Zen Peacemaker House

What’s a Zen Peacemaker House, you ask? 

By the time the snow flies in late 2022, we’ll be opening a new Zen Peacemaker House in downtown Middlebury. It’s being renovated now to be accessible and welcoming to all who arrive.

A Zen House is a gathering place that serves the neighborhood. It is an open, safe, and welcoming comfort zone for everyone, but especially those who deal with isolation and loneliness. At the Zen House, they will be in the company of caring friends and neighbors.  It has emerged from our practice of bearing witness to suffering, joy, and possibility in our community.

A Zen House is based on some important Buddhist principles:

  • There are no insiders and outsiders – everyone is a buddha. Everyone, regardless of what they bring or need is welcomed in the same way, as a buddha bowing to a buddha.  There is no distinction between giver and receiver, helper and helped, server and served. We won’t slip into labels that separate us.
  • Everyone is welcomed to give and receive and be the gift. Come as you are, bring your whole self. Nothing else is needed.
  • Love all beings. This starts with being interested in each other, growing in empathy, seeing with compassion, and experiencing what it is to be in the one-body-energy that gives life to our lives. Expanding the circle of belonging, bonding with neighbors, we experience the interconnectedness of life right here, close to home.

Our Zen House is perfectly located in the town center or, as we say in these parts, on the Green – the big lawn where the town gathers. We are fortunate to have found a place in the middle of things, so we’ll refer to it as the Zen House on the Green. Each day we’ll simply open the doors just as we open the temple, with care, and be open to whoever shows up, accepting what is offered, what is received, what is requested, and allow actions arise. We may have midday mindfulness, game nights, grief groups, community celebrations, recovery meetings, community acupuncture or foot care, cooking or quilting days, conversations over coffee and cake, study groups, and more.

If you’d like to support this project, you can make a donation through our giving page. We’ll keep you posted on other ways to get involved as the Zen Peacemaker House opens. There will be lots of opportunities, including residency at Bread Loaf Mountain where you can support the day-to-day community events as part of our Zen practice!