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Bearing Witness to the Earth

What is our Relation to the Beauty and the Suffering of our Nature?

Ecoretreat in the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers
in the area of the Rhenish open-pit mining, Germany
17 – 21 August 2022

Bearing Witness to the Earth

What is our Relation to the Beauty and the Suffering of our Nature?

Ecoretreat in the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers in the area of the Rhenish open-pit mining, Germany
17 – 21 August 2022

What are we going to do?

 

We will spend 5 days together in different places of the Rhenish open-pit mining area. We invite different people who are located in the region and are in touch with the topic of opencast mining.

We will bear witness to the state of the earth and how we humans relate to it and to each other in this context. Together we will explore the questions: How do we really relate to the beauty, but also with the destruction of our nature? Do we still live on the earth or is our life part of the earth? How do we live with the extent and consequences of destruction – HOW do we act?

This Bearing Witness retreat is in the spirit of the 3 tenets of the Zen Peacemakers:
Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and the actions that arise from it.

What are the contents
during the five days?

 

Walks, Meditations and Councils (Dialogue and sharing of experiences) at beautiful as well as „wounded“ places around the open-cast mining area, visiting the villages that are to be dredged and talking with the people who are being resettled and losing their homes. Dialogue with different guests and activists on the topic, inter-religious ceremonies by representatives of different religions, recitation of names from the Red List of extinct animal and plant species as well as a recitation of the names of the resettled villages;

We go with what is, with the situations that arise on the ground – in summary one could say: „The place itself will be our teacher“ (this was Bernie Glassman’s comment on the Bearing Witness retreats in Auschwitz).

Our „basic accommodation“ is a simple and good workers‘ accommodation in Elsdorf – 1 kilometer away from the Hambach open pit mine. There we will sleep in 2-3 bed rooms and eat vegetarian-biological food. From there we will take a bus to different places of the open pit mine.

The Ecoretreat takes place completely on cost price basis and does not want to obtain any profits. For organizational reasons, we are currently calculating the exact amount of participation.

More information will follow in the next weeks.

„May all places be held sacred

 May all beings be cherished.

May all injustices of oppression and devaluation be fully righted, remedied and healed.

May all who are captured by hatred be freed to the love that is our birth right.

May all who are bound by fear discover the safety of understanding.

May all who are weighed down by grief be given over to the joy of being.

May all who are lost in delusion find a home on the path of wisdom.

May all wounds to forests, rivers, deserts, oceans,

All wounds of Mother Earth be lovingly restored to bountiful health.

May all beings abide in peace and well-being, awaken and be free.“

Prayer from the One Earth Sangha 

What is the Rhenish
open-pit mine?

 

The „Rhenish coalfield“, located between Cologne and Aachen, is the largest lignite mining area in Europe. Almost 100 million tons are extracted annually in the open pits, which are up to 400 meters deep, to generate electricity.

The vigil in Lützerath writes: „(…) with the ancient landscape disappear not only the villages with their history, their monuments, but also green strips and forests that harbour a great diversity of species and at the same time one of the most fertile and productive loess soils in Europe. The mining and burning of lignite produces fine dust, mercury and other pollutants that lead to serious health as well as life-threatening effects on people.(…)
In the Rhineland, more than 100 settlements have already been dredged, displacing more than 40,000 people to date. Due to the lowering of the groundwater to a depth of up to 500 metres, fields, forests, streams and ponds have already dried up and springs are drying up. Germany’s fossil energy industry produces around 170 million tonnes of lignite every year, making it the world’s number one producer.The burning of lignite alone generates around 30% of CO2 emissions in Germany(…)“

Who can participate?

 

It is an interfaith, international and intercultural retreat, an intimate „immersion“ together, listening to each other and to the earth, in mindful dialogue as well as in silence, in being with each other and being aware for oneself alone, in exchange and in silent listening. An engagement with the situation as it is, with everything that belongs to it.

If you want to be part of this deep listening and get involved with the situation of the earth, the people on the ground as well as for our group for these 5 days you are very welcome.

You don’t need to be a Buddhist or an activist, you don’t need to know the Zen Peacemakers or anything else. You are welcome to come if the retreat calls you – we hope for a diverse and colourful group.

Since we will be outside most of the time, walking, standing and sitting there, your body will be challenged a bit. If you have any questions or are unsure about your physical condition, feel free to contact us and we will discuss the possibilities.

We will, of course, abide by the Corona requirements then in force and observe certain ethical principles of respect and dignity. No alcohol or drugs are allowed on the retreat.

 

Who are we?

Spirit Holder:

Frank De Waele Roshi, Zen Master and Zen Peacemaker, Belgium.
www.zensangha.be
www.zenpeacemakers.nl/zen-peacemakers-lage-landen

Organisation and concept:

Svenja Shinsen Hollweg, Zen Peacemaker and Gestalttherapist, Germany.
www.svenjahollweg.de

Rupert Weis

Reiki teacher, council facilitator, designer

This Ecoretreat is based on the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers, a socially engaged international Zen Buddhist community, Bernie Glassman Roshi is the founder.

www.zenpeacemakers.org

Who are we?

Spirit Holder:

Frank De Waele Roshi, Zen Master and Zen Peacemaker, Belgium.
www.zensangha.be
www.zenpeacemakers.nl/zen-peacemakers-lage-landen

Organisation and idea:

Svenja Shinsen Hollweg, Zen Peacemaker and Gestalttherapist, Germany.
www.svenjahollweg.de

Rupert Weis

Reiki-Teacher, Council Leader, Designer

This Ecoretreat is based on the spirit of the Zen Peacemakers, a socially engaged international Zen Buddhist community, Bernie Glassman Roshi is the founder.

Registration and further information:

 

The number of participants is limited.

From now on I also accept pre-registrations. Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in participating in the Ecoretreat:

info@svenjahollweg.de

Detailed information will follow in the next weeks.

Even if you have any questions – feel free to contact me