrate the barriers of division
And fuse the hopes of today
To live life's essence every second
And see truly disappointment and joy

The dot of the i, the dash of the t
The red of light and greys of night
Blood and bone, sinew and flesh, atom and particle
The details missed, part of you, part of me

To really travel the journey
Each foot, each step, every breath of the way
To touch the heart of the wind
And fall every inch of the chasm

The space between, the sound below
The coolness of the sun, the heat of the moon
Intense joy in melting, becoming, losing...
Surrendering to the here, today, as it is.

A fleeting glimpse, a treasured touch
A glancing arrow searing the skin
Awake, for the blink of an eye, a humming bird's wing-flap
Vacuum to fullness, vastness in a thimble.

Zen Peacemaker Sangha Logo

Zen Peacemaker Sangha Logo