New - Training Available to Start Your own Zen Circle

Ok... Would you like to start a Zen Circle?
I'm going to start offering trainings for anyone who would like to start their own socially engaged Circle Zen Group in the UK. If you would like to start a Zen circle, affiliated to the Zen Peacemakers then I will train you to do this, support you and link you into the wider European and international context. A ZPC is a non-hierarchical approach to Zen - a circle trains together in the basic tools and guides its own direction,... with help and inspiration from other circles and a support structure. The intention is to train people to experience life as an interconnected whole, and act practically from this to remove suffering and create happiness
The basic tools you will be trained in are: Zazen - silent zen meditation; Council Circle - Native American influenced circles of listening and speaking from the heart; Consensus decision making; Bearing Witness - to joy and suffering in the world around us; the Five Buddha Energies - a soc…
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

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

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 th…

"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.

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

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...